European Union announces transparency for online cross border payments

2 minute read

Over the last few years, we’ve been calling on Europe to make foreign exchange fairer.

Every year, Europeans lose more than €12.5billion to hidden fees when they send or spend their money abroad. This is because providers have been hiding extra fees in the exchange rate, yet advertising their transfers as ‘free’ or ‘low cost’.

People who’ve been changing money online, with their bank, or at a bureau d’change simply haven’t known the actual cost before they send money. And therefore haven’t been able to make the best decision.

Together, with a group of dedicated campaigners from across the EU, we set out to change this.

We worked hard to improve the standard of banking.

Thousands of people joined us to make EU policymakers crackdown on hidden fees. They wrote and tweeted to their Members of European Parliament, and responded to consultations on the legislation governing price disclosure. Other fintechs signed open letters to their nation’s politicians, and consumer groups wrote articles calling on their Government’s to act.

Yesterday, the EU finally listened.

The EU published a new regulation that requires online and card providers to show you the total cost of sending money in the EU upfront. This includes any extra fee or mark up of the exchange rate.

So if you send euros from your account to someone in Poland who needs złoty, you’ll know before you send how much it costs, and how much your recipient will get — no more surprises.

For card payments, your card issuer (generally, your bank) will tell you the percentage fee they may hide in the rate electronically when you make your first transaction each month.

For now, the new rules are limited to online, intra-EU payments only.

We’re now entering a 12 month transition period for online providers to start changing their ways. Some providers are starting to make changes, good on them.

But there’s still more to do. It’s not fair that consumers who change money in an airport, over the phone, or at a bureau d’change on high street will still not be told how much the payment will cost them.

Join us, and help hold all providers accountable.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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