As I work with clients throughout Europe it has been incredible to note that since July 2015 SEPA came into effect and still there are banks that are trying to charge clients fees for international (European) transfers!
SEPA (The Single Euro Payments Area) is a payment-integration initiative by the European Union for the simplification of bank transfers denominated in Euros. As at July 2015, SEPA consists of the 28 member states of the European Union, the four member states of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), Andorra, Monaco and San Marino.
This initiative was started to stop the outrageous fees that banks were charging people to make transfers within the European Union, especially in the light of the restrictions and increased costs which impacted on businesses and individuals trading and working across borders. Basically one of those things that makes great sense, but yet, incredibly, there are still banks out there who are charging account holders large fees for transfers. Now I would like to think that these were innocent mistakes but this means that either your banks are ignorant or EU regulations and have not communicated these changes to their staff or that they choose to continue to pull the wool over their ever suffering clients to their own profit and greed.
Consequently many people are turning to PayPal or other sources to transfer funds and paying the charges that these companies levy (which are slightly less than the banks), which again means money going into big corporate pockets when it should be going to yours.
It is important to note that when making these international transfers it is a condition that you are transferring Euros, within the SEPA area and that you set the transaction to 'shared expenses/charges'. Under these conditions you should not be charged. If your ignorant or greedy bank (yes many of you know that I have not got much love for banks) still decides to charge you here is some information that you can share with them. You should also ensure that you have the person's IBAN and BIC numbers and in some instances they will ask you for (although they really don't need it) the Bank and Branch as well as your recipient's address and full name (again mostly doing it the way it was always done and not moving with the times but it is just worth making sure that you have this information).
This link can validate your account number into an IBAN (by the way most banks sent out a confirmation for everyone to do this) -
This is all the information about SEPA -
Here is information about how SEPA is MANDATORY for EU Banks -
If you bank is still not likely to help you, firstly you should advise them that due to their lack of compliance to the EU Banking standard you will report them to the relevant authority choose any of the organisations below who initiated this and play an active role:
The European Associations of Corporate Treasurers (EACT),TWIST, theEuropean Central Bank, theEuropean Commission, the European Payments Council, the European Automated Clearing House Association (EACHA), payments processors and pan-European banking associations –European Banking Federation(EBF),European Association of Co-operative Banks(EACB) and theEuropean Savings Banks Group(ESBG) – are playing an active role in defining the services which SEPA will deliver.
It's time to ensure that we get the treatment that we deserve!