This is Why Your International Transactions Get Delayed

Winner Ajibola


Any delayed transaction can be very frustrating because it can delay your bill payments or cause a setback in your business operations.

However, have you ever thought about why your Grey and other international transactions take longer than usual on some days? 

While some might be due to banking issues, others could also be avoidable from your end.

In this article, we’ll be looking at how long a typical international transaction should take and why there might be delays with them.

How Long Do International Transactions Take?

Generally, the duration of international transactions depends on what type of payment scheme you use. Domestic and local payment schemes are always faster than international wire transfers.

For example, we use local payment schemes like SEPA, FPS, and CHAPS on Grey to process EUR and GBP transactions. Now because they are local payment schemes, they take about 1-3 business days. 

When it comes to international wire transfers, they tend to take longer because there are more processes and checks involved. Typically, they take anywhere between 3-5 business days to process. 

What Causes a Delay in International Transactions?

Let’s look at the top four reasons why your bank transfers might get delayed;

1. Weekends and Bank holidays

Most banks and payment processors process transactions within a specific number of business days. This clause implies that certain days are regarded as working days, and others aren’t.

While Mondays to Fridays are working days, there are exceptions for bank holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, national holidays, and more. Weekends are generally not business days.

So if you make an international transaction close to this period, there’s a high chance it’ll get delayed. For example, if you send money on a Friday afternoon, your payment will likely not get processed until Monday morning. 

This is why we recommend starting a transaction during the beginning or middle of the week. You also want to confirm that there are no public or bank holidays within this period.

2. Compliance checks

This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons that can cause a delay in your bank transactions

With the increasing fraud cases, financial institutions tend to carry out security and compliance checks to ensure that every transaction is completely safe. This could result in extra verifications, especially when there are inconsistencies in the account name or other transaction details. 

On Grey, when there’s any suspicious activity or inconsistency, we typically ask for more information so that both the sender and receiver are safe from potential fraud issues. So with more compliance checks, the timeline for the transaction will typically increase.  

3. Difference in time zones

If you’ve experienced slight delays that didn’t happen because of the weekends and holidays, then it’s probably because of the time zone differences. It’ll take longer if you send money between countries with a significant time difference.

For example, if you’re trying to make an international money transfer online from Australia to Nigeria, you must understand that there’s a 10-hour difference. This can affect processing time, and there’d be a shift in how the business days are calculated. 

Banks will always process transactions before the end of the working day. So you have to be sure of the business hours on the other end of the payment processor.

4. Incorrect payment information

Transaction details like the account name, number, SWIFT code, and more are essential in ensuring that your payment gets to the right person. So when you make a mistake in the payment information, you’d get a delay in your transfer window.

Unfortunately, after spending a lot of time stuck in processing, the funds will get sent back. And this means you’d have to restart the entire transaction.

So, we always recommend you cross-check to ensure the recipient information is correct when making foreign transfers. 

Wrapping Up

While your transactions can get delayed for any of the above-listed reasons, you can always stay steps ahead.

Once you notice a delay, have the necessary details like your invoice, transaction reference, sender or recipient details, and more. 

If you don’t have a reliable way of making the best international money transfers, open a Grey foreign account for free to make seamless cross-border transactions today. 

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