I have received payments in euros via check in the past, and I have never had any issues, which is why I accepted a wire transfer payment from Europe without thinking too much about it. Well, I can now say, that they are two completely different beasts.
First of all, I had to fax (or email) all my bank information. I sat down with my banker to make sure that I had all of the ABA, routing numbers and other necessary codes for the transfer. Once I had everything, I had to send it to the client. Even though I do online banking and even shop online occasionally, I was quite nervous about actually having to send them my bank information. I trusted the client completely but you just never know who might get their hands on it and I have yet to learn how to encrypt emails. I tried calling them so I could avoid having to send the information, but in the course of an entire week we were unable to connect, so I sucked it up and used an online fax service to send them my info. (Who still owns a fax machine?!)
Secondly, my invoice was in dollars and we had not agreed upon an exchange rate beforehand. I, regardless of the change in currency, expected to see the amount of the invoice reflected in my bank account (or at least close to my invoice). When this did not happen and I saw that my total was way off, I spent several hours investigating what had gone wrong. I came to the conclusion that the client had used one exchange rate to calculate the outgoing amount, and my bank used a different exchange rate to convert the incoming funds. This unfortunately created a pretty significant discrepancy between what was due and what I actually ended up receiving. I lost nearly 10% of my total, and this could have been avoided if I had set the rules and chosen the rate. They also failed to disclose that they had outgoing transfer fees.
If an international client cannot write a check or use paypal, it is probably best to just send the invoice in their currency and make note of the date and the exchange rate for that day. This way, everyone is on the same page and you will have control over the rate being used, not them. It is also essential to confirm what the client’s bank fees are, if any, and ensure that they cover them.
How do you deal with international wire transfers?