Can an intermediary bank in a transaction apply currency conversion?
January 24, 2013 1:11 AM   Subscribe

I have a USD account in the UK and received an incoming amount in GBP. However, it was supposed to be sent in USD from the US (so that's a cross-border transfer). The sender also claims that the amount was sent in USD. My bank claims and also the statement tells that the money came in GBP. Because of the double conversion (usd->gbp->usd) I received significantly less than if it happened without any conversion. My only idea at the moment is that an intermediary bank applied a conversion.. Can this happen? How can I clearly find out what happened? How to avoid this from happening again? Thanks for your suggestions!
posted by fifigyuri to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How can I clearly find out what happened?

Did you talk to your bank? What did they say?
posted by devnull at 1:33 AM on January 24, 2013

For future reference... I use xetrade who specialize in foreign currency transfers. They have points of presence in most countries, so you tell them about the bank accounts on either side and they do the transfer. I guess because it's essentially one business, you avoid the clusterfuck that happens with wire transfers at traditional banks.

There is some painful at getting an account setup (sending copies of passports, etc.) but that's a one-time hassle. After that, it's easy. Good rates and no surprises.
posted by kamelhoecker at 2:42 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, my experience is that having a bank account in a non-native currency doesn't work, beyond depositing/withdrawing cash or paying a credit card that is also in that non-native currency. (For example, in Canada you can get USD credit cards.) You can't transfer or receive money without getting screwed on the double conversion.
posted by kamelhoecker at 2:46 AM on January 24, 2013

I have a usd account in the UK at Natwest. I have no trouble receiving usd payments from the USA. The only deduction I get regardless of the size of the transfer is a Natwest fee usually around 10-11 usd. There is no need for conversion to gbp at any stage in the process. If the payment came in in gbp then I would presume the problem arose at the sending bank. Can you get a copy of the sender's transfer order?
posted by londongeezer at 7:43 AM on January 24, 2013

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