Account of the case
In March 2019 the customer contacted the bank via chat asking about the euro amount which he would receive, if he made transactions from his Swiss Franc and US Dollar accounts to his euro account. Based on the information he received he made the transactions in his online bank, which resulted approximately 1.500 euros less than the total euro amounts of the accounts shown in his online bank. The bank has offered a customer compensation of 100 euros, which the customer has declined.
The Customer states that despite asking several times about the euro amount it was not made clear and the banks online bank system gives an unfair impression of how much money the customer will receive when exchanging currency. Customer understands that currencies move up and down but cannot believe that in his case in such a short time the change could be so much in both currencies and both in favour of the bank. The customer sees that the bank should compensate him the valuation difference.
The Bank contests the customer´s claims, stating that during the chat and also later in phone the customer was duly informed that the currency rate will be confirmed at the time of the order. The bank also states that the customer has previous experience about similar issue with his transfers from year 2016.
According to the bank the euro amounts shown in online bank are based on ECB´s valuation rates, which are used as a standard because of several other purposes such as accounting and tax although they do not represent real-time market quotes, which are applied at the time of transaction.
Further clarifications acquired
In addition to the briefs of the Parties in this complaint case, the Complaint Board has been provided with the following documents:
- Bank´s general terms and conditions for outgoing and incoming currency payments
- Bank´s Foreign Currency Account Special terms
- Bank´s General agreement terms and conditions governing services with acces codes
Legislation and Contractual Terms
The applicable law in this case is the Payment Services Act (30.4.2010/290), which is partly binding in favor for the customer and partly allows parties to agree on certain terms.
According to special terms for foreign currency account the account holder is aware of the exchange rate risk related to a currency account. Exchange rates quoted by the bank are applied to account transactions and foreign exchange trades as necessary.
According to general terms and conditions for outgoing and incoming currency payments the rate applied to the execution of the payment order is the exchange rate announced by the bank. Changes in exchange rates are applied with immediate effect without any notices in advance. The bank makes the exchange rates applicable to payments and payment transfer available to the payment service user for inspection at the bank’s branches or on its website, accompanied by information on the bank’s exchange rate policy. The bank informs the payer of the exchange rate applied either in writing or electronically after the execution of the payment transaction in a manner agreed separately.
According to general agreement terms and conditions governing services with access codes the bank defines which types of account and which account functions and services can be incorporated in the netbank service.
Formulation of question
In order to solve the dispute between the Bank and the Customer, the Banking Complaints Board must judge whether the bank has provided sufficient information regarding the different exchange rates shown in online bank and used in transactions.
Evaluation of the case
According to the customer the information given on the exchange rates were insufficient and according to the bank all necessary information has been given.
The Banking Complaints Board draws its attention to the following facts. In the customer´s online bank it is not specified which exchange rate is used to show the currency amount in euros. The customer has previous experience of these kinds of transactions. From his contacts to the bank it can be deduced that he has been aware of that the euro amount received might not be the same as shown in his online bank. In its general and special terms which the customer has accepted the bank has reserved a right to use different rates. In its answers to the customer the bank has not said anything contradicting to its terms and has stated in line with them that the final exchange rate will be finalized at the time of the order.
Although The Banking Complaints Board sees that the general information could be easily enhanced by making a note to the online bank explaining the currency figures shown, the Board finds that in this case the Bank has provided relevant information to the customer.
The Board does not recommend compensation.
The Banking Complaints Board’s decision was unanimous.
BANKING COMPLAINTS BOARD