- USDC transaction times vary based on factors like network congestion, gas prices, and the blockchain of your choice, and can range from near-instantaneous to more than 20 minutes.
- Factors affecting USDC transfer times include blockchain confirmation times, network congestion, gas fees, and user error.
- Best practices for faster USDC transfers include choosing the right blockchain, timing transactions to avoid network congestion, setting appropriate gas fees, and double-checking transaction details.
USD Coin (USDC) is a stablecoin designed to give traders and investors a crypto asset that’s free from the usual crypto volatility. Its value in fiat stays nearly the same because USDC is pegged to US dollars that are stored as cash or short-time US treasury bonds.
You can also use this coin for a number of useful tasks like cross-border payments, easier funds transfer between exchanges, and low-risk portfolio storage. However, one of the most important factors that determine a crypto asset's usefulness is its transfer speed.
So, how does USDC stack up in that department? Let’s take a closer look at its transaction times to find out.
Average USDC transfer time
From our time transferring USDC over the years, the average transaction time for this crypto asset can vary drastically based on a number of factors. Elements like network congestion, gas prices, and the exchange/wallet of your choice all have a direct impact on the final speed. However, the most influential factor here is the blockchain of your choice.
This is because different blockchain technologies require different amounts of confirmations before completing a transaction. This combined with the inherent processing speed of each network means that average USCC transfer times can be anywhere from near-instantaneous to more than 20 minutes.
Here’s how this average spread out for different blockchains:
- Ethereum: Between 5 and 20 minutes;
- Polygon PoS: Up to 20 minutes;
- TRON: About one minute;
- Algorand: Around five seconds;
- Stellar: Almost five seconds;
- Hedera: About three seconds;
- Flow: Two to three seconds;
- Avalanche: Just two seconds;
- Solana: Near-instantaneous.
Keep in mind that these are ideal speeds without much delay. The real-world transfer times are usually a bit longer than these. Let’s examine the factors that slow down USDC transfer speeds in detail.
Factors Affecting USDC Transfer Times
In our experience, these are the factors that have the most impact on USDC transfer speeds:
Blockchain confirmation times
As we mentioned above, different blockchain technologies need a different number of confirmations to complete a USDC transaction. The Ethereum blockchain, for example, requires 12 confirmations while the TRON network needs 19 confirmations. But, that is not all.
Even though the number of confirmations is an important metric to understand, the time a network takes for one confirmation matters just as much.
In this Ethereum and TRON example, one would assume that Ethereum is faster since it requires fewer confirmations. However, the TRON blockchain takes only a minute for its 19 confirmations due to its higher processing speed, while Ethereum can take up to 20 minutes for its 12 confirmations.
There are a finite number of nodes supporting each blockchain network. So, if the number of transaction requests exceeds its max capacity, that network is considered congested.
Since there isn’t enough processing power to complete all the incoming transactions efficiently, most USDC transfers take more time than usual during congestion.
Blockchain transfers require you to pay a “gas” fee and the same is true for USDC transactions. This fee is also charged in the blockchain’s native cryptocurrency. So, you’ll have to pay in ETH if you’re using the Ethereum blockchain. In most cases, miners or validators prioritize transactions with higher gas fees over the others — leading to faster transfers.
Lastly, user error can also delay your USDC transactions. If you accidentally enter the wrong address, for example, or try to send more USDC than you have in your wallet, the transaction will likely fail. In both of these situations, you’ll have to start over and spend more time than on that transaction.
Best Practices for Faster USDC Transfers
Here are a few proven techniques we use to ensure that our USDC transfers are as fast as possible:
Choosing the right blockchain
This will likely have the most noticeable impact on your USDC transfer times. If you’re looking for the fastest option, we’d suggest checking out Solana. It requires only one confirmation to record a transaction on the blockchain and that confirmation is usually completed within 400 milliseconds. So, without any external factors, a USDC transfer on Solana would be near-instantaneous.
There are also several other fast blockchain options for you to choose from — like Hedera, Flow, and Avalanche.
Timing transactions to avoid network congestion
Network congestion can be a common issue in USDC transactions if you’re using a popular blockchain like Ethereum. Fortunately, there are times when this congestion dissipates. So, if you’re not in a hurry to transfer your USDC assets immediately, wait for low congestion and initiate the transfer then.
Setting appropriate gas fees
As we mentioned earlier, transactions with higher gas prices usually get priority, especially during congestion. You can use this to your advantage and offer higher gas prices for a faster transfer.
However, only use this method if you’re in an absolute hurry. Offering higher fees at all times can eat into your assets and be a constant source of loss.
Double-checking transaction details
It can be a waste of time to restart a transaction because you messed up one digit of the address or made some other similar mistake. Luckily, avoiding situations like these is fairly easy. Just make sure to double-check transaction details before moving forward. It only takes a few seconds to confirm all the details, yet this habit can save a lot of time and frustration down the line.
How many confirmations does USDC require to transfer
So far, we’ve mentioned the number of USDC confirmations in relation to the blockchain technology being used. However, the exchange or wallet you choose has an effect on that number as well.
Here’s how the actual number of confirmations varies between some of the most popular exchanges:
- Coinbase: 14 confirmations on Ethereum;
- Crypto.com: 256 confirmations on Polygon;
- CEX.io: 25 confirmations;
- Kraken: 40 confirmations for Arbitrum One, about 70 confirmations for Ethereum, and 250 confirmations on the Polygon network.
Different crypto wallets also require a different number of confirmations for USDC transactions. In our experience, wallets associated with exchanges — like Trust Wallet with Binance — require more confirmations than personal wallets like Ledger. So, make sure to do your research and choose the wallet that matches your transfer speed requirements.
Unlike its price, USDC transfer times are anything but fixed. Depending on the blockchain and wallet of your choice, it can take anywhere between a few hundred milliseconds and 20 minutes to transfer USDC.
If you’ll be using USDC for frequent transactions, we recommend using the fastest blockchain technologies and service providers for high efficiency. Even then, keep other factors — like fees, security, and service quality — in mind before committing to a network or an exchange. Pay extra close attention to gas fees as they can be a major cost when using USDC.
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