How long does a bank transfer take?

There are a number of factors that determine how long a bank transfer will take to be implemented. There are also different types, which allow a transfer to be classified.

According to the execution time

Depending on the time for the bank transfer to be effective, we distinguish between:

  • Standard transfers. These are the most common and are carried out in the routine way, so that the amount transferred is available in the destination account in one working day. However, the time at which the transfer order is made may determine this period. Each bank has its own “cut-off time”. If the transfer is made before that time, the recipient may receive the amount in his or her account in less than one working day. So, for example, if a bank has a "cut-off time" of 14:00 and the transfer is made before that time, the destination account could receive the money that same afternoon. On the other hand, if the transaction is made after that time, the transfer would be processed on the next working day.
  • Immediate transfers. Sometimes the recipient may need to receive the money urgently. In this case, an immediate transfer might be used, in which the execution time for the bank transfer is considerably reduced. This type of transaction usually involves the payment of a fee by the sender.

According to the geographical destination of the recipient account

Depending on the country of the bank account for which the transfer is intended:

  • National and international transfers in Euros. Since the entry into force of the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA), for both national and international transfers made in the European currency, the maximum execution time is one working day.
  • International transfers. If the transfer is not made in Euros, there are SWIFT transfers (international bank account identification code), the execution time of which can take between 2 and 5 days. Meanwhile, the peer-to-peer transfers (matching people trading specific currencies), take the same time as a national transfer or an international one in Euros.

According to the origin and destination banks

Another factor that can affect the execution time of a transfer is the bank of origin and destination of the funds.

  • Transfers made between the same bank. If both the sending and the receiving accounts belong to the same bank, the transfer will be made within the same day. Normally, when it comes to internal transfers, the amount will be available in the recipient's account instantly.
  • Transfers between different banks. In this case, for ordinary transfers between two banks in the same country, the bank transfer execution times will be those applicable to a standard transfer.

An alternative to these options that allows an almost immediate transfer of cash is the OMF (Order to Move Funds) transfer. These are transfers made through the Bank of Spain and which allow a shorter implementation time, although they are accompanied by a higher fee.

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