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Remittance industry steps into line after ACCC inquiry

  • August 11 2021
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Remittance industry steps into line after ACCC inquiry

By Fergus Halliday
August 11 2021

The bulk of Australia’s biggest remittance service providers are now adhering to best practices when it comes to price transparency.

Remittance industry steps into line after ACCC inquiry

Remittance industry steps into line after ACCC inquiry

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  • August 11 2021
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The bulk of Australia’s biggest remittance service providers are now adhering to best practices when it comes to price transparency.

Remittance industry steps into line after ACCC inquiry

Following a 2020 review that found the industry lacking, Australia’s competition watchdog is a little happier with the state of the local remittance operators.

In their most recent review of the sector, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found that the sector has improved pricing transparency, making it easier for consumers to save money by finding the best deal.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said the regulator is “pleased to see the improvement in price transparency across the money remittance sector that has occurred following the release of our 2019 report”.

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“This improvement is good news for the many consumers across Australia who transfer money overseas, who are now able to seek out more easily the best deal and potentially save significant amounts of money,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC emphasised the impact of these improvements amid a rise in Australian consumers looking to send money overseas to help friends and family deal with financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The ACCC’s original 2019 report found that “it can be challenging for consumers to make informed decisions about FX services”, raising concerns around transaction fees, price transparency and the consistency of best practices across the remittance sector.

When the ACCC checked in on the industry a year later, they found some improvement but concluded that “greater transparency is still needed at a time when many Australians are sending money to family and friends overseas”.

At the time, the ACCC called out the remittance industry for failing to disclose the full price of FX transactions.

“Some suppliers did not even make an online calculator available to consumers looking to find price information,” they said.

In their most recent review of the sector, the ACCC found that “12 out of the 15 prominent remitters reviewed were either adhering to best practice price disclosure or needed to make only minor improvements to achieve best practice”.

However, this broad trend towards improvement wasn’t without exception. 

The ACCC said that a number of remitters remained short of what it considers to be best practice. 

“Three remitters continued to provide inadequate transparency to their customers by only partially disclosing their fees, having unduly complex prices or lacking a customisable online price calculator,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC said that it has reached out to these three laggards and expects “continued engagement on this issue with each remitter”.

“We want to see all money remitters lift their game so that consumers can benefit from greater price transparency and, ultimately, competition,” Mr Sims said.

Failing that, he pledged to “work with the government on further measures to ensure there is appropriate transparency for consumers”.

Remittance industry steps into line after ACCC inquiry
Remittance industry steps into line after ACCC inquiry
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About the author

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Fergus is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He likes to write about money, markets, how innovation is changing the financial landscape and how younger consumers can achieve their goals in unpredictable times. 

About the author

author image
Fergus Halliday

Fergus is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He likes to write about money, markets, how innovation is changing the financial landscape and how younger consumers can achieve their goals in unpredictable times. 

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