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Created on 14.09.2023

Gift or helping hand: how to surprise friends and acquaintances abroad

Would you like to give a moment of joy to friends or acquaintances living abroad, whether temporarily or permanently, by making an international transfer as a gift or to provide a helping hand? As our examples show, making international transfers couldn’t be easier.

Birthdays, weddings or just because: there are lots of reasons to surprise your loved ones abroad with a gift or financial support. All you need is good ideas. Everything else – such as paying for the gift via international transfer – can be done almost automatically in e-finance or the PostFinance App. Find out all you need to know about making international payments in our examples. 

A gift for a host family: some money for dining at a restaurant together

Your niece is about to go on a school exchange in Rome, where she’ll stay with a host family. To say a big thank you for their hospitality, you’d like to send the family some money for a meal in a restaurant. To do so, you ask the host family for their account details. 

Tip 1: SEPA payments are free of charge

Did you know that international payments in euros from Switzerland to Germany and 26 other EU countries, as well as to Andorra, the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino and Vatican City are free of charge via e-finance and in the PostFinance App? That’s because all these countries are part of SEPA. SEPA stands for the Single Euro Payments Area.

PostFinance charges a basic fee of 2 francs for all other international payments. In addition to these costs, third-party fees may be incurred from the forwarding banks.

A surprise on a silver wedding anniversary: sweet treats for a party in Mallorca

Your friends at whose wedding you were the best man or maid of honour have emigrated to Mallorca. In a month’s time, they’ll celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in Santa Ponsa with a party that you sadly can’t make. As a surprise gift, you’d like to arrange for your friends’ favourite bakery to provide the dessert catering for the party. The bakery sends you an invoice to be settled in advance.

Tip 2: The details you need for SEPA payments

  • Recipient IBAN
  • Recipient details: name or company, address (postcode/town), country
  • Amount and currency (possible only in EUR)
  • Due date

A helping hand: gardening work in Turkey

Your favourite aunty lives in Turkey, where your father also grew up. She lives alone in a small house with a garden. But now she’s struggling with the gardening because of her age. You join together with your family and arrange for a gardener to tend to your aunty’s garden four times a year to make life easier for her. You make the annual payment to the gardening company’s account at the start of the year.

Tip 3: SEPA payment or not?

Whether or not a payment is executed according to the SEPA standard is recognized automatically and displayed in both e-finance and the PostFinance App. You don’t have to do anything else. 

A birthday present: ticket for a concert in London

Your son started his term abroad in London three months ago. He celebrates his birthday in four weeks. As he’s been raving about a sold-out concert at Wembley Stadium, you buy him a ticket as a gift on a UK online auction platform that’s similar to Ricardo. The seller gives you their name and IBAN so you can transfer the money. In return, the seller sends you the e-ticket.

Tip 4: The details you need to make international payments outside SEPA

For payments with IBAN

Always use the IBAN if available.

  • IBAN
  • Recipient details: name or company, address (postcode/town), country
  • Currency and amount (different currencies, depending on recipient country)
  • Due date or urgent transfer Yes/No
  • Charging option 

For payments without IBAN

Many countries outside Europe don’t use IBAN, including the USA. If no IBAN is available for payments outside Europe, the following details are required:

  • Account number of the payment recipient
  • Recipient details: name or company, address (postcode/place), country
  • Bank recipient (BIC or local bank ID number)
  • Currency and amount
  • Due date or urgent transfer yes/no
  • Charging option

A helping hand with a new start: rent for a shared apartment in Sydney

Your daughter has just started her first job straight after graduating – in Australia. To make her start to life there easier, you send her the first six months’ rent for her shared apartment. You need to transfer the rent to the lessor’s account in Australia.

Tip 5: Select the “Charges to be paid by originator” option

If it’s important that the exact amount agreed is transferred to the recipient account, as with rent, you have to cover the charges. To do this, select the option “Charges to be paid by originator”. If you select the option “Charges to be paid by recipient”, the charges incurred are generally deducted directly from the amount by the banks involved, which means the recipient doesn’t receive the full transfer amount. The charging option isn’t required for SEPA, as no charges are made. Please note that certain recipient banks may charge their customers a fee for credits received via SEPA and for worldwide payments (irrespective of the charging option). This is beyond PostFinance’s control. 

A thank-you gesture: cash for your trip together

In two months, you’re going to visit a good friend who lives in Mexico, so you can travel around South America together. Your friend is happy to book the hotels in advance. You transfer the money you owe him to his account at a Mexican bank – including a thank-you amount as a gift for planning the trip, as he could do with some spending money for your trip together.

Tip 6: Track your international payment

With “Track & Trace”, you can keep track of international payments (excluding SEPA payments) in real time and see the latest fee status at all times, as well as the amount actually transferred. Access the payment in e-finance and click on tracking.

A donation: aid for people in Cambodia

You spent some time working for an aid organization in Cambodia. You became very fond of the people there. Back in Switzerland, you decided to make a monthly donation to support the aid organization. You transfer the money to their account.

Tip 7: Select the currency

You decide in which currency the amount should be credited abroad. Standard procedure is for the amount to be converted into the currency of the destination country. Crediting the amount in Swiss francs (payment currency CHF) is worthwhile only if the end beneficiary’s account abroad is in Swiss francs.

More on the subject

Sending gifts abroad as parcels

Want to send a physical gift abroad? You can get all information at a glance at Swiss Post. Find out here about the various shipping options, what they cost, how long it’ll take for your parcel to arrive and the maximum dimensions permitted for your parcel. 

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