Unreasonable cross-border EUR-EUR transfer rates?
Thread poster: Amy Williams

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:45
Italian to English
+ ...
Aug 2, 2007

Hello everyone,
I know this has been discussed ad infinitum but I'm starting to tear my hair out a little on this issue.

To set the scene, I'm in the UK, with a GBP account and a parallel EUR account with one of the big high street banks. I have online banking with the GBP account; on screen the balance of the EUR account is listed but the system is unable to cope with entering non-GBP account details--if I want to make an international payment I have to call business banking or (usually) go to my local branch. This generally involves a scene wherein I plead until I'm blue in the face that they let me do the transfer electronically with SHARE/IBAN/BIC/electronic banking etc. which, according to this EU page, should mean that the transfer is treated in the same way as a domestic transfer (free or certainly a lot cheaper than what they are proposing), and they proceed to fill out a "Priority Payment" form (on paper) and tell me that I know nothing.

My problem? The GBP 21.00 (EUR 31.00) charge for EUR-EUR transactions. OK, you could say, I signed up to this. Fair enough. But it doesn't mean I can't protest against it. I am not demanding that the transfer be free; I am saying that it should cost the same as a standard (non-CHAPS!) BACS GBP-GBP payment.

Yes, I'm a fool for signing up to those charges in the first place. But surely this is daylight robbery? I've spent the last hour talking to the bank to try to sort out exactly what kind of transfer/charge framework I would use for this transfer, whether they are aware of the EU regulation on cross-border transfers, etc., and every time they just give me GBP 21.00, GBP 21.00, GBP 21.00. It feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall. The only way they understand that I will make a transfer will be via this Priority Payment malarkey.

In short, do I have a leg to stand on here, have I made my own bed and do I have to sleep in it?! Am I right in protesting these charges? And has anyone else had similar problems?

Have a lovely day everyone,
Amy


[Edited at 2007-08-02 11:25]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:45
German to English
+ ...
any chance of switching banks? Aug 2, 2007

Not that I know the UK scene, but there are probably banks that have a more enlightened attitude...

Note added later: judging by later comments, maybe there simply aren't any banks in the UK with a more enlightened attitude (unless you're a corporate customer). That used to be the situation in Canada a few decades ago, when the major banks had the market sewn up, but it changed drastically after credit unions started becoming popular and more influential. Now even the big banks try to outdo each other in being customer-friendly.

[Edited at 2007-08-03 08:41]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Veronika Hansova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 04:45
Member (2006)
English to Czech
+ ...
Moneybookers? Aug 2, 2007

Hi Amy,

I understand your anger but why do you waste your time and money on them when you can do the same international transfer via Moneybookers - and a lot cheaper, I'd say?

I live in the CZ and 99% of my international money transfers are done via Moneybookers or PayPal. Our bank charges are not (when converted in percents) as high as yours but still I don't feel like sponsoring the bank. I think I am paying them a lot in my other bank activities.

Veronika


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anita Cassidy  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2005)
English to German
UK banks not very cooperative Aug 2, 2007

Hi Amy,

It's the same with my UK bank, although I do not have a EUR-denominated account with them. (I tried talking to them about my problems several times but gave up eventually because I felt I might as well be talking to the wall - all I got was blank stares...) They charge me 25 pounds for standard cross-border transfers (branch visit and queuing required every time) and 7 pounds for incoming foreign transfers, so this can get quite expensive. My way around the problem is that I keep an account with a bank in the Eurozone (Germany), which offers me free internet banking, including cross-border transfers (as far as my research goes, no UK bank offers online cross-border transfers, only domestic, and the charges are quite high with all of them).
The EU directive that says cross-border transfers must not be more expensive than domestic ones applies only to the Eurozone to my knowledge, and the UK unfortunately does not belong to it!

I'd also be curious to learn about other people's experiences, though.

Best wishes
Anita


Direct link Reply with quote
 
OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:45
English to German
+ ...
fee and/or exchange rate Aug 2, 2007

A while ago I transferred a large sum online from my German EUR account to my British GBP account. The German bank only charged me EUR 0.50 for this but my British bank applied a very unfavourable exchange rate. I rang them to ask why the rate differed from the official exchange rate for that day. They said that exchange rates varied in the course of one day and I was free to use another bank. Nice! This is one of the big four. I have friends who have accounts in the UK as well as the Euro zone. So after this experience I usually did deals with my friends and cut out the banks. But I think moneybookers is a good option too, especially since sometimes I deal with other currencies.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:45
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Unreasonable cross-border EUR-EUR transfer rates? Aug 3, 2007

Ken, Veronika, Anita and Olaf,
Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I think the next step will be to do some research and find a new bank.

