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An Alternate Payment Plan for Deposits Overseas

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Aug 4th, 2008, 08:52 AM
  #1
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An Alternate Payment Plan for Deposits Overseas

OK, my DH and I came up with a brilliant idea this weekend, or so we think. I need all of you to tell me: 1) is it feasible, will it work and 2)help me iron out any glitches 3) does anyone see any legal issues that might arise.

Many of us rent apartments overseas and I am sure vise a versa, especially through VRBO. Often the landlords do not except credit cards or pay pal which leaves us wiring money once or twice with a $35-50 charge each time and/or trying to take out large sums at the atm the first day to pay the balance. The banks also give the worst exchange rate on this transaction. I have often rented apartments from hotels because of this problem.

There just has to be an easier way. What I am going to suggest might just be it. At this point you would be wiring money to the person so I have to assume that you trust the person and believe the apartment exists!

Coco from Dijon has helped me work out some of the details and says it would work for her.

I would open a NEW free checking account with the minimum amount (25-50)and get two atm cards for it.

I would send one card(snail mail) to the landlord and keep one for myself.

When they received it I would email them the pin and deposit the amount agreed upon .

Depending how much the deposit is, they might have to go to the back a couple of times to withdraw the funds, but, they could check the balance to see that the amount was in there.

They would keep the card for any further deposits and for the final payment, which would be deposited at the appropriate time.

I would then have the account closed or change the pin.


What do you think?
susanna is offline  
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Aug 4th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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Interesting ploy!

My only thought would be that you might need to inform your bank that you intended to withdraw funds from an overseas ATM. My particular local bank could care less, as they don't track such things, but some larger ones might.

BTW, my bank makes no additional charges for foreign ATM withdrawals, other than the 1% that Visa tacks on, so this method might be a real winner for me, if we can ever again afford an European trip. I have yet to stay at Coco's flat in Dijon, so perhaps ----

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Aug 4th, 2008, 09:38 AM
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>< Dick I'd love to try that system with you if you think it is worth it!
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Aug 4th, 2008, 09:46 AM
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I would love to hear how this works out for anyone who tries it. Have had the same experience with sending money for apartments as Susanna. pp
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Aug 4th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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Brava!

I don't see why it wouldn't work. Real outside-the-box thinking there.

Possible glitch: if you don't have sufficient funds in the account to provide for currency fluctuations, the ATM withdrawal transaction might get rejected, costing you an overdraft fee. Ask me how I know. quot;>
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Aug 4th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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Of course I would love to try that method for staying at your flat, Corrine! The only problem I see would be that it appears you are getting fully booked, now that folks have found out how nice the place is.

I guess I will just have to book early.

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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:01 AM
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Really interesting idea!

I am currently frustrated because I have to send a deposit TODAY to Rome for an apartment and they only accept two ways: Send them my charge card info (including the security #) or wire it. I'm going to wire it but, because of transaction costs, I'm going to wire it all, which doesn't make me happy, but the apartment is great and a good deal. We need to pay the balance in Euros on arrival. This time it will work out because Rome is our last stop in Italy so we'll have time to gather the money before arriving.

In January we had to provide the balance on our Paris apartment in cash (Euro's, of course) and it was awful! No bank would give us enough at one withdrawel from our debit card (I had gone thinking I could present our charge card at the bank and they'd take it and give cash-WRONG!). We ended up going to the bank three days in a row and leaving that day's cash in the microwave where the owner could come by every day and pick it up. GEESH! Never again.

Most of the time, we were just asked to send a US check for deposit to a US address, then send the balance by US check 30 days prior to departing.
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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:01 AM
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It sounds feasible to me, as long as you understand your bank fees on foreign ATM withdrawals. A lot of people don't, actually, from reading posts on here. Mine now does charge a 3 pct surcharge on ATM withdrawals abroad, and I know some other banks do, also.

Personally, going to all the trouble of opening a new bank account, etc., would not be worth the cost of my time just to rent a vacation apt. and save a wire fee or get some money on arrival at the ATM. YOu plan to close the account, also, which is more trouble and time. I hate dealing with banks, and avoid it whenever possible.
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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:04 AM
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OOPS, in my previous post I said I was going to wire all the money (and also said I was going to pay the balance on arrival-duh) I got confused between a Venice and Rome apartment. Paying all the Venice by one wire.
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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:04 AM
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Sounds likea cunny plan - as the expresion goes.

