Expensive bank transfers
Thread poster: Tess Whitty

Tess Whitty
United States
Local time: 17:28
Member (2004)
English to Swedish
Feb 17, 2005

Hello fellow translators (especially you based in the US)

It seems that bank transfers from the rest of the world to the US are very expensive. Many dollars get lost in the "transfer". Do you usually take this into account when invoicing the customer or is it just a loss to swallow? I try and encourage Paypal and Moneybookers but bank transfers seems to be the way to do payments in Europe at least. I would be glad to hear what you think or do. Have a nice day!


sarahl (X)
Local time: 16:28
English to French
+ ...
Why don't you shop around? Feb 17, 2005

Hi Terese,

Bank fees can vary quite a bit, so I suggest you shop around. The fees at my own bank are quite reasonable for transfers, and surprisingly low for checks.
Of course, if you're expecting payments from Euroland on a regular basis, you may want to open a bank account there.




Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:28
German to English
+ ...
Wire transfers Feb 17, 2005

Yes, shop around. My Credit Union, for instance, doesn't charge anything for an incoming transfer, but sometimes (not always!) fees get taken out somewhere between the client in Euroland and my account. Nobody seems to know exactly where they go.

I have opened an account in Germany and only make a transfer when a certain amount accumulates, thus "cutting my losses."

Good luck!

Trudy (USA)

[Edited at 2005-02-17 18:22]


Suzanne Blangsted (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:28
Danish to English
+ ...
banks Feb 17, 2005

I have two methods. (1) I either make arrangement with the client about the bank transfer fees from euros to US in sharing the cost 50/50 or (2) the client can deposit the euros in my European bank account.

I have established a bank account in my home country in Europe, so if they won't share the transfer fee and will charge me full cost, they can deposit the euros in my Danish bank account. I can then after accumulation of several transactions have the Danish bank transfer what I want to my US bank. In the long run, the bank transfer fee is then less than paying a bank transfer fee every time I do business in Euros.

In my opinion, the arrangement depends on your relationship with the client. You could calculate the transfer fee, add it to your cost and pass that on to your client. You can decide whether you want to let the client know that the transfer fee is included.


Benno Groeneveld  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:28
English to Dutch
+ ...
Bank transfers Feb 21, 2005

I have a cash/ATM card for my European bank account. Taking out up to the daily limit of cash transactions (about 1000 euro) from a cash machine in the United States costs 1.82 euro. It's a little bit of a hassle to walk from the ATM to the teller with $1000 in $20 bills, but it's the cheapest and quickest way to get money from Europe to the U.S.


Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
ATM card Feb 21, 2005

Benno Groeneveld wrote:
I have a cash/ATM card for my European bank account. Taking out up to the daily limit of cash transactions (about 1000 euro) from a cash machine in the United States costs 1.82 euro. It's a little bit of a hassle to walk from the ATM to the teller with $1000 in $20 bills, but it's the cheapest and quickest way to get money from Europe to the U.S.

This is certainly the quickest way to have access to a European account from overseas, although it might not always be the cheapest. As usual, it depends on the specific bank and country the account is in. My current bank in Spain applies a 20 euro surcharge to ATM withdrawals from the U.S., and daily limit is set at US$600 (although that might be the limit imposed by my US bank). Also, it might be because I am withdrawing funds from my checking account using a credit card issued by my Spanish bank (although there are no fees when I use my credit card as an ATM card in Spain). I actually got rid of my Spanish ATM card because it imposed an annual fee and I barely had any need for it. I might have to shop around, although Spanish banks are notorious for high fees...and yes, walking to the teller with a wad of $20 bills has its momentsicon_wink.gif

If anyone has any tips on how I might avoid these charges, I am all earsicon_smile.gif


Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator EN-ES


Lingo Pros
United States
Local time: 19:28
Persian (Farsi) to English
+ ...
PayPal is the best! Feb 23, 2005

PayPal is the easiest and fastest way to get the money. Once after I finished a translation and was ready to send it, the Indian translation company informed me that as the transaction fees were high, it was their policy that they were paying the translator after the 2nd/ 3rd job!!!! (if they ever contact the same translator again!!)I asked them to send the money using PayPal and they refused. They never got the translated job of course.

Since then, first of all I check where the client is located. If in the following countries, I ask them to send the amount using PayPal or I don't accept the job:

*** U.S - U.K. - France - Germany - Austria - Switzerland - Netherlands - Belgium - Italy - France - Australia ***

Users in these countries can't withdraw funds to their local bank accounts:

Anguilla Argentina Brazil Canada Chile China Costa Rica Denmark Dominican Republic Ecuador Finland Greece Hong Kong Iceland India Ireland Israel Jamaica Japan Luxembourg Malaysia Mexico Monaco New Zealand Norway Portugal Singapore South Korea Spain Sweden Taiwan Thailand Turkey Uruguay Venezuela

Try to convince the clients to work with PayPal. I've found it the most convenient.



The_eHive  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:28
German to English
+ ...
Lloydstsb and UK banks....beware Feb 26, 2005

It seems UK banks have a lot of issues with regard to transfers to them and IBAN cross border payments.

Several payments made to my UK account arrived missing amounts lost in transit.

My main shock came when investigating the pricing of Euro IBAN transfer. I was told that per transaction the minimum charge would be 35 euros... which would cost me over 1000 euros per month if I were to succomb to their extortion.

I have shopped around and it seems that most UK banks charge similar amounts.

I would recommend wherever you base your work, never open a UK account.

the eHive


A. Mia Lorenz (X)
Local time: 00:28
German to English
Paypal is not necessarily cheap Mar 26, 2005

Lingo Pros wrote:
PayPal is the easiest and fastest way to get the money.

While PayPal is indeed very easy and fast, it certainly is not cheap for the merchant. Looking at their UK site, they charge 3.9% of the sum if your monthly transactions are below 1,500 GBP, and 3.4% if they are is between 1,500 and 6,000 GBP. See

I live in the UK, and if I were to receive £5,000 from a client in Germany, the clients bank and my bank would charge flat fees at either end. On past form, I have paid £12 and my client has paid about the same, which comes to £24 for the transaction. Compare this to 3.4% of £5,000, which comes to £170.

For this reason, PayPal makes sense only for small-ish money transfers. If you take £24 in bank fees as being fairly standard, PayPal makes sense only on amounts below £650 or so.

I'm also looking for cheap ways to have German clients pay me, so thoughts on this are most welcome.




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