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Top Things I Learned About Sending A Wire Transfer From the U.S. to EC

Picking out a new car was easy.  Getting the money to the dealership in Ecuador:  not so much.

Ten years ago, when I lived in the U.S. and was paying for my Quito condo, I sent a series of installment payments from the U.S. It was a simple process.  On each occasion, I went to my U.S. bank, sat at an officer's desk while she filled out a one-page wire transfer form .. and I signed.

Arranging a wire transfer this week from Chase Bank to the car dealership in Quito was a trickier process.

Coming up, what I learned...

cccmedia in Quito

Top Ten Things I Learned About Sending a Wire From the U.S. to Ecuador When I Was Already in Quito

10.  Don't expect to get it done the first time.  I made four trips to the international-call center in order to achieve the result.

9.  Make sure the bank-wire instructions you get from a vendor are complete.  The instructions from Autolandia were missing one piece of information that Chase wanted -- the 'zip code' of the dealership.  That cost me an extra trip while I obtained that information.  If I had had my cellphone with me, I could have gotten the zip code faster.

8.  Bring your laptop to the international-call center to fill out the online bank-wire form.  There are typically computers at these centers, but they're at least ten feet from the nearest phone cabina, making it impractical to use the center's phone and Internet simultaneously.

7.  Bring your debit-card information.  I didn't have it with me on an early trip to the call center.  Chase wouldn't allow me to get the authorization code because of the omission.  That cost me another trip.

6.  Expect to be on the phone for a while.  The final call I made lasted over 40 minutes.  At 25 cents a minute, that was about $15.  Had I called from the cheap call-centers in Marsical at 7 cents a minute, I could have paid less.

5.  You may have to play Beat the Clock.  Chase gives a customer only 10 minutes after receiving the wire authorization code to get it entered online.  Then the code expires, and you'd have to call again for another code.

4.  Have a bank representative stay on the phone line with you the first time while you fill out the online form.  There are bound to be some issues or lack of clarity as to how to proceed while doing the online form.  In my case, the Chase banking day ended at 4 p.m. after I had filled out most of the online form, and so the transfer was initially rejected.

3.  Chase charged me a fee of $40 for the online transfer, plus a total of $90 for the other banks involved -- an intermediary bank and Autolandia's bank in Ecuador.

2.  Chase predicted it will take 10 days for the transfer to process and the money to arrive at its destination in Quito.

And the #1 thing I learned about wiring money to Ecuador....

1.  Some uplifting news....  Now that I've gone through the process once, the second time should be easier.  Chase's system retains your personal/banking information and the information of the recipient.

cccmedia in Quito

By wiring the money directly from the U.S.-based bank to the Quito dealership, I avoid pushing the balance at my local Quito bank ..over $10,000.

That avoids any requirement to report foreign-bank-account personal information to conform to the U.S. requirements of FATCA and FBAR .. and related fancy fines and prison terms for non-compliance.

Any account in Ecuador and scores of other countries that has 10K or more on any day of any year is subject to the IRS's alphabet soup.

If purchasing real estate, payments can be wired directly into a law firm's equivalent of an escrow account.

cccmedia in Quito

CCMedia,

When you said you made four trips to the international call center, does that mean you were in the U.S. and actually went there, or did you make phone calls?

I have a buddy trying to do a wire transfer and he is having problems, so I am doing some research for him on possible problems.

You know, it dawned me you went to an internet cafe or someplace with a fancier name to make that call to the U.S.  Most people use Magic Jack or Skype for international calls, assuming they have internet.  An international call center made me think of a place in India...................

Nards Barley :

When you said you made four trips to the international call center, does that mean you were in the U.S. and actually went there, or did you make phone calls?

Based on your posts, Nards, it’s now obvious to me that my “Top Ten Things...” post above didn’t make it clear that l was attempting to arrange the wire transfer while I was already in Quito.  So I have just re-edited the headline of that post to clarify my location.

I ultimately had to phone from the Quito call center working my laptop in front of me in order to get the wire done.

cccmedia

cccmedia :
Nards Barley :

When you said you made four trips to the international call center, does that mean you were in the U.S. and actually went there, or did you make phone calls?

Based on your posts, Nards, it’s now obvious to me that my “Top Ten Things...” post above didn’t make it clear that l was attempting to arrange the wire transfer while I was already in Quito.  So I have just re-edited the headline of that post to clarify my location.

I ultimately had to phone from the Quito call center working my laptop in front of me in order to get the wire done.

cccmedia

So how are you able to edit the post and it's quite old? I'm only given 60 minutes?

That’s a fair question .. which gets into some real expat.com “inside baseball.”

I’m sending you a PM to explain.

cccmedia

Is it worth hiring  a law firm just to make the wire transfer easier for real estate purchases? I plan on buying real estate in a about six months. I was contemplating opening up a bank account in Ecuador and slowly moving in over 100k...before I make a purchase.

Paternostro18 :

Is it worth hiring  a law firm just to make the wire transfer easier for real estate purchases? I plan on buying real estate in a about six months. I was contemplating opening up a bank account in Ecuador and slowly moving in over 100k...before I make a purchase.

As was stated above, any USA citizen who has $10,000 or more in all foreign accounts combined on any one day during the year must file special paperwork with their income tax return to disclose all the details.  This is true even if your reportable income level is lower than the minimum required to file a return.  Severe penalties are involved for failure to do so, plus the IRS will be interested In how much interest was earned on the foreign accounts.

Paternostro18 :

Is it worth hiring  a law firm just to make the wire transfer easier for real estate purchases? I plan on buying real estate in a about six months. I was contemplating opening up a bank account in Ecuador and slowly moving in over 100k...before I make a purchase.

OMG, I hope nobody's purchasing property in Ecuador without using an attorney.

That would be a recipe for disaster! :o

cccmedia

Paternostro18 :

contemplating opening up a bank account in Ecuador and slowly moving in over 100k... before I make a purchase.

An Expat considering transfering large sums to Ecuador needs to keep in mind that there is a five percent tax on money transfered out of Ecuador.

So make sure  the deal is solid and the price certain .. before wiring money in.  If you wire more than you need and you don't eventually use the excess in Ecuador, you could get pinched :mad:  on the back end later.

cccmedia

Paternostro18 :

I was contemplating opening up a bank account in Ecuador and slowly moving in over 100k...before I make a purchase.

Payments can be wired directly to the seller or to the seller via the bank account of your attorney in Ecuador.  It may not be called an escrow account, but serves the same general purpose.

In other words, opening a bank account is not a prerequisite to making the purchase.

....

Keep in mind the number-one rule for Expats moving to South America:

Do not buy or build on property until you have lived in the target area for at least one year.

cccmedia

Tx cc..I see what you mean.

Tx Mugtech

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