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IBAN/BIC transfers to the UK - be warned! (Mod: Incorrect charges on euro standard transfers)
Thread poster: Gillian Searl

Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:44
Member (2004)
German to English
Jun 16, 2004

Here's a little story for you to demonstrate that you have to know your rights when dealing with British banks who don't always want to play by the rules:

My bank (First Direct) tells me that I can receive transfers in euros for free so I transfer some money over and they charge me £8 - I ring them up and say "it's supposed to be free". They say, "your German bank needs to quote the IBAN and BIC." I say "They did - I did the transfer myself over the Internet." "Oh, let me check - they quoted the wrong BIC so we charged you. We'll take the charge off this time but next time you have to quote the correct BIC." So next time comes along and I make another transfer using the correct BIC - and the same thing happens, they charge me for receiving the money. So I ring them up again and they say the same thing. I say it's impossible, I did it myself. Fax me the transfer you received. Then I contact my German bank who send me a copy of the transfer they made - and guess what? Somewhere my BIC code got changed, so I fax the German bank's proof to my English bank and they tell me "We'll investigate". They did - "I'm very sorry but we have a system error which we are correcting. In the meantime we will monitor your bank account monthly and refund any charges that have been applied."

What a profitable system error!! They also justified the charge for sending (not receiving) transfers using BIC/IBAN becuase they say "It's the equivalent of a same day transfer in the UK." I said, "It's not a same day transfer, the earliest it can arrive is the next day." They said "That's not under our control." The European Union hotline told me that this is illegal and I should contact the Banking Ombudsman or sue! I'm not criticising First Direct above other banks because I'm generally happy with their service but the British banks don't want to play ball. And what makes me really angry is that the whole point of the BIC/IBAN system is that the banks do absolutely nothing because the transfer is automatic as long as the numbers are right. That really makes me mad - they are charging money for nothing!!

Had to get that off my chest and I feel a lot better now

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-06-16 15:51]


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Jose Ruivo  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:44
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
System error Jun 16, 2004

Hi Gillian,

Could perhaps a diferent bank in the UK not suffer from such "system error"?

If not, alternativelly, could possibly www.moneybookers.com be a better solution?

Regards,

Jose B. Ruivo


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
currency exchange charges... Jun 16, 2004

Hi Gillian,

Well, I used NatWest for transfers form Spain and the US and by using the BIC/IBAN they didn't charge anything for the transfer, BUT, they charged between £5 and £7 commission for the currency exchange into Pounds Sterling (and their exchange rate is rubbish).

Yesterday I asked Smile for my BIC/IBAN numbers and for info about the charges, and this was their reply:
"We make a charge of 6.00 pounds for most incoming transfers from overseas (depending on where it's coming from and how the sending bank have routed it). However, if the sterling value's less than 100.00 pounds then we don't make a charge. We're not charging for incoming payments received by Structured Payment, quoting the BIC and the IBAN but I can't guarentee that other banks won't, as they are entitled to make a charge".

They don't charge any commission for cheques, so hopefully, there shouldn't be any more hidden or mistaken charges.

Best,
Grace.


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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:44
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
UK bank charges Jun 16, 2004

Graciela Carlyle wrote:
Well, I used NatWest for transfers form Spain and the US and by using the BIC/IBAN they didn't charge anything for the transfer, BUT, they charged between £5 and £7 commission for the currency exchange into Pounds Sterling (and their exchange rate is rubbish).

In fairness to them, my understanding is that they also don't charge for receiving/converting foreign currency international bank transfers of less than GBP 100 value, and that over 100 it is (something like) GBP 7.

They [Smile:-)] don't charge any commission for cheques, so hopefully, there shouldn't be any more hidden or mistaken charges.

Is this just for Euro cheques on EU banks abroad, or any foreign currency cheque drawn on a non-UK bank (eg: USD cheques from the US)?

Giuli~
(Eng Rus Geo)

[Edited at 2004-06-16 19:37]


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
to Giuli Jun 16, 2004

Dr. Giuli Kvrivishvili wrote:
In fairness to them, my understanding is that they also don't charge for receiving/converting foreign currency international bank transfers of less than GBP 100 value, and that over 100 it is (something like) GBP 7.]


Not sure about this, Giuli. Don't know if transfers and cheques are handled differently as regards exchange commission, but when I tried to cash a small cheque in Euros (about EUR 20 - from a Spanish bank), they said that it wasn't worth it due to the exchange commission and the charge for cashing cheques from abroad...

Is this just for Euro cheques on EU banks abroad, or any foreign currency cheque drawn on a non-UK bank (eg: USD cheques from the US)?


I only needed for Euro cheques from Spain. But when I asked they refered to any foreign cheque from abroad.
They don't charge commission for the currency conversion but there's a £4 charge for under £100 cheques or £6 for over £100's.

Regards,
Grace.


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Jesús Marín Mateos  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same day Jun 16, 2004

Gillian,
I agree with you but I would like to add that I send money to Spain from my Nationwide bank account for which I am charged £20.00 everytime I do it but I can confirm that if I do it in the morning and I check in the afternoon the money is there. I manage both accounts online and the first time I did it I couldn't believe it, I checked my Spanish bank account and it was there....expensive but efficient.
Good luck.
Jesus.


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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:44
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
Thanks Grace ~ Jun 16, 2004


Giuli~


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jgal  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:44
French to English
+ ...
My bank won't even let me transfer money! Jun 17, 2004

I'm with Lloyds TSB and have always been extremely happy with the service, however last week I tried to transfer some funds to my French account and was told that they no longer take orders for international transfers by phone or fax and I would need to come into the branch, or ask them to post me out a form, to be posted back.

Well, as I now live in the south of France and am 8 1/2 months pregnant, I'm not going to fly over to England just to transfer money to France! And by post would take at least 3 weeks, with the state of the postal service round here...

So... in the end the best solution we found was for my bank to increase the maximum withdrawal limit on my debit card to £2000/day, worldwide, to allow me to withraw the money in cash, then pay it into my French account directly!

Of course I have to pay the overseas cash withdrawal fee, but it's still considerably less than a plane ticket to England and my money is in my French account within the day. It's not ideal, but I don't think any of the British banks have got it quite right yet


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:44
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
The bank don't want to play ball! Jun 17, 2004

Julia Gal wrote:

I don't think any of the British banks have got it quite right yet


That's exactly my point - it's not one bank or another bank it's all of them! So no, going to another bank doesn't work. First Direct is a good bank and I don't want to change banks - but I'm also convinced that changing won't help because they are all playingthe same game - making money at our expense. Maybe we really should go to the Banking Ombudsman or sue!!


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jgal  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:44
French to English
+ ...
If it's any consolation... Jun 17, 2004

French banks are nowhere near as helpful, understanding or accommodating as British banks!

Here in France, they have a rule book, which they follow to the letter, won't take account of individual circumstances or try to help you find a solution - they'll just say "No. That's not posssible"...

At least Lloyds took the time to help me find a way of getting the money across when I needed it and when my house sale fell through recently they were great about lending me money (bridging loan), even though we no longer lived in Britain!

They haven't got everything spot on, but they're still doing a pretty great job, in my book


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Karine Piera  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:44
English to French
+ ...
Natwest charges Jun 17, 2004

Hi,

As far as I am concerned, Natwest has taken £6 on a check in euro (amount around £60), and £10 on another one (amount around £100). So, whatever I earn, they seem to take 10%:o(((((


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