Speed is critical in this ten-click economy. Banking has to reflect that.
Transactions, trades, and financial decisions need to be executed swiftly and accurately to keep up with the demands of the market.
In the fintech sector, online payment gateways like PayPal and Alibaba have paved the way for swift and seamless transactions. We expect bank-to-bank transfers to be the same. But are they?
You might want to schedule that payment in advance.
Let’s explain why.
This article at a glance
Bank transfer times vary depending on the type of transfer and financial institutions involved. The fastest ways to transfer money include wire transfers, online bank transfers through mobile banking apps, digital wallets, and money transfer operators, each with its pros and cons. In the U.K., bank transfers are completed within a few seconds, or usually up to three working days. When transferring money, ensure you have the correct bank transfer details to send funds to avoid errors.
We want all bank transfers to be instantaneous but some transfers do take longer than that. How long exactly does a bank transfer take? The speed of a bank transfer depends on these factors:
A local money transfer between the same bank, in theory, would be the fastest (arguably in the blink of an eye), while an international bank transfer between different currencies to “slow-to-pay” countries would take considerably longer (more than 5 working days).
In short, bank transfers between different British banks are usually instant but can take up to a few business days.
Different banking regulations in the United Kingdom allow for three main types of domestic bank transfers: Bacs, CHAPS, and Faster Payments. Bacs differs from the other two as it also facilitates direct debit payments in addition to standard bank transfers.
Let’s break it down:
Bank transfers between different banks in the UK, powered by Faster Payments, are usually instantaneous. However, in some cases, the payment to make a bank transfer can take up to two hours. It’s important to note that there’s no guarantee that your payment will be cleared on the same day, despite the aim of Faster Payments to provide faster transfer times.
For transactions larger than the upper limit of around £250,000, you may need to use the CHAPS payment system, which guarantees same-day payment for most bank transfers as long as the transfer is processed before the daily cut-off point (6 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday — except for bank or public holidays in England and Wales). CHAPS payments often involve a fee.
Alternatively, Bacs payments can be used for bank transfers. Bacs (Banking Order Clearing System) is commonly used for paying salaries, making supplier payments, and collecting recurring payments, such as utility bills. Bacs payments take longer to process, typically requiring three working days to clear a transaction.
Bank transfers usually cost between £0 to £40. Bank transfer fees in the U.K. may be charged as a percentage too, typically 2 to 5% of the total transfer amount. Bank transfer fee costs differ according to the type of transfer and financial institutions involved. These are some of the charges associated with a bank or money transfer:
There may also be additional fees charged for a bank transfer not listed above. It’s best to check with your bank before you make a transfer — you don’t want any surprises at the end of the day. Want to omit any guesswork and avoid any nasty shocks from seeing the final transfer fee? At Silverbird, we quote all transfer prices upfront.
Onboarding with Silverbird is a breeze, you just need your phone. Our speedy, data-driven compliance procedures eliminate the need for endless paperwork, telephone interviews or in-person visits.
If you’re racing against time to send a payment and cannot wait long for a money transfer to clear, you can explore these options:
Wire transfers are generally considered one of the fastest ways to send money — especially for domestic transfers. You can transfer using your bank account or your business’s multi-currency account. Wire transfers are usually completed on the same day, providing near-instantaneous availability of funds to the recipient.
Pros: Fast, instantaneous transfer speed
Cons: High transfer fees
Peer-to-peer payment apps such as Revolut, PayPal, Wise, Silverbird and Monzo offer instant transfers within their networks. These apps allow users to send money directly and swiftly to another person’s account or mobile phone number. If both the sender and recipient have accounts with the same app, the transfer is instant.
Pros: Instant transfers between account holders, easy transfers using the phone
Cons: May not be able to withdraw funds immediately
Digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay allow users to store their payment information and make quick transactions using their smartphones. Transfers between individuals with the same digital wallet can be instant.
Pros: Convenient, quick transactions
Cons: Potential security risks (wallets may be hacked)
Money transfer operators such as Western Union and MoneyGram have extensive networks worldwide. They offer expedited services for urgent transfers, allowing recipients to receive cash quickly from designated locations. However, these services often come with higher fees compared to other options.
Pros: Reliable and extensive network, great for transfers to remote regions
Cons: High transfer fees
Do consider factors such as cost, convenience, and availability when selecting the fastest method for sending money. Verify the services offered, associated fees, exchange rates, and the level of security to which alternative solution suits your needs.
The time it takes to complete online money transfers can vary. Factors such as fraud prevention measures, different currencies, time zones, and bank holidays or weekends can affect the duration of the transfer. Typically, international bank and international wire transfers take around one to five working days to be processed and reach the recipient’s account. It’s important to note that this is a general timeframe and the actual bank transfer time may differ based on the specific circumstances and policies of your bank.
When transferring money digitally (e-wallets or apps), usually your email, phone number or username suffices for a transfer — for example, on PayPal. As such, make sure you key in the details correctly, as you are one wrong letter or number away from sending money to an unintended (and lucky) recipient.
If you’re transferring money via bank transfer or money transfer operators, you typically need the following details of the person or organisation you’re paying:
International transfers may also require the name and address details of the recipient’s bank to verify the sort code. Check and recheck that all the necessary information is correct before making a transfer.
How long does a bank transfer take? Nowadays, almost immediately and rarely more than 5 days. As an international merchant, if you value speed for your transactions, select only the best payment platform created uniquely for global trade. In short, choose.
Silverbird supports SEPA, SWIFT, FPS, and ACH transactions, and handles super-fast payments to and from 200 countries — all from a single multi-currency account catered to your needs. No transfer limits. Only frictionless payments for your import and export business. Chat with us today.
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