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The German 'Postbank' offers money transfers to the US on their website. Has anyone experience with that? My question are for the cheapest and fastest way (of course); namely:

  • should I pick 'transfer in Euro' or 'transfer in $', in other words, is it cheaper to let Postbank do the conversion, or to let the receiver do the conversion (this would be Chase)?
  • should I pick SHARE, OUR or BEN (means 'who pays the fees'; shared, Postbank customer, or the recipient)?
  • how long does it take? is it like a wire transfer (meaning 'next day')? or does it take weeks?
  • You should definitely do the conversion in Germany. US banks are utterly pathetic, child-like, at dealing with foreign currencies. Your best bet is to pick "pay your own fees" and then BE AWARE THAT usa banks charge you about $25 (typically) for a wire to arrive at the bank. (Sic, that is not a typo.) the money will arrive at USA bank almost instantly BUT every usa bank sits on the funds for 1, maybe 2 days (not more than that). – Fattie Jun 29 '16 at 13:56
  • "fastest and cheapest" they are all fast (1-2 days), there is no problem there. "cheapest" every single option is a rip-off. there is absolutely no way to avoid the rip-off prices. you will get ripped-off very badly at the US end, and ripped-off a little bit at the euro end. mentally accept you are going to get ripped-off badly, and just "suck it up" you know? :/ – Fattie Jun 29 '16 at 13:58
  • note there are always some suggestions around of "banks in the US that do not charge for incoming international wire transfers" (eg money.stackexchange.com/q/20852/41786 ) I am dubious, I have never found one yet. (Chase is one of the worst, most expensive, and most incompetent banks anywhere - expect huge fees, delays and mix-ups every time.) – Fattie Jun 29 '16 at 14:00
  • Yes, I am aware of the prices... I expect at around 40 EUR (Postbank) + 15 $ (that's what my US bank claims it takes for incoming). I am sure they will charge me a bit more... but it must be done this time. My hope is to find the 5 EUR cheaper variant. I will go with your point to convert in Germany. – Aganju Jun 29 '16 at 14:10
  • regarding finding it 5 or 10 cheaper - right, good luck. (I for one don't have a specific suggestion.) If your US bank honestly charges only $15, really that is great. (If it is Chase I am surprised, I have often sent to them in the US and they have taken 25- or 30- depending on where it's from; sorry if I was out of date.) Example, I sent 3 wire transfers to US (a typical small credit union) last week and the bank (in the US) took $25 in each case. Good luck! – Fattie Jun 29 '16 at 15:52
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For those who are interested, I am answering my own question:

We used Postbank and transferred 6000 Euro, we chose to Transfer in US$, and selected Shared Fees.

There were three fees in total:

  • Postbank took 1.50 Euro when executing the transaction
  • An unspecified intermediary took 20.00 US$ for unspecified reasons (currency conversion, I assume)
  • The receiver bank (Chase) took 15.00 US$, as advertised on their website.
  • the applied exchange ratio was 1.11155 US$/EUR, confirmed to us at the time of submittal; this matches exactly the intraday trading rate at the day and time of sending (2016-06-30 10:29 am MESZ!)
    • It took two business days to appear in the US account and be fully usable at 7 am.

All in all, I paid ~37$; this is about half of what I expected; and I got a perfect exchange rate. Postbank might have its downsides, but it seems they are still a good deal.

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  • If you can't explain the $20, I'd probably get in touch with Postbank (or possibly Chase) and ask them where that money went. – user Oct 5 '16 at 14:56
  • @MichaelKjörling, their total charges were less than advertised, so I am fine with that. If I ask, they might just realize that they charged me less than they should... – Aganju Oct 5 '16 at 15:00
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After doing this many times, my preferred method is:

  • Select OUR.
  • Have the German bank do the currency conversion.

The reason being that the US banks will use every chance possible to take your money in fees. Usually the German bank website will tell you what the current exchange rate. You were correct in selecting Transfer in $ and got the exchange rate. In my experience if you transfer in Euros, the US bank at the other end, will take about 3-5%, because they can.

Selecting OUR means that you only have the fee taken out by the Source bank. By doing shared, it looks like both banks took their full fee. If you chose OUR, I'm fairly certain you just would have paid the 1.50 and the 20. Chase would not have taken the 15.

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