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What’s the Best Way to Transfer Money Online?

GoCardless
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Last editedDec 20212 min read

The traditional, time-consuming ways of transferring funds are long gone. Nowadays, there are multiple ways to transfer money online quickly and easily via a bank account or another provider.

Finding the best method to transfer money online depends on whether you want to send money instantly for free, securely or internationally. In this post, we’ll outline some of the most used methods of online money transfer and answer common questions, including “how much money can I transfer online?” and “how long does it take to transfer money online?”

How to transfer money online

If you’re sending money domestically, you can do so via your bank account using either your online banking app or through a Bacs payment. Bacs payments are not instantaneous, however, and take several days to clear. There’s also the option to use Faster Payments if you require an instant bank to bank online money transfer.

A Faster Payment is an electronic transfer method used by many banks and building societies, allowing you to make payments on a website, mobile banking app, via telephone banking or at a bank branch.

For international transfers, it’s a little trickier to send money instantly via your bank. Banks employ a strict SWIFT verification process, so funds may not arrive for up to five business days – and there will be associated fees both for you and the recipient.

How long does it take to transfer money online?

This is a bit like asking “how long is a piece of string?”, since different providers offer numerous transfer methods with varying transfer speeds.

Some of the factors that will affect transfer speed include:

  • The countries involved in the transfer: If you’re sending cash between countries with popular transfer routes, e.g., from the UK to the US, the transaction will usually be faster – and in some cases instant. Less popular online transfer routes, e.g., from the UK to Guatemala, will take longer. Before transferring your money, research the best provider for your requirements, since some specialise in European transfers and others in international transfers.

  • Your selected payment method: How you choose to pay for a transfer will affect the arrival time of the funds. If you’re paying by bank transfer, your bank will need to verify the transaction, so things will take longer. If you’re wiring the money across, this will be quicker but may be more costly.

How much money can I transfer online?

Sending large amounts of money isn’t something you should rush, and reversing mistakes can take days to rectify.

Each company has a limit on how much can be sent instantly, and some set limits on one-off amounts. There may also be a weekly and monthly limit, depending on whether the payment will be made to a card or to a bank account. For payments made by Bacs, the limit is £250,000, although the banks themselves can set far lower transaction limits.

How much does it cost to make an online money transfer?

Before you make a decision on how to transfer money online, check out the different transfer fees and exchange rates on offer. The exchange rate can have a significant impact on the total cost of your transfer, especially if you’re sending a large amount of money. Some providers ask for an additional fee for instant transfers, so make sure to find a provider that offers good exchange rates and low fees.

When you’re making an online money transfer, compare different payment providers and make sure your provider is fast and reliable, with 24/7 customer service in case things go wrong. To ensure your online money transfer goes through efficiently, don’t wait until the last minute to register with a provider – make sure you set up your account well in advance of the transfer.

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