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XE.com as alternative to PayPal, Moneybookers, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, etc.?
Thread poster: Deborah Workman

Deborah Workman  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 4, 2007

Does anyone have experience with this?

I'm based in the States and most of my customers are in Europe. Regardless of whether they pay in euros or in dollars, when they pay by international wire the process always seems to be high-cost, high-hassle, and not very transparent (sometimes big chunks of money just go missing between banks). I had hoped that PayPal or Moneybookers would provide an acceptable alternative, but that hasn't been the case because I'm only willing to accept cash transfers in PayPal (because I find the premier account fees usurious) and PayPal doesn't make that option available to all European customers, and because my customers seem to be suspicious of Moneybookers. So, I've been looking for yet another solution.

I looked at multicurrency banking options with HSBC and Lloyds TSB, but the fees are prohibitive. Now I've come across XE.com, which looks ideal. It does require that the translation agency set up an account but there is no charge and the process seems to be much less bureaucratic and onerous than with Moneybookers. If the agency is European (as most of my customers are), they wire their euros to XE's bank in Germany (fee-free if done online bank to bank I believe), then XE does the conversion fee-free (plus they guarantee the highest rate) and the money is moved (at least in the case of US/Canada destination accounts) by EFT (also fee-free). There's a paper trail so it's clear who's sending and who's receiving the funds. So, what's wrong with that? Anything?

I'm thinking of recommending this to my European customers. (Since XE works in the 15 major currencies, it could be a good solution for translators and agencies working in the various possible combinations.) Before I do so, I'd like to find out: Does anyone have experience with XE.com or similar solutions?

Thanks in advance.

Deborah


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Darin Fitzpatrick  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2006)
German to English
Also interested Jan 4, 2007

Deborah, thanks for pointing this out. I have no experience with it, but after reading their website, I am also interested. I have several clients who use Moneybookers, and I love it, but others still use wire transfers and PayPal, which costs me lots of money in fees. I will suggest that they use XETrade and see what happens.

BTW, XETrade has been around since 2002, according to their website: http://www.xe.com/fx/index.htm


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RWSTranslation
Germany
Local time: 23:05
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Citibank Jan 4, 2007

Hello,

we are looking for this point too.
I found an interesting alternative:

http://www.citibank.de/service/auslandsservice_auslandsueberweisungen.asp?miSID=856727AA-A88C-49D5-9245-C1133A65E353

(is German, baut sure you find the same in English)

Transfers from Citibank to Citibank seems to be free of cost.

Regards

Hans


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Deborah Workman  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Within-bank transfers may not be such a good deal Jan 4, 2007

DSC wrote:

Transfers from Citibank to Citibank seems to be free of cost.

Regards

Hans


Hello, Hans

My understanding is that the international banks require you to have two accounts (say one in Germany and one in the States) and the European one (and sometimes the US one) has a maintenance fee and transaction fees for incoming checks and wires which, when added up, are not cheaper or more convenient. Such banks may also charge a conversion fee to move from your euro account to your dollar account in addition to whatever income they gain from the currency spread). This is why I'm disinclined to use the Lloyds TSB multicurrency account and the HSBC International account. Most banks, including these, will waive these fees if you have a "relationship" of, say USD100,000 or more in accounts with them, but that's a high bar for many translators.

This is why I was looking for an alternative. I did find one review, by the way, for XETrade at http://www.michaelnehring.com/XETrade-Review.html . I'm not sure the author's calculations are quite right, but the bottom line is that it does seem that XE's product is very attractive.

I notice that XE is one of the four sites that the IRS cites as being a provider of Federal Reserve exchange information (that's not an endorsement, but it's at least some acknowledgment of legitimacy).

In general the XE.com website is very helpful and they even have a live FX demo that senders and receivers can play with to see how the service operates.

I'm hopeful that by sharing our information and experiences we'll be able to find something that makes this aspect of international translation easier and less costly!

