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ASA Adjudication on Transferwise Ltd

Transferwise Ltd

75 ARLINGTON AVENUE
London
N1 7BA

Date:

5 February 2014

Media:

Internet (on own site)

Sector:

Business

Number of complaints:

1

Agency:

None

Complaint Ref:

A13-245880

Ad

A website for a company that offered foreign currency transfers, included a graph that compared the "True cost of sending 10,000 GBP to EUR" between the advertisers and three competitors.  Text above the graph stated "Many banks take as much as 5% of the amount you're sending. TransferWise charges just half-a-percent". The graph was headed "Real transfer fee" and showed the fee for sending £10,000 with TransferWise was £50 and to send the same amount with Moneycorp cost £182.  Text below the graph stated, "Calculations based on a mid-market GBP EUR exchange rate of 1.185".

Issue

Moneycorp challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that the "Real transfer fee" related to the transactional transfer fee only, because they understood the fee was also based on different exchange rates offered by different providers.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

Response

Transferwise Ltd said that traditional providers charged two different fees on international money transfers: stated fees (transactional transfer fees), which were presented to the customer before making the transaction; and the exchange rate mark-up, which was the difference between the real mid-market exchange rate at the time of the transaction and the rate offered to the customer. They said the "Real transfer fee" was the sum total of those two fees. They explained that the "Real transfer fee" stated for Moneycorp Ltd was based on a mystery shopper exercise.

Assessment

Upheld

The ASA understood that the "Real transfer fee" did not relate to the transactional transfer fee only. Rather, it was the sum total of the transactional transfer fee and the exchange rate mark-up. In the absence of a qualification to explain how the "Real transfer fee" had been calculated, we considered that the reference to the "Real transfer fee" was ambiguous and that consumers could understand the ad to mean that the "Real transfer fee" related to the transactional transfer fee only. Because we understood the "Real transfer fee" was based on different exchange rates offered by different providers, in addition to the transactional transfer fee, and because the ad did not make that clear, we concluded that the presentation of the ad was likely to mislead.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 3.33 (Comparisons).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Transferwise Ltd to ensure ads were not likely to mislead in future.

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