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My fiancé wants to transfer a substantial amount from his Norwegian bank account to my U.S. bank account in a different and unaffiliated bank. He says he does not want to wire transfer the money. Instead, he says he has to link the two accounts and needs my security info to do that. The Norwegian account is in Euros and my account is in dollars.

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    Apologies if this doesn't apply, but obligatory-anti-scam-warning: is this a real-life-met-in-person fiancé, or someone you've only "met" on the internet and who perhaps has proposed after a relatively short time? From what I've heard (I'm not from the US), the concept of "linking bank accounts" in the way that seems to happen in the US doesn't extend to the rest of the world, and to the best of my knowledge, it's not possible to "link" the two types of account you describe. Asking for "my security info" sounds very suspicious. – TripeHound Oct 29 at 9:10
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    Another anti-scam warning: Norway isn't in the Eurozone. The currency of Norway is the Norwegian krone. This really seems fishy. – Philipp Oct 29 at 9:26
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    This sounds like scams. There are no such things as "linking" international banking account. Even individual transfer money into their own bank account in a different country, they must keep their income record or risk question by the authority for possible money laundering. – mootmoot Oct 29 at 10:31
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    I assume it's possible to have a Euro (EUR) account in Norway (you can in the UK), but it's unusual, since (as Philipp said) Norway's currency is the Norwegian krone (NOK). – T.J. Crowder Oct 29 at 14:05
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    "He says he does not want to wire transfer the money." Did you ask him why not? If you haven't, do. – T.J. Crowder Oct 29 at 14:06
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There is no banking process in the world which requires you to share your "security info" (passwords, PINs, TANs, mother's maiden name or other authentication factors) with a third party.

No bank anywhere in the world will tell you that there is any situation whatsoever where you are supposed to give those secrets to anyone but them.

No bank anywhere in the world will ever tell you that they need you to obtain that secret information from someone else.

Whenever anyone who didn't prove to you that they are your bank claims they need your banking login for any purpose whatsoever, they either misunderstood something or are lying. Every legitimate banking process, domestic or international, can be done without this.

Assuming that the other party is indeed just misinformed and not acting in bad faith, call your bank and ask them the following questions:

  1. Do they offer an account linking service with banks in other countries? (I would be surprised if they do, but maybe there are actually banks which offer this)
  2. Do they offer an account linking service between accounts denominated in different currencies? (Also unlikely. How would they handle conversion fees? But again, I can't prove a negative.)
  3. If they do, what information does the other bank need about your account? (And here I am pretty certain: They will tell you to fill out forms and sign documents and write letters and maybe show up in person, but they will not tell you to give anyone your "security info")
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    "Whenever anyone who didn't prove to you that they are your bank claims they need your banking login for any purpose whatsoever" Even if they are your bank, apart from using it to logon to their website, none of the banks I've dealt with will ever ask for your full password. The most I've seen is selected characters from a pass-phrase. – TripeHound Oct 29 at 10:13
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    Agree with @TripeHound, your bank never asks you for your login details. It either directs you to a procedure you can perform by yourself providing the details only to the usual login form (which you will reach by the usual means and not though a link found in any email) or will ask for a different form of authentication (ID card or something like that), but it will never ask for your details. Nobody, in any circumstances, needs your password ever. Even if they are indeed a bank employee, they might be maliciuos nonetheless. Never, ever, share password with anyone, for no reason. – bracco23 Oct 29 at 14:13
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    Yodlee and Mint are counter-examples of reputable banking-related services which use an individual's bank username and password (to pull transaction records for budgeting/analysis). Of course, they don't seem to be related to the situation that OP describes. – abeboparebop Oct 29 at 16:42
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    And the banks don't see an issue with some server not under their control storing plaintext usernames and passwords of their customers? Wow. Just... wow... This is a disaster waiting to happen. – Philipp Oct 29 at 18:57
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    The "implied consent" for services like Yodlee and Mint are typically implemented through those services' terms of use, which usually include language stating that you are granting them a limited power of attorney to act on your behalf with respect to banking. – dwizum Oct 29 at 20:05
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There is only one answer to this.