Best,

Deborah


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RWSTranslation
Germany
Local time: 23:05
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Citbank Jan 5, 2007

Hello Deborah

Deborah Workman wrote:

...
My understanding is that the international banks require you to have two accounts (say one in Germany and one in the States) and the European one (and sometimes the US one) has a maintenance fee and transaction fees for incoming checks and wires which, when added up, are not cheaper or more convenient.


in Germany the Citibank offers costfree Giro accounts.
It is possible to transfer money from another European accounts to the Citibank account without or with minimal costs.

Don't know this situation in USA and don't know if it would possible for me to open a Citibank account in USA. We will check this point.

The essatial problem is, that Citibank don't offer business accounts in Germany. This means, that our clients will not have an Citibank account.


Such banks may also charge a conversion fee to move from your euro account to your dollar account in addition to whatever income they gain from the currency spread). ...


This is normal for XE.com too. They only guarantee a "best conversion rate"

We will check this in the next weeks.

Regards

Hans


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Deborah Workman  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Charges if using XE.com Jan 5, 2007


Such banks may also charge a conversion fee to move from your euro account to your dollar account in addition to whatever income they gain from the currency spread). ...


This is normal for XE.com too. They only guarantee a "best conversion rate"

[/quote]

Hi, Hans

I am interested in what you say in the quoted text. It is not my understanding. XE.com has told me that they do not charge a conversion rate or conversion fee. Can you show me where you found that? My (layperson's!) understanding is that there are two components to what we can pay in a currency exchange: the conversion rate and the exchange rate. Many institutions do not charge a conversion rate (a service charge), which makes them more competitive, and which they can afford to do if they are also a foreign exchange house. The exchange rate is not one that the exchange house can control except that it is best from institutions that handle large volumes and large transactions. At least this is what I understand.

Your point about nonresident accounts for businesses is well-taken. For me to set up a nonresident business account in Europe is expensive. I think it is less expensive in the States. It is bureaucratic in any case. An attractive aspect of XE.com is that their services are available to personal users and businesses alike on the same terms (same screening, same free setup and maintenance, etc.).

In the States we also have the possibility to send funds among US banks for no charge or minimal charge. Combined with what you have in Europe, it seems that this could make a winning combination if XE.com is in the middle. (Assuming it's as good as it seems.) The idea is that for a payment going from Europe to the States the agency would set up an account with XE.com, wire the funds to XE.com's bank in Germany (at no charge) execute the currency exchange through XE.com and XE.com would send it to the translator's US account using a fee-free service. (The translator doesn't need to have an account with XE.com; only sending parties need to have the account.) It could work the same in the opposite direction. By taking advantage of the zero transfer fees in each country and XE.com's best exchange rate (with, I believe, no conversion fee added), this seems to optimize the cost and bureaucracy of moving money across the Pond. It also optimizes the transparency, since there should be no mystery correspondent banks involved (each taking their own fees).

Perhaps the only way to know for sure how XE.com works is to find a translation agency that is willing to try it. I will check with some of my clients to see if any will experiment! I'll report back, of course.

Deborah


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Deborah Workman  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
XEtrade link Jan 5, 2007

Just thought I should provide the relevant links toXE.com's FX service.

http://www.xe.com/fx/

Note the live (i.e., fully interactive) demonstration that shows you how the payer would manage the account.

Deborah


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Deborah Workman  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Possible downside Jan 5, 2007

I see that since the sender/payer has control over the payment, which is treated as a currency trade that is executed only when the sender agrees to the rate, it is possible that the receiver/payee could always receive the least favorable rate. However, perhaps this is immaterial since the timing of payment is always at the sender's/payer's discretion.

XE.com does have a way for the payee to control the transaction but it is risky and therefore not recommended for this application.

Deborah


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Kevin Pfeiffer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:05
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
were good for large money conversions Jan 8, 2007

I can't tell you whether XE.com is suitable for international payments, but I will say that we used them two years ago to move relatively large sums of money from dollars to euros and they were the best deal that we could find and significantly less expensive than the alternatives we found.

