KER-ching! Truth About Banks

Just as Aussie Home Loans and Wizard changed the way we borrowed money to buy houses (and kept the banks slightly more honest than they used to be) now the world of foreign exchange is a target. Jon works with Atlas Currency Exchange in Byron Bay. They can help you save money on international money transfers – check out their bold claim and enjoy the passion in Kylie’s writing. She studied journalism at uni and you can tell. Might ask her to write more stuff for us.

So banks are going it alone, increasing interest rates regardless of the RBA ? They’re, *cough, ‘hurting financially’. Those $24b annual profits musn’t be in term deposit. It highlights their confidence in an economic climate where no-one else is.

How far can they ‘push’? Our love-hate relationship with banks means not many of us are impressed by their gall yet the majority, clearly, still walk through their doors for our financial product. When will we seek the alternatives ? Are there alternatives ?

As far as foreign currency product and services go there are. Operators with the same licences, but not the advertising budget or the captive account holders.

If you’re purchasing your fx cash, travel card product or performing your international money transfers (into Australia or out of) through your bank you are, without a doubt .. that’s right, without a doubt .. not getting the best deal.

Cash : banks rarely have cash in stock, you will have to order it and wait. Then the rate, whilst better than the airports (not hard when airports have 10c spreads on majors), won’t be negotiated regardless of whether you’re buying US$100 or US$10000. If you bought 20 cars you’d get fleet rate right?

Global Travel Cards : Careful. You may think you’re doing the smart thing buying a travel card, but wait .. Purchase fee, load fee, reload fee, unload fee, monthly account keeping ‘activity’ fee, expires after ‘x’ months and, wait for it, any funds still on the card at expiry are RETAINED by the provider. That’s like withdrawing money from your account, going home and putting it under your mattress and then 18 months later your bank manager knocks on your door and says ‘Have you still got that money under your mattress? We’re going to have to get that back because you didn’t spend it in the time allocated.’

Multi-currency cards are deceiving. Sounds like a great idea, one card/multiple currencies. Is the card pulling funds out of another currency if your first currency runs out? Are you aware of when this occurs? Do you have to pay for a sms to let you know when it is ? So you’re in the UK and you think those Pounds coming out of the ATM are coming from your Pound account but they’re really coming from the Euro fund portion. What’s the cross-currency conversion being applied (can be up to 8.45%)? If lost or stolen will they be replaced or are you going to get slugged $60 to replace a card that’s going to expire ? Phew, might as well have copped the 4 lots of fees on your Aussie funds out of your keycard.

IMTs/TTs : Oh my .. here we go. Examples speak best. To purchase and transfer US$50,000 to the US (or increasingly China) today, at time of writing you would pay AU$47,959.04 at the best of the major banks, AU$48,199.19 at the worst and AU$46,974.82 across the road at a local FX provider. Simple as that, AU$984 to $1224 more in your hand/wallet/mortgage/shoe fund for EXACTLY the same product.

If your money doesn’t matter enough to check it out then really, stop complaining about ‘The Banks’.

Guest Writer: Kylie Ryan-Miloy
Atlas Currency Exchange

Jon Dale (Kylie’s Business Coach)
Small Fish Business Coaching Byron Bay

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