Originally Posted by kai
Did I mention my pet peeve - currency exchange rates and fees?
Kai, this is a bugaboo that hits all of us who need to pay or receive money across borders. It can feel like highway robbery. PayPal uses a crummy rate (for us, not them). Bank rates may be better depending on where you have your account -- but wire transfer fees are a ripoff. For instance, my bank charges me a $15 flat rate fee just to receive a transfer and post it to my account balance. International wires, that involve a currency exchange en route, invariably trigger "intermediary bank fees" that leave the recipient anywhere from $15 to $20 short, depending on the size of the payment. A recent payment from a customer in Europe (outside the euro zone) left me $24 shy of the invoice amount due to these intermediary fees.
For some years now, I have been using, for international transactions, an online service called TransferWise. It uses an electronic funds transfer system that's fast, offers very competitive exchange rates, and only charges a miniscule service fee to the sender. The best thing is that the payee gets exactly the amount you send, no intermediary bank or currency-exchange fees added on. You can find out how it works from their website. It doesn't get any more painless than this.