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Euro wire transfer costs - A mystery?
Thread poster: flaviofbg

flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 13:43
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Mar 12, 2005

I have a question regarding wire transfers,and I hope you can help me to understand this better.

1) When a client of mine from the Netherlands pays me by wire transfer, I get charged the usual 2EUR aprox., which I read is the standard *now* for European transfers. I guess this is the correct
thing in these cases.

I recently got a transfer from another European country (Italy) and
I got charged 9EUR by my bank, billed as "minimum costs".

This makes me think: does the Dutch client pay the costs for the transfer,
or is the cost only 2EUR aprox., or am I being "cheated" from Italy? Or
else, am I being charged 9EUR because the sender from Italy
does not use all BIC/IBAN codes etc.?

Everytime I get a different situation and I start being a bit uneasy about all this.

Thank you for your attention!

Flavio


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:43
English to German
+ ...
More details...? Mar 12, 2005

Ciao Flavio,
Can you please provide some more details?
- Do you always quote your IBAN&BIC?
- Can you be certain that all payers actually use these?
- What is the standard fee for an incoming domestic payment (if any)?

1) When a client of mine from the Netherlands pays me by wire transfer, I get charged the usual 2EUR aprox., which I read is the standard *now* for European transfers. I guess this is the correct thing in these cases.

There is no such thing as a "correct" or "standard" fee. The EU directive implemented in 2003 requires standard cross-border euro payments to be charged in line with otherwise identical domestic transfers. IOW if domestic transfers are free of charge, that also applies to cross-border payments - if not, then there will be an identical charge for cross-border payments.

I recently got a transfer from another European country (Italy) and I got charged 9EUR by my bank, billed as "minimum costs".

This makes me think: does the Dutch client pay the costs for the transfer, or is the cost only 2EUR aprox., or am I being "cheated" from Italy? Or else, am I being charged 9EUR because the sender from Italy does not use all BIC/IBAN codes etc.?

Impossible to tell without looking at the statements, but my best guess is that the Italian payer did not use IBAN & BIC; and/or did not instruct the payment as a standard cross-border payment (note that for this purpose, the payment instruction should be made online rather than using a paper form); and/or the payer did not instruct shared costs ('SHARE' is the requisite fee instruction for a standard cross-border transfer).

Everytime I get a different situation and I start being a bit uneasy about all this.

What instructions do you quote on international invoices?
For clients outside Germany, my invoices only show IBAN & BIC, so there's no confusion.

HTH, Ralf


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 13:43
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Details Mar 12, 2005

Hello Ralf

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Ciao Flavio,
Can you please provide some more details?
- Do you always quote your IBAN&BIC?


I always quote my IBAN and my SWIFT. Now I am beginning to wonder... where do I get my BIC? What is the difference?


- What is the standard fee for an incoming domestic payment (if any)?


Domestic payment has no fees when incoming. 1EUR aprox or 2EUR when you make a domestic payment (Spain to Spain, I mean).


IOW if domestic transfers are free of charge, that also applies to cross-border payments - if not, then there will be an identical charge for cross-border payments.


In this case my bank charged "9,02EUR" as a "Comisión de Cobro mínima" (more or less "Minimum charge for costs"). They also charge 6EUR for each cheque.

Is this legal?


and/or the payer did not instruct shared costs ('SHARE' is the requisite fee instruction for a standard cross-border transfer).


Can he do this?


What instructions do you quote on international invoices?
For clients outside Germany, my invoices only show IBAN & BIC, so there's no confusion.


I only tell them to make a "European" wire transfer using the codes I send to them (IBAN and SWIFT). So now I am doubting about the BIC...

Still, I am shocked about such high charges at my bank for incoming "foreign" payments, as if the EU did not exist...


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:43
English to German
+ ...
BIC=SWIFT Mar 12, 2005

Hi again,
I always quote my IBAN and my SWIFT. Now I am beginning to wonder... where do I get my BIC? What is the difference?

There is no difference - you cannot quote "your SWIFT", as SWIFT is the organisation that defines the BIC (=Bank Identifier Code). We're talking about the same thing.


In this case my bank charged "9,02EUR" as a "Comisión de Cobro mínima" (more or less "Minimum charge for costs"). They also charge 6EUR for each cheque.

Is this legal?

I don't see why not, provided that these prices are shown in their price list.


and/or the payer did not instruct shared costs ('SHARE' is the requisite fee instruction for a standard cross-border transfer).


Can he do this?

You must specify the fee charging mode for each international transfer. Can you ask them to tell you, in detail, just how they place their payment orders?


What instructions do you quote on international invoices?
For clients outside Germany, my invoices only show IBAN & BIC, so there's no confusion.


I only tell them to make a "European" wire transfer using the codes I send to them (IBAN and SWIFT). So now I am doubting about the BIC...

Well, any cross-border payment within Europe would be "European"; they should instruct a standard cross-border payment, making sure they use IBAN & BIC, and nothing else.

