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Wire Transfers from US, Vacation Rental, Mallorca

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Aug 24th, 2015, 08:35 AM
  #1
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Wire Transfers from US, Vacation Rental, Mallorca

I recently rented a villa for a week in Mallorca. The owner insisted that I send a deposit via wire transfer to secure the rental, as opposed to using a credit card because they didn't want to pay the 3% credit card transaction fee. Instead, I was saddled with a $45 fee from my bank in New York -- a pretty standard charge for an international wire transfer.

In reviewing my options, I found that today there are many cheaper ways to securely transfer funds internationally, including PayPal, Google Wallet, transferwise.com, ex.com and more. Many of these services transfer money faster than my large, international bank would guarantee (five to eight days in their case).

My guess is that a wire transfer within Europe, EU to EU country, is not nearly as expensive or time consuming. Mallorcans are used to dealing primarily with British and German travelers. However, I'm wondering what others have found securing vacation rentals on the island, and what is considered the norm?
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Aug 24th, 2015, 08:44 AM
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Well for a Brit a $45 bill for a simple payment would be extortinate unless you were talking serious money, I'd find a better a bank

Still there are worse ways to pay as well and while Mallorca is well set up I've found other continental countries and their companies who almost hide the transfer information.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 08:59 AM
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Using a wire transfer, or possibly any other means of transferring cash, as opposed to paying by credit card, leaves one with zero recourse, should fraud, or even just misrepresentation of the rental become an issue on arrival.

I confess, I did it once and was charged a similar amount for the service by my bank. But I never will again (a time when I believe I can say "never"). The world is awash in vacation rentals of every description that can easily be booked with a credit card, so I see no reason to do it.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 09:33 AM
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We use ex.com and have the funds debited from the account. There are two ways ex.com transfers funds. Wiring funds cost $22, a flat fee. ACH/EFT (electronic funds transfer) cost you nothing. ex.com makes it's profits off of the difference in the exchange rate, typically 1.5%.

You will have to set up an account with ex.com. Setting up a personal account shouldn't take that long. Business accounts require more paperwork.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 09:44 AM
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yeah, they always warn you never to do wire transfers due to fraud.

I don't think the $45 fee is that extortionate, I suspect it's kind of normal for a foreign bank transfer. Costs are lower when it's domestic. And given the amount wasn't even named, it could have been a small fraction of the payment. So no, you can't find a better bank as they all charge around $45-50 for that.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 09:48 AM
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I only do PayPal.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 09:59 AM
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>I don't think the $45 fee is that extortionate<

You forget to mention that banks also get you with their rediculous exchange rate, usually 7% to 12% higher then the mid-market rate.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 10:23 AM
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Your instincts are right. The $45 charge is peanuts, believe me. That is a good number if you MUST pay by wire.

My daughter's French landlord's rental agency demanded wire transfer, nothing else, for her study abroad apartment. AT our first go via a rather famous international banking institution with whom we had been dealing with for more than 20 years, we were not only charged more than $45 at the outset but then were charged some sort of middleman and also bank deposit fee on the landlord's end.

Total cost? $95

Yeah, we were NOT happy. But the landlord wanted all future payments via wire transfer. If we could have opened a Paris bank account (and believe me, we could not--been there, done that--too long of a story), it would not have been a problem. Ergo...

I spent a lot of time exploring other alternative wire transfers. On this forum, someone mentioned what Schwab would do if you had an investment account with them.

We did. The outgoing at the time was under $25; there was no middleman fee; landlord deposit fee was less for some reason. Total? Under $45. Thank goodness.

I not only did my next wire transfer with Schwab but also asked them for a debit card (could lower credit on it to one penny but increase cash withdrawal to $2,000) so that we could pay the rest of the four-month rent and utilities easily in cash.

It worked. No wire transfer fees; great international debit card for all.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 11:19 AM
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I'm sure I'll find myself in a similar situation in a few weeks. I guess $45 deducted from the total cost of our trip isn't very important, but it is the cost of a good bottle of wine. Having done a bit of research, I've found there is quite a bit of faud on both sides in the rental market in Mallorca so have some sympathy with those renting.

MmePurdue, renting where I could use my credit card was my original intention. Unfortunately, the place I decided on may not accept credit cards. I haven't ventured that far into the process yet. Many places in Mallorca do not provide credit card options. When I narrowed down our requirements as to location, number of rooms, facilities, etc., my paying options also became fewer. Sure, I could rent with a credit card if just any place would do. It won't.

