For almost anyone, the idea of transferring money can be stressful. If you’re like me, you’re triple-checking it “went through” even if transferring money between accounts of the same bank.
But this article is not about accounts in the same bank, nor about banks in the same country. This is about international money transfers.
I’m talking about doing it across the ocean,
- when source and/or destination doesn’t speak English,
- and you’re not a financial guru anyway. …yup, stressful.
Well, stress no more.
I’ll do this in a couple parts.
In Part I: we go over some words we’d better understand.
In Part II, we’ll go over some principles about foreign exchange, and do some scenarios.
In Part III, we’ll recap, plus set some expectations about fees.
Disclaimer #1: I am not a bank nor a financial expert. Seek the helpful advice of a relevant professional, like your bank’s customer representative. I can accept no liability for the disappearance of your life’s savings as a result of your following this blog post.
In short, take me with a grain of salt.
Words To Know
The network of banks. Nearly every bank on the world is a part of the SWIFTnet network. And every bank has what’s called a SWIFT code, or BIC. If you see an 11 character code- that’s the BIC.
By the way, SWIFT stands for “Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.”
BIC is a code for the bank (It stands for bank identifier code). It’s a unique number for each bank, just like your social security number is unique to you. BIC is also called the SWIFT code. The SWIFT code or BIC is always 8 or 11 characters. A bank’s primary office has 8 characters. If it’s a local branch, the last 3 specify that branch. For example, NatWest in London is NWBKGB2L. Or Kommercni Banka in Prague is KOMBCZPP.
If you need your bank’s BIC code, look on their website or just ask for it.
IBAN is a code for 1 bank account (it stands for International Bank Account Number). Caution: it’s an intimidatingly long string of numbers and letters, starting with a code per country, bank & account.
You must ask for your account’s IBAN number, because it denotes YOUR account.
This is what we’re on about, right? To transfer money, you need a IBAN and a BIC. That’s it. Oh, and the money to transfer.
Only so many hours in a workday…tune in til next post when we’ll discuss principles of foreign exchange and cover some scenarios.