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I received a wire transfer from Europe a while ago. The money was sent as EUR and converted into USD by HSBC. Since the incoming transaction showed an amount that was around 3% less than expected, I decided to investigate the conversion rate and fees applied by HSBC.

I tried to:

  • Go to a local HSBC branch near my office.
  • Use BankMail through their online service on their website
  • Call HSBC general customer service
  • Call HSBC Central Funds Transfer Department
  • Call HSBC Foreign Exchange Wire Investigation
  • Go to the branch were I opened the account to speak with the branch Manager

After months I still haven't been able to determine the following:

  • What conversion rate was applied
  • The fees amount that were applied to my incoming international wire
  • Why I cannot find any fee transaction listed in any of my accounts
  • If and why the fees where automatically detracted from my incoming wire

What can I do to obtain the information that I need?

Where and how can I actually complain about such a terrible and non transparent service?

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The FAQ suggests that you should not ask a questions which are, "a rant disguised as a question: “______ sucks, am I right?” –  ChrisW Jul 29 '11 at 3:38
    
I never read the FAQ, but I trust you. My question has been edited a little bit and i hope that you'll find it more adequate to stackexchange. Still, there's always been to specific question at the very end that I believe distinguish this question from a generic rant. –  Gevorg Aug 3 '11 at 23:09
    
I have had the same problem with SWIFT transfers. I receive about 3% less than the exchange rate, although since the exchange takes a few days it is hard to say exactly what the rate is. Again, no tranparency. Would like another option. –  user5915 Mar 7 '12 at 19:37
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1 Answer

  1. Complain to the person sending you funds. From memory, swift transactions can be set up so the payer or the payee pays the fees. This may be relevant depending on your circumstances.

  2. Don't use them again. Services such as http://www.ukforex.co.uk/ provide faster and cheaper international transfers (at least, from UK to AU). I discovered them when HSBC expected me to visit the branch to send funds internationally. As I live in Australia, this was inconvenient ;-) The service I mentioned was far, far cheaper compared to a bank based swift transfer.

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+1 for the "don't use them again". I stopped using a lot of things and I'll keep doing that every time I feel unsatisfied. Do you know of any services between Europe and USA (EUR-USD)? P.S. Can't complain with my dad though... –  Gevorg Aug 3 '11 at 23:11
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