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8 Reasons Why Your Bank Transfers Take So Long

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Delayed bank transfers can be caused by a number of factors, including global events, natural disasters, different currencies, missing paperwork, time differences, and many more.

Bank holidays, weekends, and different banking regulations may also contribute to delays.

Most of us have experienced a delayed bank transfer. It's highly inconvenient and wastes a lot of time.

In such circumstances, all we can do is try to understand why our bank transfer is delayed instead of continuously attempting to make the payment or transaction again, which can cause further delay. 

In this article, we will explore some of the most common reasons why your bank transfers are delayed, share some industry insights from Statrys, and provide an alternative solution.

Why Do Bank Transfers Take So Long?

Firstly, most bank transfers are processed immediately. However, some bank transfers can take up to two hours, overnight or even the next business day.

The time it takes for a bank transfer to be successful depends on a number of factors, and some of these factors could cause a delay. These factors include the timing of the transfer, where the transfer is being made, the currencies involved, security checks, bank holidays, and the reasons for the transaction.

If you are curious about how long SWIFT transfers take, take a look at Statrys' analysis of 500 SWIFT payments and see our findings.

1. Global Events and Natural Disasters

Global events and natural disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, and earthquakes can lead to delays in international bank transfers.

The delays are usually due to limited staff and changing working arrangements, including other unforeseen circumstances which disrupt the transfer process.

đź’ˇTips: To ensure the success of your transaction, it is essential that you request or follow regular updates from your bank.

2. Bank Holidays and Bank Cut-off Times

It is common for banks to be closed on public holidays and are only open on business days. It would be best to keep in mind that bank transfer times only include business days and exclude all public holidays.

When transferring money, you should keep in mind the public holidays observed in the country where the transfer is being made.

This consideration will help ensure that the transfer is made in a timely manner and avoid any delays that may be caused by public holidays.

🔍Example: Most banks will be closed if you transfer money from Hong Kong to Pakistan during the Eid Festival or transfer money to China during Golden Week.

3. Different Currencies

When making international bank transfers, converting currencies can cause a delay.

Depending on which country you are sending money to and the currency, the bank transfer processing time can be longer. As we found in our analysis at Statrys, the type of currency can significantly influence the processing time. For instance, US dollar transactions had an average processing time of 16 hours, 55 minutes, and 21 seconds. GBP transactions were quicker, averaging 5 hours, 54 minutes, and 41 seconds, while payments in Euros demonstrated a longer average duration of 22 hours, 32 minutes, and 18 seconds.

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4. Weekend Delays

The time it takes to process both international and local bank transfers can be delayed if you process the payment on a weekend.

Most bank transfers made over the weekend will usually not be processed until the next business day. The reason why banks close on Sundays is because of business logistics and observance of religious customs.

When making international bank transfers or telegraphic transfers, you should consider what is considered a weekend in the country you plan on sending money.

🔍Example: The United States, Brazil, and Japan have their working week start on a Sunday, whereas the working week in most European countries starts on a Monday. 

5. Missing Paperwork

If you are making an international bank transfer, you need to keep track of the documents that need to be submitted to process your transfer.

Each country has its own requirements, which can get complicated.

If you end up failing to submit the required paperwork, your bank transfer can be severely delayed. 

6. Time Zone Differences

Time zones can play a crucial role in the time it takes for an international bank transfer to be completely processed.

If you are sending money to a country with a significant time difference, your bank transfer will take much longer.

On the other hand, even if it is a local bank transfer, timing is important.

If you process payment at the end of the working day, it will typically be sent on the next business day.

7. Incorrect Payment Details

When it comes to both local and international bank transfers, entering incorrect payment details can cause a huge delay in the transfer time.

In most cases, if incorrect payment details are entered, the payment is sent back.

To avoid this delay, you should always make sure to double-check the name and details of the recipient's account number before processing any payments. If you are in the United States, a common error is entering incorrect routing numbers. To avoid this, you should find your bank's routing number and ensure the information is accurate before making a transfer.

8. Fraud Prevention Procedures

If you are making an international wire transfer, there are extensive fraud prevention processes that banks have to follow.

For example, the SWIFT network requires every transfer to provide details of up to three correspondent banks before reaching the desired destination.

Following this, once the funds have reached the destination, the recipient's bank could have its fraud prevention procedures, delaying the payment even further.

Alternative to Traditional Bank Transfers

Delayed bank transfers can cause a great deal of inconvenience, which is why you should always have a backup plan.

At Statrys, we offer business accounts that allow you to pay and get paid internationally from and to 100+ countries. Get your company a multi-currency business account in Hong Kong and boost your payment options with debit cards and competitive foreign exchange rates. We also have dedicated account managers to assist you if you need any support.

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What happens if money is transferred but not received?

If money is transferred but not received, the sender should contact the bank or service used to initiate the transfer to track the transaction. They can also contact the recipient's bank to inquire if the funds have been received.

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