Payments – How I Paid My Dues

Let me start with a quote. Florence Scovel Shinn, author of The Game of Life and How to Play It, stated in her book: “I have a wonderful work, in a wonderful way, I give wonderful service for a wonderful pay“ – and this is still of key importance today.

As we move more and more to online teaching, and as we teach globally, we need to make sure that our students know how they can pay us.

Doing Business Globally – Bank Transfers

When doing business globally, we have to think about how we want to receive payment and how we want to send money to other people. But how can people send money to each other without having to pay unbelievably high bank transfer fees?

The idea for this article is based on a recent personal experience I would just like to share with you so that you don’t make the same mistake.

To make a payment in Euros to a non-European country via bank transfer (with IBAN number and SWIFT code) I tried an online bank transfer which usually is my preferred way of banking. However it was not possible this time. When checking in with my bank, I was advised to fill in an international bank transfer form and bring it to the bank. So this is what I did because I considered it the safest way to transfer the amount due. In my case, I agreed to pay the bank charges of the foreign bank, because I didn’t want my contract partner to have to pay additional bank charges just as I wouldn’t want to pay any extra bank charges on money sent by my of my client.

However, when I finally got my bank statement, I almost fell off my chair ! I saw that the bank had charged me 1.5% of the amount due plus the charges of the foreign bank (in this case they are called OUR charges). My bank could not give any information on how high this amount would be. They said this depended on the amount to be paid and in the end, on the bank itself. I transferred the money and the foreign bank charged me 27.5% of the amount due!

Long story short, my account was debited with an additional 42.5%. Far too much. Literally I can now say “I have paid my dues“. File it under “Experience“. Lessons learnt.

Possibilities of money transfer – Inform yourself!

Possible ways to transfer money
So learning starts with an experience that hurts. At least that’s how it was in my case. As I want to do business on a global and not only on a regional level, I started checking other options for making and receiving payments. And there are a lot of possibilities…

Online Bank transfer
This works well if you have online banking. You need the bank details of the person you are sending the money to, their account name, account number, address of their bank, Iban and swift code (which they can get from their bank), and you simply do an online transfer. If you want payment this way you can send the client your details and they can do the same thing. Some people don’t like giving out their bank detail, which is understandable, but as long as you don’t give passwords and no more than the required information you are fine.

Western Union
You can go to a branch and, certainly in Germany, I think a lot of post offices offer the payment through Western Union. You pay the amount in cash, and the client/vendor has to go to a branch in her/his hometown to get the money in cash. They also have to take their passports as identity or some form of identification.

Money Gram
Again there are branches you can go to. In my case, after having checked a Money Gram branch I found out that it was located in a Hookah Bar – well I wasn’t quite convinced that this would be a good idea to leave my money there. What is a hookah bar?

But again there are extra charges for every type of payment.

This is a quick and efficient way to pay and receive money and you can even do paypal invoices. There is a charge but it’s not enormous. Each party has to have a Paypal account and an email address. It seems to work well.

Check it all out for yourself
I would suggest the following website – – for a comparison. This is just to give you a few ideas and options, in the end of course, it is up to you to decide what suits your purpose best.

I made a mistake here because I didn’t inform myself thoroughly enough before I started the process – call it naive, because I only trusted my bank. But it is from mistakes that we learn.

I would like to leave this topic open to discussion because I think that this is an issue that concerns us all – and maybe we can share different experiences here – so that in the end “…..I give wonderful service for a wonderful pay“, I just don’t want to give too much of my money to a bank or other institution.