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Old 21.05.2015, 14:54
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PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

Hi.

I used my PostFinance to send myself money to use in the US. It comes as a check/money order addressed to myself and then I (or my power of attorney) cash and deposit it in my US account. A tip I happily learned here and have successfully used in the past.

I did the same thing in December except the check never arrived. I hoped it would work like American checks and if it's never cashed, eventually they're considered cancelled. When that didn't seem to the case, I contacted them.

Turns out here what happened.

In December I wanted 5000 USD, so my account was debited 5020 CHF.
It's not clear why, but the check was sent back.
So in January, PostFinance credited me back 5000 USD by giving me back 4546.50 CHF .

I just called to sort it out and I very respectfully and in a non-attacking manner explained that I'd like to have the amount of Swiss Francs that was debited from my account in order to generate the check. I just got a "es tut mir leid" but there's nothing they can do about it. I tried to reason that had the exchange rate worked in the other direction, I highly doubt I'd simply "make" 500 CHF because my check was returned.

I'm open to the idea that I'm missing something here, but this really seems inappropriate to me that I lost 500 CHF of my money because of a returned check . I appreciate any additional help or insight you might have.

Thanks!
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Old 21.05.2015, 14:58
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

You should have sent yourself CHF rather than USD.

Tom
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:08
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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In December I wanted 5000 USD, so my account was debited 5020 CHF.
It's not clear why, but the check was sent back.
So in January, PostFinance credited me back 5000 USD by giving me back 4546.50 CHF .
Can you provide the exact dates?

What is the date of the debit in Dec and the Credit in Jan?

On the 15th of Jan 2015 the SNB abandoned the 1.2 Euro peg, and the CHF/USD went from 1.0187 to 0.8392, so based on that worst case scenario, if you had exchanged 5000 USD the debit would have needed to be CHF5093.5, and the next day the credit would have been CHF4196.- so a loss of CHF897.5.

There is nothing you can do, if it had gone the other way you would have benefited from the exchange rate appreciation. Of course the bank makes money on the spread, so you have probably lost around 5% on the round trip transaction.

There are many threads on the EF about efficient ways of transferring money, personal cheques are not one of them.
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:08
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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You should have sent yourself CHF rather than USD.

Tom
Not trying to be obtuse. A sincere, "really?"

It's actually a comment from you in another thread that got me sending money through my CHF. I don't recall seeing an option to send myself CHF. (Off to go look.) But then again, I guess I was thinking, "send money to the US, then send USD..."

Also, does your comment mean that what happened sounds right/fair/expected to you?
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:12
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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Can you provide the exact dates?

What is the date of the debit in Dec and the Credit in Jan?

There are many threads on the EF about efficient ways of transferring money, personal cheques are not one of them.
This wasn't a personal check. I followed the steps outlined by St2Lemans/Tom in post 13 here. It also wasn't the first time I've done it and until now, I've had no problems with the method. They sent the money December 23rd and credited me back January 29.
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:12
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

http://www.xe.com/xetrade/

For next time
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:21
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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does your comment mean that what happened sounds right/fair/expected to you?
Yes, it does.

The USD were bought and sent in December, and returned in January at a different rate. Had the rate gone the other way you would have made money.

The real question is why was the Money Order returned and not delivered?

Tom
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:26
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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The real question is why was the Money Order returned and not delivered?
million five hundred dollar question !

will look into xe. thanks, porsch!
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:33
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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I used my PostFinance to send myself money to use in the US. It comes as a check/money order addressed to myself and then I (or my power of attorney) cash and deposit it in my US account. A tip I happily learned here and have successfully used in the past.

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This wasn't a personal check. I followed the steps outlined by St2Lemans/Tom in post 13 here. It also wasn't the first time I've done it and until now, I've had no problems with the method. They sent the money December 23rd and credited me back January 29.
Without dwelling on your misleading post regarding checks / and cashing + depositing in your US account. a debit on the 23rd of December 2015 corresponds with an exchange rate of 0.9878, so your bank charged you around CHF60 for the privilege, and a credit on the 29th of Jan 2015 corresponds with an exchange rate of 0.9238, so a credit of CHF4619 is due and looks like your bank charged you another CHF70.

So all in all you were charged CHF130 on around CHF5000.- so around %2.6 ignoring currency fluctuations.
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Old 21.05.2015, 15:39
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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This wasn't a personal check. I followed the steps outlined by St2Lemans/Tom in post 13 here. It also wasn't the first time I've done it and until now, I've had no problems with the method. They sent the money December 23rd and credited me back January 29.
So this was an online transfer via your banks online banking application?

What reason has been given for the amount being returned? Were all the details entered into the payment correct?

