26 September 2023

Consumers cash in on money transfers

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The majority of money remitters reviewed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are now giving consumers the tools they need to easily compare the total price of international money transfers, according to an ACCC review.

Chair of the ACCC, Rod Sims said the Commission recently reviewed the take-up of its best practice guidance for money remitters contained in its September 2019 Foreign currency conversion services inquiry report.

Mr Sims said the best practice guidance recommended that money remitters made reliable online price calculators available to consumers and that they clearly disclosed their prices, including all relevant fees.

“The recent review follows an earlier assessment finalised in June 2020, which found numerous remitters lagging best practice,” Mr Sims said.

“The latest review, however, found that 12 out of the 15 prominent remitters reviewed were either adhering to best practice price disclosure or needed to make only minor improvements to achieve best practice,” he said.

“The upfront disclosure of relevant fees and wider availability of customisable online price calculators were among the major improvements identified by the ACCC in its latest review.”

Mr Sims said the ACCC’s 2019 Report found that for just two currencies, US dollars and UK pounds, individual consumers who used the big four banks to send international money transfers could have collectively saved about AUD150 million in 2017-18 if they had instead used a lower priced International Money Transfer supplier.

The Chair said that despite the broad improvement observed by the Commission, three remitters were identified as falling short of best practice.

“Three remitters continued to provide inadequate transparency to their customers by only partially disclosing their fees, having unduly complex prices or lacking a customisable online price calculator,” he said.

“The ACCC has written to all three of these remitters to point out where they are falling short of best practice and expects to have continued engagement on this issue with each remitter.”

Mr Sims said that if the ACCC found money remitters backtracked or did not implement best practice, it would work with Government on further measures to ensure there was appropriate transparency for consumers.

The ACCC’s 2019 102-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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