Multi-currency accounts

FreeTrade cannot detain/buy the entire supply of anything related to their business so your analogy does not work; neither on FX or any other service/product offering.

Joining a broker on the hope they’ll decrease their charges later…lol, been there, done that. I was not born yesterday: retail brokers never decrease their charges, ever. They keep milking their captive customer base. FreeTrade will be hooked on their 0.5% FX spread from the start and removing it will be like taking a vegetative patient off life support.

Freetrade uses the interbank rate for comparison (see below or full quote here), it might be best to check what II are using, I’d be surprised if they use this - they used to charge 1.5-2% when I was with them! I’ve seen they upped their quarterly fee as well recently.

It’s also worth pointing out than Revolut charges this same 0.5% above the interbank rate when someone exchanges over £5k worth of transactions in a month.

“To clarify, we are not charging a 0.5% commission - we are saying that you will get the interbank rate+0.5%. The rates you’ve quoted are the amount that the other brokers charge on top of the rate they get. The two are not straightforward to compare, as they do not typically state the benchmark they use. We felt it was important to be transparent on the FX rate you get against a recognised benchmark.”

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II use interbank + spread and on my size of trade ot is 0.5% (their charges are on their public website).

Why should not we care about a 1% round trip FX charge when we should care about a £20 round trip execution commission? The reasoning makes no sense as the 1% FX spread is 50 times as much as the share execution commission.

You are quite vocal about this concern. If the 0.5% FX is 50 times higher than a £20 commission (both ways I guess), I believe the trade you are talking about is £200,000 in one transaction (e.g. buy at £80,000 and sell at £120,000).

If these are your figures, you might be better off with another broker, Barclays or HL if there is no FX charge maybe?

Freetrade have made it clear numerous times that they are not running after people with £1m portfolios, they are here to allow entry into investing with a £1. With that amount 0.5% charge is negligible, nor it is with £1,000.

0.5% also does not concern consumers as much as a huge flat fee that makes investing unreasonable without £20,000 to start with. And if people amass such a portfolio, Freetrade will not hold them in chains, they will be free to transfer to any other broker they wish. In your case, you might even be better off remaining with your current provider given your negativity about the pricing schedule - at least it is concise and transparent, everyone will be able to make decisions for themselves.

Although it seems like you are quite unhappy with the service your broker provides, which is why you devote your time opening our eyes on this “issue”. Because if you were, you could have more interesting things to discuss.

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In the digital age network effects bring strength and value, hence the power of Facebook and AirBnB. Who would have cared about a 1-country social network? Who cares about a 1-country payment app, bank or broker, unless you’re a not well-travelled American?

My friends and I send funds via “Revolut” instantaneously to people I’ve never met in quite a few countries in the EU. Going back to FreeTrade, fewer and fewer people care about a 1-2 market broker charging 0.5% FX spread.

By the way in FX, only interbank matters, this is the only “benchmark” everyone cares about, unless you’re a clueless corporate looking to get some once a day FX fix that we know who squeeze when suits them (cf. FX fix scandals).

I never expected I’d see these two companies in the same sentence! But I guess you are right, it’s quite a world we live in - full of disruptors. :wink:

@Vlad and @Rob14 did a stellar job explaining how our exchange rates work and how they align with our customers’ needs.

I’d be also surprised if II used the interbank rate (can everybody please link source when they make such claims), but if they do, you get a fantastic 0.25% if you buy £600,000 worth of stocks:

Now, if that’s the dimension you look at, my friend, more power to you. II could be a fantastic product for your needs! And to be sure, I think some traditional brokers e.g. HL, fintechs e.g. Revolut and a lot of other companies built great products for their audience, but they are not all things for all people, and neither is Freetrade.

Makes sense?

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II:
I know it is interbank because I check the rate whenever I trade FX through them for my SIPP and their FX rate is live (near live). I don’t have a choice on my SIPP but to do the FX through them. Otherwise, I’d Revolut the FX.

II + Revolut:
Indeed, not a single broker does everything but to gain market share quickly you have to disrupt the incumbents, a major one is II. To attract customers, you need to target the mobile ones who are always on the lookout for a good deal. Those usually trade non-UK markets and know that FX is the big cost. You need to at least offer multi-currency account as a basic service if not interbank FX like Revolut.

On the fee schedule, everything is great but the 0.5%. On the service offering it’s the lack of multi-currency account. II are indeed the best at the moment for someone like me (trade size, market access).

