Timing is everything: a guide to understanding the processing time for outward remittances
If you're a UAE expat who’s sending money home (also known as an outward remittance) to loved ones, you’re part of a huge financial phenomenon. Yet, despite its importance, you may wonder, “how much time does outward remittance take”?
The question touches on an important subject that impacts so many. Outward remittances across the world are almost four times higher in volume. than the financial aid developing countries receive, according to Forbes, making it a critical source of funds for many people.
Such remittances can be for education, medical treatment bills, or supporting loved ones. According to the World Bank, in 2022, the total remittances to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as India, Pakistan, and the Philippines expanded by nearly 5% to $626 billion. This means that remittances play an important role in international financial transactions.
Yet, not knowing basic details about this crucial banking process could be down to a number of reasons, including:
Diverse money transfer options with different conditions and timeframes.
Being unfamiliar with the UAE's banking and money transfer systems and how expats can use them for remittances.
Language barriers that prevent you from reading about the UAE's remittance guidelines in Arabic.
While there is no single answer to the question of how much time an outward remittance takes, this article aims to provide a full overview of the speed of an overseas transfer and the factors that influence it. Moreover, we'll provide useful tips to deliver your remittances faster and safer.
We’ll cover the following:
What is an outward remittance?
How much time does an outward remittance take?
Factors affecting the time for an outward remittance
Tips to speed up the outward remittance process
How is fintech changing outward transfers?
[If you're looking for a convenient, trusted, and easy way to transfer money back home from the UAE, download Hubpay. It provides free and easy international money transfers with multiple additional services such as bill payments and airtime recharge. You can join for free on Apple or Google Play.]
What is an outward remittance?
The term “remittance” (derived from the verb “remit,” which means “to send back”) refers to the transfer of funds from one individual or organization to another.
An outward remittance, often performed via a wire transfer, is the transfer of funds from an individual or company to a foreign country, normally with currency conversion included in the process.
Sending money abroad is a systematic way for people and businesses to make outward payments and support their loved ones living in other countries. As a result of rising international migration, particularly among working-age people from underdeveloped countries, the phrase “remittance” has become a common financial term. Bank transfers, money transfer services, and online platforms are common options for sending money overseas.
According to [Gulf News](https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/india/remittance-flows-to-india-see-robust-growth-1.1660822826351#:~:text=Therefore%2C remittances from the UAE,a steady increase in remittances.), Indian expats in the UAE remitted a total of $15.86 billion in 2022. Given how easy the process has become recently, that number seems normal. In fact, the Indian financial system facilitates sending remittances by enabling Indians to open an FCNR, a Foreign Currency Non-Resident Account, where they can maintain a fixed deposit account in India.
Modern digital payment methods, like Hubpay, also help expats send money from the UAE to India quickly and smoothly.
How much time does an outward remittance take?
One of the primary concerns of any expat is how much time an outward remittance takes to be delivered. When compared to domestic money transfers, international payments usually take more time.
The type of transfer method heavily affects the process, especially with the significant differences between wire transfers, bank transfers, and online money transfers. Several other factors affect the time it takes for international fund transfers or outward payments to complete, such as the destination country and the banking institution’s regulations.
The different types of remittance
Depending on the location and business hours of the money transfer office, this remittance method can be completed in as little as a few minutes since the money is transmitted straight to the recipient.
In other words, a cash-to-cash remittance requires depositing cash instead of using a bank account, credit card, or debit card. At the same time, the recipient may collect that amount of cash in another country by providing the necessary identification documents.
This transfer method, which involves depositing the funds into the recipient’s bank account, can take a few more days than the cash-to-cash remittance method, depending on the destination country and the recipient bank’s processing times. The normal waiting time is one to three business days.
Wire transfers are used for remittances and usually require additional verification and compliance checks. Depending on the destination bank’s processing time, restrictions, and compliance level of the service providers, this step can take anywhere from three to five business days.
