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Australia’s competition watchdog opens inquiry into forex services

By Ambar Warrick

(Reuters) – The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said on Tuesday it had opened an inquiry into price competition among suppliers of foreign currency conversion services and would investigate the ability of potential entrants to compete.

The ACCC said the inquiry would examine the ways exchange rates are presented to customers as well as the mark-up from wholesale currency rates that buyers are charged when changing currencies.

“We will be examining why major companies in Australia, including the Big Four banks, seem to be able to consistently charge high prices,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“The exchange rate you Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is not the exchange rate you get from the Big Four banks. The difference is known as the ‘mark-up’, and it’s often a big part of the price consumers pay when converting currency,” he added.

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