How long can a transfer take? – Info and deadlines

A transfer could take up to a week earlier. However, since 2012 financial institutions across the EU have been obliged to transfer money quickly. This applies to online banking as well as paper transfers.

Since January 1, 2012, banks within the SEPA area have to carry out electronic transfers within one banking day. This applies to domestic and cross-border transfers as well as direct debits in euros. If the customer orders a transfer via online banking or at the bank terminal, the recipient must have the amount in the account on the next working day. It takes longer if the transfer is made outside of Europe.

The basis is the Civil Code (BGB) ยง 675s execution period for payment transactions. The following deadlines for transfers are set there:

  • 1 day for transfers in euros within the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • 2 days for documented transfers (transfer using a transfer form)
  • 4 days for transfers in the EEA that are not in euros
  • unlimited for transfers outside the EEA

It takes longer for paper transfers and on Saturdays

The deadline is extended by one day if the transfer is ordered on a paper form – then the bank has two working days to do so. However, Saturday does not count as a working day in either case. Weekends and public holidays do not count either. So if you transfer money on Friday, it will be transferred on Monday. This also applies to the days when the bank counter is closed, such as Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

If you transfer online on Friday, you should not expect the recipient to credit you until Monday. Incidentally, these deadlines apply not only within one country, but throughout the European Union (EU) and internationally.

Bank deadline: acceptance period is crucial

The banks’ acceptance period is decisive for the execution of the transfer order. This differs depending on the credit institution and is set out in the general terms and conditions (GTC) of the banks. Transfers received after this time will only be processed on the following business day. The transfer arrives accordingly later on the target account. Bank transfers are usually faster: they are usually transferred immediately.

The acceptance deadlines for online banking

  • Sparda Bank: 12 p.m.
  • Postbank: 2 p.m.
  • Berliner Sparkasse: 2 p.m.
  • ING-DiBa: 6 p.m.
  • DKB: 3 p.m.
  • Deutsche Bank: 3:59 p.m.
  • Norisbank: 3:59 p.m.
  • DAB bank: 4 p.m.
  • Volksbank 4:40 p.m.
  • Commerzbank: 5 p.m.
  • Hypovereinsbank: 5 p.m.
  • Comdirect: 6 p.m.
  • Targo Bank: 8:15 p.m.

Shortened periods for banks: advantages and disadvantages

For bank customers, the shorter deadlines have the advantage that transfers are carried out faster. For example, anyone who has bought something online on account can be sure that the money will have arrived at the seller the next working day with online transfer.

The shortened deadline for transfers also has a disadvantage: If the transferring bank customer accidentally makes a mistake, which can happen at the ISIN, it is often much more difficult to revoke the transfer due to the shorter transfer time.

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