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I want to transfer money to my US bank account from my European bank account. US bank accounts have default fees (15USD in my case).

Usually, when sending an international wire transfer, one has the option of choosing OUR(sender covers costs), SHA(costs shared), or BEN (recipient covers costs). Since the 15USD are unavoidable, I was wondering if it would be worthwhile to select BEN, wherein the 15USD would be used to cover the transaction costs? Or am I wrong to assume that transaction costs would be covered by that 15USD and in reality the 15USD are on top of transaction costs?

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Generally in a SWIFT transaction, there are 4 Banks involved [at times 2 or 3 or at times even 6].

The 4 Banks are Sender [Originator of Payment]; Sender's correspondent, Receiver's Correspondent, Receiver [Or beneficiary Bank]

All these 4 Banks charge for making a transfer. In SHA; the charges of Sender and Senders correspondent are levied to Customer [who initiates the payment] and the Receivers Correspondent and Receiver charges are to beneficiary.

In OUR all the charges of 4 Banks are to the Customer and in BEN all the charges of 4 Banks are to the Beneficiary.

Or am I wrong to assume that transaction costs would be covered by that 15USD and in reality the 15USD are on top of transaction costs?

As explained above it is incorrect assumption. In this case, the charges will be more. So best is go with SHA. This gives a better view of charges. On a EUR to USD transactions, there would typically be only 3 Banks in the chain. And depending on the Bank, it could also be just 2 Banks involved.

  • Actually, my bank account in Europe is in USD, so no currency conversion is needed. Does that reduce the total number of banks involved in the transaction? – wit221 Sep 4 '17 at 14:13
  • @wit221 The number of banks depends on how the correspondant bank relationship are established. – Dheer Sep 4 '17 at 14:58

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