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I sent a payment through international bank transfer to Germany. But, the account holder name has special characters like ö, ä, ü, and etc. In my case, it's ü.

Is there any other words that are equivalent with ü (read: u with umlaut), that in some way the correspondent bank will accept it and it's world-wide accepted?

Because if I changed it to just u/ue, I'm afraid the bank will regard it different than it's supposed to and my transfer will be stuck.

The account holder name is as important as the IBAN. When the receiver bank checks the IBAN and its account holder name is different with the one I specified in the transfer, they won't accept the transfer and my money will get stuck and it's taking forever to (maybe) get the money back to my home country bank account. (according to my experience, check below comments for the story)

E.g: Grundstücksverwaltung and Grundstucksverwaltung have different meaning.

Any help is appreciated.

UPDATE

27 Jul 2018 I followed my home country bank’s recommendation and changed the ü in the beneficiary name to just simple plain u (not ue).

28 July 2018 Turns out transfer was successful. I can conclude if there’s special characters (like German ö ä or ü or Danish å ø etc), banks probably tolerate it to the closest word (globally recognized ones), like ö with o, ü with u and so on. Thanks to everyone who has given opinion or answers.

Hopefully for those who face same problem as me can get some answers from this thread.

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    "When the receiver bank checks the IBAN and its account holder name is different with the one I specified in the transfer, they won't accept the transfer and my money will get stuck..." Do you have a source for this statement? It doesn't match my experience at all, and while I've never transferred to German banks I have made international transfers within the EU where I couldn't remember the full name of the recipient. (And in fact the sidebar of this question includes a link to money.stackexchange.com/q/49486/24999 which seems to support my experience). – Peter Taylor Aug 27 '18 at 10:59
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    Have you asked the bank? – Darren H Aug 27 '18 at 12:03
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    It used to be until some years ago that transfers had been rejected and sent back if the receiver did not match, but this has changed. As long as we are talking about the SEPA. – TorstenS Aug 27 '18 at 12:55
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    Not just banks, also ICAO identification documents e.g. passports. There are standard ways to deal with these things, and banks in any case are used to dealing with minor misspellings. – Ben Aug 27 '18 at 16:50
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    I use totally wrong names, names of the company instead of the individual account holder and whatnot all the time, never has any transfer been rejected because of that. – PlasmaHH Aug 28 '18 at 9:44
34

I am from Germany and occasionally avoid Umlauts because I use a non-German keyboard layout. So I might share some experience here.

Usually, the German financial institutions are ok with ue, ae, oe, sz/ss in upper- and lower-case variant. In the wild, even minor variants of the account holder name seem to be ok. What's most important is the IBAN, and the holders names seem to function as a checksum counterpart.

Fun Fact: until the mid 2000s, most German banks ran operating software that could not handle Umlauts. So you actually have been supposed to use Umlaut variants like UE, AE, OE or sz/ss.

You can find the umlaut conversions in this post at German Language exchange: Conversion table for diacritics.

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    The name of the letter (Eszett) notwithstanding, the digraph corresponding to ß is ss, not sz. – Psychonaut Aug 27 '18 at 12:04
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    @Psychonaut: It's the most common, but the various orthographies differ. Some use a contextual substitution. It's precisely this sort of inconsistencies that justify an imprecise match. – MSalters Aug 27 '18 at 13:45
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    I would like to add that AFAIK the banks are not required to validate the name input. The IBAN is what matters. – bytepusher Aug 27 '18 at 21:46
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    @PaŭloEbermann Since some time, the ẞ (uppercase variant of the ß) has been added to Unicode and later on also to ortography. – glglgl Aug 28 '18 at 7:13
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    @Joshua: ToUpper(ß) as ß is not silly at all. The capital version of that letter was only officially declared part of the alphabet in June 2017(!), so anyone writing German at this time learnt the alphabet without it! – bytepusher Dec 19 '18 at 21:38
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Chances are umlauts are ignored/implicitly converted anyway.

SWIFT symbols

It is important to remember that cross-border payment form can only be filled in with SWIFT symbols. If illegal symbols are used, the system will give an error message and it will not be possible to confirm the payment. SWIFT symbols include the following:

SWIFT symbols

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z a b c d e f g h I j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9+ ( ) ? ' : - / , .

