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The great foreign exchange rip-off is coming to an end

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Readers' comments

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lindros2

Atlanta Airport - among others - profit handily from currency exchange. Travelex continues to be the #1 grossing “retailer” in the airport - many times more than (the flawed) duty free shops.

xtnjohnson

Once you choose a credit-card whose foreign-currency fees are minimal, why bother with cash at all if you don't absolutely have to? At least in the US, low- and no-currency-fee cards aren't hard to find -- issuers realized that they make up in volume what they lose on a per-charge basis. Low-conversion-fee debit cards are also pretty widely available for when you really must take out cash from an ATM.

Kremilek2

I guess that these start-ups should go global as soon as possible. There are many documentaries about many thefts in bureau de change in Prague since many tourists are very naive. Local authorities do nothing to combat such a behavior so these businesses flourish.

Peter Sellers

Not only money changing but foreign-exchange remittances ("telegraphic transfers") are the other great rip-off. I have been remitting money across borders for nearly 40 years. For the life of me I cannot understand why, in an age when it is possible t put a man on the moon, it should take sometimes two days or more to send money overseas, using at least four banks for each transaction (your bank, your bank's correspondent in the home country of the currency you are sending, the receiver's bank and the receiver's bank's correspondent). Needless to mention, each of these banks makes money in the process. I am really looking forward to the day when it will be possible to transfer money instantly for a fraction of the price we now have to pay. May be outside Gulliver's scope but I hope someone else, perhaps Buttonwood, will pick the story up.

Bill_T in reply to Peter Sellers

I agree, living in Belgium, I need to pay an annual life assurance premium on £17 to a company based in Britain. It is "peanuts". But, the cost of the transfer; handled by a leading Belgian bank and a well known but unresponsive life company; in over 100% in fees etc. any suggestions? I would be delighted to provide the names of the life company and the bank.

This:
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"For the life of me I cannot understand why, in an age when it is possible t put a man on the moon, it should take sometimes two days or more to send money overseas, using at least four banks for each transaction (your bank, your bank's correspondent in the home country of the currency you are sending, the receiver's bank and the receiver's bank's correspondent)."
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Is explained by this:
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"Needless to mention, each of these banks makes money in the process."

This:
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"For the life of me I cannot understand why, in an age when it is possible t put a man on the moon, it should take sometimes two days or more to send money overseas, using at least four banks for each transaction (your bank, your bank's correspondent in the home country of the currency you are sending, the receiver's bank and the receiver's bank's correspondent)."
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Is explained by this:
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"Needless to mention, each of these banks makes money in the process."

This:
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"For the life of me I cannot understand why, in an age when it is possible t put a man on the moon, it should take sometimes two days or more to send money overseas, using at least four banks for each transaction (your bank, your bank's correspondent in the home country of the currency you are sending, the receiver's bank and the receiver's bank's correspondent)."
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Is explained by this:
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"Needless to mention, each of these banks makes money in the process."

This:
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"For the life of me I cannot understand why, in an age when it is possible t put a man on the moon, it should take sometimes two days or more to send money overseas, using at least four banks for each transaction (your bank, your bank's correspondent in the home country of the currency you are sending, the receiver's bank and the receiver's bank's correspondent)."
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Is explained by this:
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"Needless to mention, each of these banks makes money in the process."

This:
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"For the life of me I cannot understand why, in an age when it is possible t put a man on the moon, it should take sometimes two days or more to send money overseas, using at least four banks for each transaction (your bank, your bank's correspondent in the home country of the currency you are sending, the receiver's bank and the receiver's bank's correspondent)."
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Is explained by this:
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"Needless to mention, each of these banks makes money in the process."

The True Friend of Liberty

I'm surprised the article doesn't mention the biggest forex rip-off, the 2-3% "foreign transaction fee" most credit cards charge on overseas purchases. This is literally a fee for doing nothing: the credit card companies seem to want us to believe that foreign charges need to be laboriously converted by guys wearing arm garters sitting on high stools at a high desk scribbling away with a quill into huge ledgers. In fact, when your credit card bank gets the charge, it has already been converted into dollars (or whatever your home currency is.) Yes, there are cards that don't charge such a fee, but that doesn't mean that the fee is ethical. It ought to be illegal.

jxjndR6Cgm

The only sensible thing is to get cash with an ATM card that doesn't charge FX fees (Schwab, Capital One, Citibank Gold) or use one of the many credit cards that doesn't charge FX fees.

sikko6

I found that buying things from Internet using PayPal has multiple benefit.
First, exchange rate is reasonable.
More importantly, second, it's safer than credit card payment since I have to login using password and approve payment. Credit payment, you are handing over all your credit card information, they can charge any amount on any number of times. This is how internet phising scams work.

Rob Fuller in reply to sikko6

As long as your credit card doesn't charge an extra fee for foreign currency transactions, the exchange rate that you will get (the standard one set by Visa or Mastercard) is better than that used by PayPal.