From a payment side I can see a payment being taken from your account - translated into USD - sent out of the bank - bounced around the system - then a trigger happening on your bank's side saying the payment was never taken up - and the transaction reversed.
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:06
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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Without dwelling on your misleading post regarding checks / and cashing + depositing in your US account. a debit on the 23rd of December 2015 corresponds with an exchange rate of 0.9878, so your bank charged you around CHF60 for the privilege, and a credit on the 29th of Jan 2015 corresponds with an exchange rate of 0.9238, so a credit of CHF4619 is due and looks like your bank charged you another CHF70.

So all in all you were charged CHF130 on around CHF5000.- so around %2.6 ignoring currency fluctuations.
maybe it's semantics, but when I hear something like "misleading," I think of a "deliberate intention to skew the truth," which is absolutely not is what is happening here. Perhaps, I am unintentionally using the wrong financial vocabulary, but I'm not trying to mislead you.

The exchange rates I listed are numbers that were taken directly from PostFinance's register of transactions in my account when I look online.

Outging transaction
E-FINANCE CASH
INTERNATIONAL
EXCHANGE RATE 1.0040

Inbound transaction
FOREIGN GIRO TRANSFER
Exchange rate: .9093
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:10
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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So this was an online transfer via your banks online banking application?
Yes, I initiated the entire process online.

Quote:
What reason has been given for the amount being returned?
PAYMENT MOTIVE:
TRANSFER FROM SWITZERLAND
COMM.:
RETURN OF YOUR PAYMENT: 23.12.2014
BENEFICIARY DETAILS UNCLEAR

Quote:
Were all the details entered into the payment correct?
Yes. I had even saved the previous transaction as a template since it worked so well in the past.
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:16
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

well, either that is terribly bad luck, or you've been ripped off.
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:20
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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well, either that is terribly bad luck, or you've been ripped off.
Pretty sure it's both!
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:23
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

I went and checked their fees online again. It's 12 CHF to have them send the "cash payment/money order/check" and I pay nothing at my US Bank to receive it, since there's no fee for receiving/cashing a check. Hence, what was so attractive about the option.
E-finance / electronic standing order (ESO) / electronic payment order (EPO)
Cash outpayment to beneficiary in foreign currency
CHF 12.
1
The Cash international selling rate applies.
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:29
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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Pretty sure it's both!
It certainly feels like both.

I like to speak for myself and handle my own affairs, but since 500 CHF was on the line and I didn't seem to be getting anywhere, I put my husband on the phone hoping there'd be nothing lost in translation. I'd previously spoken with someone about it in both English and German (two different people). He didn't get anywhere either.

I've liked working with PostFinance and have had no problems with them before now. But am feeling pretty bummed to out 500 CHF for no clear reason.
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:46
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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PAYMENT MOTIVE:
TRANSFER FROM SWITZERLAND
COMM.:
RETURN OF YOUR PAYMENT: 23.12.2014
BENEFICIARY DETAILS UNCLEAR
There you go - there is the reason. The instructions given were not detailed enough to ensure the payment was made into the correct account.

Does you US account have an IBAN? (My knowledge of US retail banking isn't the best)
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:54
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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There you go - there is the reason. The instructions given were not detailed enough to ensure the payment was made into the correct account.

Does you US account have an IBAN? (My knowledge of US retail banking isn't the best)
But that's the thing. No bank account or IBAN info is needed. By initiating the cash transaction, they send a piece of paper/check to the beneficiary. Then I (or my power of attorney) go to my (or any bank), sign the back of the paper, and they deposit the money into my account. That's why I used the term "check." It functions and looks just like the checks we use in the US.

There was a time recently, when I wanted the money fast. And that I had sent directly to my bank, my bank account, and I did need bank account number, address, and other info. But this you just need the name of a recipient and an address.

I don't understand why the beneficiary details are suddenly "unclear." This was a payment template that I used. The template was generated from a previous *successful* transaction I made with the same payment details.
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Old 21.05.2015, 16:55
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

One thing you could do is ask to see the details they sent to the US bank; if you say it worked the previous time with exactly the same details entered by you, either you got lucky that time or Post Finance messed up the transfer message.

Given this is an automated system sending thousands of payments a day, it's pretty unlikely they messed up though.

You could also ask when they received the failure notification - somebody sat on it for a month, my guess the US end were trying to work it out but maybe not.

It's unfortunate that it happened over the period the SNB dropped the CHF floor, that's where most of the exchange rate loss went.

Also, the rates offered seem poor - would be worth checking something like xe.com next time.

Edit: forget this, just read the last post from OP and don't understand why it wasn't done as a simple, reliable transfer via IBAN.
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Old 21.05.2015, 17:03
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Re: PostFinance - Failed payment to US, Not being credited full amount

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don't understand why it wasn't done as a simple, reliable transfer via IBAN.
Because US bank accounts don't have IBANs.

Tom
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