Why we stopped using Afex for incoming bank wires

We receive many bank wires each month from patent and trademark firms outside of the US.  Some months ago in a flurry of micro-managing, I happened upon the realization that Wells Fargo was charging us anywhere in the range of $16-27 per incoming foreign bank wire.  This prompted us to switch over to Afex as a way to receive incoming bank wires, because Afex will receive such wires free of charge.

But we have decided to stop using Afex for incoming bank wires, and we are now using TransferWise to receive our incoming bank wires.  This blog article describes why.

The way it works with Afex, all of the customers of Afex share a single bank account for the incoming wires.  The sender is asked to mention the recipient’s Afex account number in the OBI (originator to beneficiary information) of the bank wire.  Each day, Afex looks through the thousands of its incoming bank wires, using the OBI to work out which of the Afex customers is supposed to receive credit for a particular bank wire.

The alert reader can guess where this is going.  Surely it would only be a matter of time before a particular sender would forget to include our Afex account number in the OBI.   And indeed a foreign colleague in Europe forgot it in a wire directed to us in the end of June.  

It was no end of trouble trying to get this straightened out.  After two weeks and many emails back and forth, Afex was able to find our money.

In contrast, with TransferWise, each customer is assigned its own unique bank account number.  This means that the sender does not need to remember to put special information into the OBI.  Instead, so long as the sender manages to get the bank account number right, that is enough to get the money credited to us.

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