So, it was time to make the final payment on the England trip so I had to attempt, yet again, to do a transfer in pounds from Wells Fargo. The exchange rate has improved so much since the price was posted that even with the $20 fee for the transfer, we’d both be saving $600 by paying in pounds instead of dollars. I had tried to pay the deposit in pounds but Wells Fargo said the bank code was invalid so we ended up paying that in dollars. The tour people insisted the code was valid so I looked it up online (it was perfectly valid) and armed with the print out from the web headed to Wells Fargo with a butload of cash in my pocket. I’d looked the exchange rate up online and got enough cash from the credit union to cover the balance and the fee plus some extra. After depositing the money, they sent me over to a personal banker to do the transfer. He filled out a big online form, still had trouble with the code despite my proof that it was valid, chose another and hit enter. This is how it went from there:
Banker – You have insufficient funds to make this transfer.
Me – What do you mean? I just deposited plenty.
Banker – This shows you’re short by $105.
Me – What rate are you using because I checked before I came and based on today’s rate I should have extra.
Banker – We use a regional rate.
Me – A regional rate for an international transfer? Are these rates posted anywhere?
Banker (looking sheepish, guilty and a little bit scared) – No.
So, with the payment due in 2 days and no other mechanism to pay, I had to write a check (they require cash but he said I looked reliable(!) so he overrode the transaction so it looked like cash) for $105 extra dollars so they could transfer the money. What it all comes down to is they tell you there’s a $20 fee but they neglect to mention that they jack up the exchange rate to something having no relationship to reality what so ever so they in fact make $200 on the transaction. This is why I bank at a locally owned bank and a credit union. Big banks are in the business of screwing their customers at every turn so they can pay their executives big bonuses. If you bank at one of the mega banks, consider moving your money to somewhere smaller. Check out http://moveyourmoney.info/ for a list of local banks with excellent ratings. Don’t contribute to the crooked banks!