How Long Do International Money Transfers Take?

Last updated on March 11th, 2024 at 09:11 am

When you’re working in another country, sending money back home can be a great way to help your family. But how long does it take to send money abroad?

There are several factors that determine how quickly your funds will reach the recipient. These factors include:

  • How you are sending the money
  • Where you are sending the money
  • How you want the money to be received

There are three main ways to send money: digitally, through a bank transfer, or through the mail.

How Long Do International Money Transfers Take

Digital Transfers

Digital money transfers, which include money transfer services or apps and mobile wallets, are often a fast way to send money to another country.

With a service like Remitly, for example, delivery can be fast. Select a country to see Remitly’s available delivery speeds and pricing for your destination.

Bank Transfers

Bank transfers can be a fast way to send money internationally. However, the processing times of your bank and the bank abroad may add more time to the transfer and retrieval of funds. What’s more, you may encounter higher fees than with a money transfer app.

Mail Service

Mailing funds — using a money order, for example — is typically the slowest method to complete an international transfer. You’ll need to factor in the shipping time as well as how the postal service can be affected by the weather, weekends, and holidays.

Safety is also an issue here. There’s a good reason that mailing cash or even money orders has become less common over the years. It’s less secure, harder to track, and less convenient than other methods.

Which Is the Fastest?

Sending money digitally often can be the quickest and most efficient method. This is because money transfer services and mobile wallets often have relatively quick processing times.

Because the process is electronic, currency can be converted automatically at competitive exchange rates and with low service fees. In certain cases, it is possible for the recipient to receive money in minutes.

4 Ways to Send Your Money

1. Money Transfer Service

Money transfer services are completed online or in the form of an app. You’ll need to make an account and from there, you can typically use a debit or credit card to pay to send your funds to another country.

2. Mobile Wallets

Mobile wallets are another digital way to transfer money internationally. While some cannot send money directly to other countries, you can use a money transfer app like Remitly to send funds to your recipient’s mobile wallet. The recipient can use the funds straight from their e-wallet or transfer the money into their bank account.

3. Bank Transfers

There are a few ways that you can complete a bank transfer.

One method is to use a money transfer app to send funds to your recipient’s bank account. The app will prompt you for specific information and then funds will be directly placed in their account.

You can also transfer money from your bank account to theirs through an international wire transfer, which is handled through the bank whether it is through their website or in person.

For this method, you’ll need to go through a bank where you have an account. You will need to provide information about the recipient and their bank account before the transfer can be completed.

The fees for this service will vary from bank to bank. The timeframe of a bank transfer depends on the bank itself and the way that it handles international transfers.

4. International Money Orders

International money orders are not electronic and are sent out by mail. You can purchase them through postal services or certain banks.

A money order is a document that can be exchanged for cash by its recipient. You typically pay for it with cash, a traveler’s check, or a debit card. Credit card payments are not accepted with this method.

Delivery Speed Varies by Location

The amount of time for your money to be received can differ depending on the destination country.

If you use a money transfer app like Remitly, you can simply select the country to which you are sending the money and see the timeframe for delivery.

If you are going through your bank, be sure to take into account different time zones, as well as weekends and national holidays.

For more information about transferring money, read up on common money transfer terms.

Further reading: 37 Quotes about Money You’ll Want to Read