TransferWise announces giveaway over hidden bank fees

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Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO of FXcompared and has 18 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely… Read more
  • TransferWise announces it will distribute prize money from festival to those affected by hidden fees
  • Scheme will be open until the end of November or until the $150,000 Singaporean dollars have all been distributed
  • “We have decided to use our prize money from the Singapore Fintech Festival to do our part to raise awareness about this global problem”, says CEO

Major online money transfer name TransferWise has announced that it will redistribute prize money it received at a recent festival to those affected by hidden bank fee problems.

The firm won the Borderless Account product prize at the Singapore Fintech Festival recently, which meant it received $150,000 Singaporean dollars in cash.

However, it said that it would not be keeping the money – and said it would instead redistribute the cash to those who have had to face the problem of hidden bank fees over the course of the past year.

The cross border payments company said that it would deliver direct bank transfers to those affected by the problems.

The amount transferred will be the precise amount they lost when their bank charged them – although there will be a cap of $500 Singaporean dollars per person implemented.

There will be a first-come first-served policy in place, and the scheme will either end at the end of November or when the entire fund has been distributed.

Participants can fill out a form online in order to enter.

In the event that there is some cash left over once the scheme ends, the firm intends to give it to financial literacy charities.

In a statement, Kristo Käärmann – the co-founder and CEO of TransferWise – described hidden fees as a “serious problem”.

“When we buy a cup of coffee or a tray of eggs, the shop tells us exactly how much they are charging us. But when we make a cross-border transaction, banks often hide their fees in the exchange rate. It is a serious problem consumers everywhere in the world face”, he said.

“So we have decided to use our prize money from the Singapore Fintech Festival to do our part to raise awareness about this global problem.”

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch”, goes the saying – and by proving this idiom wrong, TransferWise is making a smart move.

It’s so unusual to see a firm give away significant amounts of cash that this move is almost guaranteed to pick up free press coverage – even if some in the industry do see it as a gimmick.

Fighting high fees is a key cornerstone of TransferWise’s business model and proposals, and it’s easy to imagine how the coverage they will receive for this will easy outstrip the financial costs involved in sacrificing the prize money from the festival.

Only time will tell, but this seems like a move that will reap dividends for TransferWise.

Don’t be the last to know. Keep up to date with all aspects of this sector by reading our news pages.


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