When sending money to friends or loved ones who live overseas, it's nice to know the international money transfer company you're working with is regulated by an outside authority.
ACE-FX: Registered, Regulated, and Authorised
We work with Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd. (WDCS) and MasterCard International Incorporated. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has authorised WDCS to conduct electronic money services per the Electronic Money Regulations 2011.
What is the FCA?
The FCA is an independent regulatory entity that reports to the Treasury and to Parliament. They report on progress every year, respond to requests from members of Parliament, and their board is appointed by the Treasury.
One of the crucial roles they play is investigating regulatory failure, including with any international money transfer company who violates regulations set by the FCA.
How Does the FCA Protect You?
In 2009, the Payment Services Regulations (PSRs) took effect. This set of regulations requires that any company offering international money transfers be registered by the FCA. Once registered, the company operates under full review of the FCA.
For the FCA, that means governing the way a registered international money transfer company does business. Remember, the FCA is mainly a consumer protection organisation, seeking to enhance market integrity in all areas of the UK financial system.
The FCA is Stepping Up in its Role
The past several years have seen a shift away from minimum regulation to a more involved approach. They're now keeping a more watchful eye on market conduct in several areas.
The FCA has new powers to intervene at any stage of your transaction, so when you send money overseas, you can feel more confident that you and your money are protected at every stage of the game. In other words, you have rights.
Other Ways You're Protected
Any international money transfer company who fails to register is committing a criminal offence.
Through the FCA, you may report an unauthorized firm, report an unfair contract term, report a scam, report a misleading financial advert, or simply complain. These actions cover more than your international money transfer company, extending to mortgages, financial advisors, and general banking service providers, too.
One worry is that if a remittance company fails, what happens to your money? Once again, you are protected under the regulations put into place by the FCA. If your company fails but you've already dispensed funds to them to send money overseas, you may claim compensation.
Make your claim through the FCA website
but only after you've tried and failed to get the money back directly through the firm.
Check With the FCA First
One more helpful service provided by the FCA is maintaining a database of unauthorised firms and individuals. Before you do business with any international money transfer company (or any banking institution, for that matter) check that list.
Even though it's a crime to operate without authorisation, there are firms who do so knowingly. They may be running scams, or they may simply not pass the requirements for FCA authorisation. Either way, stay away!
Keep Your Head Straight With All Financial Transactions
Keep in mind that although the FCA does their best to keep this database updated and current, it is by no means exhaustive. Just because you don't find a company's name on the "unauthorised list", doesn't mean they're OK to do business with. You should always maintain proper caution when it comes to international money transfers or any financial transaction.
Sometimes these unauthorised firms operate as clones of actual, approved and regulated companies. They may even make phone calls, claiming to be the original firm. If you get a phone call from any financial institution offering your products or services, hang up and call them back using the official phone number from the actual company website.
Your International Money Transfer Company Should Protect You, Too
Companies who offer money transfers are bound by law to protect your funds when you're making payments. One way they do this is to keep client funds separate from their own. That entails not only maintaining separate accounts but also setting up special safeguarding accounts for client funds.
If You Send Money Online, Same Rules Apply
If your remittance company offer the ability to send money online to friends and family overseas, they are still bound by law to register with the FCA.
If you choose to do business with an unregulated money transfer company, you do so at your own risk. You do not benefit from the protection of the FCA and you don't have any rights with unregulated companies. To be safe, always check for regulatory statements on the website of any international money transfer company you deal with. It's for your own protection!