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One of my relatives wired me money from a BOA account in US to a Nationwide account in UK.

All the details were correct but the IBAN, the IBAN doesn't actually exists. The person who transferred me the money has arranged with BOA to put a recall on the funds 7 business days ago. Since then, she hasn't received them back.

I'm a little worried. Most of the information I was able to dig up online specifies it usually takes 2-3 business days to get the money back, especially when the IBAN doesn't exist at all.

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  • So, the non-existing IBAN, which includes an internal checksum, was technically valid? Or was no validation involved? - As the algorithm is public knowledge and trivial to implement in an electronic processing system, I'd suppose it should constitute negligence on the side of the bank to not validate. If the IBAN was by accident technically correct, it might be a bit harder to argue. – I'm with Monica Jan 12 '17 at 16:30
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    @AlexanderKosubek Nope, the non-existing IBAN is technically invalid, I checked on iban.com and also manually did the calculation using mod 10 and 11. The account number checksum is correct but of course doesn't correspond to then IBAN, and the check digits are incorrect. – winsmak Jan 12 '17 at 17:05
  • @AlexanderKosubek it is not mandatory for US banks to validate IBAN. IBAN is mostly Europe, Australia – Dheer Jan 12 '17 at 17:13
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    @Dheer Exactly, on their side they proceeded with the transfer without any error, otherwise the money would have never been debited from the sender account. It probably got blocked when it arrived to UK clearance bank or intermediary bank. – winsmak Jan 12 '17 at 17:17
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    @Dheer I know that IBAN is not used there, but why should they not have to use reasonably trivial measures to ensure no damages to their customers happen? - I don't know how common law works very well, but shouldn't they have to use reasonable measures to prevent damages? – I'm with Monica Jan 13 '17 at 7:18
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7 days is starting to get a bit long, but not a disaster yet.

The person who sent the money should at this time contact the sending bank again.

At the moment the money will be sitting at the correspondent bank in England.

It will take them time to send it back to the US bank, and then it will take time to return it to the sendor.

You say the IBAN "didn't exist".

Did the sendoer send it to

  • the correct destination bank?
  • the correct SWIFT code for the destination bank, if they gave one?
  • the correct account name ... and address etc?

You don't have to give an account number. It's a manual process. It's not inconceivable that after some verification the money will reach the receivor.

"information I was able to dig up online specifies it usually takes 2-3 days...

So, people who spend time writing on the internet, are idiots : I have never, ever, seen a send-back done in only a couple days.

It is not panic time yet but sendor should certainly now ask BOA again, and seek specific details. ("Where is the money >now<, does the correspondent bank still have it?" etc.)

One thing that will cause huge problems is that, the staff at BOA (or any bank in the US) who handle wire transfers know, literally, nothing at all about wire transfers. When I say "nothing" I mean "absolutely nothing".

So it is always an uphill struggle.

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  • "So, people who spend time writing on the internet, are idiots" says a person who spends time writing on the internet. I hope you're intentionally including those of use who write answers on Money.SE in that broad description. (It would be appropriate to do so: Answers here are meant to be general guidance about what one might expect from more reliable sources and/or point to such sources; answers are not reliable financial/health/legal/etc. advice in and of themselves). – WBT Jul 19 '18 at 18:17

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