View Full Version : getting money to Europe

Thad Van Gilder
05-26-2005, 11:41 AM
okay, So I had this sail made in the aland islands for me by the Pommern sailmakers. The money that I owe them for shipping and what not, I have to get to them. They say that I should do a bank transferr to their account. Does this seem normal to you all?

How would you all get cash to them?


05-26-2005, 11:45 AM
Standard Wire Transfer. Why not just use a credit card?
What gurantee do you have that if you transfer the funds they will deliver the sail?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
05-26-2005, 11:58 AM
Well, folks in the Aland Islands are honest people, and should they prove not to be you have the Swedish legal system at your disposal.

Seems perfectly normal to me, but if you REALLY want all the song and dance, open a documentary letter of credit in their favour, just as if you were importing a tankerload of oil! ;)

05-26-2005, 12:57 PM
I do business with northern europeans a bit and especially scandinavians it is very normal for them to request wire transfer of funds they get charged a lot for credit card transactions however some will take a card. but you my friend will get socked with a hefty fee from your bank for sending it as our U.S. banks seem to think electronic wire transfer is an alien thing, even though they do it every second of every day.

good luck!

Bruce Hooke
05-26-2005, 01:09 PM
When I sold some pole shoes to someone in Germany he wired the money to my bank and it all worked very nicely (once I figured out what I need to do). I am not set up to take credit cards so it was the best option available.

One word of warning...when I called my local bank they said that they were not set up to handle international wire transfers. They did not have the appropriate ID numbers and so on. Fortunately, I had an account at a big national bank that I could use. From the sounds of it you pretty much need to be dealing with one of the national/international level banks, and they may also hit you with a charge depending on the type of account you have with them.

The other thing you can look into if you don't mind the wait is an international postal money order. There will be a charge for this but it may be simpler and easier than messing around with wire transfers. It does, of course, mean that you have to wait for the postal service to deliver the letter with the money order to the sailmakers.

Because Europe is so interconnected commercially but still made up of seperate countries, and because apparently the charges the merchant gets hit with for credit card processing are higher there, it would not surprise me if wire transfers were much more common there than they are here.

05-26-2005, 01:45 PM
For us (I am German) it is totally normal to make wire transfers in Europe. They are fast, secure and cheap. Checks are out of date for about 10 years and credit cards are not widely used in business...

I bought my sails in the netherlands last year and payed with wire transfer without any worries.

Thad Van Gilder
05-26-2005, 03:37 PM
well, well, well...

Once again. something I know nothing about!!!!


Don Kurylko
05-26-2005, 04:29 PM
Hi Thad,

Iíve sold boat plans all over the world and transferring money to North America (and visa versa) is expensive and a hassle. International Postal Money Orders are the cheapest, but slowest method. Wire transfers seem to freak out the local banks and are the most expensive way to carry out a transaction. Somewhere in the middle is good old Western Union. They have agents all over the world in the most unlikely places. There are two right here in Nelson, B.C. with a population of only 10,000 Ė one agent is our local Safeway store and the other is a funky little coffee shop on the main drag, so Iím sure there is probably an agent somewhere in the Aland Islands. Western Union has a website that you can checkout for all the details, nearest agents, costs, etc.

Good luck,

George Roberts
05-26-2005, 05:13 PM
Thad Van Gilder ---


Tom Lathrop
05-26-2005, 06:49 PM
I have found wire transfers to and from Europe to be very expensive. Have to pay on both ends. I know it's absurd but our poor banks have to make a nickel somehow.

I use money orders although as was said, they are slower.

Jim Budde
05-26-2005, 07:57 PM
I have clients in very obscure places .. wire transfers work very well. Not sure what others consider expensive .. but charges seem reasonable to me. Having said that .. use a credit card. Best exchange rates you are going to find. And if something goes wrong, you have some big muscle behind you, assuming we are talking about VISA or MasterCard.