A new hybrid form of remittance transfer has emerged, which depends on mobile applications and online platforms carrying out the full process. In digital remittances, online users can send them via a mobile application or an online platform by connecting them to their bank accounts and transferring money. Recipients get the funds in their bank accounts in their local currencies. Some digital methods, like Hubpay, instantly send remittances from the UAE to Sri Lanka, for example.
Other factors affecting outward remittance time
How much time an outward remittance takes to reach its intended recipient can vary widely based on factors such as the recipient country’s infrastructure (which may be less developed and thus slower) and the efficiency of the remittance system.
Various laws and policies also govern remittances into and out of a country. Meeting other nations’ AML (anti-money laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations may require more effort and time.
Compliance and regular checks
Compliance, anti-money laundering, and fraud prevention processes can significantly lengthen the time it takes to make an overseas transfer because security is of the utmost importance to both banks and users.
Time zone differences
When you send money between two countries, there are often two separate time zones involved in the transfer. This could cause a delay in the outward remittance being processed, especially if their two financial systems work to different schedules due to the time zone difference.
When sending money abroad, the service provider will convert the money from the sender’s foreign currency, such as USD, JPY, EUR, CHF, AUD, or AED, to the currency of the recipient’s country, like INR, for example. However, the time required to complete the process may vary depending on the service provider.
Holidays and weekends
Countries have distinct weekend and holiday schedules, just like there are different time zones. Bank transfers initiated at the weekend will begin processing on the next working day. Banks and ﬁnancial institutions typically close for business on national holidays.
Additionally, weekends differ between countries. For example, the weekend in UAE falls on Friday and Saturday, while in India and Hong Kong, it falls on Saturday and Sunday. This can further complicate the process.
Incorrect bank account information
Incorrect information about the beneficiary’s bank name, account number, bank branch, email ID, IBAN, and the SWIFT/BIC code is a common source of delay in international wire transfers. Such an oversight can result in the remittance being returned.
In addition to causing a delay due to the use of inaccurate information, failing to include necessary documentation while filling out forms can cause significant frustration to all parties, who will be in the dark until the bank contacts them. Human error is a source of many banking mistakes.
The speed with which an international transfer is completed also depends on the provider’s infrastructure and processes and can include several variables, including the service provider’s reliability, experience, and technology.
An intermediary bank is necessary when an external transfer is made in a currency different to that of the recipient country. The money will be moved from the correspondent bank to an intermediary bank with an established financial relationship with the beneficiary’s bank.
Delays can be common when the money must pass through several intermediate banks before it reaches its destination, as is the case with SWIFT, or a network of financial institutions like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
RBI, for example, transmits instructions for transactions through a sophisticated and standardized system of codes whenever Indians want to send money back home.
Comparison of different types of remittance
Different money transfer methods have advantages and challenges. A fast one might be costly, and an easily accessible method could have specific spending limits.
Here are some general comparisons between various remittance methods.
Transferring funds from one person to another in cash takes place instantly, while doing so from one bank to another takes more time.
Cash-to-cash remittances may be the most expensive option because they include higher costs than cash-to-bank and bank-to-bank transfers, which typically have low fees. However, this might vary by the remittance service provider and recipient country.
Cash-to-cash transfers are less safe than other methods because you physically carry the money, increasing the chances of loss or theft. On the other hand, bank-to-bank transfers are considered safer due to the electronic nature of the transfer and the various safeguards built into the process. The security level of bank-to-bank transfers is intermediate.
The maximum amount you can send by cash-to-cash or cash-to-bank remittances may be lower in some countries than others. However, the full amount expats can transfer via the bank-to-bank method may be larger. There may also be limitations on the legal tender that you can transfer internationally via certain channels in some nations.
