What should I bear in mind when making an international transfer?
In an increasingly global world, international transfers are becoming more and more frequent: there’s always somebody who either has a son or daughter studying abroad, is planning a holiday in another country or purchases products from foreign businesses. So, what should I bear in mind when sending money by international transfer?
These are the main aspects to take into account:
- Remember that transfers are irrevocable. The beneficiary’s account number must be correctly indicated, since the bank will execute the transfer automatically based on this number without any further verification. All additional data included in the transfer order (such as the concept or beneficiary’s name) are messages addressed to the beneficiary, not the bank.
- The country where the transfer is being sent is also relevant:
- If it’s a SEPA country (European Union member States and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland), it’s as if the transfer is sent within your own country: your money will be available, at the latest, the first working day after the funds have been deposited in the bank. Transfer costs must be shared between the payer and the beneficiary, so, the bank from which you ordered the transfer will charge you its costs and the beneficiary’s bank will charge him/her accordingly.
- If the transfer is made to a country outside SEPA, the funds may take longer to reach the beneficiary’s account, and costs do not necessarily have to be shared. In addition, if a correspondent bank is involved in the transaction, yours must inform you about the possibility of this correspondent bank charging its own fees.
- In any case, the bank must provide you with the following information: a reference to enable you to identify the transfer together with information concerning the beneficiary, when available, the amount in the currency used, a breakdown including all costs and fees that you paid or must pay (plus the applicable exchange rate, if this is the case), as well as the date in which the transfer order was received.
- What happens if, despite it all, the transfer is made incorrectly or hasn’t been carried out at all?
- If the mistake is yours, your bank must reasonably try to recover the transferred amount by contacting the beneficiary’s bank. However, you must know that the latter won’t be able to refund the amount of the transaction unless there is consent from the beneficiary or by means of a legal mandate.
- If your bank made the mistake by sending the transfer to a different account number than the one you provided or because order was duplicated, it is assumed that you did not authorise the transaction. Therefore, the amount may be recovered without consent from the beneficiary, although he/she should be informed about it.
If you disagree with your bank you may submit a claim.