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I am renting an apartment in France and the owner is requesting I send the deposit and, 30 days prior, the balance of the payment by check or wire transfer, in Euros. He has provided a French postal address as well as RIB, BIC, and IBAN numbers. As I understand it, bank transfers have pretty much replaced checks for transactions like this one, so the fact that the owner (a sole proprietor) is not accepting credit cards is not suspicious to me. So, how should I send this payment?

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Welcome to travel.SE. I'm not sure that this is the appropriate forum for this question. Feels more like money.SE. But PayPal IMHO is better. –  Karlson Jun 26 '13 at 20:42
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This question appears to be off-topic because it is about secure money transfers. –  Karlson Jun 26 '13 at 22:35
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I think it is on-topic because it can totally concern temporary accommodation, the same way AirBNB or hotels sellers provide a way to secure payment. –  Vince Jun 26 '13 at 23:04
    
For this question, I think the security would involve that you are certain to benefit from the accommodation - in other words, wiring money using BIC/IBAN identifiers is secure, but what proof do you have that you will be able to enter and live in the place? Is your contact a professional? Maybe there are more secure ways for this deal, that's what you can ask. –  Vince Jun 26 '13 at 23:12
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I'd suggest you ask on the Money StackExchange site - plenty of advice and experts there on working out the cheapest way to make international wire transfers (amongst many other topics) –  Gagravarr Jun 27 '13 at 9:51
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1 Answer

A wire transfer is inherently unreliable, so much so that Western Union money transfers have become the preferred scam method in London for people taking 'deposits' on apartments that don't exist! (the joys of using Gumtree).

A cheque at least is traceable, but then you have to put up a fight to get the money back if need be, and it's hard to argue, because after all, you sent him the cheque!

It's pretty rare that people require payment upfront, although to be fair I did that for a place I rented last year in Australia, which was fine (AirBnb). At least that was a lot easier to check their references.

Consider reading something like this -a guide to spotting a scam when renting. Have you read reviews of the place? Know anyone local who can confirm that it exists?

It's understandable that he's not accepting credit cards, he may get charged extra for accepting them.

Finally, ask if he'd accept a deposit for now, and the full amount later - that at least minimises your loss if it is a scam.

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