A client and I are having a dickens of a time getting money — not much of it, we might add — transferred from the People’s Republic of China to the U.S. of A.
Her university’s accounts payable folks decided they would transfer the $300 owing to me for editing a fairly abstruse article direct from their coffers in Beijing to my coffers in lovely uptown Phoenix. Accordingly, a factotum in their business office asked for my credit union’s ABA SWIFT number.
I call the credit union and ask our factotum, “What is your SWIFT number?”
She says, “It’s the same as the routing number.”
I copy and paste the credit union’s routing number into my statement. Send it off.
Week or so later, client says the university is unable to make the transfer: the SWIFT number is wrong.
Copy, paste, send again.
Now along comes another squawk, this one from an admin from the university’s business office. SWIFT number is wrong. They have one more chance to deposit; if that doesn’t work, they can’t pay.
Lovely. I try to email a query to the credit union, but it won’t go through.
So I abdicate this morning’s networking meeting and drive to the credit union. Explain this to the teller. She hasn’t a clue.
It takes the manager to figure out the problem: the credit union doesn’t have a SWIFT number. A SWIFT number is not the same as a routing number. I point out that his employer’s phone rep said otherwise. He said “we try to train them not to say that.” I said they should try again. 😀
He says the sender needs to use a facilitating bank, which is a large multinational bank such as Wells Fargo, to get the transfer into a smaller financial institution such as a credit union. I say it’s a university in China! He says he’s pretty sure they’ll be doing business with a multinational bank.
So traipsed home after a visit to the Costco in those parts and the Walmart Neighborhood grocery store in my parts, sat down, and sent off an email explaining this. Suggested if they found this impossible, they could just send the money by PayPal.
So far, nothing back from China…but it’s probably been night-time all day here. By tomorrow, I expect, we’ll hear the next act in that drama.