最有看点的互联网金融门户

最有看点的互联网金融门户
国际资讯监管与政策

货币兑换移动平台汇率可能存在误导性,FCA发文警告

在英国,一些知名的金融应用程序可以以银行同业汇率向用户提供货币兑换的服务。以Revolut为例,该公司就曾表示自身汇率“反映了现货银行间汇率”。截至目前,这个应用程序已经成功吸引了成千上万的用户,并且已经成为银行体系的全面挑战者。据了解,Revolut最近刚进行完B轮融资,募集的6600万美元将全面用于全球业务扩张。

Revolut并不是唯一一个向客户提供银行同业汇率之类服务的应用程序。但是无论怎么看,能够同时提供免手续费和现货银行间汇率两大优势,这对当今金融科技的用户来说一样具有不小的吸引力。

但是,这样的业务模式却也引起了监管当局的注意。近日FCA就曾发表声明,称担心在线货币兑换应用程序可能会带领整个汇率市场“误入歧途”。

该声明表示,这些以银行同业汇率转换货币的在线工具可能会对消费者产生错误的影响。消费者会认为,目前显示的汇率就是他们能够得到的价格,而实际交易过程可能并非如此。也就是说,消费者可能不会意识到较差汇率的存在,直到某些形式的注册过程已经完成,但这个时候他们也不太可能再对比其他汇率。

从单独的声明来看,为什么监管机构认为消费者实现的汇率有可能低于银行同业汇率,这一点有些不清楚。而且,也不清楚监管当局是在针对哪些公司。

但是这份声明却对汇率市场从业者提出了警告,并指出FCA有权以包括罚款在内的各种方式处理有关违规行为。

监管当局表示在之前已经确认了一部分以不适当的广告方式传播银行同业汇率使用的支付机构,其中一些支付机构已采取措施确保不会误导客户。但监管当局补充表示,仍有一些公司继续以“潜在的误导方式”使用银行同业汇率。

因此,FCA计划在这一领域做进一步调查并且采取行动,并将特别关注那些继续无视其警告的公司。

这份声明最后以一段警告做结尾:“在接下来与财政部的合作中,FCA制定规则的权力将会扩展到支付服务领域,这将使我们能够把规则覆盖到由支付机构和电子货币机构发布的金融营销领域。我们计划使用这些权力作为一项特权来制定新的规则。”

Some of the best-known money apps in the UK major on their ability to offer users access to currency conversion at the interbank rate. Revolut, for example, says that its exchange rates “mirror the Spot Interbank exchange rate”. The app has attracted hundreds of thousands of users on the strength of that messaging alone, and has now morphed into a full-blown banking challenger – one which recently clinched a $66m Series B to fund global expansion.

Revolut is not alone in offering its customers the interbank rate or something like it. But whichever the term of reference, effectively fee-free currency conversion at a rate previously available only to the major banks is the insinuation – and it’s one of the most powerful lures in fintech.

But the City regulator might be about to rain on the parade. The FCA published a statement this week stating that it is concerned that online currency converters are behaving in “misleading way”.

“Tools which convert currency at the interbank rate may be used in such a way as to give consumers the misleading impression that the rates shown are available to them, rather than the materially inferior rate that they are likely to achieve,” read the statement.

It went on to note that consumers may not become aware of the inferior rate of exchange achieved until after some form of registration process has been completed, after which time they are unlikely to shop around. It is somewhat unclear, from the statement alone, why the regulator believes that the exchange rate achieved by consumers is likely to be inferior to the interbank rate. It is also unclear exactly which companies the regulator is taking aim for.

But the statement had to it the unmistakable air of threat. As if by way of reminder, it included the line: “The FCA has a wide range of powers with which to address breaches of our requirements, including by the imposition of financial penalties.”

The regulator said that it had previously identified a number of payment institutions that were advertising usage of the interbank in an inappropriate way, and that some of these have since taken steps to ensure that they do not mislead customers. But it added that a number of firms continue to use the interbank rate in a “potentially misleading way”.

The FCA is thus planning further investigations and action in this area, and will be paying especially close attention to firms that continue to disregard its warnings.

The statement ended with a final note of warning: “Additionally, following engagement with HM Treasury, and as announced by HM Treasury today, the FCA’s rule making powers are to be extended in relation to payment services, which will allow us to apply rules to financial promotions issued by payment institutions and e-money institutions. We plan to consult on making new rules using these powers as a priority.”


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