Wire the money. International transfer of money from Norway works very well and has decently low costs.

Any other transfer method will either make you lose money or get a visit from anti-money-laundering law enforcers.

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    The last paragraph is not entirely true. There are third party currency exchange services (such as Transferwise) that act as an intermediate and offer cheaper currency exchange than the bank does. In this case, one would use a "domestic" (euro) transfer to a Transferwise euro bank account (assuming the Norwegian bank account is indeed unusually in euro), and receive a domestic transfer in USD on the other side. – gerrit Oct 29 at 15:27
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    @gerrit ghellquist may consider using Transferwise as "wiring the money" (but I agree, "use Transferwise or similar" is the right answer for how to transfer money. The right answer for the OP is "run away"). – Martin Bonner supports Monica Oct 29 at 15:35
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    @gerrit while thare are many third party services, the only one that a Norwegian bank would offer (I mean, we can see their services and pricelists online) would be the bank wire transfers, not some weird "linking". – Peteris Oct 29 at 22:50
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    @gerrit Obligatory note that Transferwise is the most gimmicky and is usually the most expensive of the services. – Eric Oct 30 at 11:30
  • @Eric I don't know about that. When I checked, Transferwise was the cheapest alternative I could find, and although I have not noticed an increase in price, it may be that since then there are newer, cheaper alternatives that I don't know about. I did look into Revolut as an alternative, but it was not an option for me for a reason I don't remember right now. I'd be quite curious to know which alternatives to Transferwise you have in mind. It certainly is much cheaper than any bank I've used. – gerrit Oct 30 at 19:24
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This answer isn't going to tell you how to determine if this is a scam, and is assuming that your bank and the other bank can do this across borders and with different currencies.

In general one bank will need the routing number of the bank and the account number that is being linked. They then send one or more micro transactions to verify that the numbers are correct. Then the user who supposedly has access to both accounts verifies the sizes of the micro transactions. This step proves that the person has access to both accounts.

The fact that they need to verify the amount of the micro transactions is where a scammer will request the login info. They need to see the transactions. Of course these transactions aren't done instantly so there is no need to be logged into both accounts at the same time. My credit union in their description of the process explains that it can take 5 days. Which means that somebody has to check periodically. This makes the request to have the login info seem legitimate.

Once these accounts are linked money can move either direction. But generally with these links it can only be to the checking account or to a savings account. The login info means that any other accounts besides the checking or savings account are vulnerable. Their funds can be moved into the linked account, just before the funds are transferred out of your bank.

Your bank doesn't need your password. They don't know your password. They store a salted and encrypted version of your password. If a trusted employee, like a loan officer, needs to see your account balances their password protected account gives them the power. If a trusted employee, like a teller, needs to move money into or out of your account their password protected account gives them the power. they need to user their login to make sure the system is logging their activities.

  • Of course these transactions aren't done instantly — in this day and age, it's actually quite ridiculous that it's not done virtually instantly. – gerrit Oct 29 at 22:03
  • @gerrit We have a question about why this is the case. – Philipp Oct 29 at 22:42
  • If the transaction is legitimate, there is no need for one party to have access to both accounts to complete the verification process you describe; it would work perfectly fine with different people looking at the two accounts, and telling each other the transaction amounts. Even if you don't want to comment on whether it's a scam or just an honest misunderstanding, you should remind people never to share their login details. If it's not a scam, they still shouldn't go ahead as planned, because sharing the login details is the wrong way to do this. – IMSoP Oct 30 at 14:24
  • "Once these accounts are linked" - What you describe sounds like a regular bank transfer where normally no single person needs control over both sending and receiving accounts. Or the ordinary ability of a customer to transfer funds between two of their own accounts in the same name in the same bank. Can you provide a reference URL in a US or Norwegian bank's website that describes this international "linking" of different individual's bank accounts between two unrelated banks in two different countries? – RedGrittyBrick Oct 30 at 20:06

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