In May 2001 there was an ongoing thread or topic on
one of the email lists the writer of this essay belongs the name
of which is not cited for confidential reasons. An investigator
asked how to accept payment from a client in a foreign country?
The writer of this essay answered as follows:
It very much depends on WHERE his client is located and the
sum involved. Cheapest manner is to get a money order in US dollar
or a bank cheque in US dollar drawn on an American bank. The
payers do not like this way too much since they have to pay all
the fees incurring to have this order or cheque issued, but it
is the cheapest way for the payée to receive the money.
The money order or cheque should be sent by registered airmail.
However according to Mr. Andy Grudko  this is not the case
Africa. If one sends a cheque to South Africa there is a 70%
will be intercepted and a fraud be perpetrated by the many syndicates
that operate within the SA Post Office. They will take the payer's
cheque reading US $70.00 and forge it to read $ 7,000.00 in
their favour. Then payer will have to prove it was not his original
cheque or he might lose the $ 7,000.00, which is not the easiest
thing to do if at all finally successful in convincing the banks
involved of the original cheque having been forged.
Mr. Grudko warns that one should never send a cheque to South
Africa, but use a credit card or wire-transfer the money. Others
are of the same opinion .
If the payer is located in Germany and the recipient in the
USA, it is advisable for the latter to work out with the help
of his bank how much the sum X in DM is in US dollar. However,
one should take into conside-ration that there are two rates
of exchange of the banks, one for cash
money and one (in German "Brief") which is used for
transfer. This rate
of exchange is called he official rate of exchange fixed at the
taining stock exchange. In Germany it is Frankfurt/Main.
To calculate the sum involved to be paid, the following steps
For example the sum in question is 5000 DM. At present the
rate of exchange US $1.00 = 2.36 DM. By dividing 5000 DM with
US $2118.644067797 or a full amount of US $2119, or to round
up: US $2120
as a sign of courtesy towards the recipient.
This method is good when the payment is imminent which is
rare (but even
here the rate of exchange may fluctuate strongly in days).
In most instances an offer is first requested for an envisaged
the delivery of goods. Here the time elapsing between an offer
and the final invoicing may amount from several days, more likely
several weeks an months, and in quite a number of fields of activities,
such as in productions of big and complex machinery, airplanes
(especially options), even years may pass until the (final) invoice
is compiled. In the investigative business, especially information
brokers and guard services, one must issue a price list for the
coming (calendar) year. In the travel industry (journeys, hostelry)
or the clothing industry for instance the prices are fixed for
the coming season, but in reality this means planning 1.5 years
ahead in most instances.
When the time elapsing between the offer and the compilation
of the service or the delivery of goods is but a few weeks or
months, one may take the average rate of exchange of perhaps
the past 4 months. If the time between the offer and the payment
will be one year, it is advisable to consider the development
of the rate of exchange in the past and what experts believe
it to be in the coming months. But unluckily they are
quite often are wrong in their prognoses. The German leading
airliner Lufthansa lost much money as did Volkswagen through
such "options to the future".
The writer of this essay usually employs the rate of exchange
of US $2.20,
especially when submitting an offer to American clients, since
the US dollar fluctuates between 2.1... and 2.3... DM.
When the payment is done through a transfer the bank calculates
the final rate of exchange, mostly using the last officially
published rate of exchange at the stock exchange in Frankfurt.
The Zurich stock exchange
or the New York counterpart may quote a different rate of exchange
DM to the US Dollar than to that in Frankfurt. This is due to
factors such as the time of trading (Frankfurt as compared to
the demand and the volume traded at the different stock exchanges.
The "official" rate of exchange of the past trading
day is published in certain newspapers permitted to do so. Not
every newspaper is granted
that privilege. The rate of exchange for the past month one may
from the "international" department of one's bank,
the same applies
to the past year's rates of exchange. However, the average rate
exchange, most important in some instances, e.g. for the IRA
authorities) the banks obtain from the "central banks"
e.g. in the
USA it is the Federal Bank, in Germany the Bundesbank (soon from
the European Central Bank).
A further step to be considered also in offers are the bankers'
Every monetary transfer generates fees on top of the basic bank
International financial transfer fees vary considerably, not
country to country, from bank to bank. One mode of transfer may
cheaper than the other be it the use of a credit card, a personal
a banker's cheque, a monetary order or normal transfer in contrast
to the S.W.I.F.T. or flash mode. For up-to-date information the
should to ask his bank or shop around.
The fees also depend on the amount of money to be transferred.
may vary from 0 to several hundred US dollar, but mostly financial
institutions ask for a minimum (flat) rate, then charge a percentage
(between 1%-3%) but may be also higher, again depending on the
mode of payment and the sum involved.
To keep the transfer fees as low as possible there are several
possibi-lities. If one is very active in a country, there may
be the option
to open an account in that country, but here too one should shop
around concerning the account running fees.
Financial institutions prefer the S.W.I.F.T. mode of transfer.
