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Best way to transfer from France to US?
Thread poster: Gregory Flanders

Gregory Flanders  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
French to English
+ ...
Jan 21, 2008

Hello everyone,

I've been looking at different ways to transfer money from my French bank account (BNP Parisbas) to my American account (USBank), but I'm still trying to find a method that won't cost an arm and a leg. The options I've found so far:

1) Wire transfer:
Transfer Fee: 1%, with a maximum of 57 Euros.
Conversion fee: 1% (if I've read their documentation correctly), max 57 euro.

Total fees on 6,000 euros: 120 euros (Plus reception fee of 15 dollars)

2) Moneybookers
Conversion fee: 1.75 %
Withdrawal fee: 1.80 euros

Total fees on 6,000 euros: 106.80 euros

Is this exorbitant? (I'm not even sure what exchange rates both banks will use, presumably the daily rate?)

Please let me know if anyone can think of any alternatives. Generally I can withdraw money at an ATM between these two banks, and deposit the cash directly into my US account, but since I'm in France, this won't work.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'll be needing to transfer money like this on a regular basis, so finding a few percentage points less will end up saving me a lot of money.

Thanks,

Gregory

[Edited at 2008-01-21 11:39]


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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:48
French to English
+ ...
depends how urgent the transfer is Jan 21, 2008

Hi Gregory,

I do this on a fairly regular basis as well (only difference being the other bank is in Canada). Believe it or not, I have found that the cheapest way is to write myself a cheque and mail it to my branch in Canada. I discussed this with my bank manager in Canada before I moved, so they do not charge me conversion fees, and even though the cheques are "foreign", they clear them in a few days as opposed to a few weeks.
I find the French postal system quite fast (compared to Canada, anyway), and my cheque usually arrives within a week.

HTH
Mara


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
French to English
Money orders Jan 21, 2008

I have found that French postal money orders are the cheapest way to go.

The fee is a fixed amount, not a percentage (around 10-15€, I can't remember exactly).

Of course, you have to send the money to someone you trust, who will deposit it in your US account.

It can take anywhere from 10 days to a month for the money to arrive. You have to put up with the long lines at La Poste.

I usually send smaller amounts, between 300 and 600 € at a time, not sure if there is a limit on the amount you can send this way. I usually bring cash into the post office, but they can also take the money directly from my CCP. I imagine you wouldn't want to walk in with 6000 € in cash ...

For a regular bank transfer, 120€ seems high to me. More like 50€ would be reasonable.


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Gregory Flanders  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Do you convert to dollars first? Jan 21, 2008

I just checked with US Bank, the conversion fee for checks (Euros to Dollars) is 3%, which would cost 180 euros for a 6,000 euro transfer. =(

Lori: does the 10-15 euro fee include the conversion from euros to dollars? So far, that has proven to be the most expensive part of the transaction. If La Poste can do conversion + money order for 15 euros, I'm going to go get in line right now.

thanks again for both responses!


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Renée van Bijsterveld  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:48
Member (2007)
English to Dutch
+ ...
What about PayPal? Jan 21, 2008

Would it be possible to pay yourself this amount from one bank through PayPal account and 'withdraw' this money to your other bank account? I know it's possible to add seveal bank accounts to your PayPal account.
I do not have any specific info, but for payments from GB or VS to Nl PayPal the charges are very low (even free up to a certain amount). May be it's worth it to check the possibilities (may be with an extra email account).


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Sophie Blachet  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
English to French
The best way ... Jan 21, 2008

Is to have an account into a "sister" bank so you won't be charged with any fees.

BNP is with Bank of America.

As they are reputated the same group no charges apply. (done several times)

Good luck

See this link http://www.proz.com/post/674141#674141

[Edited at 2008-01-21 13:15]


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:48
English to Russian
+ ...
I am curious Jan 21, 2008

why you've got such high cost for moneybookers?
You can make an ordinary bank transfer to mb account and it will cost less for sure.

You send euro to mb account without any conversion at your french bank, and just withdraw dollars from mb account to your bank account in America.

