Wiring Money: What NOT to do..


WAHOO!!!!!!! Let’s just say I’ve been waiting for this email for a VERY long time, and means I am OFFICIALLY going to be living in Madrid next year!! Let me explain:

As explained in my post NACLA VS BEDA, to be a part of the BEDA program, we are also required to take a class once per month at Comillas University to help us to become better teachers in the classroom. Due to this course and to keep those from accepting the job from turning it down last minute, we are charged a 175 euro enrollment fee to hold our spot. We are asked to wire this payment. Simple enough, right? Or so I thought. For most people, this was a very simple process that some did at their local bank, and others did through sites like xe.com.  I however, with a stroke of bad luck- and yes, possibly a bit of poor judgement- went into a tailspin after attempting to send my payment.

The morning after receiving my congratulatory email, I walked into my local bank and met with a banker. He was a very nice young man. I had never sent an international wire before, but it seemed it would be pretty straight forward. I had a doctors appointment 30 minutes later, but I just knew I would be in and out, as I wasn’t sure the next time I could get to the bank that week.

After 10 minutes of convincing him the program was NOT a scam, the banker finally started the process of doing the transfer. I started to sense his discomfort with sending a wire transfer, and soon came to find out it was his first time. This should have put up red flags, but I figured it couldn’t be that hard if I just gave him the information he needed. Boy, was I wrong. It took him 15 minutes to fill out the form, and out of stupidity and the realization I was late for my appointment, did not double check what he wrote down. It was not until I got home that night that I realized he had made an error on EVERY line of the wire, from the bank swift code to the beneficiary address to even the actual account number.

The next day I found time to head into the bank again. I told them what happened, to which I got the response “not our problem”.. even though it was partly my fault, I was infuriated! Why didn’t the inexperienced banker say he wasn’t comfortable doing the transfer? Did they really mean to tell me I just lost 200 euro (including the wire fee) for an error that their own banker input? I finally decided to go into a different branch, because in the case of 200 euro, a second opinion seemed necessary. I am extremely glad that I did, because this branch was a little more helpful once they understood what was going on. They sent out an amendment to attach to the original wire (which cost me 30 bucks) and told me it could take up to 10 days to know if the receiving was able to attach it in time. 10 days later, I heard nothing. I marched back into the bank, who then sent out a tracer to FIND the money, which cost me an ADDITIONAL 30 dollars. After 4 days, I saw a positive balance put back into my account WAIT WHAT?! So I just spent 100 bucks to do absolutely nothing and waste two weeks of my life? Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat!

Once I saw this happen, I lost it. I went back to the bank and scheduled an appointment with the bank manager. After 45 minutes of calmly explaining the entire process of what happened and playing the blame game back and forth with the manager, two times of attempting to get up to go withdraw what little money I have in my account to switch to a different bank and try again, and finally seeing the golden lightbulb going off in the manager’s head, they gave me ALL of the fees back.. thank god!!

So. No money sent, back to square one. Thanks to the advice of another girl in BEDA, I made an account with xe.com.  The next day my account was approved, and I began my online transfer! I typed in all of the info for my bank account, then typed in all the info to where I was supposed to send my money. I was so relieved that I could SEE all of the information correct. I waited 5 days, before I got an email… saying the money withdrawal from my account was…. REJECTED!!! WHY!!!? After calling XE Trade, they told me it was the bank’s fault. After calling my bank, they said… uhh…. it’s XE’s fault. Wonderful.


I went back to my bank, not knowing what else to do. I sat down with a completely new and apparently seasoned banker, explained everything, and she finally won me over to let her try to send it. She input the information, I quadruple checked that all of the information was correct, and we sent it. 3 business days later, I GOT THE EMAIL ABOVE THAT BEDA HAD RECEIVED MY PAYMENT!!! IT’S A SPANISH MIRACLE!!

Alright guys, if you read all of that, now it’s time to talk about what you SHOULD do in order to successfully make a wire transfer:

1. Go to your bank, and ask your banker if they are comfortable doing an international wire transfer. If they seem unsure or hesitate at all, smile and ask for a manager, or go to a different branch, preferably one that is bigger, and in turn deals with larger clients.

2. Go in expecting it to take at least an hour of your time- DO NOT RUSH A WIRE TRANSFER.. I was lucky enough to actually get my money back.. others are not as lucky.

2. Make sure you AND your banker understand how to input the information for the account of destination. You can get a GREAT explanation of spanish bank accounts at the wonderful blog named familylifeinspain.com. Here is a photo of the info taken directly from that link:


Where most bankers go wrong is that unlike in the US, European bank accounts use an IBAN number versus an “account” number. The IBAN as well as the bank’s swift code is explained above, so showing him this information might help clarify his understanding. Of course, the banker could always call his bank’s international department and get this same information.

Anyways, that’s all for now. If my errors help just one other person from making the same mistakes that caused me HUGE headaches, I will be content… hey, I already am content- I’m moving to Madrid!!!!!


Have you ever had an issue with a wire transfer? How did you resolve it?

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