Talk to Me About Wire Transfers

chisueJuly 28, 2011

We own a vacation rental condo on Maui. Most of our guests pay by check. A few charge the rental. I've just had someone ask to pay by wire transfer.

I do not know anything about this person. Our only contact has been emails, proceding from our ad on VRBO. I'm leary about providing information about my bank account to a stranger.

Am I paranoid?

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Billl

"Am I paranoid? "

No, you aren't paranoid. I would never give a stranger my banking info.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 2:46PM
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sushipup1

Yeah, never give out banking information. NEVER.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 2:58PM
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chisue

Thanks for the mental health checkup!

Some 'regulars' here may recall my posts about whether to offer guests the option to charge their rental expenses. Everyone thought I should do it. I thought I might be missing some guests if I did not advertise that we accept CC's, so I registered with a service in March.

So far, I've had only two guests who wanted to charge anything: Booking deposit, balance due or the $500 damage deposit. One only wanted to charge the booking deposit; he's sending a check for many thousands balance due and the damage deposit. I tell guests that we prefer checks and money orders because the CC's cost us fees, plus 3.5% (4.5% for non-US card holders), and they understand.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 3:33PM
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writersblock

I'd just point out that in Europe almost all the transactions we do by paper check in the US are done by wire transfer, so this isn't necessarily anything sinister.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 5:05PM
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randy427

When you write a check, your account number and the bank's routing number are on the check. This is all the information that one would need to 'ACH' money to your account, so it should be safe to give out this information. I'd still verify this with my bank before doing so, just to make sure it is a one-way-street.
Your customers may wish to ACH funds to you, a fee-free transaction in many cases, rather than wire them, which almost always incurs a service charge.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:32PM
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chisue

randy427 -- Well, duh, you are right: I will be sending the guest a damage deposit refund via a check...with the account and routing numbers on it. What is "ACH", please?

writersblock -- Thanks for the information about non-US customs. This guest is in Australia.

bill?

sushipup?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 12:15PM
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mary_c_gw

They can wire money to you - they can't get money from your account. It's perfectly safe.

As others have pointed out, your bank account information is on every check you write.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 12:55PM
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Billl

When you travel to another country, you have to follow their rules and customs. That is just how international travel goes.

As for your bank info being on your check, yes, it is. I assume you don't just go handing checks out to strangers though either.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 2:17PM
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jkom51

ACH: Automated Clearing House.

Now pretty much supplanted by the term: EFT: Electronic Funds Transfer

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 5:10PM
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chisue

Thank you all. I suppose now I've offended my guest. Hope not. I just had not had anyone want to wire me funds before. I don't believe there's any expense if I *receive* wired funds; just on the sender's end.

I wonder if I should set up a small checking account JUST for the condo rentals and damage deposits. (Limit possible losses.)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 6:04PM
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barbcollins

Check with your bank.

Ours (BB&T) does charge us to receive a wire.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 8:50PM
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writersblock

Yes, my bank charges me $15 to receive, more to send. You might look into paypal.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 10:18PM
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gammyt

Chisue, be aware that if you take a wire transfer, it is the same as if the person handed you cash.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 6:43PM
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dreamgarden

"I wonder if I should set up a small checking account JUST for the condo rentals and damage deposits. (Limit possible losses.)"

I think this is a good idea.

We did this when we opened another brokerage account. We weren't happy with the previous brokerage and didn't want them to know where we did the bulk of our banking.

We only use the account for this brokerage and keep just enough money in it to cover any fees. If there is ever a problem, (hopefully) it will be confined to that one institution and shouldn't affect any other accounts (overdrafts, etc) we have at our other bank(s).

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 12:48PM
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cmarlin20

As said, your check shows all the necessary information. Many people give "strangers" checks all the time, no problem.
It is good to be cautious, paranoid not so much.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:54PM
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marie_ndcal

Yes, for tax purposes you might set up a seperate account, even if it is with our regular bank. That way everything is kept together and not get mixed up with your personal records. I did this when we had a rental.. Same bank, two different accounts. On the checks, I listed rental account.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 9:50PM
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kellyeng

I do a lot of VRBO rentals and most who take CCs do so through Paypal. Very easy & reliable for both parties.

I have a client who pays me regularly using a wire transfer with his Quickbooks program and I don't get charged any fees from my bank.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:55AM
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clg7067

You can use Western Union for a wire transfer. It's instant, and you will receive a code whereby you need to go to a WU agent to claim the money. A lot of convenience stores and grocery stores are WU agents.

I sent money to Sweden using a regular wire transfer. It cost me a bundle because it was international, about $40. Anyway, the recipient in Sweden gave me all her account information.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 3:59PM
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