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Old 16.02.2015, 21:12
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advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

Hi,
I just want to report what happened to me, seeking for some advice.
I have searched on the forum but couldn't find a similar topic.
If I have missed it, my apologies.

Last week I have made a wire transfer from my US account (Bank of America) to my PostFinance account. because I didn't want to convert the amount to CHF just yet, I opened a postfinance account in USD.
So I requested the transfer in USD (total of 10K USD).
I clearly stated (when setting up the wire) that the destination account is in USD and no currency conversions to be made.
I paid the BoA fees separately, so 10K USD is the effective amount transferred.
I get a notice that the wire was initiated correctly with correct USD amount.

This morning I check my PF account and to my surprise I see that the amount transferred was 9750 USD.
After some investigation with PF I was told that the amount was never transferred in USD, but arrived in the CHF equivalent (9165 CHF).
Because the destination account was in USD than PF made a conversion again into USD for the total available of 9750USD.
So my originally trasnfered 10K USD were converted (by whom???) into CHF and then back to USD...and the little game costed my 250 USD.
Now, Postfinance reassured me that the amount visible to them was only the 9165CHF. They have no trace of the original 10K USD. They sent me the transaction details and this seems to be true.

I will call BoA (today was holiday) and I will try to figure this out.
But I am not sure what to expect as a reply from them, and most importantly what are my rights.
I am sure they will try to blame the destination bank and I am afraid I will lose my money.

I believe BoA responsibility is really big here. I mean they purchased 10K worth of foreign currency with my money without my permission.

This is the first time I make an oversea transfer so I am totally novice on the topic.

Any advice? Did this happen to somebody else?

Thank you in advance.
Cheers
g
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Old 16.02.2015, 21:18
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

Did you use as beneficiary account the correct USD account details with PF?

If so, ask BofA to send you a copy of the SWIFT message (MT103 I think). With that go to Postfinance and ask them why they credited this to an incorrect account. And ask them to show you the incoming SWIFT message on their Nostro account with whatever bank was in between.

OK, stopping the technical stuff. What happens is when you pay money is that a wire is set up as a message: pay XYZ to ABC. As some banks do not communicate directly with each other, they use a partner bank, an intermediary bank. A lot can go wrong although it shouldn“t and actually only does very seldom.

In tracing this you need to start with the bank that sent the funds and then - unfortunately - work your way through the process until you get to PF.

Do ask BofA beforehand if they charge you for that!

Good luck!

Oh, and the first bank in the foreign country can charge a fee for the incoming wire, unless you set up the wire as OUR (all fees for the sending party)

Last edited by roegner; 16.02.2015 at 21:29. Reason: Adding and grammar
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Old 16.02.2015, 21:30
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

Hi thank you very much for the kind reply.
Actually I have received a file named MT103 from PF.
It shows that the amount received was indeed in CHF.
It seems to me that the intermediary made the conversion.
If so, whose responsibility is that? Is it BoA?
Thank you!
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Old 16.02.2015, 21:32
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

Ask bofA to send you a copy of the MT103 of their wire. If that was in USD then there is probably an intermediary bank that converted.
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Old 16.02.2015, 21:33
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more importantly, is there a better way to transfer my funds here?
I am not longer living in the US and need to figure a reliable way to have my assets here without getting into all these troubles...
Thank you

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Ask bofA to send you a copy of the MT103 of their wire. If that was in USD then there is probably an intermediary bank that converted.
thank you!

Last edited by 3Wishes; 16.02.2015 at 21:47. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 16.02.2015, 21:42
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

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more importantly, is there a better way to transfer my funds here?
I am not longer living in the US and need to figure a reliable way to have my assets here without getting into all these troubles...
Thank you
Check the forum here, I think there were a couple of threads on wiring money from abroad. I use my normal banks and it always works fine.
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Old 16.02.2015, 22:53
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

The document is a MT101, not a MT103. The MT103s were phased out by Swift some years ago. From what you describe, it sounds like BofA have converted the funds before the transfer and have not followed your instructions.
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Old 16.02.2015, 23:01
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

