Help! My international money transfer was not received
How to make sure your money gets where it needs to go, plus what to do if things don't go to plan.
Many money transfer companies and banks offer end-to-end tracking so that you can monitor the progress of your payments — check to make sure it's an option before sending money.
What's in this guide?
- No extra fees
- Fix your exchange rate for up to 2 years
- Price-match guarantee
- Personal account manager
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- Minimum transfer amount: $2,000
- Online transfer fee: $0
What's in this guide?
How can I track my transfer?
With most companies, you can track your transfer using the confirmation number that came with your receipt. You should be able to view the steps of your progress, from sending to receiving, either online or by contacting them by telephone. A few transfer services also offer the option of text or email notification at each stage of your transaction.
In general, to track a money transfer:
- Complete your transfer. After sending a transfer you can start tracking it.
- Check your receipt. Look for a reference, confirmation, order, transaction or similarly named number.
- Contact the sending company. Call, go online or visit a physical location of the company you sent your transfer through and provide your tracking number.
- Sign up for notifications. When possible, opt-in for notifications on each step of your transfer.
Sample tracking page for online provider.
Where is my tracking number?
Depending on the service you choose to transfer your money overseas — whether a bank or independent money transfer specialist — your transaction should come with a confirmation number or a record of your transaction.
Money tracking numbers come in many different names:
- Authorisation number
- Reference number
- MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number)
- Order number
- RTRN (Remittance Transaction Reference Number)
- Confirmation number
- ...and more
What is an MTCN?
Every brand wants points for originality — and money transfer providers are no exception. An MTCN is what Western Union calls its transfer confirmation number. It stands for Money Transfer Control Number, a unique reference number assigned to your specific transfer.
If you've ordered a cash pickup, your recipient will need to submit the MTCN before Western Union will release your funds.
Similarly, an RTRN is the specific code used for Remit2India transactions. It stands for Remittance Transaction Reference Number, and you'll only receive it when sending money through Remit2India.
What if I don't have a tracking number?
Transfers come in all shapes and sizes, and depending on what type of provider you use to send your money you may or may not have a tracking number. Don't worry, chances are you can still track your transfer even if you don't have a tracking number — here's how:
Tracking bank wire transfers
Sending money internationally through your bank typically won't generate a tracking number, as wire transfers are a bit different from money transfer services. Instead, you'll typically use a SWIFT code to track this transfer. For details on how to track through your bank specifically, call your bank's customer service or contact your bank online.
Tracking using a tracking number
As mentioned above, check your receipt for a highlighted number that may be called your reference number, tracking number, confirmation number or something else. Input this number on the transfer company's website, give to a customer service representative on the phone or provide it at an agent location to track your transfer.
Track without a tracking number
Some services, typically those that operate entirely online, require you to track through your order history instead of through a tracking number. To do so, login to your account and navigate to your order history. From there you'll typically be able to see your order in transit, including specific details on arrival time and any occurring delays.
Can I track a transfer using a SWIFT code?
Yes. If your transfer isn't delivered within the window you were promised, you can request a trace on your transaction using the bank's SWIFT code. A SWIFT code is an ID that banks use when sending wire transfers. With this number, your bank can determine whether the deposit is on hold or in progress.
How can "on hold" be an option? One drawback of SWIFT transfers is that banks can hold on to your money until they're able to get an exchange rate that better favors their bottom line. If your money needs to reach your recipient by a specific deadline, be sure to specify that exact date or time to avoid any bank delay.
Sometimes you'll need to know your IBAN — International Bank Account Number — for international money transfer tracking. This number identifies your bank account, your bank and your country to make international transfers faster. Transfers to and from the European Union often use an IBAN, so be prepared to use it when transferring money to and from the EU.
How do I cancel a money transfer?
Many banks and money transfer providers offer some way of canceling your transaction after you've set it in motion — especially if your money hasn't yet been delivered. Simply call or visit — in person or online — the provider you used to send your transfer. If you can log in to your online account, you may have the option of canceling there.
Can I get a refund for a money transfer?
If you're able to cancel your money transfer, you should see a refund for the total you paid for it. In some cases a provider may deduct a cancellation fee from your refund — which might be another factor to weigh when choosing the company you ultimately go with.
If your transfer is not yet picked up or deposited into your recipient's account, you may be able to log in to your account to cancel the transfer yourself. Otherwise, call, visit or live chat with your provider to discuss its refund process and how much you can expect to get back.
Can I change my recipient's information if I entered it incorrectly?
Unfortunately, you'll find that changing your recipient's name or address is tricker after you've initiated a transfer. But if you haven't entered your recipient's details correctly, they may not be able to receive their funds at all.
If you've found an error with your recipient's information, call, visit or live chat with your provider immediately. Keep any confirmation number or receipt handy to help in pulling up your transfer.
Your provider should be able to correct or modify your recipient's details for you, even if it means adding a few more days to your delivery window as the system updates.
If you've discovered the error outside business hours, try logging in to your account — you may be able to make the changes yourself if your transfer isn't yet complete.
How long do money transfers usually take?
The quickest money transfers will arrive instantly, depending on the specific service you use and where you’re sending the money to. Western Union can have funds to your recipient almost instantly. MoneyGram, on the other hand, can send funds to China that are available in as little as an hour, but funds are available the next business day when sent to France.
Closing the deal
An international money transfer is a safe way to get money to loved ones and businesses worldwide quickly and easily. And with most providers, you can track your cash every step of the way to its ultimate destination.
The Internet's opened up a world of options beyond your local bank or corner financial stores — options that typically come with stronger exchange rates, low or no fees and flexible tools that help you lock in deals on regular transfers.
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