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Does anyone accept wire transfers and are they safe?
Thread poster: Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:06
English
Sep 9, 2013

I have a client who is wanting to pay me via wire transfer from India, and I was just wondering if this is a safe payment method?

Opinions on Google vary so I thought I'd ask freelancers who might have had experience with this payment method.


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Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:06
Russian to English
+ ...
What exactly do you mean by "wire transfer"? Sep 9, 2013

Mia Wilson wrote:

I have a client who is wanting to pay me via wire transfer from India, and I was just wondering if this is a safe payment method?

Opinions on Google vary so I thought I'd ask freelancers who might have had experience with this payment method.


What exactly do you imply by "wire transfer"? Some people call this word bank transfers (i.e SWIFT). Some other people call this word transfers like Western Union.


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Mia Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:06
English
TOPIC STARTER
bank transfer Sep 9, 2013

I think a bank transfer, like SWIFT. It's just freaking me out a little, I've found lots of forums mentioning scams etc. I don't have experience processing payments from international clients so if anyone can tell me whether this is standard procedure or whether I should be wary I'd very much appreciate it.

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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
It's standard procedure. Sep 9, 2013

They're called wire transfers in the US, and bank transfers in the UK and elsewhere. It's perfectly safe to hand out your account details to the customer - after all, they don't have your PIN or online banking password, so they can't help themselves to your money. Most of us get most of our payments by this means.

You'll need to give them your SWIFT code and IBAN (international bank account number), which may appear on your bank statements. If not, they should be somewhere on your bank's website.

[Edited at 2013-09-09 23:20 GMT]


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Mia Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:06
English
TOPIC STARTER
really helpful! Sep 9, 2013

philgoddard wrote:

They're called wire transfers in the US, and bank transfers in the UK and elsewhere. It's perfectly safe to hand out your account details to the customer - after all, they don't have your PIN or online banking password, so they can't help themselves to your money. Most of us get most of our payments by this means.

You'll need to give them your SWIFT code and IBAN (international bank account number), which may appear on your bank statements. If not, they should be somewhere on your bank's website.

[Edited at 2013-09-09 23:20 GMT]


That's really helpful, thank you. I'm used to being paid by standard bank transfer from within the same country, but I've never organised an international wire transfer and after reading all the scam-related forums just wanted to check. Your feedback is great.


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:06
French to English
+ ...
Just make sure you are clear on fees Sep 10, 2013

Hi Mia -- as others have mentioned, "wire transfer" is essentially silly banking jargon for "international bank transfer" (presumably the term stems from an era when (a) the message was actually sent by means of a wire, and (b) it was vitally vitally important to differentiate this from other means such as smoke signals, semaphore etc...).

If you're used to domestic transfers, then one important thing to be clear about is that wire transfers aren't free. For some reason known only to the banking universe, it can cost in the region of 25 pounds, if not more, for one bank's computer to send a simple message to another bank's computer. (Bytes per pound it's probably the most expensive form of communication known to mankind -- I can only assume their "wires" are diamond-encrusted or something.)

When the client performs a transfer, they are asked who will bear the fees -- needless to say, if you don't specify this, their preferred option will be for you to bear the fees. So you need to negotiate this...

And despite all that, *your* bank will probably still diddle you out of some extra fee for receiving the money. Those poor wires are overworked, after all.


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Phong Le  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 18:06
Vietnamese
+ ...
the safest way as I know Sep 10, 2013

first time I 've heard that it is not safe...

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Srini Venkataraman
United States
Local time: 05:06
Member (2012)
Tamil to English
+ ...
alternatively Sep 10, 2013

If you are apprehensive about giving your bank details, Paypal may be an alternative: there will be some transaction costs (3%) and currency exchange rate differentials on daily basis. But all you need to give is your email id. Barring the costs, I find this much safer.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:06
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Couldn't agree more Sep 10, 2013

philgoddard wrote:

They're called wire transfers in the US, and bank transfers in the UK and elsewhere. It's perfectly safe to hand out your account details to the customer - after all, they don't have your PIN or online banking password, so they can't help themselves to your money. Most of us get most of our payments by this means.

You'll need to give them your SWIFT code and IBAN (international bank account number), which may appear on your bank statements. If not, they should be somewhere on your bank's website.

[Edited at 2013-09-09 23:20 GMT]


Aside from the fact that wire transfers are safe, the costs, depending on the regions, of course, are acceptable. I found that receiving a wire transfer costs me only a few cents per transaction while bank take a rather hefty fee in case of foreign currency transfers.

