Transferring money from the U.S. to Germany

23 posts in this topic

Posted

In order to put a down payment on an apartment, I will need to transfer a large amount of money from a bank account in the US to my account in Germany.

 

Basically, I have no idea what I'm doing. I have an account at Hypovereinsbank and an American Citibank account.

 

I've heard that the fees for international transfers can be horrendous, not to mention that the exchange rate is not too great right now. I've also heard that it's possible to open a "dollar account" in Germany, transfer the money in dollars, and exchange it into Euros at another time.

 

Does anyone have any tips or experience with this?

 

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Posted

There is a Citibank in Munich, so I would contact them for the best route. I know several businessmen who bank with them in Munich for this very reason.

 

There was also a thread about this (UK to Germany) ages ago. Do a search on the board, and you will find much more crafty solutions.

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Posted

yes, want to say elfenstar had some strategy through Paypal. Got to be a thread somewhere..

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Posted

Thanks for the quick replies.

I read through these threads but they seem to concentrate either on money going from DE to another country, or smaller sums of money.

 

I pretty much need to transfer a huge chunk of money from the US to Germany. I tried to withdraw money at the counter at Citibank, but since the account was opened in the US, they would not give me more than 500 Euro a day. For the amount I need, I'd have to make daily trips to Citibank for ages to be able to get the sum I need (it's for a down payment on an apartment).

 

Butterbean, you're probably right, Citibank would probably be the best first step, though.

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Posted

Definitely DO NOT use Paypal for a sum that large. If you can't do a transfer for free or cheap through Citibank, then do a transfer straight to your Hypo account. You'll get charge $30-50 or so on the US end, but in the end it's better than the hundreds you'll lose with Paypal's crap exchange rate.

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Posted

Hey Red,

 

I've done this, and it's not too difficult. You may be in good shape because I believe you can do a free international wire transfer between Citibank accounts. So, go to a Citibank in Munich (there's a handful), open an account and tell them you want to do a transfer from your US Citibank account. You'll obviously need your US bank account #, but also the Swift code or IBAN number (these are bank identification numbers, each bank has one). You should establish your account in Germany and get those numbers and then call the US and tell them you want to initiate the transfer. Generally, an international transfer is about $30. The unfortunate thing is you MAY have to sign something at the US bank to kick this off. I thought about this in advance of moving here and took care of it in the states. Possibly, that can be forgoed by explaining your situation to the US bank and giving them all the personal information they required to validate your identity.

 

Good luck.

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Posted

Did it last year when I bought my house here. Not a real problem, but you may have to wait up to six weeks for your money. Large sums get inspected for terrorism links. Have documents ready to prove the money is for a housing purchase. As previously suggested, open a Citibank account and keep it within the "same" bank. Will make it more smooth.

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Posted

Did this many times from US to Germany. The cost of the wire normally is not large (say 20-30 Euro). The real rip off can be in the currency exchange.

I would definitely advise you not to change the dollar into Euros in the US bank. In my experience it is better to transfer USdollars and ask the exchange rate applicable at your bank here in Munich - for large amounts you may be able to negotiate a bit. If you open an account in US$ I do not think you will get any advantage as you will have to exchange the currency anyhow. (unless you can deposit a downpayment in US$).

good luck

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Posted

Good Day,

 

I am thinking about transferring my funds from the US to Germany. What would be the best option in your opinion? There are THREE options:

 

Option 1: Withdraw cash from my US bank account with my US bank ATM card; have the USD exchanged into EUR at my German bank; finally deposit my newly convert EUR into my German bank account.

 

Option 2: Transfer USD from my US bank account into my German EUR-denominated bank account.

 

Option 3: Transfer USD from my US bank account to my US Paypal account; next transfer the USD from my US Paypal account to my German Paypal account (the USD will be exchanged into EUR in the process); finally transfer the EUR from my German Paypal account to my German bank account.

 

Thank you for your advice.

 

Topics merged by admin

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Posted

if you got to an atm in Germany and withdraw cash from your american account it will come out of the machine in euros, problem solved...

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Posted

[adminmerge][/adminmerge]

I read somewhere (here, I think) that German banks (or at least DKB) convert incoming (via wire transfer) foreign currency using the rates displayed at EuroFX (eurofx.de).

 

I'm not sure what that means -- from what I've seen, EuroFX only shows rates for conversions 'from' EUR 'to' the other currency (not the other way around). Those rates presumably apply only to outgoing funds (i.e., funds leaving the German bank & going to wherever).

 

Are rates for conversions that go the other way around (e.g., U.S. dollars -> Euros, coming into a German bank) shown anywhere at EuroFX, or at another website?

 

Thanks.

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Posted

I used FXCompared to compare all the options. I had to transfer from Germany to Australia. For this I used The FX Firm as suggested by the FXcompared site for the amount I had to transfer. I got really good rates and excellent service. For 20000 Dollars here is its suggestion. Most of the firms suggested are FSA(Financial Services Authority) authorized as mentioned in the additional information part.

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Posted

Thanks. Yes, I'm familiar with that website. It's a good one, though it doesn't, as far as I know, provide historical rates.

 

My post actually wasn't intended as an inquiry about a good currency exchange source (thanks for the recommendation of The FX Firm, though I don't see it included in the list of institutions that display via the link in your post). It was about EuroFX, a website that displays rate information. I didn't, and still don't understand how it is that German banks apparently convert incoming foreign currency using EuroFX's rates, but the only rates displayed at that website are for conversions from Euros to other currencies.

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Posted

 

[adminmerge][/adminmerge]

Are rates for conversions that go the other way around (e.g., U.S. dollars -> Euros, coming into a German bank) shown anywhere at EuroFX, or at another website?

 

I'll answer my own question with an 'educated guess,' which is to go instead to EuroFx.com (i.e., not EuroFx.de), where the inverse rates appear to be shown.

 

Presumably one should not be too far off the mark to assume that the rates German banks use to convert incoming U.S. dollars conform, or come pretty close, to these reference rates.

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Posted

I don't think you are supposed to post the same thing in more than one place.

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Posted

Hi,

 

I live in Germany. I work here and my company pays me USD into a US account. Most of my expenses are in EURO. My bank is USAA. They give me 12 free ATM withdrawals a month. A few months ago I had to get $4K from US bank to a German bank. When I asked local banks what exchange rate I would get at ATM, and compared with rate if bank did wire transfer, the $40 wire fee ended up being far better than what I would have lost on the worse rate of the ATM machines. This was counter intuitive because everyone had told me there is no better way than to use ATMs.

 

What do you recommend? With the exchange favoring the dollar now, I want to transfer a large amount but not sure the best approach.

 

thanks,

Brian

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Posted

That's strange about the exchange rate, I have just taken money out of my Schwab bank account (via ATM) and get a pretty good exchange rate. I made a little spreadsheet and calculated the rate, it's wasn't more than 0.5% off the historical rate, except for once last October when it was 1.2% less.

 

Otherwise take a look at Transferwise from US to Germany, that's what most people seem to be using.

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Posted

I'm currently checking out Transferwise as well as Forex. There is no charge with Forex for transfers over $5000. I'll be moving some money soon with the good exchange rates.

 

I would like to know if/why Transferwise is better than Forex if anyone would care to share their experiences.

 

I have read the thread but would like more current info.

 

Thanks.

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Posted

You can transfer your dollars to a Comdirect US dollar account. This way, you don't pay for the conversion. Once there, you can covert to Euros, within the same bank, according to your needs.

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