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I live in country A and work for a company located in country B. Every month, my salary (in USD) is paid via international transfer, and an exchange rate is applied for converting it to my local currency (not USD, obviously).

My issue is that the exchange rate is always less than I expect (I'm checking the exchange rate using Google mainly, this link shows its data providers). For instance, supposing that the rate that day was 1.00, the transfer rate described in my bank statement would be only 0.97.

I'd like to know, who determines the exhange rate? Is it the sender bank, the receiver bank, someone else? Is there anything I can do to get a better rate, like changing to another bank?

(I found only this and this as potencial duplicates)

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The bank does and unless you have agrements with it in place you get royally screwed. Always has been like this.

What we do in cases like this is:

  • Not use the banks. TransferWise and other international transfer services give you a WAY better exchange rate and take and transfer out local currency.
  • Chang money NOT as part of transfers. We get a foreign currency on a local foreign currency account and then exchange larger sums via the banks FOREX desk - with a negotiated rate for their services. BRUTALLY better.

In your case the first is out, but you could talk to your bank about opening a USD denominated account and then POSSIBLY (the numbers may be too low) use alternative means to do the exchange.

  • Thanks for your answer. I use TransferWise personally, it's very good... unfortunately that's not a choice for me because my company decides how to send the money, and they do via their bank international wire. Can you please better explain the second option? I'm afraid I didn't understand it. – Megaptera novaeangliae Nov 21 '19 at 8:37
  • Simply. Have USD account, getm money into USD account, negotiate exchange rate with your bank. – TomTom Nov 21 '19 at 9:35
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The actual exchange happens with an inter-bank exchange rate, which is what you find in the internet, but both banks can tack on their fixed or proportional fees - as well as any intermediary bank.

You should read both bank's fee schedule, and do the math to optimize it for you - each bank has little interest in saving your money. Often, the bank that does the exchange takes the lion share (by adding a percentage, some are nor ashamed to take 3-5%), but it depends.
By picking the transfer currency, and ultimately the banks you work with, you can optimize this; as others mentioned, non-bank services could be the cheapest option.

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