How Long Does EFT Payment Processing Take?

How Long Does EFT Payment Processing Take?

Electronic funds transfer times vary according to the payment method, country, financial institution and time of payment. In general, the processing time ranges between instant to three business days. If you’re a business owner, knowing how long it takes to process EFT payments can help you decide which payment methods to use and how long to allow for funds to be received.

Average EFT Payment Processing Time by Payment Method and World Region

Electronic funds transfer (EFT) processing times vary among the different kinds of electronic transfers—whether a transfer is a bank transfer, ACH payment, credit or debit card payment, wire transfer, mobile payment, QR-code payment or any one of the ATM transactions offered by a given bank. To help you sort through your options, we’ve included the processing times for the most common EFT transactions that merchants are likely to use.

Domestic Electronic Bank Transfer Times

Electronic bank transfers are faster for intra-bank transfers (performed within the same financial institution) than they are for inter-bank transfers (transfers between different financial institutions). These transfers are sent using a bank account number and routing number and don’t involve the card networks. However, in many cases, a merchant service provider can still process electronic bank transfers on your behalf.

Countries Instant Transfer Same-Day Transfer Standard Transfer Cut-Off Times
Europe Single European Payment Area (SEPA) countries Available in some countries with transfer limits and the payment of an additional fee Often possible if sent before 2 pm 1-2 business days Generally 2 pm
United States United States and Puerto Rico N/A Domestic transfer with a value up to €23,000 posted before 10:30 am ET or 2:45 pm ET 1-3 business days Varies by bank
Canada Canada Often available for intra-bank transfers Subject to cut-off times 1-3 business days Varies by bank
Australia Australia Available with Osko or PayID with transfer limits Subject to cut-off times 1-2 business days Varies by bank
China China Available 24/7, year-round with the Electronic Bulk Payment System N/A N/A N/A
Brazil Brazil Available year-round with Pix TED payments arrive on the same day if sent before 5 pm DOC payments arrive on the next business day if sent before 10 pm 5 pm for same-day receipt (TED), 10 pm for next-day receipt (DOC)

Factors that Affect the Speed of Domestic Electronic Funds Transfers

The speed of EFT transactions from one bank account to another depends on:

  • Whether the transfer is internal or between banks
  • Whether the transfer is domestic or international
  • The amount of money being transferred
  • Whether the customer is verified (in the case of Osko and PayID)
  • Whether the payment is posted before or after a cut-off time
  • Whether the payment is posted on a weekday, weekend or public holiday

Credit Card and Debit Card EFT Payment Processing Times

Credit card and debit card payments processed through a terminal or payment gateway usually take 1 to 2 business days to process. If a customer uses a debit card, the funds will typically be pulled from their account as soon as they make a purchase. When a customer uses a credit card, the funds will typically show as “pending” until the funds are transferred to the merchant. This could take 24 to 48 hours.

Like standard electronic funds transfers between financial institutions, card payments are processed in batches. Transactions that are authenticated before the cut-off time for processing will be received and paid out to the merchant account sooner than those that are authenticated after the cut-off time.

Digital Wallets

Electronic payments made with a digital wallet will have processing times commensurate to the kind of EFT payment used. PayPal and Stripe in the United States, for example, use ACH payments (Automated Clearing House Network payments) to pull funds from their members’ bank accounts and transfer funds to merchants. They also use the ACH network to pay out funds from a member’s in-app balance. Either way, these electronic fund transfers are likely to take 1 to 3 business days.

In contrast, electronic payments made with a linked card via these same fintech providers will be routed through the relevant card network. As a result, it would take 1 to 2 business days (at most) for the merchant to receive the funds in their merchant account.

Peer-to-Peer Payments

Peer-to-peer payments using apps like Venmo and PayPal are usually completed within minutes. When the time comes to withdraw the stored funds into a traditional bank account, however, processing times will be similar to those of electronic bank transfers or instant for an additional fee.

Wire Transfers

A wire transfer is sent individually rather than in batches, which is why it comes with a higher price tag compared to electronic funds transfers. Wire transfers are typically sent and received on the same day, although international wire transfers may take 1 or 2 business days, or sometimes more, to arrive.

Knowing EFT Processing Times Puts You In Control

Whichever electronic payment methods you use and accept, knowing how long each one takes to be completed puts you back in control of your cash flow and helps you plan your spending and the timing of payouts strategically.

If processing bank-to-bank EFT transactions is something that you’d value, make sure it’s offered as one of your payment processor’s merchant services as part of a complete, end-to-end payment processing solution.