Bank wire payouts and transfer times explained

SWAPD utilizes a SWIFT GPI enabled bank account, capable of sending wires in mere minutes to other banks in the same network. Over 2000 branches worldwide are already enrolled in the SWIFT GPI network. However, if the receiver’s bank or any of the intermediary banks along the way isn’t in the same network, the seller’s payouts (or buyer’s refunds) may experience significant delays. The following article will explain how our bank wire payments work and what to expect when your payout is delayed.

Understanding intermediary banks

An intermediary bank is simply a bank branch that our payment may sometimes go through before it reaches the buyer’s/seller’s account. Since most of our bank wires are international, the payment never goes directly from our account to the beneficiary’s bank account. The money hops through additional financial institutions in various countries. Each country has its own jurisdiction over the banks your payment will go through, and the corresponding banks have to abide by their local laws and regulations.

What does that mean for you?

Here are a few examples of what may happen, and what does happen on frequent occasions.

  1. The intermediary bank will freeze the wire, requesting more information from the sender/receiver. This process is sometimes painfully slow and may extend buyer/seller payments up to 21 days. This is the most common occurrence with late wires and it’s caused by international anti-terror and money laundering laws. The information that’s usually requested is the date of birth, nationality, and current address of the receiver.
  2. The country in which the intermediary bank is located is closed for a holiday. Every country has its own set of holidays which may differ from the holidays in your calendar. If a bank branch is closed, then the wire processing stops, which will cause further delays in your payment.
  3. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some banks outright ceased operations. This again could significantly delay the money transfer.

What can be done to speed up a delayed wire payment?

Virtually nothing. For example, if a wire is frozen by any intermediary bank that processed the payment, many times they send out a notification days after the payment has been held. It seems promptness isn’t a priority for most banks, and there is no way to speed things up. On average, it takes 4-5 days for a bank that froze the payment to contact the sender’s bank (our bank), and then it may take an additional 1-2 days for our bank to contact our staff.

Can a delayed wire be tracked?

Yes, but it’s not an easy process. Once the wire leaves our company account it’s in the hands of the banking institutions. We have no oversight of the current payment status, we cannot even cancel the payment. If the beneficiary of the payment doesn’t receive the money within the allocated 1-5 business days (the global average for wire transfers), then our company could contact our bank branch to launch an investigation. Our bank (Santander S.A.), charges 10 USD for their wire-tracking services. The process isn’t instant, it takes on average 2-3 business days for our bank to locate the payment.

What are the most common causes of late wire payments?

As mentioned before, bank wires get commonly held for further verification purposes. But there are other reasons why your payment may be delayed, such as:

  1. Incorrect payment information. If you mistakenly provided the wrong payment information during payout, then the payment will be delayed as it will bounce back to our company account. Bounced payments due to mistakes carry a 30 USD fee applied by the bank.
  2. Non USD beneficiary account. SWAPD only issues payments in USD. If your account isn’t capable of accepting USD, your bank will bounce the payment back to our company account. And again, this carries a 30 USD fee applied by the bank.
  3. Problematic countries with strict verification procedures, archaic banking infrastructure, or known tax havens. While most of our payouts reach the beneficiaries in 1-5 business days, wires to the following countries may take up to 10-15 business days:
  • Pakistan
  • India
  • Afganistan
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Egypt
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Columbia
  • Brazil
  • Venezuela
  • Serbia
  • Bahamas
  • Cayman Islands
  • Mauritius
  • Monaco
  • Morocco
  • Panama
  • Bermuda
  • Belize
  • And most African countries

Additionally, some wires may be frozen by the receiver’s bank. Some countries require proof of income on incoming payments. Banks want to know what the payment is for before the beneficiary can withdraw the funds. If you require documentation stating what the payment was for, SWAPD can provide that. Simply contact @INVOICES and ask for a transaction summary. We will provide you with a PDF summary of the transaction which you can take to your bank.

In conclusion

We understand that waiting for your payment isn’t fun and can be worrisome. However, rest assured that in our entire time we’ve been in operation, we have never experienced a wire that went missing indefinitely. Some payments take longer, some don’t. It’s just the nature of banks. If you require more support or have any questions regarding your payment, send a message to your nearest @administrator.