S.W.I.F.T. is the abbreviation meaning "Societe for Worldwide
Interbank Financial Telecommunication", working like a bank
code therefore. According to the
writer's of this essay past experience proved that this mode
than that of a normal "lettre", but on June 26, 2001
an official at the
Deutsche Bank/Mannheim, International Department, maintained
is no longer so. It is advisable to re-check with one's own bank
One investigator expressed the bank charges very clearly :
Beside being of the opinion that wire transfer is "the
best way to
transact business", it is same day funds, i.e. cash. (NOTE:
this is not
so worldwide). He relies on his fellow professionals to provide
the correct rate of exchange and wire US funds always. The only
derogative feature is that there is usually a charge initiated
by the bank transferring the funds, which reduces the amount.
He states an example
of having received a wire transfer from Norway in the first half
of 2001. The invoice was $400.00. He received $365.00. [Sending
bank charge of $20.00 deducted a fee, and his bank deducted their
fee]. In another
instance a $150.00 invoice resulted in his receiving $95.00.
On large invoices one does not really care about the wire transfer
on the "smaller jobs it hurts" he stated.
He continued in stating that a few years ago, the Citibank
customers to send and receive wires free of charge. Now, it's
$20.00 out, $15.00 in. So, again, on small invoices, the creditor
has to build in the
wire charges. On a large invoice he can absorb the fees. Once,
on a small job from England, he told the British PI just to send
him a cheque in US
funds, (NOTE: but not stating that the cheque should be drawn
on a US bank
perhaps out of ignorance or that he forgot to mention it). The
to be sent to the USA via regular mail. When the US investigator
deposited the cheque, there was a charge for collection of a
foreign instrument. In the USA, or better said, in New York,
most banks offer free checking.
They do away with the monthly charges, but charge fees for every
i.e. the number of deposit slips used, the number of cheques
deposited, the number of cheques written, ATM fees, copies of
statements, etc. (as
do most other banks in many cases too. The banks have this formula
which they assign dollar values to each cheque deposited, each
deposit slip used, each cheque processed, etc., and then take
the average monthly balance, divide it by some secret formula
to arrive at a dollar amount.
If the fees are more than the dollar amount, the bank charges
the difference. If, the dollar amount is in excess of the fee
calculations, there is no charge. However, there is no carryover.
So if the balance is $50.00 v. $25.00 in fees, they don't carry
over the $25.00 to the next month. Wire charges, certified cheques
and other "special services" are not included in this
The American bank of the writer of this article asks for a
of US $1,000, then there is no charges amounts of cheques handled,
monthly balance and etc. Further details can be asked when interested.
The American investigator  further states that if he gets
assignment with a nominal fee, he handles it generally as a professional
courtesy on the assumption that a favour is owed to him. The
writer of this article often also acts likewise although the
of 30 years has taught the latter not to be too optimistic on
hand but on the other free of charge help has come from unexpected
sources or corners of the world.
However in May 2001 the American investigator  had a small
for an Italian PI for whom he did 2 favours in 2000. The Italian
invoiced his American counterpart with $30.00 on a simple matter,
for faxing a page from a telephone book. So, this assignment
American investigator $50.00 with the wire fee (plus the handling:
and expenses of the two favours a year before.
The payer may ask for a transfer using the following methods:
The most frequently used method in the business world is that
everyone pays his own banker's fees. Less often it occurs that
the payer pays also those of the recipient. This method is often
used by private persons, e.g.
parents sending money to their offspring away in college.
Mr. Paul Albert Oostmeyer , another American PI stated
he did several
purchases with private parties and businesses in Germany. Some
were much easier than others. A book dealer in Frankfurt/Main
accepted US cheques, personal or cashier's cheques with no problem.
A porcelain manufacturer on the other hand insisted on funds
transfer from bank to bank. However, in the latter case, a Thomas
Cook cheque in DM sent directly to the manufacturer did the trick
for which the payor assumed the transaction
There is a third method, very rarely used, namely that the
all charges incurring.
Getting the money cash is an option but not a very desirable
for obvious reasons: it may get in reality or "lost"
to "wrong" recipients. The same
can happen to cheques. A friend or acquaintance may act as the
messenger or cash may be put in an envelop, a very insecure method,
even illegal (e.g. this was the case in East Germany)
The option of a friend acting as a courier was used in times
payment had to be done from a country whence money to be taken
Others believe that wire transferring the money is the best
mode , .
When a client has access to Visa Card, Western Union etc., one
them, since these entities being well versed in international
transfer especially within their system. The writer of this article
an advice here since not using them.
However, Mr. Steve Rambam  believes that the use of a credit
card seems the best route. The charge can be in the investigator's
"home" currency, and the credit card also serves as
proof of identity, incl. address (if verified).
The mode of payment: letting the creditor withdraw the money
debtor's account is of no value really in international payments.