However, the same applies for PayPal transactions. Money arriving from certain regions can cost up to 6.9% of the amount received. Contrary to the bank (at least mine) that immediately converts the foreign currency to Euros, you can save on currency exchange rates by operating 2 currency accounts within one PayPal account, e. g. USD and Euros. This way you can convert the currency whenever the exchange rate is in your favor.

In case of any banking abuse (which is, as Phil has stated, highly improbable) you can always have the bank retrieve the funds within a certain period of time.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 13:06
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
What would be safer? Sep 10, 2013

Can you think of anything safer than state-of-the-art international bank transfer? I would like to hear about it.

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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:06
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Yes they are perfectly safe Sep 10, 2013

I'm interested to hear what kind of scams you've heard of.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:06
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Wire transfers are the safest Sep 10, 2013

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Can you think of anything safer than state-of-the-art international bank transfer? I would like to hear about it.


I accept no other means of payment: no cheques, no PayPal, no MoneyBookers and the like. For me is the safest and the cheapest means of payment...


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:06
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Paypal rates much lower than bank rates Sep 10, 2013

Thayenga wrote:
However, the same applies for PayPal transactions. Money arriving from certain regions can cost up to 6.9% of the amount received. Contrary to the bank (at least mine) that immediately converts the foreign currency to Euros, you can save on currency exchange rates by operating 2 currency accounts within one PayPal account, e. g. USD and Euros. This way you can convert the currency whenever the exchange rate is in your favor.


True, you can have different currencies in Paypal, however it should be noted that the exchange rates Paypal applies can be anywhere from 3% to 5% less than you will get from your bank (same as the bank rates are less than the actual rates published by the markets, everyone wants their cut for using these diamond encrusted wires as Neil said). You can easily check this any day by looking at the rates Paypal is offering and the rates your bank is offering

I would suggest speaking to your bank and setting up a bank account in the other currency (there should be no problem for your bank to do that) and then you can have different currencies in the same bank and transfer them from one account to another when the rates are in your favor.

Obviously it will depend on how much your bank charges you for the currency accounts, but that should not be much, for example I pay 24 USD a year (2 USD a month) for my USD bank account.


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:06
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ha ha Sep 10, 2013

Neil Coffey wrote:
(Bytes per pound it's probably the most expensive form of communication known to mankind -- I can only assume their "wires" are diamond-encrusted or something.)


Made me laugh


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:06
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not so Sep 10, 2013

Srini Venkataraman wrote:

If you are apprehensive about giving your bank details, Paypal may be an alternative: there will be some transaction costs (3%) and currency exchange rate differentials on daily basis. But all you need to give is your email id. Barring the costs, I find this much safer.


PayPal is reversible... as it is owned by and originally intended for eBay. The eBay paradigm goes like this: Buyer and seller close the deal; buyer sends payment via PayPal; upon receiving, seller ships the goods.

If the seller is a scammer (the opposite of what often occurs in the translation market), they'll try to keep the money and won't ship anything. Of course they may ship wrong or defective goods as well. If the seller is "verified" (their page on eBay would state so), and the buyer complains, PayPal will charge the seller, to refund the buyer. (This is an oversimplification of the process just for the sake of the argument.)

Bottom line is that if your translation client complains to PayPal that they didn't get the translation, or simply that it "was bad", and you (translator) have a verified account there, even if you have withdrawn the funds, they'll charge your credit card or bank account.

Furthermore, PayPal fees may be high, depending on your location. Since they set up their own operations in Brazil, PayPal has been deducting 6.5% of the total amount in fees + 3.5% in openly lower-than-market exchange rates. Meanwhile fees to receive a Swift transfer here, depending on your bank and account type vary in the USD 20~70 range per transaction, regardless of the amount involved.

P2P contrivances like Moneygram, Western Union etc. are not reversible once they have been made, since 4~20 minutes later during your local banking hours, you may withdraw the full amount in cash at the proper locations. However as the label implies, they are P2P, and they have been struggling to curb "business-looking" payments to stay clear of money laundering or tax dodging charges.

Xoom became particularly stringent on being non-business P2P. According to their explanations, it dawned upon me that their system may be used by a sugar daddy to support a mistress overseas, but not to pay a professional hooker abroad, because that would be considered 'business'.


Wire transfers are definitely safe from the moment they reach your (destination) bank. The number of days it takes depends on the country where you are.


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