When shopping in a retail store, you’ll notice that the prices are a lot more expensive than if you were to buy the products wholesale. The higher prices exist because the store owner buys the products wholesale, but then marks up the prices to cover the cost of staff, insurance, marketing, interior designers, rent and other overheads. The retail shops then mark up the price even more to make their profit. Most of the time, shoppers like us don’t mind paying a premium because we enjoy a great shopping experience. Going shopping for new clothes in a dusty old shack wouldn’t be that much fun, would it? What many people don’t realise is that when using banks to transfer money internationally, we pay large retail fees and expensive exchange rates to a middle man, without any real reason. They don’t add any value or make the experience half as much fun as shopping in a retail store – after all, who gets a thrill waiting in a queue at the bank just to send your money somewhere? The only reason that banks are still being used for international money exchange is because few people realise that there are better options out there. Until more people realize this fact, the big banks and brokers have no reason to stop charging their expensive exchange rates and retail fees. In the past, when we were less connected by technology, we depended on banks to exchange currency. It was expensive, but there weren’t any alternatives. And we all know how a monopoly works – when there is no competition to keep them in check, prices skyrocket!