Can you reverse a wire transfer? The answer is more complicated than you’d think …

Can you reverse a wire transfer?


One of the easiest ways to send money electronically is by using Wire Transfers. Although wire transfers are typically foolproof and well-protected payment methods, things can sometimes go wrong. And that’s when you might need to reverse the wire transfer.

But, can you get your money back after a wire transfer is initiated?

How does a wire transfer even work?

Although many of us use wire transfers to send or receive money, unfortunately not everyone understands how they work. Wire transfers are one of the most convenient ways to transfer money electronically. So let’s go over how they work …

Banks use SWIFT codes to communicate with each other across the globe. However, if your bank is in Europe, chances are that it’s using an IBAN code instead of a SWIFT code.

These codes enforce safety protocols for wire transfers, ensuring that people can send money quickly without any issues. Since wire transfers are fast, the process to reverse a transaction becomes extremely complex.

We’re talking days here. It can take up to three business days to reverse a wire transfer if it’s a domestic transaction. It might even take less than 24 hours to make the reversal if you happen to transact within the same bank.

But what about international transfers? How long do they take to complete? Well, it really depends on the banks involved. Each bank has its own processes and limitations when it comes to sending and receiving wire transfers.

Returning a wire transfer – is it even possible?

Returning a wire transfer is not easy, to be honest. The probability that your wire transfer will be successfully returned is quite low, especially if the recipient bank has taken action on it. However, there are cases under which you might qualify for a wire transfer return.

Banks will help you retrieve your wire transfer if:

  • The bank accidentally performed a duplicate wire transfer
  • The bank mistakenly used the wrong recipient account number
  • The transferred amount is different than what you specified when creating the transfer request

As you can hopefully see, these conditions are entirely dependent on how your bank processes your wire transfer request. If your bank ends up making mistakes with the wire transfer, you are eligible for a return. However, if you are the one who made a mistake, the case is dismissed.

Here’s one more thing you should know about wire transfers. Let’s say you realized you’ve made a mistake with the transfer. If the wire transfer is international, you have 30 minutes to cancel it (if the transfer hasn’t yet been acknowledged by the recipient bank).

Another exception is if you’ve used a remittance transfer provider – a business that transfers money electronically on your behalf. If this is true in your case, the transfer provider should have given you a time frame in which you can cancel the payment, and receive your funds back.

Getting money back from a wire transfer

Okay, the mistake’s been done. It might have been a typo or a data error while you were making the transfer. One of many things could have gone wrong. So, instead of thinking about where you went wrong, focus on how you can solve the problem.

First, get in touch with the recipient’s bank as soon as possible. Make sure you have all the information related to the wire transfer ready when you’re speaking with the representative.

As I mentioned earlier, wire transfers are quite difficult to get reversed. However, if the recipient bank is willing to work with you and reverse the transfer, you’re in luck.

Your last resort … if the recipient bank won’t cooperate, is to file a personal lawsuit. I suggest you resort to this solution only if you direly need the money returned. And of course it should be a larger sum of money, to account for your legal fees. Find a reputable attorney and create a good case for yourself.

How do ACH or money transfer providers reverse transfers?

Great question! So, there are opportunities to reverse a wire transfer if you happen to use ACH or a money transfer provider. Let me explain how.

ACH or Automated Clearing House is a low-cost electronic payment method that can be used to transfer money to or from a business/government/personal bank account. These are different from wire transfers since they don’t involve any intermediaries.

In case you used ACH to make a transfer, you must know the terms and conditions under which a reverse payment can be requested.

To request a reverse through ACH, you must have done one or more of these things:

  • Made a duplicate transfer
  • Entered the wrong amount to transfer
  • Set the wrong transfer date
  • Entered the wrong account number

The best thing about money transfer providers or ACH is that you have better chances of avoiding the above-mentioned errors. This is because these money transfer companies only make a transaction when the details match.

Note that with remittance transfer providers, once you make a transaction, you typically only have a 30-minute window to request a reverse.

Do your best to prevent wire transfer errors

What has happened, has happened. It’s time to take the right measures to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes again. Here are a few tips you can keep handy the next time you’re making a wire transfer.

First, gather all the information you need to enter with you while making the transfer. By information, I mean:

  • Residential address of the recipient
  • Sender’s bank account number
  • Receiver’s bank account number
  • SWIFT or IBAN code (whichever is applicable)
  • Routing number
  • Recipient’s bank details (name and address)

There you have it. You now know exactly what conditions allow for reversing a wire transfer. Although the process is a little complicated, if you stay on your toes and get in touch with the right person at the right time, you might get your money back.

Make sure you follow the above-mentioned tips for a safe and error-free wire transfer today!

If you want to consider other money transfer options, which provide more recourse than wire transfers, compare rates today using Tranferly’s free comparison tool:

Picture of Kenneth James

Kenneth James

As a money transfer expert at Transferly, Kenneth strives to help people navigate the world of money transfer companies and bad exchange rates. He’s seen everything this industry has to offer, and he is more than happy to share that knowledge with our readers.

One Response

  1. Hi Kenneth i have a question i did a wire money transfer threw my bank an my bank make a mistake an sent the money to wrong country which is uganda eco bank the money should have went to Ghana eco bank and my bank sent the wire transfer threw western union and now my bank telling me i hapto deal with western union to get money back but it was sent from my bank. The money was sent to the receiver bank but the receiver did not pick the money up an the receiver statement is showing there’s no money in receiver bank account so how do i get my money bank if it was the bank that made the mistake please email me with advice thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *