Lower/No Foreign Exchange Fee

Freetrade is predicated on the idea of price innovation, so I think cheaper fees (if possible, none!) on currency conversion would be a great step.

Freetrade currently charge spot rate & 0.45% to convert currencies.

I understand this 0.45% charge is intended to cover the costs of outsourcing the remittance/currency conversion process, rather than generating profits, but it is a charge all the same. Whilst reasonable, I worry 45 basis points is just enough to deter users as cheaper alternatives exist

N.B. Ultimately, competitors use fee free FX as a loss leader to attract customers and then cross sell those customers awful, yet more profitable products. Fee free fx may well be axed when these competitors finally have to address any resultant freerider problem in pursuit of profitability. So whilst fee free fx might be unsustainable, maybe cheaper fees might be a compromise?

Please note foreign exchange at the interbank rate on demand is, in my view, a slicker, more user friendly proposition than multi currency accounts.

The latter involves converting funds, (potentially elsewhere/out-of-app) transferring said funds, holding them, etc and is not an on demand, instantaneous experience, in my humble opinion? Competitors (e.g. Robinhood, Revolut) offer the interbank rate and I’ve noticed this is a key point of difference that has appealed to some users here.

Adam Dodds (FreeTrade CEO) once said the upcoming (~Q1 2020) ‘Invest platform’ will enable freetrade to offer lower fx fees.

So cheaper FX fees may well be a reality soon anyway!..

Monzo doesn’t even do this. TransferWise charges 0.37% + a fixed fee

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Thanks @ukcz, my mistake, no excuse other than lazy writing/research and possibly one pint too many :laughing:

I’ve edited the post now with more accurate information. Also came to my senses that no fx fees isn’t necessarily sustainable, and simply cheaper fees than the current 0.45% markup might be a compromise. :+1:

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Well the new platform has just been rolled out now, but I imagine the paid-for membership will have lower FX fees?

Somethings gotta give though - with a +.45% markup it’s often commercially not attractive to execute a trade as you straight away take such a big hit.

I know there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but FreeTrade also has “trade” in its name and now it seriously limits my ability to trade in US shares, to the point that I will most likely do this in RobinHood as they hold your money in US$ so you only get penalised once.

Yeah agreed, it’s a significant barrier to me trading in US shares as well. Perhaps a percentage + a cap on the fee size might be better?

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Maybe being able to hold your money in other currencies would be a better more sustainable option?

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The two other investment platforms I have familiarity with both have FX charges over 0.45%:

  • Hargreaves Lansdown charge 1.00% (on first £5k)
  • Interactive Investor charge 1.50% (on first £25k)

So 0.45% doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.
Which competitors charge less than 0.45% ?

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Alternatively, would be really nice if I could just top up my account with USD, I honestly don’t mind having to convert my GBP to USD in revolut first …

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