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.

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.

Make transfers in foreign currencies easily using TransferWise 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.

By N26

The Mobile Bank

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