Veronika, does Moneybookers require the recipient to have a Moneybookers account?

Have a nice day,
Amy


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 04:45
English to Swedish
+ ...
UK - the black hole of Europe! Aug 3, 2007

Amy Williams wrote:
I know this has been discussed ad infinitum but I'm starting to tear my hair out a little on this issue.

if I want to make an international payment I have to call business banking or (usually) go to my local branch.

The GBP 21.00 (EUR 31.00) charge for EUR-EUR transactions.


[Edited at 2007-08-02 11:25]


Hi Amy,

Thanks for bringing this up again. I've done extensive reading on this, and as you said, it has been discussed on Proz before:
http://www.proz.com/post/529966#529966

All this stems from the fact that UK opted out of the EU money transfer agreement, which gives the UK banks free hands to rob their account holders. Read this very interesting article:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/moneybox/4279801.stm

Since January 2007, most UK banks abolished charges for INCOMING transfers in EUR. HSBC, Nationwide, Smile etc reportedly charge £0 for incoming IBAN payments now. Outgoing charges are as low as £8 with some banks. Shop around!

It's a good idea to follow the official EU news on this topic:
http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/payments/crossborder/index_en.htm
Follow the links to read some of the press releases, they are quite interesting!

Unfortunately, as long as the UK bank oligopoly remains, other payment solutions will be your only way to avoid the excessive charges.

At least, there's no reason to stand in queue at the brick-and-mortar bank anymore. There are plenty of online banks, even in the UK:
http://auctionfeecalculator.com/uk_bank_transfers.html
http://www.workgateways.com/working-uk-moneytransfer.html

Paypal, Moneybookers, Xoom have been mentioned. The above sites also recommend Tranzfers, AuctionChex and Online FX. Again, shop around!

/Jan

[Edited at 2007-08-03 10:15]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:45
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Unreasonable cross-border EUR-EUR transfer rates? Aug 3, 2007

Thanks for all that information, Jan. Much appreciated.
Amy


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:45
English to Russian
+ ...
what do you mean? Aug 3, 2007

Amy Williams wrote:

.. does Moneybookers require the recipient to have a Moneybookers account?



??

The system works like:

1. you register with moneybookers.com and have an account with them. So the answer is Yes. you need to have this account with moneybookers. It will be 'multicurrency account' however for good order sake the primary currency to be chosen still. In your case better to have GBP chosen.

2. you link your existing bank account with moneybookers account (in moneybookers system)

3. When funds (in moneybookers system) received you withdraw them into normal bank account for as little as 1.60 euro irrespective of the amount.

++
when you need to send money start the page of sending and choose any currency (from the list) for your forthcoming transfer. you send any amount of money for as much as 0.50 euro (maximum) only.




[Edited at 2007-08-03 12:03]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:45
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Does the person receiving the money need to have a Moneybookers account? Aug 3, 2007

Sergei Tumanov wrote:


??



Hi Sergei,
Thanks for your explanation. It sounds similar to Paypal, which I have used a number of times already.
I am sending money here, not receiving it. I wanted to know whether the person at the other end (the recipient of the money) needs a Moneybookers account in order to be able to receive money. Is that the case? If so, this is not an option for me.


Thanks all for your suggestions about Moneybookers/Paypal etc. Obviously a Moneybookers/Paypal fee (3.4% of the total to the recipient in this case (= EUR 16.32)) is going to be preferable to a whopping GBP 21.00 as a temporary solution, but I'm really looking for a way to make a low-cost IBAN/BIC EUR-EUR electronic transfer through a bank in the UK, which I believe should be possible, especially with a EUR account. Maybe patience and a good bit of research is the key.
Best,
Amy

[Edited at 2007-08-03 12:19]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 04:45
English to Swedish
+ ...
Some research... Aug 3, 2007

Amy Williams wrote:
I am sending money here, not receiving it. I wanted to know whether the person at the other end (the recipient of the money) needs a Moneybookers account in order to be able to receive money. Is that the case? If so, this is not an option for me.

I'm really looking for a way to make a low-cost IBAN/BIC EUR-EUR electronic transfer through a bank in the UK


Hi Amy and all,

I researched the options I mentioned above.
The restriction you pose is that the recipient does not have any account with these online services (and you don't want to impose any). That narrows down your options.

