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Old 03.02.2013, 12:44
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GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

Searched through the forum, could not find anything to help me.

My situation:

I'm starting to receive bank wire transfers from the UK in GBP quite often and I seem to be loosing out 60-70 CHF on every transaction due to FX fees and rate.

I've been advised to open either UK GBP bank account (I'm not UK national nor resident, so I don't think that's possible) or open a GBP account in Switzerland, receive the money at my GBP account at my Swiss bank and than do a FX online transfer the GBP and receive CHF via XE or some other service, which should give me 40-50 CHF more on each transaction.

Is it possible to have GBP account in Switzerland? Are there any extra charges for it?

Thanks
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Old 03.02.2013, 12:54
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

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Is it possible to have GBP account in Switzerland? Are there any extra charges for it?

Thanks
Yes. Your bank should have suggested this, but it's not the kind of things banks do - be helpful...
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Old 03.02.2013, 13:13
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

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Is it possible to have GBP account in Switzerland? Are there any extra charges for it?

Thanks
Postfinance offers accounts in a range of foreign currencies including GBP.

The account is free if you have over 7500 CHF in total in all your Postfinance accounts.
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Old 03.02.2013, 19:08
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

A simple standing order is much cheaper. I do the reverse (Swiss to UK) and it costs me CHF5 at this end and £6 at the UK end and that includes the change from Swiss Francs into £s. Currency rate varies of course, but not by 60-70 Francs!
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Old 03.02.2013, 20:35
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

Normally a foreign currency account attracts a charge of 1% every time you take money out. Another option might be set up an account with www.currencyfair.com. Have your £ paid directly into Currencyfair, then do the exchange there and transfer the CHF direct to your CHF account. They charge about CHF 6 for the transfer.
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Old 03.02.2013, 20:36
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

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Normally a foreign currency account attracts a charge of 1% every time you take money out. Another option might be set up an account with www.currencyfair.com. Have your £ paid directly into Currencyfair, then do the exchange there and transfer the CHF direct to your CHF account. They charge about CHF 6 for the transfer.
Your only charged 1% if you want cash.
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Old 03.02.2013, 21:06
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

Thanks for all the answers, will call my bank tomorrow and see what they say.

Yes, on every 1500 GBP I loose 70 CHF on the FX rate, I just did a comparison on currencyfair and FX so that is definitive that I must stop using my bank to exchange my GBP.

I don't need the GBP in cash, I just need to transfer them into more favorable FX rate into CHF. Currencyfair looks good, but the idea on somebody transferring my money onto somebody else account..Is a bit too much, so I will try to open my own GBP account just to accept the fund and redirect them onto a FX service online.

Thanks
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Old 04.02.2013, 20:36
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

I signed up for a trade account with xe and it works well - better rate and cash is received quicker. But you're absolutely right, the real money in FX is the rate, not the fees - lots of people get suckered by that. Look out for transferwise too.
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Old 07.02.2013, 11:15
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

I opened a GBP denominated account on my existent bank account so I was given a separate IBAN where I can receive my GBP money without any fees.

Sounds great right?

First payment comes in today, I am expecting 800 GBP, 760 shows up.

I rang the bank (cantonal), "let's see, we will investigate"

3 hours later:

"Dear sir, the sender indeed sent the money in GBP, but probably didn't say to his bank not to convert them in CHF, so they sent the money to their partner in Switzerland, which is UBS so they exchanged the GBP into CHF, when we received them we received them in CHF and we credited them into your account as GBP"

This is a f%$@(# joke right?!

So I lost 2x the conversion fees when I should have had none.

The comment of my bank? We are very sorry, the fault is with the sender of the money not stating on the wire DO NOT CONVERT IN CHF and UBS for converting them.

This is ridiculous.
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Old 07.02.2013, 11:55
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

I they were sending money to a GBP account there should not have been a conversion by UBS.

Im not sure why you are using a bank that needs to use a correspondent bank to receive funds though.

For UK originating payments from individuals I use an offshore account that has UK style account number and sort code. IBAN seem to completely do the head of UK banks in, and its easier for individuals to handle.