[Edited at 2008-01-21 14:00]


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Gregory Flanders  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Conversion fees Jan 21, 2008

Sergei Tumanov wrote:

why you've got such high cost for moneybookers?


Hello Sergei,

As far as I've understood (see link below), moneybookers adds 1.75 percent to the exchange rate when changing euros to dollars. 1.75 percent of 6,000 is 105 euros.

But I may be missing something?

http://www.moneybookers.com/app/faq.pl?gid=2&qid=718


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:48
English to Russian
+ ...
I am not quite sure about this Jan 21, 2008

I have my mb account in estonian crowns and receive remittances from my clients in dollars and euro, which automatically converted to crowns. But I did not notice too big exchange rates.

If you have your mb account in dollars and will replenish it with euro it could happen though.


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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
XE.com Jan 21, 2008

Very simple.
I've used it and it's perfect.

From French Euros to American dollars, you pay no commission, and they give a good exchange rate (they only make a profit on the margin).

At first you need to set up an account, and have a telephone appointment with them to make sure you're not laundering money. Then any time you wan to transfer your money, you can.

Better than any other solution so far out there.


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Gregory Flanders  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
XE.com might be it! Jan 21, 2008

Great! Thanks N.M., I think XE might be exactly what I'm looking for -- a good exchange rate with no commission, and a hassle-free interface. I'm going to look into it.

As for an update on my wire transfer searches, it turns out that I was reading the percentages wrong from my bank documentation, the transfer fee isn't 1% but % .01, which makes a big difference.

Finally, for moneybookers -- am I correct in my calculation of 1.75 percent fee for currency conversions, which they say "is not a hidden charge but a protection against the volatility and risk associated with FX markets"? If this is true, XE.com would appear to be a much more economical way of transferring money, at least for sums larger than 1,000 euros.

Thanks again!


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
French to English
More on money orders Jan 21, 2008

Found an old receipt from La Poste ...on Sept 18th 2007, I sent 440 €, the fee was 13.90 €, and the exchange rate applied was 1.3461. Looking at xe.com, the EUR/USD rate that day was 1.3868, so it seems I didn't get the best rate.

In any case, the receipt only states the one fee of 13.90 €, so if there are any conversion fees, they are hidden.

Also, there is a limit of 3500 €. The fee is 20.20 € for money orders over 1500€.

At least with this method the beneficiary doesn't pay any additional fees upon receipt.

xe.com does seem like a good idea as well, I just had a look myself. Too bad they can't do EFT on French bank accounts, that would really reduce costs.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Wire transfers - be careful of hidden fees Jan 21, 2008

Gregory Flanders wrote:
1) Wire transfer:
Transfer Fee: 1%, with a maximum of 57 Euros.
Conversion fee: 1% (if I've read their documentation correctly), max 57 euro.


Given the way the U.S. banking system works, many such transfers go through an intermediary bank. Even if the source bank and the recipient bank charge you a total of 2%, the intermediary may take another 5% or so. The best way to find out is to ask the recipient bank specifically about intermediary fees.

That's why I try to avoid bank transfers from overseas. My bank charges nothing for incoming foreign wires, but the middle bank takes 5 or 6 percent.

[Edited at 2008-01-21 22:22]


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Gregory Flanders  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
How to avoid wire transfers. Jan 25, 2008

Thanks Steven for your remarks, I didn't realize that intermediary banks might be charging a commission as well..

May I ask how you transfer money from one account to another, if you don't use wire transfers? Moneybookers/paypal, or do you write yourself a check?

Thanks again to everyone for their answers.


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accents_ie  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:48
English
+ ...
Money transfer Jan 27, 2008

In Ireland: get the International Bank Draft, it cost @ Euro 3.75 and these drafts for many countries are say US, or UK or even Indian Banks cheques. So, whatever you send to India (etc) is a check written on their local bank. Much cheaper than bank transfers. Only minus - longer time.

Do not need to have somebody to lodge your check/draft in your destination country. Just post it directly to the bank where your account is.

[Edited at 2008-01-27 11:14]


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