When you read this I am actually surfing (ok, learning how to).
…the wonders of automation…
But that is NOT what I want to talk about with you today.
The topic at hand is how banks are carving my heart out and serve it on a silver platter during “Wolf of Wall Street” style board meetings.
Ok… it is not that bad at all. But worthy of discussion.
Last month I made a simple international bank transfer.
A transfer between two of my own personal bank accounts. From Euro to AED.
But when I checked my online banking later I saw the damage. 31 Euro in bank charges.
Then I looked at the exchange rate used. I compared it to the exchange rate at xe.com for that day.
It was a pretty good rate. For the bank that is.
I calculate that this has cost me about 10 Euros.
That is about 40 Euros for a transfer of 800 Euro. That is 5%.
Add to that the conversion rates and banking costs when I get the money out of the ATM.
The total might be 7.5% just to touch my own money.
…Thank god I don’t pay taxes…
Btw, an interesting story about this bank is that it took me 2 years to regain access to internet banking after the account was blocked. I could write an article about it. Or perhaps and entire book!
But what were we talking about?
Oh, yeah international bank transfers.
You must be wondering, why have international payments become so expensive?
To understand that I will have to explain you one more example (hang in there).
About a year ago I wanted to wire some funds to an Internet Service Provider in Iceland. I had heard got stories about them. When I tried to pay them my credit card did not work. Not sure why.
I decided to pay by wire transfer. The price was about 100 Euro.
After two days I received a very simple email from a guy who called himself “Dom”. If I could send him a list of supporting documents for this transaction. Contracts, invoices, due diligence documents.
The correspondent bank (I believe it was Deutsche, involved in most of the major rigging scandals) had requested it. They probably flagged the transaction as “suspicious”.
I replied that I usually do not send confidential documents to random strangers that show up in my inbox. (Unless they are from Nigeria and have an uncle who has recently been poisoned and left him with a HUGE banana plantation).
I also asked him what he tried to achieve with scrutinizing payments of 100 Euro.
I did not get a reply.
Also not after a couple of reminders…
I called the bank and spoke to the usual Indian “Yes, Sir”. As soon as I asked the question I knew he was not going to be able to tell me what had happened.
A few days later the money simply returned. Minus 12 Euro banking fees…
A colleague suggested that the company might have been blacklisted. The company did offer anonymous hosting. Maybe there were some websites hosted that called governments useless parasites, banks corrupt organized crime institutions and Barack Obama a remote control baby-killer?
But the main question is: blacklisted by whom?
And for what reason?
And based on what authoriteeeee?
Note that the reason why these measures are implemented are along the lines of “Anti Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing” and “Protecting the integrity of the financial system”. (It is strategically nowhere mentioned that “we use these tactics to block people we do not like from receiving payments”).
But there you have it.
(…deep breath…) The reason why international bank transfers are becoming so expensive is regulation, people like “Dom”, government regulators, and 1000’s of compliance officers that protect the integrity of the financial systems while their managers and shareholders along with their gulf buddies at the government create a financial system so corrupt that it is sucking all the life blood from the economy like a sack of fat cannibalistic piglets… (…exhale…)
It is all show. The little guys get scrutinized and controlled to give the impression that the government is doing something useful while the big boys party like it is 1999 / 2007.
Let’s face it. This banking system is becoming parasitic. It does not service the economy anymore. It does not serve the majority of the population as it should.
…This means this system is becoming obsolete…
And whenever something is becoming obsolete, alternatives arise.
Like for example: https://transferwise.com/
What they do?
“Banks charge hidden fees when you send money abroad. With TransferWise you save up to 90%. Problem solved, money saved.”
Not really clear, he?
They basically bring people together. A needs to pay someone in the US. B needs to pay someone in the UK. A and B pay each others transfer in their own currencies. Fair conversions and no international banking charges.
It is from the people who built Skype and backed by Richard Branson.
…This has potential…
I have not used the service. So maybe I am getting ahead of myself introducing this to you.
But for now let me state this: I can NOT wait until this banking system has been consigned to the dustbin of history.
And therefore I will support ALL alternatives that bring the greatest achievement of our time a bit closer.
I suggest you do the same.
“My Daddy Was A Bank Robber” – The Clash.