Paying by bank transfer

Sending money by international bank transfer is very easy, even if you have never done it before. Banks are familiar with sending money this way and they will help you, but you must give them clear instructions.

We have always quoted our prices in Pounds Sterling, but have found that at least half of our customers pay the wrong amount. We have got used to unexpected or unexplained charges by our bank, but most of the time it seems that people send the wrong amount of money. We assume this is not a deliberate act by our guests, but down to  misunderstanding.

Maybe the process of sending money in a different currency is unclear or that the bank has asked you whether you wish to transfer your charges to us. A few words about both seem necessary. 

When we quote you £450, we expect to receive exactly £450.

Imagine buying a product like a budget plane ticket or a sofa from Ikea.  You pay the ticket price. And, if paying by card. you do not get a discount, but almost certainly a surcharge if you are using a credit card. The supplier of goods passes this cost to the customer and so do we. 

Bank transfers attract variable fees. Some are very low and some are quite high. The exchange rate may also hide the real cost of transfer. But the way to look at it is that if you buy a product in another currency on the internet, you will pay the exact amount in that currency at the prevailing exchange rate calculated by your card provider. You don’t have a choice.

The question is, how do you send the exact amount? There is no mystery.

First how not to do it. If you ask your bank to send your estimate, then we will almost certainly receive the incorrect amount. You do not have to estimate anything, rather you ask your bank to do the calculations for you so the correct amount is sent. 

Here is how to do it right. Tell the bank you want to send £450 in sterling. You will be quoted the exchange rate (remember this is the bank’s offer rate, not something you found in yesterday’s newspaper, nor on the internet and not the moneylender down the road). This is often more competitive than the tourist exchange rate, but it is always a good idea to check the rate is reasonable. 

If the bank asks you whether you wish to transfer the charges to us by reducing the amount you send, the answer is a categorical NO! This would encourage banks to charge what they like and is contractually dubious.

Lets show you an example.

If the bank quotes a Euro exchange rate on the day of 1.273000 and we have quoted you £450 then you will be asked to pay Euro 572.85. The calculation is:

450 X 1.273 = 572.85

You will also be asked to pay an additional transfer fee, which in our experience averages about £6-10. Anything more and you should consider asking another bank to do the transfer, or at least question it.  

If you or the bank hides the fee by subtracting the amount from the money you send, we cannot tell if the bank is being dishonest. To date, we have always given our guests the benefit of the doubt, given the disreputable behaviour of banks in the last 20 years.