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How long does a transfer take?

The SEPA initiative makes it easier to send euros between bank accounts, but transfers don’t always happen overnight.

2 min read

The time it takes to complete a transfer depends on the type of transfer and the circumstances surrounding it.

Different types of transfers include the following:

  • Individual transfers
  • Collective transfers
  • Standing orders
  • Direct debits

SEPA Transfer

The Single Euro Payments Area, or SEPA, is an initiative to make it easy for people to make transfers in euros. This standardization reduced the previous bureaucratic burden on banks conducting transfers between private accounts, and sped up the processing time. For paperless transfers in euros, it usually takes one or two working days, according to EU payment guidelines. For transfers in foreign currencies, it takes up to four working days.

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Make transfers in foreign currencies easily using Wise built into the N26 app.

Paperless and non-paperless transfers

Transfers used to be conducted using pre-printed forms at a physical bank location. Transfers using N26 today are made exclusively online because it’s faster and simpler.

  • Paperless transfers between two accounts at the same bank are posted immediately, so it will be received during the next automatic posting run.
  • Paperless transfers between two accounts at different banks may take one working day.
  • Non-paperless transfers in euros may take two working days, while it may take up to four working days if it’s in a foreign currency.


Saturdays, Sundays, and bank holidays are not counted as working days. If you conduct a transfer on a Friday afternoon via online banking, it will only arrive at the recipient on the following Monday.

Express transfers?

It used to be possible to make an express transfer to take a transfer out of the regular posting run and have a bank employee post it manually. It cost €10 to €20 extra depending on the bank, and it guaranteed that it would be in the recipient’s account on the same day, provided it was requested before 2pm.

Today, it’s unnecessary to attempt an express transfer unless you’re making a transfer to a foreign currency since transfers in euros are generally posted on the same day anyway.

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How to make a bank transfer ?

There are several ways of making a bank transfer: at a bank counter, in writing (mail or fax) or online. This latter is the most convenient as the transfer can be issued at any time and from anywhere. Whatever method you choose for a bank transfer you most provide some essential information, such as the amount of the transfer and the beneficiary's IBAN number, as well as the possible date of execution of the bank transfer.

How long does a bank transfer take?

The processing time of a bank transfer depends both on the type of transfer (individual bank transfer, collective transfer, standing order, direct debit) and on the characteristics of the transfer (date of issue of the transfer, the banks involved, etc.) . Computerized transfers between two accounts of the same bank are made immediately. Computerized transfers between two accounts at different banks can take up to one business day. Some banks also offer instant transfers, a service they'll usually charged between 0.5 and 1 euro.

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