-Kevin


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Kelly O'Connor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Italian to English
Have you tried Moneybookers? Jan 17, 2007

Kevin Pfeiffer wrote:

I can't tell you whether XE.com is suitable for international payments, but I will say that we used them two years ago to move relatively large sums of money from dollars to euros and they were the best deal that we could find and significantly less expensive than the alternatives we found.

-Kevin


since discovering Moneybookers I can only sing its praises! There were some initial glitches that were fairly quickly solved but since then it's been smooth sailing and very low charges!

kelly


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Deborah Workman  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Moneybookers is OK with me but not with some of my clients Jan 17, 2007

Hi, Kelly

Yes, I use Moneybookers and I like it, but I have clients who refuse to use it so I'm looking for yet another alternative.

Deborah

Kelly O'Connor wrote:

since discovering Moneybookers I can only sing its praises! There were some initial glitches that were fairly quickly solved but since then it's been smooth sailing and very low charges!

kelly


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Iulian Dumitrascu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 00:05
German to Romanian
+ ...
problem Feb 15, 2007

Kelly O'Connor wrote:
since discovering Moneybookers I can only sing its praises! There were some initial glitches that were fairly quickly solved but since then it's been smooth sailing and very low charges!
kelly


Hello, Kelly!
MoneyBookers did their job for some time, but failed once last month and continue to be non-responsive, so I am interested in what those glitches have been.


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Kelly O'Connor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Italian to English
MB glitch Feb 17, 2007

It was my first time using MB. I uploaded some money into my MB account and that went fine. Then I wanted to withdraw it into my US account and after a week I began to grow concerned. I wrote several messages in their messaging centre. After 10 days their response was that transfers to Australia (?) were taking longer than normal and the transfer would be made within days. I waited a while longer and then started calling and faxing again. Finally, they replied that the transfer failed due to an incorrect account number. I repeated the withdrawal to a new account and it went through after about two days. Total transaction time was nearly a month. Not a great beginning, but since then, it's been smooth sailing.

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Forget Moneybookers Mar 18, 2009

Moneybookers from the USA is academic. In November 2008, it stopped letting USA account holders receive money, either from the USA or Europe. All that USA account holders can do is upload funds with a personal credit card, and buy from merchants who accept Moneybookers. No value in doing that, since you can buy with your card.

Moneybookers offers poor service and security. They go to paranoid lengths to prove ID, and then destroy security by requiring image-scanned ID papers to be e-mailed. Such unencrypted net traffic is raw bait for thieves. Imagine it sitting on their unencrypted hard disks, too.

What Moneybookers spends all day worried about is its liability profile, not customer security. That is why they do stupid things with e-mail and why they no longer serve USA clients. Barristers have them terrified of their own shadow.

I cannot recommend PayPal, which has its own set of horror stories - PayPalSucks.com. Maybe Xe is a viable alternative, I have never looked into it.


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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:05
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
I like XE.com - for transfers from Europe to US Mar 24, 2009

I believe I recommended it in a thread over a year ago because I was surprised others hadn't started using it.

I have a professional European bank account that allows me to wire money within Europe for no extra fees. From time to time I work with translators in the US, and I pay them using XE.com.

Setting up the account at first takes a bit of time, and you have to take a telephone appointment with an XE.com employee who verifies your reasons for sending money (anti-laundering laws). Once you have your account set up, you have to enter in the receiving party's bank information correctly, print, sign and fax (or send by email) your wish that this bank be added to your list. This'll take a day or so to be approved.

Once this is done, from this point all future operations are easy.
XE.com proposes an exchange rate that you can accept or refresh every minute. The margin they earn on the conversion is the only profit they get. There are no hidden fees.

I wire my Euros to the German bank for free, and they send it to a Canadian bank for conversion (I believe) and then the money is sent by EFT (free in North America) to the final bank account. There are no irritating limits, charges, bad exchange rates, like with Paypal.

However, I tried to send to a translator in England once, but EFT doesn't work there, and Wiring costs could be incurred by the receiving bank. So, that didn't work.

Hope this helps!


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