International Transfers

I recently made an international transfer from my Starling  account to a credit union account in the Republic of Ireland. 

I used the low cost option offered by starling as I was aware that the credit union did not accept SWIFT payments. I transferred €5 as a test to ensure the payment system worked ahead of transferring the larger amount. This went through fine and arrived in my sister’s account the same day. 

 I then transferred a further €235. , however this payment never arrived in my sister’s credit union account.
After 6 days , the payment arrived back in my account minus €76 !

On investigation I found that the Credit union rejected the payment because although it wasn’t SWIFT, ithe payment method used wasn’t SEPA compliant. I had transferred both amounts using the same system. The handling bank applied a €76 charge to return the payment for the second amount. This seems excessive!
Also, why would one payment clear and the other not?

When I checked with Starling, they said the only way to make a SEPA compliant payment was to set up a euro account with them.

Starlings payments app gives the option of SWIFT or Low Cost international transfer ( I used the Low Cost version for both transfers). There is nothing in the Starling app to advise or caution re charges that might be applied for transfers by recipient organisations.

Do I have any way of claiming back these charges ? Who do I approach, Starling, The Irish Credit Union or the handling bank?

I would really appreciate any advise / direction anyone can offer.

Thank you.


  • DullGreyGuyDullGreyGuy Forumite
    3.6K Posts
    1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Starling cannot control what the other bank may or may not do so its very hard for them to warn you about it. 

    The difference in value may be the cause of the difference in response... if you go to a bank to withdraw £5, £1,000 and £100,000 their response and level of checks etc will equally differ.
  • penners324penners324 Forumite
    2K Posts
    1,000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper
    Sounds like a complaint to the credit union is needed
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