Transferring money from Britain to Thailand often leaves a sour taste because most people think the bank or exchange bureau has conned them.
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The companies are in foreign exchange quite literally for the money.
They know that anyone who wants to send money between countries and currencies has to use a transfer service.
On the other hand, the customer knows that the best Thai baht exchange rate is the mid-market rate posted online on web sites like Google and XE.com
The mid-market rate is the exchange rate for any currency that lies between the buy and sell rates set on the money markets.
Fair exchange rates
For many, this is the fairest Thai baht exchange rate, but for some reason, achieving the mid-market rate seems impossible for the majority of customers.
That’s because the banks and foreign exchange bureaux mark up the rate to give them a profit margin.
On top of that, they generally charge a fee as well.
Although the international money transfer service makes moving money available at similar rates and costs to all banks and exchange bureaux, the difference between one transfer and another can be huge.
Then a disruptive technology entered the arena – TransferWise.
TransferWise has clashed with rivals and the Advertising Standards Authority about listing comparative charges online, but seems to offer a cheaper, more transparent service.
Banks accused of profiteering
Moving up to £400 in Thai baht costs £2 and amounts over that are charged at 0.5% of the transferred cash.
The firm also promises to mark the switch at the Thai baht mid-market rate.
“The banks hide their real rates while we try to make the cost of moving money clear,” said a TransferWise spokesman. “Many banks and brokers apply a margin to the mid-market rate but we do not.
“Our service should be around 5% cheaper than any rival service.”
Since coming to market, TransferWise has shifted about £500 million a month for businesses, tourists and expats.
“Our service is quick, easy to understand and our web site is simple to navigate for customers,” said the spokesman.
“We regularly transfer money to and from Thailand for expats and have a five-star reputation for security and reliability.”
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