Posted Tuesday, February 5th, 2013 at 1:23 pm under companies, me.

Daylight robbery: Barclays skims €170 off a 5K EUR -> GBP transfer

Last month (on Jan 18, 2013) someone I’m doing some work for initiated a transfer of €5,000 into my UK bank account. According to the mid-market rate that day was 1.1937940679 euros per pound.

So you might innocently expect to receive about 5,000 / 1.1937940679 = £4,188 minus any transfer fees.

The transfer went through an intermediate bank, who charged €17. Barclays charged “our commission” of a mere £6.

But the amount that arrived in my bank was not roughly £4,188 – £20 = £4,168 as you might hope.

The amount that arrived was £4017.74.

The friendly banks decided that the appropriate exchange rate for me that day was 1.23840, which is a full 4.5% higher than the mid-market 1.19379 rate. That’s £143 (€170).

Sure, I know there’s a buy/ask spread in currency and the mid-market rate isn’t what you’d get in any transaction. But taking £143 from your own customer just because you can is pretty fucking nasty. And so, via today’s arbitrary setting of the greed parameter in a bank computer, the voracious banking industry gobbles up just a little bit more of the money made by regular people. People who actually worked to earn that money.

It’s no wonder people hate their banks and that the financial system in general is so despised.

  • Thanks! Only just saw this comment!

  • Terry, I have used Transferwise for similar transactions and I love them. 100% transparent and cheap.

  • Daniel

    Another advertisement for bitcoin :)

  • Yet another daylight robbery with bank as perp, also related to wire transfers and intermediary banks: Bank of America advertises that, for “Platinum Privileges clients,” “no fee for incoming wires [which are, for ordinary folk] ($12 domestic/$16 international).” So why is $27 missing from each of my incoming wires?

    “The fee that was assessed and deducted from the incoming wire is a bank-negotiated wire fee from the International bank that’s sending the wire, the intermediary bank and us,” BofA responded.

    Uh, isn’t that a “fee for incoming wires”? Fraud and false advertising! The mere mention of which got me a six-month reprieve from “intermediary bank wire fees,” after which I will check the bank’s current claims and quit Bank of America in a blizzard of public comments.