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Frequently Asked Questions



Frequently Asked Questions on Foreign Exchange
Why are the rates in newspapers or on the Internet different than the bank foreign currency rates?
Where do the bank foreign currency exchange rates come from?


Frequently Asked Questions on International Payments

What is an International Payment?
How do I request an International Payment?
What information is needed for an international payment?
What is an IBAN?
When can I request an International Payment?
Should I send an International Payment in U.S. dollars or foreign currency?
How do I obtain the required information for an international payment?
What fees are assessed for an International Payment?


Frequently Asked Questions on Foreign Banknotes (Cash)

How can I buy or sell foreign currency banknotes (cash)?
What is the cost to buy or sell foreign currency banknotes at a branch?
Is it better to purchase currencies before my trip or to wait until I arrive?
Can I use my debit card to purchase foreign currency overseas?


Frequently Asked Questions on Foreign Check Deposits

Can I deposit foreign checks to my account?
When can I have access to my funds when I deposit a foreign check?
What happens if the check is returned?
What types of fees will be charged when I deposit a my foreign check?



Frequently Asked Questions on Foreign Exchange


Why are the rates in newspapers or on the Internet different than the bank foreign currency rates?
Foreign exchange rates in the newspaper and on some other currency conversion sites are wholesale rates that are available to banks and are typically for transactions of U.S. $1,000,000 or more.

Where do the bank foreign currency exchange rates come from?
The Bank’s foreign currency exchange rates are based on market conditions and are provided by sources such as Reuters and Bloomberg. Foreign exchange rates will vary from bank to bank and depend on many factors such as the type and the amount of the transaction. Exchange rates for retail transactions are not the same as exchange rates for large foreign currency transactions among banks. Foreign exchange rates are available to customers at their request. These rates are provided as an indication only. A firm rate is applied once the transaction is executed.

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Frequently Asked Questions on International Payments


What is an International Payment?
An International Payment, also called an International Wire Transfer or Remittance, is an electronic transfer of funds to another country.

How do I request an International Payment?
Visit your nearest branch location and request an international payment. You will need to have an account with the Bank. The Bank will need to obtain proper identification from you prior to initiating your transfer. This may include but may not be limited to a valid form of identification.

What information is needed for an international payment?
Our branch representative will request the name, address and account number of the beneficiary along with the beneficiary bank name, address and routing information including the SWIFT BIC (bank identifier code). For European payments, an IBAN is required.

What is an IBAN?
An IBAN is an International Bank Account Number which is standardized across European Union country borders and is used for routing payments among European banks. All European banks require an IBAN in order to make an electronic payment to a customer.

When can I request an International Payment?
The bank processes International Payment requests Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5 PM, Eastern Time.

Should I send an International Payment in U.S. dollars or foreign currency?
It is generally best to send local currency. If you send U.S. dollars to a foreign country and the recipient of the wire transfer does not have a U.S. dollar account at their bank, their bank will convert the U.S. dollars that you send into the local currency and credit your recipient’s account. This means that you cannot ensure the exact amount that your recipient will receive because foreign exchange rates continually change. If you choose to send the payment in U.S. dollars, you must provide the name of the U.S.-based bank that accepts transfers on behalf of the beneficiary’s foreign bank.

How do I obtain the required information for an international payment?
The best way to obtain the necessary information to make an international payment is directly from the beneficiary. It is very important to have accurate information since incomplete or inaccurate instructions can cause processing delays and extra charges for the beneficiary.

What fees are assessed for an International Payment?
In addition to the wire fees charged by the Bank (see the current Personal or Business Fee Schedule), any bank involved in processing an international payment may assess usual and customary fees. As a result, the beneficiary may receive an amount less than the requested transfer amount due to these fees.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Foreign Banknotes (Cash)


How can I buy or sell foreign currency banknotes (cash)?
Visit your nearest branch location to sell or order any of over 70 foreign currencies in cash. Over 130 branch locations carry commonly traded currencies for immediate purchase.

What is the cost to buy or sell foreign currency banknotes at a branch?
There is a nominal $15.00 charge for foreign currency banknote transactions. Circle Gold customers do not pay a fee. Non-depositor transactions are limited to the equivalent of $500 per day and include a $20.00 fee.

Is it better to purchase currencies before my trip or to wait until I arrive?
Most international travelers find it convenient to purchase a small amount of local currency before traveling in order to avoid the need to visit a currency exchange immediately upon arrival at their destination.

Can I use my debit card to purchase foreign currency overseas?
Your debit card can be used to purchase banknotes at most international ATMs that are operated by foreign banks. The local bank will assess fees and these fees will vary bank to bank. The foreign currency exchange rates on ATM and merchandise transactions are calculated by the credit card company (MC or Visa) and are generally calculated at 3% over the interbank (internet) rate of the day.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Foreign Check Deposits


Can I deposit foreign checks to my account?
Any valid foreign check can be deposited to your account with proper endorsement. Most foreign checks are valid for 180 days after the date of issuance.

When can I have access to my funds when I deposit a foreign check?
Clearance time for foreign checks varies according to currency and amount. In general, for checks denominated in major currencies or U.S. dollars drawn in Canada, and if valued less than $2500, funds are available next business day. For checks valued between $2500 and $7500 equivalent, funds are available in 5 business days. When valued over $7500 or when drawn in U.S. dollars on countries other than Canada, checks are processed on a collection basis and generally require 4 – 6 weeks clearance time. Checks sent to Canada on collection generally require 3 – 4 weeks for clearance. Checks sent on a collection basis require a minimum equivalent value of $1000.

What happens if the check is returned?
Foreign banks are not required to adhere to U.S. banking regulations related to return items. Unless a check is sent for collection, there will always remain a risk of the check being returned. The Bank’s return item fee will apply and you will be responsible for any foreign bank fees related to the return item. These fees may be significant.

What types of fees will be charged when I deposit a my foreign check?
Fees vary depending on the amount of the check and how the check is processed for clearing. Please see the current Personal or Business Fee Schedule. Any bank involved in processing a foreign check for collection may assess usual and customary fees. As a result, you may receive an amount less than the check amount due to these fees.

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