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Monday, November 28, 2005

Open Letter to Bank of America

I have been banking with Bank of America (BofA) for a few years and have generally been very satisfied with their services. However, one area of their banking practices drives me nuts: International (SWIFT) Money Transfers. Not only is the paperwork a hassle (should transferring money really require a 30-45 minute visit to the bank these days?), but unless you're careful, they'll screw you on the fees. Today's visit to the bank spurred this rant sent to the anonymous "Contact Us" elves:

I am appalled at BofA's blatant attempts at swindling your own customers when it comes to oversees money transfers. I just completed a SWIFT transaction to Norway, and had I not been mindful of your outrageously poor currency exchange rates, I would have lost another 4.5% of my transaction to your scheme.

BofA's system "recommends" that money transfers to Norway be done in Norwegian currency, i.e. that BofA handles the currency exchange. BofA's rate today for purchasing NOK was ~0.156. When transferring USD 850 this would have resulted in a net transfer of ~ NOK 5450.

Knowing that the current USDNOK rate was actually more in the neighborhood of 0.149, I insisted that the transfer be made in USD, but only through the help of a third BofA employee was my request fulfilled.

The receiving bank in Norway operates with a buy-sell spread of 0.1491-0.1486. By insisting that the Norwegian bank handle the currency exchange, I saved nearly $40 on the transaction – my net transfer will be ~ NOK 5700.

Is it not enough that BofA charges over $40 per SWIFT transaction? Must you screw your customers as well?

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3 Comments:

  • Welcome to the real world where customers get screwed on every turn. Nothing new there. Never ever trust a service, especially if it involves money. Nobody out there is in business to make money for you.

    By Anonymous Alex, at Wednesday, November 30, 2005 2:46:00 PM  

  • I do believe I've lived in the real world for quite a while.

    But anyway, my gripe isn't that some big bank tries to make money - my gripe is that BofA extends worse service to one of their own customers than some random bank in Norway does to a complete stranger.

    By Blogger Oskar, at Thursday, December 01, 2005 5:04:00 PM  

  • Turns out the savings were only $28, but still...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, December 13, 2005 8:53:00 PM  

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