I recently (just 7 weeks ago!) paid a cheque from an American world wide Insurance company into my French Bank Account in a vaguely hopeful attempt to have it cashed before next year!
7 weeks is a bit of a record, really speedy stuff, and considering that this cheque had already been taxed by American authorities under a vague title of "Foreign Tax" (no idea what that means) I had hoped that I may get to see the colour of $US in Euros without too much loss in charges.
Well - "hope lies in the eternal breast" - but not with the Banks or Insurances.
Here ya go.......
FRAIS DE PRESENTATION DE CHEQUE....... 97.69 euros.
FRAIS REMISE CHEQUE ETRANGER........-9,50
All that money for the so, so speedy service of 7 weeks.....On top of that, American Tax on something that had already been taxed, annually, as "income".......Just where does the legalised criminality stop?
To rub salt into the wound, I find on the advice site of a well known International company the following.....
"You will probably be charged a currency conversion fee by your bank or by the issuing bank. You may also be charged minimum transaction fees that are so high (US$35 or so) that it might not be worth your while to cash a small check.
In fact, even the European Community publishes lists of charges, and they say "these do not exceed $35".........So - what went wrong?
What went wrong......well - it's just that Banks and Assurances/Insurances don't give a toss for the law. They work on the basis that they can just take so long that the little people will get fed up, and - THEY'RE RIGHT! Even things issued by themselves are not respected...... In the United States wire transfers are costly and seldom if ever used by consumers. As an example of the cost, Bank Of America as of February 2010 charged $25 to send a wire and $12 to receive one within the U.S. For international transfer, it charged $35–$45 outgoing, $16 incoming. (From USA Banking regulations)
I'm also told, by my French Bank, that the best way is to arrange a "Bank Transfer", using the famous Identification called "IBAN" - a number shown on all your Bank Identification papers, given specially to allow the safe and speedy (within 3 working days) transfer from one country to another at the lowest price imaginable. Here is a description:
The Royal Bank of Scotland, who refused me recently the service of "IBAN" on the basis that THEY couldn't do it, quote the following on their site:
3.3 Our charges that apply to international payments are:
I ended up paying FIVE (5) times that! The American International Ins/Assurance company "Fidelity" also informed me simply that they were unable to use the "IBAN" details.....An INTERNATIONAL COMPANY who doesn't know how to do that?
Well I don't think I'll have anything to do with them again. Not very "fidèle" on my part.....!
Of course they can all do it, BUT....it's not going to earn enough for THEM....so they won't!
That is what it's all about.
Other things which are decidedly "illegally legalised" are the facts that the Client is NOT informed of the date of presentation, nor the Exchange rate obtained.
These are things a "nasty" client could, and in my case WOULD use to control the amount "offered" at the end of the transaction. One could almost get the impression that the complicated tables and charts, updated every few seconds, are uniquely for the Banks and other Financial whizz kids, NOT for clients as well!
I recently had a situation where my checks, daily, on the exchange courses showed a difference of up to $2,500, from one day to the next, and almost always to the detriment of the client - of course!
Well - where else could the poor bankers get the money to award themselves another "BONUS"........
Maybe we should all follow the advice of years ago, and use the only really safe place to put our money....safe that is from the Bankers.......That would also give us a new source of making economies, although no guarantee for the tenderness nor taste could ever be given...just like in real life...
Of course, this simple question will remain unanswered - far too difficult for a modest little man of figures to answer.......