[ 05-26-2005, 08:58 PM: Message edited by: Jim Budde ]

05-26-2005, 08:03 PM
I pay charges for boat storage etc in Ukraine...there are Western Union offices all over...Romania, turkey.....etc...it seems there's a WU office in every small berg.....

Tom Lathrop
05-26-2005, 10:07 PM

Does a both end charge of over $40 on a $150 transfer from Belgium strike you as high?

It seemed high to me and I got my local bank to strike their part of the charge. Either that or loose my three accounts.

With an institution not used to these activites, it was also a time consuming hassle. I know it's only a few key strokes on their part to make the transfer but crap happens. Money orders or Western Union until the banks get their act together.

05-27-2005, 08:22 AM
I don't know how expensive your sails are, but beware the SAR. (http://www.sierratimes.com/02/05/27/arwh052702.htm)

Gary E
05-27-2005, 08:41 AM
I have heard horror stories about Paypal.. it is setup for the convience of the seller.. YOU the buyer are is for a shock if you have any trouble at all with the transaction.. Paypal will NOT help a buyer. Check with some of the Ebay sellers who no longer accept Paypal, must be some reason.

Bruce Hooke
05-27-2005, 09:04 AM
Originally posted by Crusoe:
I don't know how expensive your sails are, but beware the SAR. (http://www.sierratimes.com/02/05/27/arwh052702.htm)This is a bit distrubing but in the end struck me as rather alarmist. Given that thousands (or more) of wire transfers that take place every day it is pretty clear the government is not investigating more than a few percent of them...

05-27-2005, 09:14 AM
Maybe I should have said be aware rather than beware.

Todd Bradshaw
05-27-2005, 10:31 AM
I had a problem on a $300 range hood I bought last month and PayPal was quite helpful resolving the problem. It can be annoying to wait their customary 10 day period for them to resolve the issue and their automated phone system is annoying until you figure out how to cut through it, but they've helped me a couple of times without a problem.

[ 05-27-2005, 11:31 AM: Message edited by: Todd Bradshaw ]

Gary E
05-27-2005, 10:49 AM
Todd you wrote...

I had a problem on a $300 range hood I bought last month and PayPal was quite helpful resolving the problem. It can be annoying to wait their customary 10 day period for them to resolve the issue and their automated phone system is annoying until you figure out how to cut through it, but they've helped me a couple of times without a problem.
Nice to hear that is was resolved in your favor, and you also said "couple of times".. I agree it cant be ALL bad. The horror stories I hear are not resolved to the favor of the buyer. Care to share with us what the actuall problem was?

Todd Bradshaw
05-27-2005, 05:38 PM
In this case, the seller's PayPal account had been set up by one of their employees, in his name, which was fine until he left the company. They weren't up to speed on eBay stuff and didn't change it when he left. My $300 went to him and nobody could find him. After 10 days of trying, PayPal refunded my money and I paid the seller directly. As far as I know they never found him and I don't believe they charged the seller for the screw-up. In any case, I got my dual-turbine range hood which really kicks butt and didn't lose any money.

Jamaica Mike
05-28-2005, 01:38 PM
Really, the wire transfer is the way to go. Go to your bank, specify the currency and amount, recipient name, address, Bank routing numbers and account numbers.

I do this all the time in my business, and the bank will provide confirmation, as well as a trace if there is a problem.

Cost is moderate for the service offered.


05-28-2005, 03:33 PM
A side note about PayPal:

* They are now a subsidiary of eBay.

* They are incredibly abusive towards sellers in general. It can take up to 60 days to get your money. If there is a dispute, the seller generally has no recourse.

* If you use a credit card on any transaction, legally you have up to 30 days to void it - which is one reason it takes PayPal up to 60 days to forward money to a seller.

* PayPal has lousy security. They are notorious for losing payments, credit card info and etc.

Another point: there has been a huge upsurge in the incidence of bogus money orders. These days, most bank's "cashier's checks" are nothing more than glorified (and upcharged) money orders. Certified checks are a better bet - payment is guaranteed by the issuing bank.