Money remitters improve price transparency after ACCC inquiry

The majority of money remitters reviewed by the ACCC are now giving consumers the tools they need to easily compare the total price of international money transfers.

This is an Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) media release, originally published on 10th August, 2021.

The ACCC recently reviewed the take-up of its best practice guidance for money remitters contained in its September 2019 Foreign currency conversion services inquiry report. The best practice guidance recommends money remitters make reliable online price calculators available to consumers and that they clearly disclose their prices, including all relevant fees.

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

“We were pleased to see the  improvement in price transparency across the money remittance sector that has occurred following the release of our 2019 report,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims 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.

“This improvement is good news for the many consumers across Australia who transfer money overseas, who are now able to seek out more easily  the best deal and potentially save significant amounts of money,” 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.

Despite the broad improvement observed by the ACCC, 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,” Mr Sims 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.

“We want to see all money remitters lift their game so that consumers can benefit from greater price transparency and ultimately, competition,” Mr Sims said.

“If we find that money remitters backtrack or do not implement best practice, we will work with the Government on further measures to ensure there is appropriate transparency for consumers.”

International money transfers are regularly used by large cross section of consumers, including those seeking to send money to family and friends overseas to help them deal with hardship arising from COVID-19.

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