Getting Paid Overseas: 5 Ways Transferees Can Avoid Delays & Headaches

6.4.19 | You’ve secured an apartment but you can’t move in until your landlord gets a deposit. Your child is scheduled to start a new school next week but the office is waiting for tuition. You haven’t been paid in weeks.

For employees who relocate overseas, payment delays can happen and sometimes, they bring relocations to a grinding halt. While the causes vary, there are things a transferee can do to mitigate delays and confusion.

1) Coordinate with your bank

Before you receive any international wire payments, contact your destination bank. The destination bank, also known as the beneficiary bank, is the financial institution that will receive your funds and disburse them to you. By doing the following, you can avoid common oversights that impede payment and invite frustration.

    • Get the exact wire payment instructions. When it comes to international payments, every country has different regulations and these can change on a moment’s notice. For example, some countries require an account number while others, mostly in Europe, require an IBAN – an international bank account number.
    • Ask your bank if they need to work with an intermediary bank. Transferring money across borders often involves three banks: the bank from which the money is coming, an intermediary bank that processes the transfer, and the bank that receives the funds – your destination bank. The intermediary bank usually tacks on a processing charge, known as a lifting fee (explained below).
    • Ensure your account is set up to receive foreign currency. If your bank account is not designated to receive foreign currency, your payment won’t be deposited. Check for the specific currency, too. Don’t assume your account can accept any foreign currency.

2) Understand lifting fees

“What is this fee?” is one of the most common questions transferees ask upon reviewing their bank statement. When an intermediary bank is involved, as explained above, they will charge a processing fee. This can range anywhere between $15 and $100 per transaction.

3) Double check your numbers, then check them again

A single incorrect digit has the power to stop an international wire transfer in its tracks. Pay special attention to the numbers you submit. Also, make sure the bank account you cite is not your old, closed account in the states. (This happens more often than you would think.)

4) Factor in foreign holidays

The Monday following Easter is considered a bank holiday in several European countries, including Germany, Austria, Italy, and the United Kingdom. There’s also Ascension Day, which may close banks in France, Norway, and The Netherlands. The calendar is full of foreign holidays that are unfamiliar to Americans. Moreover, some of these observances span an entire week. To avoid unexpected delays, plan your bank activities around holidays that may affect any or all of the financial institutions involved in the transaction.

5) Understand value dates

In our online world, we are accustomed to getting things immediately but with an international wire transaction, your deposit will not be instant. A value date is the date on which the funds will be available to you. Typically, it is two business days after the wire is processed but it can take longer depending on currency, holidays, and the beneficiary bank’s in-country regulations. If you do not see the funds in your account on the value date, contact your bank.

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