Fairer currency conversion would save EU consumers €4 billion a year

Magali Van Bulck

On the 5th November, the European Parliament votes on a new law that could put an end to misleading currency conversion charges in the EU. The proposed law, the Cross-border Payments Regulation, would force banks, brokers and currency exchange providers to be more transparent about their charges, putting money back into consumers’ pockets.

What’s the problem?

Under current EU legislation, banks and other foreign currency providers can hide the bulk of the cost of a transaction in a bad exchange rate. This means that banks can advertise holiday money and international payments as ‘free’ or as just costing a small upfront fee, but make most of their money by offering customers a bad exchange rate.

Europeans lose over €12 billion every year to these hidden charges

In 2017 alone, Europeans paid more than €18 billion in fees when exchanging currency, €12.49 billion of which were ‘hidden’ fees in marked-up exchange rates. This means that over two-thirds of fees are never clearly communicated.

We’re asking the EU to stop banks ‘pis-ing’ our money away

The Know What You Pay campaign, led by Wise, has been raising awareness of the issue ahead of this crucial vote. As you can see above, local Brussels icon, Manneken Pis, plays a lead role in a punchy statement by Belgium’s most famous political cartoonist, Lectrr. We've got more planned, so stay tuned. It's time to #knowwhatyoupay.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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