Still, I am shocked about such high charges at my bank for incoming "foreign" payments, as if the EU did not exist...

Don't forget that there isn't a pan-European retail payment system; as a result, any non-standard payment involves a significant amount of additional processing. As soon as someone needs to handle the payment manually, the costs incurred are significantly higher than 6 or 9 euros.

Best, Ralf


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 08:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
My experience and more questions Mar 12, 2005

This is all related to my French account.

First, Flavio, when I make transfers to Italy, Spain or Belgium I'm the only one who takes in charge transfer fees.

My bank doesn't charge anything for a domestic and electronic transfer, but it doesn't offer the possibility to make electronic transfer to accounts that are not in the EU.
That's the main problem, I have to send a fax to a specific fax number with IBAN, SWIFT and so on and they make the transfer and I'm charge EUR 3.80 for each one.
Not only I should be charge nothing but I also should be able to do it online. What can I do against my bank which seems not to follow EU's instructions? (other than moving to another one?).

I have noticed that Spanish banks are also quite problematic and charge different rates and they can be negociated, as if there no official text existed.
Which organization would be in charge of checking that official instructions are followed?

I tried many, many times, by different means, to get answers from the bank. It was just impossible.


Thank you

Claudia


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 13:43
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Danke schön, Ralf Mar 12, 2005

Thank you for the precious info, Ralf.

The problem is much probably due to the way the issuer MADE the payment.

Thanks again!

Flavio


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:43
English to German
+ ...
Need to move to another bank Mar 12, 2005

Hi Claudia,
Not only I should be charge nothing but I also should be able to do it online. What can I do against my bank which seems not to follow EU's instructions? (other than moving to another one?).

Note that EU regulations do not impose an obligation to offer online cross-border transfers (IIRC). If your bank doesn't offer that, you may have to change your account (I know that's not that simple, as you're non-resident).

Best regards,
Ralf


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:43
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Something to make you feel good Mar 13, 2005

It costs US$35.00 for a wire transfer from Puerto Rico to the UE or the US for that matter.

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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 08:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Thank you Ralf Mar 13, 2005

Sorry, I had thanked you earlier and my answer didn't appear.

Yes, Luisabel, I know that anyway we're luckier that elsewhere and I also remember that three years ago it wasn't that nice in the EU.

Claudia


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 14:43
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
No charge even without IBAN Mar 13, 2005

Last week I had to send money to a Berlin account and did not know the IBAN. I just filled out the bank address and the SWIFT-code and my bank did not charge anything.
It depends on the bank's software for online banking.


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Monique Laville  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:43
Italian to French
+ ...
Similar problem Mar 13, 2005

I had a similar problem last year when transferring money from an italian bank to a french one. I furnished the IBAN & BIC and was charged 4 euros by the italian bank and to my surprise 7 euros by the french bank in charge of my account. The payment was 600 euros. I was therefore charged nearly 2%. What if transfers are less than 100 euros?

I think that there is a lot of confusion (always at the benefit of the banks of course). There is a "correct" or "standard" fee banks should apply, but obviously they don't do it, otherwise we would not be here complaining.

My opinion is that you must be very careful with your banker, for any transaction you may make. And this means harrassing discussions any time your need to make an operation on your bank account. The banker will always insist to convince you he is at your service.


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 13:43
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Same as Monique Mar 13, 2005

Dear Monique

The same happened to me. My Italian client was charged 4 EUR by his bank, and I was charged 9 EUR by mine!

This is frustrating! Why all this happens?

Flavio


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:43
English to German
+ ...
Once again - check the instructions given Mar 13, 2005

Hi Flavio,
This is frustrating! Why all this happens?

This is usually because the instructions given are either inaccurate or incomplete, or the wrong type of transfer is chosen.

Did you get back to the payer, checking the instructions given, in detail?

I can confirm Heinrich's experience: following one hiccup at the very beginning (which was due to a technical problem at the bank's side, and which they compensated in full), I have no problems whatsoever, having made cross-border transfers to the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria.

Best regards,
Ralf


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flaviofbg
Spain
Local time: 13:43
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Transfer instructions Mar 13, 2005

Dear Ralf,

we are checking, indeed, how it all worked.

Could you summarise what you have to tell the bank when you do the transfer, so that they don't get it wrong as in my or Monique's case?

Thank you Ralf! It is very appreciated.

Flavio


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:43
English to German
+ ...
Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 Mar 13, 2005

I'm not familiar with Italian or Spanish banks, so I cannot give you detailed information in this respect.

Check the Regulation that defines the relevant requirements. I suggest to go through it in detail (check this page for a list of languages available); the most important parts are the definitions in Article 2, the rules on charges and transparency thereof in Articles 3 and 4, and the requirement for IBAN and BIC set out in Article 5.

I would suggest to check the relevant language version for applicable terminology.

HTH, Ralf


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