For GBP payments from companies or other destinations I use a GBP account with IBAN with a Swiss bank.
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Old 07.02.2013, 12:13
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

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I opened a GBP denominated account on my existent bank account so I was given a separate IBAN where I can receive my GBP money without any fees.

Sounds great right?

First payment comes in today, I am expecting 800 GBP, 760 shows up.

I rang the bank (cantonal), "let's see, we will investigate"

3 hours later:

"Dear sir, the sender indeed sent the money in GBP, but probably didn't say to his bank not to convert them in CHF, so they sent the money to their partner in Switzerland, which is UBS so they exchanged the GBP into CHF, when we received them we received them in CHF and we credited them into your account as GBP"

This is a f%$@(# joke right?!

So I lost 2x the conversion fees when I should have had none.

The comment of my bank? We are very sorry, the fault is with the sender of the money not stating on the wire DO NOT CONVERT IN CHF and UBS for converting them.

This is ridiculous.
Lol, sorry but that's somewhat funny.
You can't trust bank, end of topic.

Actually I used Postfinance once and pay extra to add the "fees" only from Postfinance, so I would know exactly how much I pay to transfer money to Germany.

Not only I got charged for that "service"; but also not all the money arrived because... there is an intermediate bank who took their own fees (I only asked payment from my account to a german one).

So it seems that it can be: your bank- transfer money from banks- the final bank.

No need to say I complained, read terms and conditions and realize how it's all properly setup and how I was legally crooked.

In short, yeah bank are always abusing you.
Everyone is saying that but it's only when you get badly involved that you realize that!
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  #12  
Old 07.02.2013, 12:13
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

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I they were sending money to a GBP account there should not have been a conversion by UBS.

Im not sure why you are using a bank that needs to use a correspondent bank to receive funds though.

For UK originating payments from individuals I use an offshore account that has UK style account number and sort code. IBAN seem to completely do the head of UK banks in, and its easier for individuals to handle.

For GBP payments from companies or other destinations I use a GBP account with IBAN with a Swiss bank.
I don't have UK bank account (I am not UK resident, national etc) I only have CHF bank account in Switzerland and EUR account in France.

On top of my CHF bank account in Switzerland I added GBP denominated account with separate IBAN (note, that one starts with CH too) where I can receive all GBP money that arrive by bank wire.

The person in the UK sent the money in GBP to my IBAN, Lloyds than transferred the money to their partner/intermittent bank in Switzerland which is UBS. I don't know if Lloyds sent them as GBP or CHF, but the sender definitely sent them as GBP. Than UBS converted these funds and sent them to my cantonal bank where the account is and they received CHF money from UBS, which they converted into GBP as the IBAN was corresponding for a GBP denominated account.

Bank is blaming the sender for not stating "DO NOT CONVERT IN CHF" on the wire, which I think is total BS. UBS should have nevered converted these funds and let my bank decide what they will do with them, convert them in CHF or credit them as GBP (which they would have, as the IBAN corresponds to a GBP account)

Can you please tell me how can I open a GBP account with GB IBAN where there will be no fees on receiving bank wire transfers between UK banks?

I will be so glad to know.
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Old 07.02.2013, 12:16
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

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Lol, sorry but that's somewhat funny.
You can't trust bank, end of topic.

Actually I used Postfinance once and pay extra to add the "fees" only from Postfinance, so I would know exactly how much I pay to transfer money to Germany.

Not only I got charged for that "service"; but also not all the money arrived because... there is an intermediate bank who took their own fees (I only asked payment from my account to a german one).

So it seems that it can be: your bank- transfer money from banks- the final bank.

No need to say I complained, read terms and conditions and realize how it's all properly setup and how I was legally crooked.

In short, yeah bank are always abusing you.
Everyone is saying that but it's only when you get badly involved that you realize that!
Hi, I know it sounds somewhat funny if you were not in my shoes!

But it's bloody ridiculous that's what it is. Freaking paypal would have been 100 times less hassle and 10 times cheaper!

Maybe I should give up and setup I account with XE where the payments from the UK will go directly to them and than converted in CHF into my account...
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Old 07.02.2013, 12:27
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

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Hi, I know it sounds somewhat funny if you were not in my shoes!

