A wire transfer is a broad term associated with sending money electronically. It can include bank-to-bank transfers or credit union transfers like Western Union. Wire transfers can take a few minutes to a few days based on how and where you are sending the money.

Let’s explore how long wire transfers take under different circumstances.

How Long Does a Wire Transfer Take?

You can send funds via wire transfer using banks or credit unions. Below are the timelines that generally apply to different modes of wire transfers:

How Long Does a Domestic Transfer Take?

The Expedited Funds Availability Act (EFAA) mandates every financial institution in the US to credit funds to a recipient within a business day. As a result, wire transfers within the country are generally cleared within 24 hours.

Wire transfers through credit unions may happen within a few minutes. The same is also applicable for some bank transfers, especially within the same institution.

Automated Clearing House (ACH) wire transfers within the USA generally take 2 to 3 days. However, ACH transfers have lower fees than wire transfers.


How Long Does an International Wire Transfer Take?

An international wire transfer can take between 1 and 5 days to clear the funds. The actual duration depends on several factors like banking regulations, currency conversion, and differences in time zones.

Various non-banking services also exist to help you transfer money internationally. You can use online methods like Western Union to process international transfers within one business day. These apps or websites generally need your debit or credit card to initiate the process.

Some banks also provide same-day transfers to chosen countries for extra charges.


What Factors Impact the Processing Time of Wire Transfers?

As you may have noticed, some wire transfers happen faster than others. But what are the factors that decide how long a wire transfer takes?


The Location of Funds Transfer

Domestic transfers are way faster than cross-border transactions. You can send or receive money within one business day within the United States. It is also possible to process funds instantly using some methods.

Wire Transfer Method You Choose

You can choose various ways to transfer funds via wire. Even banks offer several methods to send money to your recipient’s bank, like:

Fedwire: Fedwire is a reliable way to send large amounts in less time within the country. The method uses real-time gross settlement (RTGS) and credits your funds instantly. As a result, you can get your money within a few minutes.

 Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS): CHIPS is a good option to process multiple payments in a single batch within the country. Banks process CHIPS wire transfers several times a day based on their cut-off times.

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT): SWIFT is a network of financial institutions to facilitate wire transfers. You can use SWIFT for transactions between banks without any direct relationship.

SWIFT transfers can take 1 to 4 business days.

The Time of Wire Transfer

Banks process wire transfers on the same day from Monday to Friday. As a result, money sent on weekends will have to wait for the next business day to be processed.

Along with that, the wire transfer cut-off times also impact processing times. Let’s say the cut-off time of your bank is 5 pm for same-day transfers. So, if you initiate a transfer after 5 pm, your bank will process it on the following business day.

Here are the cut-off times of some popular banks for same-day transfers:

Domestic Wire Transfers

International Wire Transfers

Bank of America 8 pm ET 5 pm ET
Goldman Sachs (Marcus)  10 pm ET (Monday to Friday)

7 pm ET (Weekends) 

Citibank 6 pm ET 5:15 pm ET
Chase Bank 4 pm ET (Personal accounts)

5 pm ET (Business accounts)

4 pm ET (Personal accounts)

5 pm ET (Business accounts)

Wells Fargo 5 pm ET 5 pm ET


Final Thoughts

A wire transfer takes less than 24 hours within the US. You may need 1 to 5 days for your international transfers to be credited to your recipient’s account. It is also possible to send money instantly using methods like Fedwire. However, factors like bank cut-off times and transfer methods can impact how long a wire transfer takes.