Credit cards are in great use in the USA. Many people may
have 10 or
more such tools of payment. In Europe this mode of payment is
frequently used, still in the age of e-commerce which dawns,
of VISA Card, American Express and the like will become also
frequently used in international monetary transfer. WHY?
Again the USA are the forerunners and the suppliers of services
products from other countries easily "copy" or adapt
also that mode
of payment on their websites where their products or services
propagated, although credit cards can be 'disputed" with
a US merchant
having absolutely no recourse against a foreign bank .
This method is a variation of the mode to have the creditor
the money from the debtor's banking account much used WITHIN
a country, e.g. for payment of utilities, newspaper subscription,
and other repetitious payments. Of course also for single payments
method is used, but already here fraudulent deductions are done
often as reported in the media, let alone it is difficult to
vince potential customers to supply confidential data to unknown
partners" who are located abroad or even overseas, thinking
also of the difficulties encountered when one wants to retrieve
the money: Nearly
In Germany still in June 2001 to pay via the Internet is quite
reluctantly adopted. Not only are Germany or other European countries
behind the American online developments about 1-3 years ,
but a great issue is the safety of transferring private and confidential
data (banking and personal) over the "unprotected"
medium Internet, although suppliers maintain that their websites
are safe. Reports in the media show the contrary, even the Pentagon
is vulnerable to hackers.
To facilitate international transfer from bank to bank be
it a savings
bank, a postal bank or a regular bank for instance, codes are
of importance. Like the postal or Zip codes banks have their
codes in many countries but still many countries do not yet have
such, others have the bank code included in the account number.
But surely more and more countries will adopt that system in
Furthermore, like automobiles having plates or at least stickers
showing in which country they are registered, similarly countries
have their "codes", often identical with those of the
automobiles. These codes are needed for the transfer. The currencies
quoted are those used for international monetary transfer.
Listing per German postal bank in their sample to complete
a order for a
Country Country Abbreviation Currency
Algeria DZ DZD
Argentina AR USD
Austria AT EUR or ATS* yes,
code, 5 digits
Australia AU AUD
Bangladesh BD USD
Belgium BE EUR or BEF*
Brazil BR USD
Bulgaria BG USD or EUR
Canada CA CAD
Czech Republic CZ USD or EUR
China (Mainland) CN USD
C.I.S. RU USD or EUR
Croatia HR USD or EUR
Denmark DK DKK
Egypt EG USD
Estonia EE USD or EUR
Finland FI EUR or FIM*
France FR EUR or FRF*
Germany DE EUR or DM*
yes (BLZ), 8
Greece GR GRD
Great Britain (UK) GB GBP
code, 6 digits
Hong Kong HK HKD
Hungary HU USD or EUR
India IN INR
Ireland IE EUR or IEP*
yes, sort code,
Israel IL USD or ILS
Italy IT EUR or ITL*
Japan JP JPY
Latvia LV USD or EUR
Lithuania LT USD or EUR
Liechtenstein LI CHF
yes, sic code,
Luxemburg LU EUR or LUF*
Malaysia MY USD or MYR
Morocco MA MAD
Netherlands NL EUR or NLG*
New Zealand NZ NZD
Norway NO NOK
Pakistan PK USD or GBP
Philippines PH PHP
Poland PL USD or EUR
Portugal PT EUR or PTE*
yes, NIB code,
Sweden SE SEK
Switzerland CH CHF
yes, sic code,
Singapore SG SGD
Slovakia SK USD or EUR
Slovenia SL USD or EUR
Spain ES EUR or ESP*
yes, codigo de
banco, 8 digits
South Africa ZA ZAR
Taiwan TW USD
Thailand TH USD or THB
Turkey TR TRL
Tunisia TN TND
United States of America US USD
The last D in the currency often meaning $, but not always,
e.g. Greece, Morocco.
* per 1.1.2002 the local currency disappears fully substituted
by the EUR. It is most advisable to check with one's financial
institution at the time of transfer, changes are envisaged, e.g.
more countries will also
adopt the EUR.
 Andy Grudko in an email of June 24, 2001, http://www.grudko.com
 Warren Levicoff, in an email of May 23, 2001,
 Steve Rambam in an email of May 23, 2001, http://www.pallorium.com
 An email of May 23, 2001 by an American investigator who
long as there is no reference made to me, my email address,
have, no objection. I value my anonymity. I am a private
 Paul Albert Oostmeyer, in an email of May 23, 2001,
 also this investigator wanted to stay anonymous
 Miriam Ettisch-Enchelmaier, European Resources vs. American,
J. Culligan's Newsletter/USA, March 2001
7 pages, 3033 words, 14,160 signs without and 20,120 with
ETTISCH-ENCHELMAIER GMBH 29 years
S Address: Bodelschwinghstr. 9
Tel. (+49 6238) 989 098
Fax. (+49 6238) 989 099
Fax. (+49 6238) 1 3 1 3
Online: (+49 6238) 989 097
June 26, 2001
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