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How long will my money transfer take and why?

With the rise of ultra-fast payment technologies like bitcoin, timing is becoming a chief differentiator of money transfer services. Today, we know that we shouldn't have to wait much longer than 24 hours to send £10,000 from London to Cannes, or $100,000 from Boston to Lisbon. But how can we figure out how long any money transfer will take?

When you're sending money overseas, it's useful to know the principles behind the transfer time you're quoted. This gives you more control over your transactions, and helps you avoid situations where you miss out on purchases because the money didn't get there quickly enough. 

The two key factors that affect the speed of your transfer are the currencies you're trading and the provider you're using. Mainstream currencies, like sterling, US dollars and euros can all be sent within a day. Less common ones, like Thai baht and UAE dirham can take around three days to transfer. Some money transfer providers give you the option of paying more to speed things up, but the cheapest way to send money quickly will usually be through a broker. 

That's because international money transfers are the core of brokers' businesses. For banks, it's just one part of their operations, and so even major currencies can take up to five days to transfer. With specialist foreign exchange brokers transfers should never take longer than four days, no matter how niche the currency is. 

There's also a couple of practical obstacles that determine the speed of your transfer: time zones and banking hours. Say you're transferring your deposit for a villa in Madrid from England at 13:30 GMT. Because Spain's an hour ahead, and most of its banks close at 14:00 GMT+1, you'd already be half an hour late. This can work in your favour if you're transferring money west; making the transfer at the same time to Washington DC will get you five hours ahead. 

If you're looking for the fastest way to send money overseas, compare the best brokers with banks using our simple comparison tool. It'll show you how long your transfer will take, catering for 144 currencies. Knowing the reasons behind the standard timeframes will help you plan ahead, letting you tailor your transfer to your schedule, rather than having to work around it.

Comparison tool

J Abrahams

I sold some artwork in New York and needed to get my funds back to the UK. I saved over £12,000 over the quote given by my bank

Jane Hemming, Reading, UK

When buying a villa in Spain, The Money Cloud saved us over £5,000 in comparison to the quote from our bank.
International payments - overseas money transfers

INTERNATIONAL MONEY TRANSFERS FOR BUSINESSES

As a business, making global payments involves many risks, including exchange rate risk. If you are making regular transfers the cumulative costs due volatile exchange rates can be excessive. We can empower you to make International Payments cheaper and easier for your business.

Paying overseas suppliers in their own foreign currency

PAYING OVERSEAS SUPPLIERS FOR GOODS AND SERVICES

When paying overseas suppliers on a regular basis, currency conversion costs as well as fees when using your bank all add up. The Money Cloud saves you money by introducing you to specialist foreign exchange companies when conducting overseas business purchases and expenses.

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