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How long does a telegraphic transfer take?


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My purchase money is due with the notaires on 2nd January. I have a foreign exchange contract with a currency exchange company which was supposed to transfer Euros to the notaires account.

I discovered today that my UK high street bank (Natwest) has screwed up and failed to pay my currency exchange dealer through a same day CHAPS transfer which I asked for on 23rd Dec. Apparently some idiot at Natwest apparently keyed in the wrong account number(!!)

My bank now says that the earliest it can transfer the money to the dealers is 30th Dec. The dealers have agreed to send the Euros the same day, and say that the receiving bank should get a notification the same day. However this is not the same as getting the money into their account. So my question is, how long would a telegraphic transfer of Euros from a UK bank take to reach a French bank account?

Should I keep my fingers crossed it gets there in 2 working days, bearing in mind that banks are closed on 1st Jan, or should I warn off notaire and vendor and risk their wrath and change my travel plans as well??

And you thought French banks were bad...*$%**%% Natwest!


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CHAPS is a system that only works for sterling transfers.

There is a Euro equivalent called TARGET (Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer) which you should insist that Natwest use as it takes a matter of seconds for the cleared funds to arrive.

I have used TARGET in the past when buying cars in Germany and Belgium, and although the system works perfectly, the recipient banks are sometimes not clued-up enough to realise that the funds have arrived. So ask Natwest to give you the transfer number, and get the notaire to call his bank with this number.

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Do you have a binding contract with the exchange dealers? If not you could try twisting someones arm at Nat West and get them to transfer the funds direct at the same rate as was being offered by the exchange dealers (or compensate you for the difference). My experience of express transfers to France from Nat West is that they take 2 days so you should be OK if you can get someone who knows what they are doing to effect the transaction first thing Monday.

It's just a thought but you would at least be cutting out one leg of the transaction.

In the meantime I would phone the Notaire and explain what has happened.

I hope this works out for you and I think that you should chase Nat West for any losses and cost of time spent. They would soon charge you if the tables were turned.

Best Regards

Alan E.
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