Best option for receiving international wire transfer from European bank

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Topic Author
vinhodoporto
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Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:14 am

Best option for receiving international wire transfer from European bank

Post by vinhodoporto »

I need to receive an international wire transfer in the high 5 figure low 6 figure range from a European insurance company / bank (Societe Generale). The insurance policy is in Euros but all my accounts are in the US in USD. Trying to figure out the best way to do this...

My original plan was to have them wire the money to my Vanguard account which is where the money will go eventually. Unfortunately SocGen won’t send it there because Vanguard uses an intermediary (Chase). They will only send it to a bank where there is no intermediary. From my research that looks like my options are Chase and BoA? Maybe Wells Fargo but I can’t tell? I’m sure there must be others. None of the banks I currently use are an option so I will be opening a new bank account just for this purpose which is annoying.

Given the amount, I’m not worried about the $15 fees but am concerned about the exchange rate I get charged and any other hidden fees. I’ve looked on a number of bank websites and they all basically say that they make money on the foreign exchange and that the rate they charge is at their discretion and depends on market conditions, their relationship with you etc etc. So it’s pretty opaque what the rate will actually be.

I don’t think anything like TransferWise will be an option given how old school and difficult SocGen is being but I would definitely be open to something like that if possible since it would save me money.

Does anyone have any similar experience? Any recommendations on what bank I should use? Anything else I should be thinking about?
AlohaJoe
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Re: Best option for receiving international wire transfer from European bank

Post by AlohaJoe »

vinhodoporto wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:23 am I’ve looked on a number of bank websites and they all basically say that they make money on the foreign exchange and that the rate they charge is at their discretion and depends on market conditions, their relationship with you etc etc. So it’s pretty opaque what the rate will actually be.
Whichever bank you end up going with, call them and ask for their forex desk. Tell them you'll be getting a wire transfer and tell them the exact amount (don't be coy). Tell them what rate Wise is quoting and ask them what they can do.

Many banks will at least get close to Wise's rates if you're transfering 6-figures of money, provided you call them first.

They don't need to know that you don't actually have the option to use Wise.
sk.dolcevita
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Re: Best option for receiving international wire transfer from European bank

Post by sk.dolcevita »

If I understand it correctly, Wise will give you an account number with IBAN and SWIFT codes. So to the sending party that should look like any other bank. Try it - it is free and takes minutes to set up.

The cheapest option is to have an International Broker account. You will pay only market rate with them. However, I don't know if they use an intermediary bank or not.
Spiderv6
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Re: Best option for receiving international wire transfer from European bank

Post by Spiderv6 »

Use Wise. They will actually establish a Euro based account and a linked USD account that will allow you to deposit, move and withdraw money in a few clicks.

It’s one of those deceptively simple, incredibly brilliant ideas.

My kids are in college in Europe and I am forever moving money back and forward.

It’s a no-brainer option. It will also allow you to take the Euros, park them in Wise and convert them to USD when you are ready and the fx rate is where you want it to be.

These are real brick and mortar major banks behind the different accounts so it’s regulated and backed by the usual financial authorities.

I’m a fan as you can tell……
123
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Re: Best option for receiving international wire transfer from European bank

Post by 123 »

Many banks use a standard FX rate for transactions below a set figure (varies by bank, could be $10K or maybe much higher). Above that set figure they will get a customer FX quote from their FX desk (doing a trade for the incoming wire, could be automated). That FX quote may include a profit margin for the bank. It likely is all handled by the bank's wire room and mostly automated with no branch involvement. That's likely how it works in most banks. Of course FX rates can change second to second, particularly on large sums. You could ballpark it by calling the bank, getting a quote, and see how close that is to other FX indicators you have access to at that moment. The spread the bank uses might be somewhat consistent at the time your transaction goes through, or maybe not.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
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JD Leonard
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Re: Best option for receiving international wire transfer from European bank

Post by JD Leonard »

Schwab provides local (in different countries) bank accounts into which you can have funds deposited. I used this to transfer funds from a German account by providing Schwab's Citibank IBAN and adding a note with the Schwab account number. Last I checked, this was the least expensive means of repatriating funds from abroad. I think this was designed to be a customer service offering rather than a money maker. Call for details on the forex spread.

https://www.schwab.com/public/file/P-10740369
Topic Author
vinhodoporto
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Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Best option for receiving international wire transfer from European bank

Post by vinhodoporto »

Thanks to everyone.

I am going to try to set up a Euro account on Wise. I didn’t realize they could provide an IBAN and SWIFT/ BIC code like a bank. I’ll provide an update once I see if that will work for SocGen. They have been incredibly bureaucratic so far so we’ll see what happens.

I was very skeptical of Wise because they have so much advertising that comes up whenever you google anything related to international money transfer. But it’s reassuring to hear from people here that think it’s a good service.
Last edited by vinhodoporto on Mon Aug 02, 2021 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
vinhodoporto
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Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Best option for receiving international wire transfer from European bank

Post by vinhodoporto »

JD Leonard wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 5:01 pm Schwab provides local (in different countries) bank accounts into which you can have funds deposited. I used this to transfer funds from a German account by providing Schwab's Citibank IBAN and adding a note with the Schwab account number. Last I checked, this was the least expensive means of repatriating funds from abroad. I think this was designed to be a customer service offering rather than a money maker. Call for details on the forex spread.

https://www.schwab.com/public/file/P-10740369
This sounds like a really good option but unfortunately SocGen won’t do a transfer where there’s an intermediary (in this case Citi).
Topic Author
vinhodoporto
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Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:14 am

Re: Best option for receiving international wire transfer from European bank

Post by vinhodoporto »

Just wanted to share an update. I was able to set up an account on Wise and recently received payment.

The whole process was very smooth once I got the account set up. I told Wise I needed a letter on their letterhead with certain account information to give the insurance company and they provided it really quickly. They were also super responsive to questions I had. And of course converting from EUR to USD was just a few clicks.

One follow up question: is Wise considered a foreign account for purposes of FBAR / FACTA? My read is yes (and better to file the paperwork just in case) but curious if anyone else has experience with this?
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