How long does it take for money to transfer between banks?

Samuel Clennett
30.09.20
4 minute read

Need to pay someone? If you’re sending money from your bank to someone else’s, whether for personal or business reasons, it’s a good idea to clue up on transfer times.

This guide covers how long it takes for money to transfer between banks for both domestic and international payments. We’ll also look at alternative options you can use to send money around the world, some of which may be faster as well as cheaper than using your bank.

For example, get a TransferWise account and you can send payments that arrive in a matter of hours and are around 8x cheaper than banks¹.

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But more on that later – let’s start by putting bank-to-bank transfers under the microscope.

Transferring money between banks

There are a few different ways you can transfer money between banks within Australia. These include:

  • Transferring money between your own bank accounts (held at the same bank) – this usually happens almost instantly.

  • Pay Anyone² (also known as Pay Anybody in some banks) – a way to send money to almost any Australian financial institution such as a bank, building society or credit union. It’s handy for sending cash to friends and family as well as paying for goods and services. To use Pay Anyone, you’ll need the BSB and account number of the recipient.

  • Faster Payments³ – a new kind of Pay Anyone service, instant Faster Payments can be made using the New Payment Platform (NPP) and a service such as Osko or PayID. These payments can usually be made through an online banking app, and often without the need for a BSB or account number. You can simply pay someone using their mobile number or email address.

How long does it take?

If you use the Pay Anyone service, the time your transfer will take depends on both yours and the recipient’s bank.

If your payment is submitted before 6pm, it should be processed the same day⁴. After this cutoff time, processing will usually take place the next business day. However, the payment could take up to three business days to arrive in the payee’s account.

You may also find that some Pay Anyone payments automatically go through as Faster Payments⁵, which means that the money will arrive almost instantly.

And if you’re sending to someone who has an account at the same bank as you, it’s likely that the payment will happen quickly if not straight away⁶.

Domestic vs. international

Domestic money transfers are usually quite simple, but sending internationally can become complicated. When carried out through banks, it can take a lot longer to send money abroad – as well as being more expensive.

This is because the money doesn’t always go directly from one bank to another. When you arrange an international money transfer (IMT), the payment is sent through the SWIFT network of banks. Along its route, your payment could go through a number of intermediary banks on the SWIFT network, which is why it takes longer. On average, international payments take between 1-5 business days⁷.

Unlike domestic payments which are usually free, there are fees involved in making international money transfers. These fees can vary depending on where you’re sending to and from, and the banks involved, and there are also currency exchange fees to consider.

You’ll also need a few more details to make an international transfer. For example, the bank’s SWIFT code and/or the recipient’s international bank account number (IBAN). It’s important to get these details exactly right, as any errors can cause delays in completing your transfer.

Banks vs. neobanks
If you want to send money to a person or business, your bank isn’t the only option out there. Instead, you can use an alternative money transfer service, also known as a neobank.

Digital neobanks usually specialise in one particular service, or a specific sector of the financial market. For example, sending money internationally. This is one of the main advantages they have over banks – as they do what they do very well. Choose the right one for your needs and you should get a fast, affordable and reliable service that is far better than your bank.

Here are just a few examples of neobanks that can help you send money domestically and internationally:

TransferWise

Get a free multi-currency TransferWise account and you can send money with low, transparent fees and fast transfer times. Plus, you’ll always get the real exchange rate – so no more getting stung on currency conversion fees.

Up⁸

Up is an everyday account for daily spending, managed completely via its mobile app. You can make instant payments to bank accounts within Australia, and there’s even a debit card. Up is compatible with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay. Extra features include spending insights, payment splitting and a bonus savings account.

Xinja⁹

Similar to Up, Xinja is another digital-only bank account that can be managed via app alone. It’s designed for day-to-day banking, offering features such as automatic spending categorisation and no account or card fees. It also offers a handy travel money solution, which includes no currency conversion fees or overseas ATM fees (although ATM operators may still charge fees).


For most of us, banks are the obvious choice when it comes to sending money. Thanks to the Faster Payments service, sending money domestically via banks is usually fast and free.

But it’s important to remember that there are plenty of alternatives out there, especially when it comes to services that banks typically aren’t too great at – such as international transfers.

So, before sending through your bank, take a moment to compare your options, especially if you need that payment to be sent fast.


Sources used:

  1. TransferWise Australia
  2. ANZ - Pay Anyone.
  3. Bank Australia - Faster Payments
  4. ANZ - Pay Anyone - Timeline
  5. Bankwest - Transferring Between Banks
  6. Bank Australia - Faster Payments
  7. GoCardless - International bank transfers
  8. Up Bank - Review
  9. Mozo - Transfers

Sources checked on 22-September 2020.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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