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International Wire Transfers

Moving Money: A Guide to International Wire Transfers

The best and most common way to move currency from country to country is through a wire transfer. Wire transfers are electronic bank to bank transactions. They can be initiated directly from your bank or other financial institution, such as your investment brokerage house.

 

Guidelines for bank-to-bank transfers:

The originating bank is the party which will initiate the wire transfer. They will generally require the following information:

 

  • Name of the bank to which funds are to be wired
  • Address and phone number of receiving bank
  • ABA, SWIFT, or BIC number for the receiving bank
    • These are numeric or alpha-numeric codes which are used to identify banks and route wire transfers. The type of code varies by location, with Europe for example using a different code (SWIFT) than the U.S. (ABA).
  • Amount of money to be sent
    • Assuming that the money transfer will involve currency conversion, you will also want to consider which institution you would like to have perform the conversion. Check with both the sending and receiving parties on the foreign exchange rate they are willing to offer you. Being smart and negotiating with each institution on the FX rate can save you a lot of money.
  • The account number at the receiving bank
    • IBAN number for the receiving account. (This may be required for receiving banks located within the EU. IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. It is assigned to account owners of banks within the European Union and serves as an account identifier. The IBAN identifies a beneficiary’s bank account and includes specific information the receiving bank will use to automatically apply funds.)
  • The name on the account at the receiving bank

 

Guidelines for brokerage-to-bank or bank-to-brokerage transfers:

Most brokerages are not banks and only banks can initiate and receive wire transfers. Because of this, sending money to or from a brokerage via wire transfer requires the involvement of an intermediary bank.

 

If you are sending a wire from your brokerage house the process will be simplified for you by the wire team at the brokerage. If you are sending money to a brokerage house, you should check with your brokerage representative to get the information on the bank through which they route their incoming international wire transfers.

 

Here is the information you will need:

 

  • Name of the bank to which your brokerage routes incoming international wires
  • Address and phone number of the bank
  • ABA, SWIFT, or BIC number for the receiving bank
    • These are numeric or alpha-numeric codes which are used to identify banks and route wire transfers. The type of code varies by location, with Europe for example using a different code (SWIFT) than the U.S. (ABA).
  • Amount of money to be sent
    • Assuming that the money transfer will involve currency conversion, you will also want to consider which institution you would like to have perform the conversion. Check with both the sending and receiving parties on the foreign exchange rate they are willing to offer you. Being smart and negotiating with each institution on the FX rate can save you a lot of money.
  • The name and account number at the receiving bank (e.g. Brokerage ABC, Account # 999-999)
    • IBAN number for the receiving account. (This may be required for receiving banks located within the EU. IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. It is assigned to account owners of banks within the European Union and serves as an account identifier. The IBAN identifies a beneficiary’s bank account and includes specific information the receiving bank will use to automatically apply funds.)
  • The name and account number at the brokerage firm to which the funds should be credited

 

Source: Worldview Wealth Advisors, By Andrew Fisher – 2009