Global Banking FAQ
Why are the rates in newspapers or on the Internet different than the bank’s foreign currency rates?
Foreign exchange rates published in newspapers and on most currency conversion websites are typically rates available only to banks (i.e. wholesale rates) and are often for a minimum exchange of US $1,000,000 or more.
Where do the bank foreign currency exchange rates come from?
The Bank uses several global sources, like Bloomberg, Reuters, and major currency exchange houses, to establish foreign currency exchange rates. These rates take into account current market conditions and fluctuate during the trading day, similar to how a stock price tends to fluctuate during a trading day on a stock market. A foreign exchange rate can vary from bank to bank, depending on the amount of the currency being traded, the type of transaction taking place (commercial, retail, or inter-bank), etc. Normally, a retail exchange rate will vary from a larger exchange between banks (i.e. bank-to-bank rate). Note that there can be a difference between the rate that is quoted to a customer for “indication only,” and the actual confirmed rate that is locked in when the transaction is finally executed.
Why can’t I buy 1 Euro for $1? Where does the difference go?
The value of a foreign currency against the U.S. dollar is based on many complex economic factors, like inflation, employment, geo-political conditions in a certain country or region, etc., versus those same factors in the United States. Consider it much like a tug-of-war between two sides, where the U.S. dollar is either gaining some rope or losing some rope against another currency. Unless a foreign country adopts the U.S. dollar as its official currency or pegs its currency with the U.S. dollar, there is almost always a difference in how much one currency can “buy” of U.S. dollars and, conversely, how many U.S. dollars it takes to buy one Euro or any other foreign currency.
What is an International Payment?
An International Payment is a transfer of funds (money) from one country to another. It is also referred to as an International Wire Transfer or Remittance.
How do I request an International Payment?
Visit your nearest branch location and request an international payment. You will need to have an account with the Bank. The Bank will need to obtain proper identification from you prior to initiating your transfer. This may include but may not be limited to a valid form of identification.
What information is needed for an international payment?
Our branch representative will request the name, address, and account number of the recipient along with the recipient bank name, address, and routing information including the SWIFT BIC (bank identifier code). For European payments, an IBAN is required.
What is an IBAN?
An IBAN is an International Bank Account Number. This number is part of a standardized group of numbers specific to banks in the European Union and is used to properly route payments to and from other European banks. All European banks require an IBAN to process an electronic payment to a customer. Here is an example of an IBAN number from France: FR14 2004 1010 0505 0001 3M02 606. In this example, FR indicates that the bank is in France, where the numbers and letters following the initial letters indicate the specific bank, its branch, and ultimately, the account number at that branch.
When can I request an International Payment?
The Bank processes International Payment requests Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Central Standard Time (CST). However, the cutoff time to request a same-day international outbound foreign currency wire is 2:00 PM CST, where an international outbound U.S. Dollar wire must be requested by 3:00 PM, CST.
Should I send an International Payment in U.S. dollars or foreign currency?
It is generally best to send local currency. If you send U.S. dollars to a foreign country and the recipient of the wire transfer does not have a U.S. dollar account at their bank, their bank will convert the U.S. dollars that you send into the local currency and credit your recipient’s account. This means that you cannot ensure the exact amount that your recipient will receive because foreign exchange rates continually change.
How do I obtain the required information for an international payment?
The best way to obtain the necessary information to make an international payment is directly from the recipient. It is very important to have accurate information since incomplete or inaccurate instructions can cause processing delays and extra charges for the recipient.
What fees are assessed for an International Payment?
In addition to the wire fees charged by the Bank (see the current Consumer or Business Fee Schedule), any bank involved in processing an international payment may assess usual and customary fees. As a result, the recipient may receive an amount less than the requested transfer amount due to these fees.
How do I receive a wire transfer from a foreign country?
To receive a wire transfer from outside the U.S. to your Bankers Trust account in U.S. Dollars, you must provide the sender with the following information:
Pay by FEDWIRE to: Bankers Trust Company, Des Moines, Iowa
ABA or Routing Number: 073000642
Credit Account Number: (insert your account number)
Account Name: (insert the name on the account)
Can I receive a wire transfer in a foreign currency?
Bankers Trust Company can accept foreign wires in over 30 different currencies! For more information on how to receive a wire in a currency other than U.S. Dollars, please call Global Banking at 515-247-2168.
Foreign Banknotes (Cash)
How can I buy or sell foreign currency banknotes (cash)?
Visit your nearest branch location to sell or order any of over 70 foreign currencies in cash.
Can I buy foreign coins?
Due to the weight of coins and expense of shipping and receiving them, the Bank does not sell or order coins. Only banknotes (cash bills) are available.
What is the cost to buy or sell foreign currency banknotes at a branch?
There is a nominal charge for foreign currency banknote transactions. Click here to see our current Consumer Fee Schedule for pricing. If you have an account with us, you can visit any of our branches to take advantage of this service.
Is it better to purchase currencies before my trip or to wait until I arrive?
Most international travelers find it convenient to purchase a small amount of local currency before traveling in order to avoid the need to visit a currency exchange or ATM immediately upon arrival at their destination. It is recommended to allow a minimum of one week for ordering and receiving common foreign currencies (EURO, Pound, Mexican Peso, etc.) and at least three weeks for delivery of more exotic or lesser traded currencies.
Can I use my debit card to purchase foreign currency overseas?
Your debit card can be used to purchase banknotes at most international ATMs that are operated by foreign banks. The local bank will assess fees and these fees will vary from bank to bank. The foreign currency exchange rates on ATM and merchandise transactions are calculated by the credit card company (MC or Visa) and are generally calculated at 3% over the interbank (internet) rate of the day. Before traveling abroad, call the toll free number located on the back of your credit or debit card with the following:
- Travel dates, countries, cities, and when you will return to the U.S.
- Update contact information in case the Bank needs to reach you.
Foreign Check Deposits
Can I deposit foreign checks to my account?
Any valid foreign check can be deposited to your account with proper endorsement. Most foreign checks are valid for 180 days after the date of issuance.
When can I have access to my funds when I deposit a foreign check?
Clearance time for foreign checks varies according to currency and amount. In general, for checks denominated in major currencies or U.S. dollars drawn in Canadian funds are available anywhere between the next business day to 11 business days or more. Foreign checks that need to be processed on a collection basis generally require 4 – 6 weeks clearance time.
What happens if the check is returned?
Foreign banks are not required to adhere to U.S. banking regulations related to return items. Unless a check is sent for collection, there will always remain a risk of the check being returned anywhere from a few days up to a few months (in certain fraud cases up to 6 years). The Bank’s return item fee will apply and you will be responsible for any foreign bank fees related to the return item. These fees may be significant.
What types of fees will be charged when I deposit a foreign check?
Fees vary depending on the amount of the check and how the check is processed for clearing. Please see the current Consumer or Business Fee Schedule. Any bank involved in processing a foreign check for collection may assess usual and customary fees. As a result, you may receive an amount less than the check amount, due to these fees.