Since I arrived here I’ve set up a bank account to transfer money into so I wouldn’t have to cop dumb fees for using my Australia bank card. Both my account here and in Australia are student accounts that I don’t pay fees on. I wasn’t really expecting the no fees to be extended to international transfers but I assumed the fees would be reasonable for making large transfers at a time. I was wrong.
Firstly, let’s start with the exchange rate. I didn’t expect them to give me the market rate because then they wouldn’t make any money, but I didn’t think it would be too far off. Unfortunately I trusted the bastards and didn’t check before making the transaction. According to this graph, the rate at the start of the day I made the transaction was 1AUD:0.63341EUR. According to the screenshot I took of the transfer after it was done, the rate I got was 1:0.5970 which is a massive 6% difference. In terms of money it means I lost €20 or ~$32 to the bank just like that. Then you can see the $18 fee at the bottom that I thought would be the only fee because I’m using god-damn student accounts. I was wrong.
So the $18 fee was just a fee from my bank in Australia. The next day I check the account here and my money has arrived, yay. Then I looked at the transaction history and saw they’d taken €15 out for some reason, so I got my host dad to call them and ask because I specifically asked them if there would be fees for international transfers when I opened the account. Apparently there was an option somewhere in my process of making the transaction that said share fees with recipient or something of that nature, which I didn’t see or wasn’t there. This means that the “cost” of the transaction is shared between the outgoing bank and the incoming bank, which really means I had to pay twice. There was nothing I could do about this but curse all banks so that’s what I did and moved on. Then after my recent trip to Madrid (post coming soon) I looked at my account and saw that I had less money than I thought I should have had. I checked back over the transfer and saw that I had actually been charged twice to receive the money here. I just got home from the bank to check what happened and they told me it works like this. My bank charges me a fee for the transfer and moves the money to an affiliate bank in Europe in EUR. This bank then charges me a fee of €19.50 for the pleasure of receiving my money and transferring it to my bank here whom then charge me again for the shared fee of the international transfer.
In total, the fees I paid were €34.50 and $18 which adds up to $72 at the exchange rate of the day. When the money lost due to the exchange rate is factored in it totals to $104 lost to the bank for 1 single transfer of my own money in one country to my own money in another country. That’s over 10% of the value of the transfer. What utter bullshit. Unfortunately it was all my own fault for not being informed and that just makes it worse.
What I want to know is why banks are allowed to do this? Its not like they’re doing any work to make my transfer, it’s all done electronically. They’re not taking any risks because I’m transferring money that I already have. Surely the number of people they piss of and make leave the service is enough to make them think twice. Maybe people just keep paying because they haven’t found another way to transfer internationally. I certainly will not transfer money through the banks ever again.
Cue shameless self promotion.
And here at the end of all this comes the best part. After a single google search I found a better option, or at least one that seems better. It’s called TransferWise. They have accounts set up in different countries to facilitate a peer-to-peer (like all of the best networks) transfer network and the money never leaves the country. It gets even better. Because the quality of P2P increases with number of users, they’ve set up an invite your friends benefit thing where they give you 50£ when you invite 3 people to sign up, if they each make a transfer of over 200£. When you use the invite link you also get the first transfer free, meaning they waive the practically non-existent fees for your first time. If anyone’s going travelling soon and will need money overseas (need to have an account there) then use this and I’ll get money for nothing lol
PS I did a transfer with TransferWise and it worked