I’d lost $8,000 and neither the sending nor the receiving bank knew where it was. Lost in the banking ether between Florida and Edinburgh. “It’s up to the sending bank, we haven’t received it,” said the receiving bank. “We’ve sent it. It’s up to the receiving bank,” said the sending bank.
“Where on earth is my money!” I said.
Why the problem? All the numbers I’d been given were correct – SWIFT accounts, addresses, everything. So the lost money was a result of some idiosyncrasy on the part of the banks.
And so, for six whole weeks, my money floated around. I received it… eventually… and even got a “consideration” from one of the banks whose New York transmitting branch had sat with the money until we tracked it down. But finding it took a lot of haranguing on my part. ($8,000 is peanuts in the world of international finance.)
This experience taught me a lesson. Now, whenever I send any money from my bank to anywhere – whether to set up a monthly transfer to pay the gas bill or get funds to my kids in Europe – I send a dollar first as a test. If the dollar arrives, I send the full amount.
For the past eight years (since my $8,000 “incident”), I’ve done my “dollar test.” Three times, the dollar either didn’t arrive or arrived after some delay. In each case, a call to customer service of the relevant company resolved the “why” and further transactions with them proved trouble free.
Could a dollar save your day?