The other day I transferred some money from my account in Europe to my account in Japan. I only sent 50 EUR, mainly because I wanted to find out how long such an international transfer would take, and because I wanted to make sure I had entered my endless account number correctly.

The money appeared, quicker than I had expected. And also, much less than I had expected… Besides the money, I received two letters, one from my bank in Europe, the other from my bank in Japan, each letter informing me that the transaction happened (yup, I know that, thanks), and each letter telling me about the fees incurred: 10 EUR.

You are probably not reading this correctly, so let me clarify this: I paid a 10 EUR fee to my bank in Europe, and a 10 EUR fee to my bank in Japan – making 20 EUR in fees for transferring 50 EUR, that is 40 % of the amount! And on top of that, I will have to pay one Yen for each Euro whenever I choose to exchange my Euros to Yen.

I have no idea what happened, I did notice though that the money was here within a day – and most certainly I did not want that because, first of all it says there that a speedy transfer will incur larger fees, and because I wanted to test how long a normal transfer would take. I asked my bank in Europe to explain what happened – and also to send me a list of their fees (I assume that the smaller the amount, the larger the fee), but I have not heard back from them yet. Yes, that’s what they call customer service there, I’m not surprised in the least.