I do transfers all the time & usd always arrive if I send usd
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Old 16.02.2015, 23:05
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

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I do transfers all the time & usd always arrive if I send usd
Same here.
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Old 17.02.2015, 07:12
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

thank you to all of the kind replies.
I will call BoA today and let you know how it goes.
finger crossed.
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Old 17.02.2015, 07:38
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

I had the same situation a number of years ago. I transferred a large sum from my UK account to a Swiss Sterling account. The UK bank changed it to CHF and it then got converted to Sterling when it arrived. I spent a week going up the management chain in the UK until I got someone who could issue compensation. I had given them clear written instructions to transfer a UK£ amount. At no point did I ask for a conversion and they didn't ask. As long as you gave them written instructions then they are in the wrong. Be firm and persistent.
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Old 17.02.2015, 08:49
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

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The document is a MT101, not a MT103. The MT103s were phased out by Swift some years ago. From what you describe, it sounds like BofA have converted the funds before the transfer and have not followed your instructions.
Isn“t the MT100 phased out?
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Old 17.02.2015, 14:51
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

BofA is incredibly archaic and has a lot of incompetent employees in the low and mid levels. From what you described, it seems to me that they have a "loophole" in their international currency wire system.
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Old 17.02.2015, 15:01
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

Like many others on here I use CurrencyFair for transferring cash to Switzerland but only after converting to CHF. You can leave the money in the CurrencyFair account in the foreign currency until you're ready for the transfer, so no need for foreign currency account in Switzerland.
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Old 17.02.2015, 15:13
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

ok. do we have a one-way bet opportunity here? send with USD instructions, if converted to CHF and FX is to our advantage, we keep. if not, we complain and the USD amounts.
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Old 17.02.2015, 15:27
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

Having transferred money from the US many times over the years, I get the sense that most banks simply don't have enough experience wiring money internationally to do it without making mistakes. The costs of wiring money from the US are high, and it often takes a lot of time. At least at my old bank (Wachovia, before it became Wells Fargo), I had to go to my account-holding branch to wire money. Invariably this involved faxes and a lot of paperwork.

By comparison, moving money around most of the rest of the world electronically is pretty simple. I can transfer back and forth between UK, Eurozone, and Switzerland fee-free, from my own desktop. I often wonder why, in this day and age, the world's largest economy can't manage to move money overseas electronically. Maybe it's because most American consumers have very little reason to move money across international borders and there simply isn't the demand.

Nevermind. In any case, I use www.xe.com for all my USD transfers -- partly because their rates are good, but mostly because it's 100% self-service and it allows me to quickly and easily move money in and out of the US.
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Old 17.02.2015, 15:32
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

This happened to me recently sending UK pounds from a large UK bank to a sterling account with the Cantonal bank.
It clearly stated "Do not auto convert".

The guy I was sending it to informed me that it was £700 short. On investigation it was discovered that the payment had left my account in the UK in sterling, went via Germany where it was transferred into euros, then on to Switzerland where it was converted to CHFs and then converted back to UK pounds. The shortage was the fees incurred in each countries.

Yes, I went to the bank where they said they would sort it out and eventually my supplier was reaccredited but it took several weeks and it was highly embarrassing for me.
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Old 17.02.2015, 19:27
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

Just called BoA they opened a claim for me and doing some investigation.
I am not sure I will get money back, but the scary thing is that when I asked what I can do in the future to be sure that my money are transfered in the correct currency, they told me that they cannot reassure me that this happens (sic!).

I mean this is maybe the largest bank in the US. I am speechless

In the future I will try to use one of the services you have suggested here.

I see XE and CurrencyFair are popular. Is one of the two better for large amounts?

Thank you very much to all the replies. very helpful.
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Old 17.02.2015, 20:03
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

Be firm and persistent. Insist that you gave clear instructions and that they are in the wrong. They owe you $250 so don't give up until you get it. Insist that they waive all charges as compensation for their mistake.


Can you not do an ebanking transfer in future?
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Old 17.02.2015, 20:28
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Re: advice on wrong currency wire transfer US to CH

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Can you not do an ebanking transfer in future?
What do you mean? by phone? Would that be better?
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