The method that I have used in the past is to put cash in an envelope and mail it. I was prepared to take the slight risk that it might go missing.
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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:17 AM
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It's a great plan and well worth the effort to try it but I kinda agree with Christina about it not being worth MY time to do it for a rental. Do you have to do this every time you rent an apartment...i.e. opening and closing bank accounts? Even doing it just once a year is IMO, a pain in the a##@, what more if you need to do it twice a year or more??

In any case I sent out wire transfers to Europe 4 times this year alone, and luckily my bank did not charge me at all for outgoing transfer. Two of the wire transfers I have to pay for THEIR bank charge so I have to wire a bit more than the amount required.(I think €12 more, which was not a big deal).
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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:33 AM
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Has anyone used one of those prepaid Visa/MC cards I see on the checkout counter at Walgreen's?

If their fee structure isn't exorbitant, and if they're not rejected by ATMs in Europe, it seems they'd be a good way to implement susanna's plan. Also a good backup to a bank card as a source of travel funds.
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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:35 AM
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Personal to wombat7: I don't think the adjective you applied to "plan" means what you think it does. I suggest you consult a competent dictionary.

Maybe you meant "cunning" or "canny" - but that's not what you wrote.
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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:39 AM
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I too am tired at losing time and money when renting apts in France and Spain.I did convince one owner to use Paypal for at least the deposit.
My frustration is with the owners wanting their balance in cash.Last June I arrived with a large amount of US dollars and then used the American Express office at the airport to change it to euros.Dreadful exchange rate but they rewarded me with a pen! Awful feeling having that amount of cash even though it was only from the airport to the apartment.
From what I have learned,the owners want cash because of taxes! They avoid paying/reporting their profits from the rentals since their banks don't get involved!!!!
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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:49 AM
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Robes - many thanks for pointing out the typo - I did of course mean a "cunning plan" - No need to consult a dictionary - competent or otherwise.
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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:52 AM
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ooops - I did consult the dictionary. I suppose that is one way to increase your vocab!
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Aug 4th, 2008, 10:52 AM
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A staff member at my bank got very upset when she found I had let a trustworthy family member use a bank card when this person was not on the account. Apparently this violates the terms and conditions. So while it would likely work fine to do as you suggest with the new bank account, I'd be leery of complications.

The cheapest method I have found, if credit cards or PayPal cannot be used, is a bank draft. In Vancouver, I can get these for a fee of $5 plus 1% over the interbank rate, here:
http://www.vbce.info/
WillTravel is offline  
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Aug 4th, 2008, 11:56 AM
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Thanks everyone for your great comments. I would also be interested to hear from our landlords here on Fodor's and what they think about being paid this way.

Comments on a few responses.

Personally, I wouldn't close the account, I would just change the pin which can be done over the phone very easily. This would be a dedicated account for this kind of thing which I do about twice a year. My bank also does not charge for a withdrawal abroad but it does charge 1% of the transaction.


I think that it would be easy to figure out the amount you would have to transfer to cover the exchange rate and avoid an overdraft. I also would not have overdraft protection on this account.

The Visa card is also a great suggestion, will have to look into that.

I don't think that I could put cash in an envelope and hope it gets there, too risky for me..
Love the microwave solution though.

I'm sure there is something about using the card by someone who's name isn't on it, but who's to tell? This way they get cash, which is what they want, I get a good exchange rate, we would all be happy.

Now, my problem is how to explain this to a French/Italian/Spanish person with limited foreign language skills.

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Aug 4th, 2008, 11:57 AM
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Here's a twist.

Don't close the account each time. Just leave enough in it to keep it open -- $50-$100. That is your loss limit.

Have the landlord leave the card in the apartment or mail it to you if they are an agent.

Change the PIN.

Do it all over for the next rental.

The basic idea works well. When our daughter was a student in Scotland, she and her mother had cards for the same account. We deposited in Boston in dollars, and she withdrew in sterling in Edinburgh.
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Aug 4th, 2008, 01:35 PM
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This is not a direct reply to the alternate payment plan suggestion but I am curious why people are not offended that the landlords demand cash because they want to evade payment of taxes and/or leaving a paper trail and so we become part of their"scheme".All we seem to have is the extra expense and inconvenience of getting the payment to them!
Am I alone in being offended by this way of doing business?
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