Average Brit set to lose £17,000 in hidden foreign currency fees

Wise, complaints service Resolver and fellow fintech Plum have launched Fight Overseas Fees, to expose the true cost of spending abroad, empowering customers to fight for change.

Independent research by YouGov and Consumer Intelligence reveals the average Brit stands to lose £16,796 to bad exchange rates when spending money abroad over their lifetime.

Over 8000 people across the UK were questioned on key spending moments abroad in their lives and their foreign currently habits. The results show most people still use their bank or a bureau de change to change their money, getting hit by bad exchange rates as a result.

While the odd charge might seem small on a one-off basis, being caught out every time you go abroad means they really add up in the long-term.

On family holidays alone, over a lifetime most Brits will lose £845 to unnecessary fees.

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As banks and travel money providers continue to make it difficult for consumers to understand the true cost of spending overseas, more than ever transparency in financial services is needed.

The problem

Traditionally, foreign currency is either advertised as ‘free’ or with just a small upfront fee - eg. ‘buy your holiday money for £2.99’.

Banks, the bureau the change and other brokers will then make most of their profit by adding the bulk of their fee to a poor exchange rate - a hidden fee. If you’re sending money abroad with your bank, there may also be hidden receiving fees that aren’t advertised.

Independent research from HMT’s Behavioural Intelligence Unit shows that consumers are unable to figure out the true costs of the transaction when it’s priced in this way.

This costs British consumers an average of £16,800 over their lifetime that they have no idea they’re spending. That’s not fair.

The solution

Fight Overseas Fees has created a calculator which hooks into your online banking and works out your losses on foreign currency over the past 12 months. For the first time, consumers can easily take matters into their own hands and transparently check if they’ve been overcharged.

We are empowering consumers to complain about their bank or holiday money provider via the complaints service Resolver, to put an end to this practise of untransparent pricing, hidden beneath claims of ‘fee free foreign currency’.

Give it a go yourself, head to Nothing To Hide and help fight the fees.

About Wise

Wise is a global technology company, building the best way to move money around the world. With the Wise account people and businesses can hold over 50 currencies, move money between countries and spend money abroad. Large companies and banks use Wise technology too; an entirely new cross-border payments network that will one day power money without borders for everyone, everywhere. However you use the platform, Wise is on a mission to make your life easier and save you money.

Co-founded by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, Wise launched in 2011 under its original name TransferWise. It is one of the world’s fastest growing, profitable technology companies and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker, WISE.

16 million people and businesses use Wise globally, which processes £9 billion in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers around £1.5 billion a year.

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