As for the rest you are right, I’d like FreeTrade to improve so I can move my account and tell all my friends to do the same. Attracting big accounts would be a big earner for FreeTrade just from the cash balances…

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I think the thing that got me to part with my money and invest in freetrade was the indipendant sustainability of the business model. I want the company to be able to make a profit quickly and sustainably whilst offering something that people want. The FX charges are a big part of that sustainability and personally I see the early years of freetrade needing to be independent of big partners as core elements of the business model so they have the negotiating power in the future.

If, through a competitive and transparent FX charge, they are able to grow stronger as an indipendant company and wipe out most of the other charges associated with investment they sound like a credible long term disrupter to me. Not an exciting flavour of the month trying to do too much too quickly…

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Totally agree, Freetrade needs to smash its target market first whilst proving the sustainability of its business model. After that it can branch out to meet the needs of its evolving user base.

If they did tier the FX as II do for wealth clients, it wouldn’t take much for them to be lower as it’s already a third of the price for the everyday user.

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With the early June Revolut announcement, it’s no longer about the £1m-portfolio people. It’s about everyone having access to interbank FX on their brokerage account.

I guess with the early June Revolut annnouncement (the elephant in this room), everything changes…does not it?

With the early June Revolut announcement, FreeTrade, Revolut and II now share the same target market, same audience: “everyone” because Revolut had 2 miilion users in June, maybe 3 million end of this year.

“Built”: applies to dead companies or companies with a static offering as in not expanding their features, services, market access, etc. “Have been building” is more appropriate for Revolut with new features every other month, scary.

I’m not sure I agree, Revolut subside the cost of their rate with revenue from charges likes card delivery & the premium subscriptions so this benefit isn’t as free as it appears at first glance.

A 0.5% fee on FX is already competitive and at least the fee is directly linked to us choosing to purchase something (or not). Freetrade have to make money one way or another and this is simply one of the ways that they’ve decided to do it.

Hopefully Freetrade will add value in other ways too, through things like offering a sophisticated product & quality support etc. which will make using the service worthwhile despite this fee.

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You’re absolutely right that they’re developing their product quickly, however I could be wrong but I seriously doubt that you’ll see Revolut focusing enough attention on their trading service to deliver new features for it every other month.

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Well, the founder being an ex-trader (ex-Credit Suisse), you could not be more wrong because offering trading services has probably been his first intention from the start and at the beginning he found the best way to attract the widest customer base possible through payments and spot FX; very smart move.

Spot FX being also part of financial markets and trading because it is the No1 market in trading and by a big margin, Revolut is de facto a spot FX trading platform…and the June announcement just expands the choice of asset classes to equities on top of crypto (small market). In effect Revolut have just kept on focusing on the expansion of their trading service. They will only miss commodities derivatives and interest rates; maybe their next steps.

As far as I know Revolut aren’t trading currencies, they’ve simply plugged into Currency Cloud which enables them to offer the interbank rate (after they’ve absorbed a fairly small fee) to their users, just like Starling (who use them for international transfers), Monese & several other FinTech companies.

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Every company subsidises somehow their “free” offering so nothing is trully free but it’s irrelevant in my point. My point is interbank FX, no meaningful spread, not even 25bps.

Indeed they use Currency Cloud but, from a user point of view, what difference does it make? Likewise, why could not Freetrade do the same?

And, it’s just a matter of time before Revolut to take this in-house the same way as their banking licence application and them ditching their supplier “Global Processing Services” to bring also internalise payment processing.

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Valid point, but I guess matching is not always a solution for all. It does come down to the sustainability of the service provision. Freetrade’s vision is not about catching the users in short-term, offering “everything” for free and then introducing price increases post factum. And the Revolut’s offer is also not clear at the moment, hence inappropriate to compare just as yet. Granted, Revolut is a fintech behemoth and has grown exponentially in the past years, but I personally would do not have that trust as I have in Freetrade.

To give another comparison, Monzo’s user retention in the UK is about 30 to 40 per cent better than Revolut’s (based on weekly active users reports), and that is given the latter has more customers (although I could be a bit outdated on that fact). Having 2,000,000 users and a potential to secure 3,000,000 by the end of the year is not a representation of an utterly successful business, it should all be about happy customer retention and ability to achieve better profit margins. As it stands, Revolut is not quite there yet.

But it would most certainly be interesting to compare Revolut to Freetrade once the former comes up with a ready-to-ship product.

Also, thinking of 25bps you mentioned, I want to insert one of my favourite posts on this entire forum (guilty of quoting it too often :grin:):

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