__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 63

FINANCE

Shutterstock

It’s time to offer customers a transparent money transfer solution

that the widespread use of website ‘currency converters’ by online foreign exchange providers was potentially misleading, since the interbank rate they returned could not be achieved by customers. The FCA agreed, and by 2018 they were all but gone. However, instead of replacing the potentially misleading prices with meaningful information, many firms have chosen not to give any upfront pricing at all. They often advertise their services as having ‘no fees’, or as ‘free international currency transfers’, but potential customers are not told the actual cost until after they have provided contact information or, in some cases, registered. This makes it very difficult for potential customers to shop around and compare providers. In the UK, the FCA was only granted powers to deal with such malpractice in 2018, when it was empowered by HM Treasury to tackle the issue at industry level rather than firm-by-firm. New recommendations for standards in the payment and e-money sectors come into effect at the start of August 2019, aiming to ensure good price disclosure and more competition based on price. Its rules and guidance are designed to require providers to ensure that their communications are accurate, balanced, and

63

do not disguise, diminish or obscure important information. Such changes are much to be welcomed, but they need to go further. Consumers deserve clear cost information at the earliest point in a customer journey, long before they are asked to give contact details or required to register with a provider. Some firms are leading the way by displaying live rates online that update by the second. That gives customers a clear view of the rate that they’re getting compared to the interbank rate, the exchange provider’s margin, and the total amount they would get in their desired currency. But these are few and far between, and often tough to find for the general consumer who needs to get money abroad, fast. In a globalized world, it’s time to offer customers a transparent money transfer solution. Exchange providers should welcome regulators’ efforts to protect consumers and look to transform the industry with an injection of transparency. It falls to leaders to ensure that each and every consumer gets a fair deal up front. — Helen Scott is founder and chief executive of Eris FX, a global money transfer and international payments company. She is regulatory liaison to the International Transparency Task Force Q4 2019 Dialogue

Profile for LID Business Media

Dialogue Q4 2019  

Today’s global economy is shaped more by businesses than by nation states: by the goods and services they provide, the networks and supply c...

Dialogue Q4 2019  

Today’s global economy is shaped more by businesses than by nation states: by the goods and services they provide, the networks and supply c...