The following table shows the different fees for sending $1,000 from the UAE to India via Western Union’s money transfer services:
In-person money transfer picked up at one of Western Union’s locations in India Costs $16 to send $1000 Online money transfer picked up at one of Western Union’s locations in India Costs $8 to send $1000 Mobile app transfer picked up at one of Western Union’s locations in India Costs $8 to send $1000
According to the World Bank, this is the average transaction cost of sending remittances to the UAE (%)
Tips to speed up the outward remittance process
How much time an outward remittance takes depends on the factors mentioned above and each person’s circumstances. However, here are some tips to avoid transfer delays:
Verifying the recipient’s information
When transferring money internationally, it’s important to double-check the recipient’s information, including full name, address, and bank account details, to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Choosing the right remittance service provider
Before deciding on a service provider, doing some research will pay off. To narrow down the options and make an informed choice, evaluate costs, currency rates, and processing times. Furthermore, some service providers offer express or priority services that promise faster transactions, though this may come at an additional cost.
Following up and tracking the progress of the remittance can help you stay informed about the status of the international transfer and resolve any issues swiftly if they emerge, which can happen even with a respected service provider.
Completing all necessary paperwork
Preparing the essential paperwork and documentation can take a significant amount of time, and mistakes in this process can slow down the international transfer process. Doing so will help ensure a quick and effective procedure. Keep all necessary records in a convenient location so you can access them quickly when requested.
Using digital remittance services
Internet banking allows faster and more secure transactions, reducing the time it takes to complete the remittance. Many service providers now offer digital platforms like websites or mobile apps, meaning you don’t have to travel to a physical location.
How is fintech changing outward transfers?
No matter how well you plan, sending money overseas may take a lot of work. This is especially true for expats who remit fixed deposits to loved ones back home every month and may need to transfer the money immediately.
Modern consumers place a premium on convenience; thus, banks have adopted or partnered with fintech (financial technology) to speed up their international wire transactions. Here are some ways that this modern technology has altered the procedure of sending money abroad:
Faster than banks
Banks that employ the more conventional transfer services can’t compete with those using cutting-edge tech applications to reduce transfer times significantly. Money from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can be sent to the recipient’s country in the local currency with only a few clicks and in real-time using modern methods like the Hubpay App.
More consumer choice
Until the latter decade of the twentieth century, remittances were largely handled through a handful of banks because that was the most popular and reliable alternative for the vast majority of senders and receivers. With the help of fintech apps, individuals are now in the driver’s seat and have greater freedom to move money worldwide. The added competition fintech introduced made the services more cost-efficient. Consumers have more power, and they can switch to a rival easily.
Better foreign exchange rates
Every penny counts for workers abroad, so it’s important to consider transfer fees and currency exchange rates. Costs apply, as with any service, depending on which bank you choose. In addition, there is often a substantial disparity between the foreign exchange rates offered by various banks and service providers.
High-quality apps that offer zero or reduced fees remedy this issue and offer additional services. With the Hubpay app, you can see the current exchange rate on the app’s homepage, and you can convert funds from AED to the local currency in the recipient country in one step, saving money on exchange fees.
More convenient payment solutions
One of the defining characteristics of a fintech service is its ease of use. It is suitable for almost everyone because it allows sending money abroad whenever and wherever it is needed. Service providers like Hubpay enable customers to pay bills in the United Arab Emirates and their home country without using a credit card or visa.
The company also offers international bill payments. Plus, the capability to easily recharge the cell accounts of friends and family overseas via an international mobile recharge service.
Enhanced transparency and security
Finetech apps have raised the bar for transparency in the international money transfer sector. With apps like Hubpay, customers can quickly check their transactions' status and history and find clear fees and exchange rates.
Compliance rules, such as anti-money laundering (AML), are implemented to increase safety, and a direct connection is established between the sender and the recipient; likewise, Hubpay’s internal chat feature allows the two parties to remain in constant communication.
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Outward remittance refers to sending money from one country to another, such as sending money back home to loved ones.
You can't control when your remittance is delivered, but you can follow some tips to quicken the process, like choosing the right money transfer method and service provider.
Traditional outward remittance can take a few hours to five business days, depending on many factors, such as the different time zones and payment details.
You may send money abroad quickly, safely, and at no cost by using the Hubpay app.