Calling for more action: The state of transparency in the UK

Joshua Contreras

There should be nothing to hide
Sending money abroad is a big deal for people living international lives. You might be supporting your family, planning your next adventure, or expanding your business. But did you know that most people are unaware of what they're actually paying to send, spend, or receive money internationally? Providers often advertise "£0 fee" or "free" transfers, but then set their own inflated exchange rates and pocket the difference between their rate and the mid-market rate, the one you see on Google.

€5.6 billion. That’s how much British consumers and businesses lost in fees in 2022 alone.

The state of transparency in the UK
The good news is that the Cross Border Payments Regulation, which was adopted by the UK, requires banks and transfer providers to disclose the actual cost of international money transfers - including those pesky hidden fees. The bad news is that these rules are badly enforced and only apply to transfers from GBP to EUR. That level of transparency should be extended to include all money transfers from the UK. That’s where the Payment Services Regulations (PSRs) come in. They have the power to make all transfers transparent.

The weak language in the PSRs continues to cost British consumers and businesses billions in hidden fees every year. The Government is asking for feedback on how to improve payments, and they should prioritise increasing transparency so people - and businesses - know exactly how much they pay and can find a better or cheaper provider more easily.

Tell the Treasury what you think

The international community cares.

One of the most important factors leading to high remittance prices is a lack of transparency in the market.
- The World Bank

Remittances are a lifeline to hundreds of millions of people around the world. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 10c aims to reduce the cost of remittances to less than 3% by 2030, but the UK's average cost has trended upwards to 6.3%, more than double the target. This is why it's important to call on the government to bring transparent pricing to cross-border payments in the UK to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal. Transparency is the only way that will enable people to compare costs, find better deals and put downwards pressure on prices.

Transparency is at the core of our mission
At Wise, we believe in making finance fairer and putting an end to hidden fees. Unlike banks and other providers, we tell you exactly what your payments cost, no nasty surprises.

Sources used:

  1. Research by Public First, 2022
  2. The World Bank
  3. The World Bank, Remittance Prices Worldwide report September 2022

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This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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