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Experiences: Stewart, Retired Brit in Spain

March 12, 2013

We often receive emails from customers that make us feel good about what we’re doing. It seems we’ve really struck a chord with people fed up with paying ridiculous charges on international transfers, and rightly so!

Recently we received an email that we thought was worth sharing, and not just because it’s full of praise for CurrencyFair (although that’s nice of course!). In the email, Stewart shares his experience of making international transfers through his bank, and the way in which fees have been sneakily increasing in recent years.

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This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this; it seems that since the crisis, banks have been using their foreign exchange transfers as a lucrative channel to regain lost revenue. Spreads on the foreign exchange rate (the hidden fee where most of the money is made) have been increasing from 1.5%-3% of the amount exchanged a few years ago up to 5% or more today.

Stewart’s email is reproduced below, and well worth a read. He’s been using CurrencyFair to conveniently and cheaply transfer money to Spain. Thanks again Stewart for allowing us to publish this!

Please feel free to share your own experiences with us, either directly by email, or on our Facebook, Twitter or page.


Dear CurrencyFair

Firstly, I am not normally one to write praise letters; in fact I cannot recall the last occasion.

As with any new arrangement, I do some trial runs and evaluation. My initial use of CurrencyFair has been a pleasure and expectations exceeded.

I have, hitherto, been very lazy and apathetic where foreign transfers were concerned. We moved to Spain seven years ago, on early retirement, and have up to this point in time used the convenient facility provide by our high street bank in the UK to move money mainly to a corresponding bank (same organisation) in Madrid.

Always very efficient, quick and too easy. So they have been getting away with increasing their cut without provoking action on my part.

However, the major upheaval in banking groups in the UK has had a knock-on effect on service here; the original branches were shut and our accounts moved to the International banking of the newly combined group of banks. Some English speaking facilities for insurance and other useful services went in the reorganisation, so we made alternative arrangements.

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This drew my attention to the fact that over the last seven years the difference to spot market of the exchange rate has crept up to the point of being greedy, even if they do not make a charge for the actual transfer. In 2005 the difference below spot was between 1.5 and 2.2 per cent; for 2012 this was between 3.3 and 4.4 percent for similar regular amounts. That encouraged me to look around, and I found CurrencyFair, mentioned in a financial news item.

Whilst it takes a little more effort to execute a complete transfer of funds, I found CurrencyFair simple and was able to adapt to the new process easily. I was also impressed that a transfer initiated early in the day can arrive same day in one of my bank accounts in Spain.

Your web site and prompts make it so very easy. I am a retired consultant engineer, where I would create the test and approval criteria for some very large computer systems, so applaud you for creating a simple user interface.

I manage and juggle numerous bank accounts and investments on-line so was reluctant to take on yet another. However, I now wish that more of my dealings were as simple and straightforward and flexible as CurrencyFair. I also wish I had found you earlier, but now I have your facilities at my disposal, and have performed a few trial transfers, I shall be a regular user.

Your rate, immediate exchange using your QuickTrade facility, speed of transfer and low charges are all splendid.

Congratulations and thanks.

Stewart (Retired Brit in Spain)

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