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Created on 18.11.2022

International payments: how they work for festive season surprises

Would you like to surprise your relatives or friends abroad with a sum of money or pay an invoice you received online for a gift you’ve ordered from abroad? This is quick and easy with an international payment.

For whatever reason you want to transfer money abroad in the pre-Christmas period, you can make international payments in‑e-finance in just a few clicks. And the money is already on its way to the recipient’s account. Our four examples show how it works:

Example 1: Last-minute Christmas money transfer to England

Rose has been living in Switzerland for two years and has to work over Christmas. A visit to her family in London over the festive season is sadly out of the question this year. She has been so busy at work that she has even neglected to get and send presents in time. But she still wants to surprise her family with some money that she will send via bank transfer to her parents’ family account. But time is short. It is already 22 December. How long does the transfer take?

Tip: The “urgent” option for last-minute transfers

With international payments worldwide (Giro international worldwide), the credit takes one to two working days. It’s even quicker with the “urgent” option. When the acceptance cut-off time is met, the amount is usually transferred on the same working day. The “urgent” option is available for transfers in EUR, USD, CHF, CAD, GBP, NOK, SEK, CZK, HUF, PLN and ZAR.

Example 2: Sending an invoice amount to Germany for the festive wine

During their last autumn holiday, David and Milo travelled through Germany. On a stop in a wine-growing area in Württemberg, they discovered a small wine farm. They brought three cases of wine home with them. They loved the delicious flavour so much that they have since finished all the bottles. A few days ago, Milo ordered a new delivery as a surprise for the festive meal. Now the invoice has arrived too. How much are the fees for the international payment?

Tip: SEPA payments are free in e-finance

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 for you as a customer in e-finance. SEPA is the abbreviation for Single Euro Payments Area − the standardized payment region that enables easy and transparent payment transactions in Europe. E-finance automatically defines whether a SEPA payment is possible or not based on the information you enter.

Example 3: Transferring the rent for the Christmas holiday apartment in Italy

For once, the Klein family will spend this Christmas holiday by the sea in Italy, instead of in the mountains. They’ve had a tip from a friend about a holiday apartment. The private Italian landlady has asked them to transfer the rent into her account in advance. But the Kleins have only the name and address of the landlady and the IBAN. So the Klein family isn’t sure whether these details are enough to transfer the money to the account at the Italian bank.

Tip: For SEPA payments, only name, address and IBAN are needed

For SEPA payments, the IBAN, name and address of the account holder are all you need. The BIC (bank identifier code) is no longer required.

Example 4: Paying an invoice for a vintage gift from the USA

Vivienne’s boyfriend collects radios from the 1950s and loves American design. On the website of a vintage retailer in the USA, Vivienne has found a collector’s item that would be perfect for her loved one. According to the retailer, the perfect Christmas gift will be shipped as soon as the amount is paid in advance. How can Vivienne ensure that the agreed amount gets to the retailer?

Tip: Manage the charges for Giro international

The fees for international payments via e-finance outside of the SEPA region are two francs (for Giro international worldwide) or twelve francs (for Giro international urgent). Third-party fees can also arise per dispatch that are charged by the foreign banks involved. You have the option of paying these charges so that the recipient receives the full amount. To do this, select the option “Charges to be paid by originator”. This option is not available for SEPA payments as deductions are not permitted from the transfer amount.

How international payments work in e-finance

  • Log in to your e-finance
  • Under “Payments”, enter the international IBAN or account number for the recipient
  • Enter the required details such as the address, amount and the urgency of the transfer (Option “urgent”)
  • PostFinance automatically selects the optimal and least expensive option for you.
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