You're looking for:

Amy's UK bank account > Proxy > recipient's bank account (in the EU)

SUITABLE:
Xoom: requires Paypal account on sender's side only. 5-2% charge (Typically USD5-10 for small payments)

A few companies have no charge, but a lower exchange rate to cover their costs (I don't know about hidden fees, you have to read the fine print), I get the impression that these are for large sums only?!:
HiFX (http://www.hifx.co.uk/personal/)
XE.com (http://www.xe.com/fx/how.htm)
InterchangeFX (https://www.interchangefx.co.uk)
MoneyCorp (http://www.moneycorp.com/personal/transactions/)

Smile and other UK banks: charge GBP8-13 + percentage(?)
Online FX: charge GBP15
"Friendly banks with overseas branches" (Halifax etc): no charge provided the recipient is a client at the same bank

NOT fulfilling your requirements:
Paypal, Moneybookers, Neteller: requires account on recipient side
Ikobo: will issue a Visa card for the recipient, not deposit to account
Tranzfers: selected countries only (charge GBP7)
AuctionChex: for auction payments only
Firepay: merchant recipients only
rapidremitsvc: selected countries only
Western Union, emoneygram: no bank deposit

A lot of this information was found on these two excellent pages, read more about the "friendly bank" and other exotic options:
http://www.fool.co.uk/news/your-money/current-accounts/2006/09/14/five-more-ways-to-transfer-money-abroad.aspx
http://www.fool.co.uk/news/money-saving-tips/2006/08/22/five-ways-to-transfer-money-abroad.aspx
http://www.visajourney.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t3362.html

Good luck,

Jan


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:45
English to Russian
+ ...
much to my regret Aug 3, 2007

I have to say Yes, the receiving party must have the moneybookers account in order to be able to receive funds.
Same way you cannot send money by bank transfer if the receiving party has no bank account.

I know only one alternative to this - put a postcard into an envelope and enclose some paper money....
But even in this case you must pay for a stamp.

- Nothing is for free in this world James, I tell you!
- Really? James asked taking his finger out of his nose


[Edited at 2007-08-03 19:44]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:45
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Aug 6, 2007

Jan Sundström wrote:

Hi Amy and all,

I researched the options I mentioned above.
The restriction you pose is that the recipient does not have any account with these online services (and you don't want to impose any). That narrows down your options.

You're looking for:

Amy's UK bank account > Proxy > recipient's bank account (in the EU)

SUITABLE:
Xoom: requires Paypal account on sender's side only. 5-2% charge (Typically USD5-10 for small payments)

A few companies have no charge, but a lower exchange rate to cover their costs (I don't know about hidden fees, you have to read the fine print), I get the impression that these are for large sums only?!:
HiFX (http://www.hifx.co.uk/personal/)
XE.com (http://www.xe.com/fx/how.htm)
InterchangeFX (https://www.interchangefx.co.uk)
MoneyCorp (http://www.moneycorp.com/personal/transactions/)

Smile and other UK banks: charge GBP8-13 + percentage(?)
Online FX: charge GBP15
"Friendly banks with overseas branches" (Halifax etc): no charge provided the recipient is a client at the same bank

NOT fulfilling your requirements:
Paypal, Moneybookers, Neteller: requires account on recipient side
Ikobo: will issue a Visa card for the recipient, not deposit to account
Tranzfers: selected countries only (charge GBP7)
AuctionChex: for auction payments only
Firepay: merchant recipients only
rapidremitsvc: selected countries only
Western Union, emoneygram: no bank deposit

A lot of this information was found on these two excellent pages, read more about the "friendly bank" and other exotic options:
http://www.fool.co.uk/news/your-money/current-accounts/2006/09/14/five-more-ways-to-transfer-money-abroad.aspx
http://www.fool.co.uk/news/money-saving-tips/2006/08/22/five-ways-to-transfer-money-abroad.aspx
http://www.visajourney.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t3362.html

Good luck,

Jan


Thanks for your efforts, Jan - that's really helpful.
Much appreciated,
Amy


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:45
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks, Sergei Aug 6, 2007

Sergei Tumanov wrote:

I have to say Yes, the receiving party must have the moneybookers account in order to be able to receive funds.
Same way you cannot send money by bank transfer if the receiving party has no bank account.



Thanks for clearing that up.

Have a good week,
Amy


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Unreasonable cross-border EUR-EUR transfer rates?

Advanced search







memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs