Who doesn’t love a holiday? This question may seem a bit rhetorical, but it gets more interesting when you consider the impact bank holidays can have on domestic and international money transfers. Banks and other financial institutions tend to be closed on these days, which means that payments and transfers may be processed more slowly and delayed by one or several working days, depending on when the holiday falls. This becomes a more complicated issue to navigate if your company regularly sends and receives payments across borders, as bank holidays by country can vary and don’t always overlap.
In this guide, we’ll review what you need to know about bank holidays in order to effectively plan your payments around them. We’ll even show you how to set up any bank holidays you need to keep track of in your Google Calendar. While holidays may change annually depending on the country and calendar year, we’ll highlight some of the major overlapping bank holidays to be aware of, as well as other important bank holidays to keep an eye on.
When you think of the term “holiday,” you probably think of a day in which everyone gets a vacation and none of the shops are open. Bank holidays are a specific type of holiday—they refer to business days on which banks and other financial institutions are closed.
While it’s helpful to distinguish between bank holidays and other types of holidays, there tends to be a lot of overlap. Bank holidays typically fall on significant federal holidays, during which other places of work and business—schools, government offices, stock exchanges, etc.—also close.
Since there’s no international organization that dictates when bank holidays occur in every country, individual countries set their own. This makes sense, as different countries have different cultural traditions and calendar days that matter within those traditions. But it can also lead to some confusion when it comes to transferring money across borders, as some transaction types may take up to several business days to process.
In the case of a domestic ACH transfer, a bank holiday will typically delay processing by a single business day. But in the case of international transfers, bank holidays that overlap or fall in close proximity to one another can delay cross-border payments by more time.
With careful planning, it’s not too difficult to mitigate or prepare for the challenges posed by bank holidays. It can be helpful to keep a calendar of the major bank holidays in the countries where you typically do business, and to reach out to any vendors or suppliers ahead of time to let them know that payments may be delayed.
While physical bank branches tend to be closed on bank holidays, online banking services are typically open. This can help you stay on top of your business even when most banks are closed. For example, while you usually can’t send an international wire transfer on a bank holiday, you can usually schedule for it to go out on the following day.
The best way to keep track of regional bank holidays is to use the built-in functionality provided by Google Calendar. With just a few clicks, you can add public holidays for any countries you do business in. This makes it easier to determine when bank holidays in different countries overlap, and plan your business transactions accordingly.
Here’s how to add regional bank holidays in Google Calendar on desktop:
Note that you can add more than one holiday calendar, and you can choose whether each calendar will show only the public holidays (i.e. bank holidays) for that country or the public holidays and other holidays that may not be bank holidays. If you’re specifically concerned about tracking bank holidays, we recommend limiting your selection to public holidays.
You can also add or remove holiday calendars on Android or on iPhone and iPad.
Below, we’ve provided a full list of the bank holiday schedule observed by the U.S. Federal Reserve System in 2022 and 2023. For holidays that fall on weekends, we’ve noted whether the holiday is not observed or observed on the following Monday. For an up-to-date resource on bank holidays in the U.S., you can reference the annual schedule published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago or the list of upcoming public holidays maintained by Public Holidays Global.
* Weekend holiday not observed as a bank holiday
** Weekend holiday observed as a bank holiday on the following Monday
While it’s nearly impossible to catalog a full list of the holidays that overlap between the U.S. and every other country in which your startup may do business, we’ve compiled a number of significant overlapping holidays below.
These holidays can change or rotate on an annual basis, depending on the nature of the holiday. (Public holidays in Israel, for example, tend to move around the calendar quite a bit.) Before initiating a time-sensitive money transfer, it’s a good idea to double-check whether the banks in the sending or receiving countries may be subject to a bank holiday.
Though it’s difficult to find a single calendar that contains all the overlapping holidays of note, you can reference the database compiled and maintained by Public Holidays Global, which includes not only federal holidays but state and regional holidays, as well.
While not overlapping, note that Canada Day (July 1) often falls in close proximity to Independence Day in the United States (July 4).
Jewish holidays may overlap with U.S. bank holidays in some years and not others. For example, Yom Kippur will be observed on Friday, October 11 in 2024—putting it on the other side of the weekend from Columbus Day in the U.S. (Monday, October 14) and potentially causing payment delays of several days.
Other pan-German holidays to keep in mind include Ascension Day and Whitmonday, either of which may overlap or fall in close proximity to Memorial Day in certain years.
While the Chinese National Day bank holiday (Saturday, October 1–Friday, October 7) does not overlap with any U.S. bank holidays, it does immediately precede Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Monday, October 10) in 2022. This may lead to delayed international payments, depending on when the payment arrives and is processed. The Chinese government has not yet released the full list of holidays for 2023.
The U.S. does not observe certain holidays that are observed by several or many other countries throughout the world. It’s important to keep these holidays in mind when planning international payments and transfers. They include:
We built Levro for businesses with globally distributed teams, so we know the pain points that can arise when payments don’t arrive on time due to holidays and other types of delays. That’s why we provide up-to-date alerts and notifications for your most important payments with Levro’s SWIFT tracking. You’ll never have to wonder where your payments are or when they’ll reach their intended recipient, as you’ll receive regular updates on the location, status, and exceptions for each global payment.
Ready to get started? Apply for a multi-currency bank account today, or send an email to email@example.com to learn how Levro can help your business.