How long does a wire transfer take in Canada?

Canada By Serra Pinto Avimlah June 14, 2024

Most domestic wire transfers in Canada take a few hours to one business day to be done IF the wire is sent before the bank’s daily cut-off time.

International wire transfers take a little longer to be completed, usually between 1-5 business days.

In this article, we will discuss:

  • What wire transfers are
  • How long does a wire transfer take in Canada
  • How long does a wire transfer take from Canada
  • What are the main factors that influence a wire’s transfer time
  • Tips for speeding up the process

Let’s dive right in!

What are wire transfers?

With a wire transfer, you can send money from one person or entity to another person or entity using a bank or a money transfer provider. Here’s how you can execute a wire transfer.

Once you start a bank transfer, the wire’s transfer time will be between 1-5 business days, depending on different factors. During that period, the bank will move your funds from your account to the recipient’s account.

Wire transfers are one of the safest and most secure ways to send money domestically and internationally because you don’t need to exchange cash or checks.

In most cases, people use wire transfers for large transactions, such as buying a home.

How long do domestic wire transfers take in Canada?

If you’re sending money domestically in Canada, the wire’s transfer time can be between a few hours to 1-2 business days.

You might ask, “Why such a wide range?”

There are a few factors that impact a wire’s transfer time:

  1. The sending time

Most banks’ cut-off time is around 4:00 PM EST.

If you initiate your transfer before that hour, it will get processed the same day.

However, if you send your transfer after the cut-off time or during the weekends or Holidays, the bank will process it the next day.

  1. The bank’s processing time

Once your bank processes the transfer, the receiving bank needs to accept and deposit the funds into the recipient’s accounts.

Depending on the bank’s internal process, this process can take a few hours to a full business day.

  1. Other reasons

Domestic wire transfers may also be delayed due to incorrect recipient information, security checks, or technical problems at either bank.

Some banks may offer “fast” or “express” wire transfer options for an additional fee, which may speed up the process.

How long do international wire transfers take from Canada?

International wire transfers take longer than domestic transfers.

If you want to send money from Canada, it might take you between 2-5 business days.

Sending the wire before the bank’s cut-off time might help you speed up the process.

After sending it, the banks might take 1-4 business days to process the funds and deposit them into the recipient’s account.

If you want to send money to Canada, the wire’s transfer time might be between 2-4 business days.

The money might reach the Canadian bank in 1-3 business days but the bank might need an extra day to deposit the funds.

A few factors that affect the wire’s transfer time:

  • The type of currency you send
  • The banks you use
  • Each bank’s processing time

Some banks may offer faster international wires for higher fees.

How long does a wire transfer take from each bank?

Want to know how long does it take to wire money using a major Canadian bank?

Here’s a detailed breakdown for both domestic and international transfers:

Bank How long a wire transfer takes
RBC –       If you send the wire transfer before the cut-off time, your domestic transfer will be completed on the same business day.

–       International wires take between 2-5 business days.

CIBC –       Domestic wires are completed within 1 business day.

–       International transfers take 3-5 business days.

BMO –       If you initiate your wire transfer before 4:30 pm CT on a business, the domestic transfer will be processed the same day.

–       An international wire transfer time isn’t specified, but will take a few business days.

TD Bank –       Domestic wires are completed within 1 business day.

–       International wires take 3-5 business days.

Scotiabank –       A domestic wire takes 1-2 business days.

–       An international wire takes 2-5 business days.

What are the main factors that influence wire transfers?

Several factors may affect your wire transfer’s speed, cost, and success in Canada.

The main ones are:

  • The sending and receiving banks’ processing time (the banking hours.)
  • The type of transfer you’re making (domestic vs international.)
  • If there’s a currency exchange involved.

These factors might also influence how much you’re paying in wire fees.

Now, let’s dive into these three main factors and see how you can influence them.

Banking Hours

Banking hours are one of the key factors that determine a wire’s transfer time. Most banks have cut-off times for processing wire transfers on the same business days, which is around 4:00 PM EST.

If you initiate a transfer before that hour, the bank will process your funds and send them out the same day.

But it will process them on the next business day if you initiate the wire:

  • After the cut-off time.
  • On a weekend.
  • During a Holiday.

The delays for international wires are even bigger because the funds have to go through a few intermediary banks in different time zones before they reach the recipient.

Each bank’s processing time and cut-off time will add to the timeframe.

Even if you sent a wire transfer before the cut-off time, the funds might not be immediately available because the bank may hold them for a few hours to a full business day before depositing them into the recipient’s account.

Domestic vs International

A wire’s transfer time is different for domestic vs international wire transfers.

Sending a domestic wire within Canada takes less time than sending an international wire transfer because it only involves financial institutions within the same country.

They have a more streamlined process and use fewer intermediaries. Your bank will usually process a domestic wire within one business day. If you wire the money before the bank’s cut-off time, the recipient might get it on the same day.

International wire transfers, in contrast, take a lot longer because it:

  • Has more steps (ex: currency conversions.)
  • Features more intermediaries.
  • Involves more regulations (in both the sending and the receiving countries.)

The delays could be even bigger if you’re sending your money to a country with a less developed banking system or with strict regulations.

Time differences can also impact international wire transfer timelines.

Currency Exchange

Currency exchanges can negatively impact the wire’s transfer time.

When you send a wire transfer to a country with a different currency, the bank has to convert your currency to the recipient’s currency. This process adds a few extra steps to the transfer, which increases the overall processing time.

The exchange rate doesn’t affect the transfer speed by itself, but it can influence whether or not you initiate the transfer.

Exchange rates fluctuate at all times based on political and economic factors.

Also, some banks may take longer to process international wire transfers, which involve less common curries or currencies with limited liquidity. That’s because it may take your bank more time to secure the necessary currency for the conversion.

Tips for Speeding up Wire Transfers

Here are 6 tips you can implement right away to speed up a wire’s transfer time:

  1. Initiate the transfer early in the day

If you send your wire transfer before your bank’s cut-off time, you’ll ensure it gets processed on the same business day.

  1. Use online banking

Most online banking options are a lot faster than visiting a branch in person, which saves you time and allows you to send the transfer outside of regular banking hours.

  1. Provide accurate information

Please ensure that all of the recipient’s banking details (account number, SWIFT or IBAN, and bank routing number) are accurate.

If you provide incorrect information, your wire transfer will be delayed or even rejected.

  1. Choose the right transfer method

If you’re in a hurry and want to make a domestic transfer, consider using Interac e-Transfer—it will process your money instantly. For international transfers, Western Union can be much faster than traditional bank transfers.

  1. Use faster services

Most banks offer faster wire transfer options for an additional fee, which may include same-day processing for international transfers.

  1. Keep the time zone in mind

If you’re doing an international wire, you need to consider the different time zones of the sending and receiving countries. Make sure you start the transfer when both countries are during business hours. Also, plan ahead for weekends and holidays to avoid even more delays.

If you follow these tips, your wire transfer will be done as quickly as possible.

Be sure to check out our article on how you can send money transfers online.