Transfer Problems A Small SWIFT Code Error

Last week, Kevin asked me to make payments to the geometra Jimmy and the contractor Francisc. They have both been doing a lot of work in advance of payment as we waited to get the final construction contracts signed.

Kevin sent me the bank details for the transfers and it all seemed very straightforward.

Foreign currency wire form
Currency Transfer Form
Click image to enlarge

The only tricky piece is getting the correct SWIFT/BIC codes for the receiving bank and the IBAN code, which determines the bank and the receiving account at the bank. (This second one is the place where it can be easy to make mistakes, as it is of variable length and can be up to 28 characters. Here’s and example: IT57O0570469010000000013861)

The transfer to Jimmy went smoothly, but on Friday afternoon I found out something had gone wrong with the transfer to Francisc. Apparently, one of the codes was wrong.

This created a bit of a problem for Francisc. Apparently, he had told his bank the money would arrive within 72 hours. Kevin told me that if it didn’t, he’d have to pay penalties and fines.

We scrambled to get some document to them explaining the problem and promising a transfer as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the following Monday was a bank holiday, so the transfer couldn’t go out until Tuesday.

Again, when I prepared the form, I was told the SWIFT code was wrong, even though I’d used the exact code for a successful transfer in December.

So, we’re still struggling to get the money over to Italy.

An Update

It’s Tuesday and we’re still having problems. I checked all the codes and numbers against the paperwork I got from Francisc and resubmitted the transfer. We still were told the SWIFT code, BPSPIT3S is wrong, even though we had used it before.

I searched online for the code and it still seemed right. Finally, I found a source that used BPSPIT3SXXX. It said the XXX represented the branch, but I don’t have a branch code.

I looked at the successful transfer we made to Jimmy and his bank’s SWIFT code ends in XXX. So we’ll try adding the XXX and see what happens.

Another Update

It’s a day later and the problem still is unsolved. Adding the XXX didn’t help. We’ve exhausted all options from this end. I asked Kevin to ask Francisc to contact his bank and explain what we’ve done and see if they can enlighten him and then us.

A Final Update?

Let’s let Kevin tell the story of what we hope is the resolution of this mess.

You’re getting a dose of Italian incompetence at its BEST (WORST?).

I went with Francisc to the branch today where we were told to send the transfer to that other BIC your guys discovered yesterday. The director then called him after we had departed to say that the regional direction in ANCONA had confirmed to her that in the last 10 days they had INDEED executed a change and that with the release of February statements they would be communicating this change. Can you believe that?? I can’t even imagine the chaos created over 10 days for all their commercial customers doing business with foreign clients.

So, the attached has the CORRECT, UPDATED, NEW BIC/SWIFT CODE…please use this and disregard all other communication on same.

The bank has waived all fees and penalties levied against Francisc due to this being THEIR error.

While clearly this is completely out of our control, I am nonetheless VERY sorry that you and your transfer people have had to waste so much time on this crap.


Finally, ten days after we started the process, the transfer went through.

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