But it's bloody ridiculous that's what it is. Freaking paypal would have been 100 times less hassle and 10 times cheaper!

Maybe I should give up and setup I account with XE where the payments from the UK will go directly to them and than converted in CHF into my account...
Believe me, 2 years after being crooked worse than you, I still remember it!
And as I said I even paid an extra option (paying) called something like "let Postfinance charge you a fix transfer fee" (explanation was so you clearly know how much you are paying and have control on the exact amount the receiver will received).

No need to say that they use an intermediate bank (why???) and that it's all legal, the money at the end was less.
They covered up their terms and conditions quite well by saying they are not responsible for any intermediate bank fees.

Now, I just made a payment from my account to a german one... did not ask to "go through intermediate banks". But apparently one has no control over that.

Then I suggest you use paypal or anything similar?

So you know, even a transfer of money from a account in UK to a Swiss account will induces heavy charges fees.... Was something like 20GBP/transaction at RBS.
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Old 07.02.2013, 23:18
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

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Hi, I know it sounds somewhat funny if you were not in my shoes!

But it's bloody ridiculous that's what it is. Freaking paypal would have been 100 times less hassle and 10 times cheaper!

Maybe I should give up and setup I account with XE where the payments from the UK will go directly to them and than converted in CHF into my account...

Take a step back, have a beer. Its hilarious.
Before coming to Switzerland I worked in a bank - trust me you want to have as little to do with them as possible. For myself, for GBP to CFH, I use XE. It would be almost transparent to the sending party as it is a standard UK account/sort code transfer - the reference number however changes on each transfer. (with XE anyway - not with some others)

If you want a GBP bank account and are British you'll need to look into an offshore account. The usual suspects will have a high minimum deposit requirement. I was looking into the cooperative bank however recently who doesn't seem to have this for their offshore accounts. Not got around to it yet so not sure if its true. But even then eventually you'll probably want it in another currency anyway - with XE you can also choose which currency and account the transfer will be routed to.

I also just checked my XE and it seems that can send same currency transfers. I'm not entirely sure if that would have helped you in the double fx situation but at least it would have had a better rate and probably less transfer fee.
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Old 08.02.2013, 06:28
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

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Take a step back, have a beer. Its hilarious.
Before coming to Switzerland I worked in a bank - trust me you want to have as little to do with them as possible. For myself, for GBP to CFH, I use XE. It would be almost transparent to the sending party as it is a standard UK account/sort code transfer - the reference number however changes on each transfer. (with XE anyway - not with some others)

If you want a GBP bank account and are British you'll need to look into an offshore account. The usual suspects will have a high minimum deposit requirement. I was looking into the cooperative bank however recently who doesn't seem to have this for their offshore accounts. Not got around to it yet so not sure if its true. But even then eventually you'll probably want it in another currency anyway - with XE you can also choose which currency and account the transfer will be routed to.

I also just checked my XE and it seems that can send same currency transfers. I'm not entirely sure if that would have helped you in the double fx situation but at least it would have had a better rate and probably less transfer fee.
Thanks, I checked other options and believe it or not, I am really stuck.

Co-op can not do it for me as I am not a British national, Barclays or Lloyds will be able to do it but I will either have to pay 20 gbp per month or deposit 2500/5000 GBP minimum, plus fees for each wire, XE doesn't want to take transfers from other people into my own account but only will accept transfers from my own account in my own name... It's freaking hard this thing! They can send the converted money to any account I want but the money has to come from my own account.

I am waiting on a answer from Currency Fair to see what they say if they will accept me as with the above mentioned requirements.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 08.02.2013, 17:30
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Re: GBP account in Switzerland or offshore bank?

Yes, that actually makes sense for money laundering etc.

I think it really depends how much its worth to you and the sending party. I would guess that if you open a UBS GBP account (UBS seems to be the intermediary for your or their bank) and have it wired there in GBP it would *probably* survive the transfer in the same currency. But the FX rate and fees will almost certainly not make it that attractive. Probably the most cost effective was for the sender to use XE or transferwise amd send to you in your preferred currency.
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