How Long Does A Wire Transfer Take?

Businesses and individuals often use wire transfers to send money to each other. As the name “wire” suggests, it’s an electronic method of sending funds domestically or internationally.

Wire transactions are known for being relatively faster than the alternatives. But how long does it take, and what factors affect the speed? This article will show you.

What Is A Wire Transfer?

It is a method of sending funds electronically from one bank account to another. You can initiate the transfer at your bank or by depositing cash at a licensed cash transfer office such as Western Union.

Domestic transfers usually take less than 24 hours to settle, while international ones take up to five working days.

How Do Wire Transfers Work?

When you initiate it, your banking institution communicates with the recipient’s institution via an approved network. Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is the most common network for this purpose and is used by most banks. But other alternatives exist, such as Fedwire in the U.S. and the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) in the Eurozone.

How Long Does A Wire Transfer Take?

The time varies. Domestic transfers usually take 24 hours to settle, while foreign transfers take several days.

Domestic time

Domestic wires are faster because there are few obstacles. Your bank can easily communicate with the recipient’s bank, as they exist in the same country. Furthermore, some countries mandate every domestic bank transfer to settle within 24 hours.

Foreign time

International wires take longer because there are many more hoops to jump. Your banking institution sends instructions to another international institution, and the message joins a processing queue. Sometimes, the funds will have to pass through several intermediary banks before reaching the final destination, increasing the time.

Are Wire Transfers Safe?

Yes, they are generally safe and secure. Just ensure you’re working with a licensed bank or money transfer provider; any unlicensed service will likely tamper with your funds. Note that each party in a wire transaction must prove their identity for it to settle. If there’s any problem with the transaction, you can easily get it reverted.

What Information Do You Need For A Wire Transfer?

The information varies depending on your bank, but most of them will request the following:


  • The recipient’s full name
  • The recipient’s account number and bank name
  • Account type


  • The recipient’s full name and account number.
  • The SWIFT code of the receiving banking institution: each institution has a unique code identifying them on the SWIFT network.
  • Name and address of the recipient’s banking institution

What Factors Affect Wire Transfer Speed?


Most banks do not process payments during the weekends. Different nations have different time zones, affecting when the transaction will settle. 

Banks usually have a cut-off time when they’ll stop processing transfers for the day, and any other ones will be moved to the next day. You should initiate the transaction before the cut-off time for faster speed.


The country you’re sending the funds to also affects the speed. It’ll take longer to settle transfers to countries that are very distant from yours. Besides, some countries have stricter regulations than others, e.g., Cuba and Afghanistan, and this causes delays because more checks are needed.


Currency conversion can cause delays when sending money abroad. Hence, sending funds with more popular currencies, such as dollars and euros, will take less time than less popular currencies, such as yuan and riyals.


We have explained a wire transfer, how it works, the information you need to send one, and the factors affecting the speed. If you have the correct information, electronic transfers are easy to perform, so you shouldn’t have a problem with that.

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