How Long Does a Bank Transfer Take

United Kingdom By Western Union July 11, 2024

Fast money transfers are critical when making an essential payment before a deadline or supporting a loved one in an emergency. Even in less urgent situations, quick transfers are a convenient way to ensure your payments are processed without delay. When speed is key, are bank transfers the swift solution for your needs?

Keep reading to find out how long do bank transfers take in the UK, including what can delay these transactions. If you’re looking to send money overseas quickly, Western Union offers fast and reliable services.

In this article


What is a bank transfer?

A bank transfer is an electronic payment that moves money from one bank account to another. You can make a bank transfer within the same bank or to a different bank in the UK. You can also use bank transfers to send money internationally.

In the UK, there are three main types of bank transfers:


How to do a bank transfer and what you need

Bank transfers are popular because of their speed, convenience, and security. To complete a bank transfer securely and accurately, follow these steps:

Step 1: Gather the necessary information

Before you send money from a bank account, you will need to gather this information:

  • The date you want the payment to be made
  • The amount for the bank transfer
  • The business, organisation, or individual’s name that you want to pay
  • The eight-digit account number
  • The six-digit sort code
  • A reference for the payment

Step 2: Access your online banking or visit your bank

Every financial institution in the UK offers bank transfer services, from banks like Barclays and Lloyds to newer digital banks such as Monzo. You can choose to complete the bank transfer online or in person.

  • Online: Log in to your online banking platform or mobile banking app. Look for a section on the app or platform that says, “Make a Transfer” or “Send Money”.
  • In person: Visit your bank’s local branch if you prefer to conduct transactions face-to-face. You may also need to visit the bank if the transfer exceeds online transfer limits.

Step 3: Initiate and confirm the bank transfer

You will need to fill in the necessary information. It’s essential to check the information for any errors to avoid sending the money to the wrong bank account.

Once you have confirmed and authorised the transfer, your bank will process the transaction. You should receive a confirmation number or receipt from your bank.


How long does a bank transfer take to clear in the UK?

For bank-to-bank transfer, how long does it take? Instant bank transfers between major UK banks will be completed within seconds, thanks to the Faster Payments Service. In some cases, these transfers can take up to two hours.

CHAPS and Bacs payments can take longer than instant bank transfers. Bacs can take up to three days to clear while CHAPS payments are typically same day if you have met the bank’s cut-off time.


Aren’t bank transfers instant?

While most bank transfers within the UK are instant, some factors might slow down the processing time.

Transaction amount

Bank transfers can take longer if you are transferring a large sum of money. The bank will need to verify the amount to prevent risks of fraud. If the amount exceeds instant transfer limits, the bank will need additional approvals which can delay the process.

Transfer timing

If you initiate a transfer on non-working days for banks, such as weekends or bank holidays, there may also be delays. However, Faster Payments are automated systems designed to work round the clock, so this shouldn’t be a common problem.

Security measures

Banks use rigorous security measures to protect against fraud and unauthorised transactions. These can include automated flags for unusual activity, manual verification processes, and compliance checks, which can all delay a transfer. For new or uncommon transfer destinations, banks may take additional time to ensure the legitimacy of the transaction.

If you’ve made a bank transfer and it’s taking longer than normal, it’s usually a sign that your bank is performing due diligence to protect your funds. If you’re concerned, you can reach out to your bank for an explanation.


How long does it take to transfer money internationally?

Now that we’ve covered domestic transfers, you may also be wondering how long do international bank transfers take. International bank transfers typically take between one to five working days.

The speed of these transfers is also affected by various factors, including:

  • Time zones: Time zone differences can delay international transfers, especially if the recipient’s bank is closed when you send the money.
  • Currency conversion: When your transfer involves converting funds into another currency, it can add time to the process.
  • Fraud prevention: International transactions have strict fraud prevention checks to ensure security, which can slow down the process.
  • International holidays: If there’s a holiday in either the sending or receiving country, banks will typically process the transfer on the next working day.

Before you start the payment, check the bank transfer details for international transfers. This will help you know how long the payment will take to process, helping you plan and keep the recipient informed.


How we can help

Western Union makes it easy to send money fast around the globe. Whether you need to transfer funds to a family member in another country or pay an international invoice, we offer convenient and secure solutions.


FAQs on bank transfers and how long they take

How long does it take for someone to transfer you money?

The time it takes for a bank transfer to reach you can vary. Domestic transfers in the UK are usually instantaneous due to the Faster Payments Service. International transfers may take from one to five days.

Why is my bank transfer taking so long?

Delays in bank transfers can be caused by factors such as the amount being transferred, bank security checks, or the bank’s operational hours when transferring money internationally or during weekends and public holidays.

How much do bank transfers cost?

The cost of bank transfers will depend on whether you are sending money within the UK or globally. Domestic bank transfers are typically free. International transfers may include a flat or percentage fee plus any additional currency conversion costs.

What is the fastest way to transfer money?

For speed, electronic transfers are the quickest way to send money, typically completed within minutes.