Symbols not allowed for payment forms:

NON-SWIFT symbols

! @ # $ % ^ & * ; " | \= _ < > { } [ ]

If names contain letters with diacritical marks, they should be replaced with the closest basic letter without the marks. For Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Spanish names with tildes, a-rings and o-slashes, the diacritical should be simply ignored: Å = A; Č = C, Ñ = N; Ø=O, Œ = OE.

source: Nordea

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    This quote unfortunately doesn't tell what to do with German names. – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 27 '18 at 21:37
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    @PaŭloEbermann afaik ø is equivalent to the German ö, so I'd replace ü with u rather than ue... – 0xFEE1DEAD Aug 27 '18 at 21:39
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    @0xFEE1DEAD Œ is replaced with OE, so why not Ö? – glglgl Aug 28 '18 at 7:14
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    @glglgl: Because the umlaut is a diacritical mark, while Œ is a digraph. Digraphs are decomposed into their constituent graphs, diacritical marks are omitted. – MSalters Aug 28 '18 at 11:41
  • @MSalters Nevertheless, the AE/OE/UE/SS replacements are much more usual. – glglgl Aug 28 '18 at 12:25
6

Replace ä with ae, ö with oe, ü with ue, and ß with ss.

If possible, use the correct letters. It may not be printed on the keyboard, but for example on a Mac, you press and hold the a key and after a second or so a little window comes up letting you pick various variants of the letter a. Use ae if the website doesn't accept it.

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    actually, in my case, it's not even possible since the bank immediately called me by phone (after i left) and asked it to be changed. I, then, asked their opinion and they recommended the ü be changed to u. Well, i said yes and i hope banks will tolerate variant letters like that. In my country (maybe the same for the others), we have 2 forms for intl transfer: physical (written and signed by myself) and digital (filled by bank). Probably, they will compare both. I will always update the question tho until the transfer is completed. – samuel christian Aug 27 '18 at 14:04
4

Is there any other words that are equivalent with ü (read: u with umlaut), that in some way the correspondent bank will accept it and it's world-wide accepted?

For names, especially in international transfer only the basic 26 latin characters are valid. AFAIK SWIFT will reject anything else. If at all, some interface may change it to the base letter, U in your case. Then again, this may in fact cause rejection, as it's (almost) unheard of in Germany to drop the umlaut dots.

Because if I changed it to just u/ue, I'm afraid the bank will regard it different than it's supposed to and my transfer will be stuck.

It is standard for account names that umlauts are handled as their two letter equivalent. Similar to when printed on credit cards - which leads to the effect, that in web interfaces holders of such names have to enter it like spelled on the card.

Within Germany (and some European countries) orders can be made using umlauts. Outside it's better to play safe and use the two letter equivalent (UE for you)

The account holder name is as important as the IBAN. When the receiver bank checks the IBAN and its account holder name is different with the one I specified in the transfer, they won't accept the transfer and my money will get stuck and it's taking forever to (maybe) get the money back to my home country bank account.

The introduction of IBAN by EU law did remove the legal requirement to check for the holders name. Banks may still do it, but it's no longer required.


Unrelated side note:

E.g: Grundstücksverwaltung and Grundstucksverwaltung have different meaning.

Err, I hav to admit, I'm German, but never heared of a Grundstucksverwaltung - what's a stuck supposed to be and why does it need management? SCNR :))

  • Stuck is a mixture of gipsum, lime stone and sand, and decorations made of Stuck or also called Stuck. You will find lots if you visit any old palace. (English: stucco) – gnasher729 Aug 27 '18 at 16:42
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    @gnasher729 Well aware about that, but the whole word doesn't make any sense. Point is, taking the dots away in that example makes it nonsense, not giving it another meaning. – Raffzahn Aug 27 '18 at 16:47
  • @Raffzahn Isn't the "null meaning" another meaning, technically speaking? – glglgl Aug 28 '18 at 14:43
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    @Raffzahn well, i know Grundstucksverwaltung has no meaning, i was just giving an example how important the (umlaut) dots in German. From a word with meaning to a word with no meaning, just by changing ü to u. – samuel christian Aug 28 '18 at 16:33
0

Out of interest and fun, friends and I began writing completely fake names in order to find out which ones are rejected during SEPA transfers.

We've been doing it for a few years now, in Germany and France, for both domestic and international transfers, up to a few hundred euros.

"M. Ricou" instead of my real name, "Mamoox Vonderbruecke" instead of "Maxime Dupont"...

Every single transfer worked fine, and we couldn't find any hint that the bank cares about anything else than IBAN and amount.

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You may even see banks which turn Grundstücksverwaltung automatically into Grundstuecksverwaltung somewhere in the process.

  • This is more of a comment than an answer and doesn't seem to add anything that hasn't already been said. – 0xFEE1DEAD Aug 28 '18 at 20:40

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