I do have a Schwab account so may go that way and try to make sure travel insurance covers any problem.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 11:37 AM
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Historytraveler, you might consider shopping around on several websites. There are so many online opportunities, it's even possible you may find the same rental on a site where you can pay with a card. Many rentals list on multiple sites.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 12:12 PM
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Historytraveler, I'm sure you are now moving onwards, but your post is helpful to those who will be renting in the future.

What MmePerdu says about finding the same rental on different websites IS true. We eventually found the same Paris apt rental on two other websites. One cost more; one cost less.

The devil, though, is in the details. Who knows what additional fees would then be added on? The paperwork involved for the four-month rental was so intricate that once we had traveled down one path via the first agency, we were reluctant to leave it in case we would lose the "perfect" apartment.

In retrospect, it worked out well. My daughter was competing with other students for this type of apartment, and getting it locked down quickly was worth more than the $200 or less over four months to rent. Pickings in the same price range, same neighborhood, and same length of time were darn slim!

Good luck to all in this position.
AZ
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Aug 24th, 2015, 12:13 PM
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Historytraveler, I should add, I don't think many here would say "any place will do" so you aren't alone in that. And being not alone, the people here are a great resource when you run out of options you've thought of yourself. Don't book your second choice until you've used up all possible avenues.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 02:31 PM
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I agree that this forum can be a great resource. Glad I saw AlessandraZoe's comment about Schwab. It may not be my best option, but gives me somewhere to start. In recent years, booking with credit card and pay on departure from hotel/B&B makes it so easy. This will be my first time traveling to Mallorca, and it certainly has required considerable research.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 03:37 PM
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historytraveler:

I am so happy with my Schwab debit card, thanks to peeps here. And the "Schwabbies", as I refer to them, have told me that hitting the airport ATM as soon as I land helps them track me.

Unlike my regular bank (to whom I refer as "my personal highway robbers" due to their wire-transfer costs), these people actually really want to know when I'm going and when I'm coming back. When I hit any airport ATM, they know I'm "on track".

BTW, we did a cycling trip to Mallorca in the spring. We started off visiting Valencia and then flew to Palma, where we met our cycling group 48 hours later.

We returned to Palma and stayed in another place before we headed off to Toledo.

Some of our observations in Palma and when with the cycling group might be of help. Two restaurants I booked personally on Mallorca I loved.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ugh-toledo.cfm

We liked Mallorca a lot.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 05:53 PM
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I am a happy "Schwabbie." I have sent many transfers through them with no issues. They always call to go over the details before sending the wire (I bring it to the office, but someone has to call me from some other office.) They are very thorough and they do not mark up the exchange too much - maybe 1%.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 08:02 PM
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Most brokerages have a similar debit card deal to Schwab. I've been avoiding ATM fees and having ATM fees charged by other institutions refunded to me for years. It's a great deal.

I was just today researching how to get money to Burma (Myanmar). My bank charges the standard $50 fee for an international wire transfer, but my banker said they could also do Western Union. He checked and the fee for Western Union would be $30. It's been a while since I asked my brokerage about foreign wire transfers, but I'll give them a call tomorrow.
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Aug 24th, 2015, 08:13 PM
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AlessandraZoe, I remember now reading your trip report when I first starting looking at Mallorca for family trip. I look forward to reading it again. I'm afraid it's about 20 years too late for me to do a cycling tour, but, if I was younger, I'd be game. Also noticed your stay in Valencia. My daughter and family ( husband and two boys 9 & 11) will have an additional couple of days before heading back to London and home. They're thinking of doing Barcelona or, possibly, Valencia so will forward your trip report to them.
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Sep 18th, 2015, 06:36 AM
  #18
 
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Interesting that Joe popped in here today out of nowhere to make two postings (his only ever) about transferwise.

I have to look into this Schwab idea since we too have been hit up in the past on wire transfer fees.
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Jan 22nd, 2016, 01:45 PM
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I won't send wire transfers. Paypal is the cheapest and fastest option. It's so easy to open a PayPal account that I wonder about any rental that isn't set up for it. Homeaway and AirBnB strongly advice their users to never send money via wire transfer to avoid fraud. I recently rented a house in Spain for this Spring and initially the owner requested a wire transfer. I declined and offered Paypal instead. No problem. He had an account.
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