How Long Does an International Money Transfer Take?

There are dozens of factors that affect the speed of which it takes to send money overseas. Generally, the method you choose to transfer money will be the main factor of transfer speed.

To compare international money transfer times, exchange rates and fees, click here.


What is the fastest and cheapest way to transfer money overseas?

With the introduction of the New Payments Platform there is no speed advantage in using your bank over using a specialist currency provider. Using a money transfer specialist like OFX, TorFX, or World First could mean that your recipient gets funds from you in just a day or two.

Related: How Much It Costs to Transfer Money Overseas

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What are the main factors that impact the speed of money transfers?

  • One

    The currency exchange provider you use

    e.g. a dedicated money transfer service, your bank, PayPal, etc.

  • Two

    The currencies you are moving money between

    It’s going to take longer to exchange with the Mongolian tögrög than it is the US dollar.

  • Three

    How you are funding the transfer

    Funding via debit card or cash is typically faster than other methods.

  • Four

    How much you’re sending

    Larger transactions can take longer to clear and process.

  • Five

    The system you use to send money

    For example the SWIFT network, or the “New Payments Platform.”


How international transfers generally work

  1. You choose how you want to send money internationally — via a dedicated currency provider, your bank, PayPal, or some other means. We recommend a specialist currency provider as you’ll get better rates and pay lower fees.
  2. You arrange for the money transfer with your provider, normally through their web portal.
  3. You choose the currencies you want to exchange money between.
  4. You enter the sender and recipient details for the money transfer.
  5. You fund the transfer, typically with a debit card.
  6. The provider collects the funds from your bank account.
  7. The provider converts the funds into the new currency.
  8. They deposit those funds into the recipient’s bank account.
  9. The recipient collects the money.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, absolutely. Choosing the right currency provider, funding your transfer in a certain way, and exchanging money between well-established currencies will all help to reduce transfer times. The upcoming “New Payments Platform” in Australia will also help to reduce transfer times. More on that below

The New Payments Platform is an Australian initiative launched in October 2017. It removes much of the delay for transferring money between bank accounts or between accounts and providers like specialist money transfer businesses.

This reduces the speed of these transfers from a day to just a few seconds or minutes. This effectively means that as long as there are funds in your account they will clear with a specialist currency provider almost instantly.

MoneyGram and Western Union have similar turnaround times to other specialist currency providers if it’s a bank account to bank account transfer of funds. If you’re funding the transfer in cash, the money can be picked up by the recipient within minutes of you making payment and providing the recipient’s details.

The “Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications” or SWIFT manages messaging and payments between banks and other financial services around the world. It is used to provide money transfer and other details together with payment and recipient details to ensure accuracy when moving money.

It was developed in 1974 and is used by nearly 10,000 financial service providers worldwide. Unfortunately, its age is starting to show! That’s why a new system called the “New Payments Platform” has been introduced that will radically improve the speed and efficiency of financial and transaction communications.


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General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions.