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Exchange rates: Banks are ripping us off by blinding us with maths

Well, the goodwill didn’t last long.

We might be getting free ATM withdrawals, but apparently the banks are well and truly ripping us off on foreign exchange fees.

The Australian today reports the big four Australian banks are skimming billions off customers via hidden foreign exchange charges at up to 30-times the rate of US, Britain and German banks.

Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh, told Ross and John consumers are being blinded by maths.

“I’m a strong believer in the power of competition, but you can only have competition if you can properly shop around,” he said.

“Right now, people are comparing the flat fees plus the exchange rate spreads; you’re asking people to do a multiplication problem and an addition problem, once they’ve looked something up on the internet.

“It just doesn’t have to be that hard.

“We reckon we ought to do what we do for foreign exchange what we already do for home loans and have a clear comparison rate that allows people to properly shop around.”

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