5 Important Tips to know before you visit the next Money Changer!
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Cases of dishonest behaviours by brick-and-mortar money-changers can be quite often heard of. Unfortunately, just as recent as June this year, yet another story of an alleged dishonest money-changer made headlines. You can read all about this incident by following the link at the end of this article.
But how could such incidents even happen in a renowned financial center as Singapore? Here’s our opinion:
Profit from exchange rate spread has become extremely challenging in recent years Exchange rate data is now easily accessible on the Internet. Gone are the days when money changers could make big bucks from exchange rate spreads. As a result, profitability is now squeezed.
Lack of qualified manpower results in hiring of personnel that may not necessarily meet the fit-and-proper criteria that is required of by the regulator.
New technologies have enabled Fintech startups (e.g.: Moolahgo.com) to enter and transform the industry, resulting in increased competition. Besides adding pressure on profits, Fintech startups are also redefining the whole money changing experience.
What should you do as a consumer before you visit money changer shops? Follow these 5 tips:
Only deal with shops that are licensed
This is the most basic tip – only deal with a money changer with a valid license granted by The Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”). As part of the MAS licensing requirement, all money-changers need to prominently display their valid licenses. So if you do not see one or if you see one with an expired license, do not deal with the shop.
Never take your eyes off your money
Watch your money like a hawk watching its prey. Make sure that your money is never moved out of your sight and ensure that the counting is done right in front of you.
Request for re-count, re-scan or change of notes if needed
These days, most money changers use notes counting machines to count notes. And most of these machines are capable of counting multiple denominations of notes. If you have missed the counting (maybe you were distracted by a phone call or message) or even if you’re just not confident of the count, it is your right to request for a recount.
We also highly recommend that you manually count your notes again even after they’ve been machine counted because machines do make mistakes too!
Besides counting notes, typically the machines scan for counterfeits as well. Ensuring that you are getting genuine notes is an extremely important aspect of money changing. If you are caught using fake notes, you may find yourself being caught in complex legal procedures which unnecessarily waste your holiday time.
At times, however, these machines may erroneously detect counterfeits and reject genuine notes accidentally due to its scanning sensitivity. When this happens, most money changers would usually run the notes in question through the machine again and in most cases, they would usually pass the counterfeit detection test.However, you should pay extra attention if the notes in question passes the counterfeit test after the money changer had pressed a couple of buttons on the machine.This may mean that the counterfeit detection mode has been switched off.Again, if you’re not confident of the notes you’re getting, it is your right to request for a re-scan or change of the notes.
Before leaving the money changer shop, we also recommend that you carefully check the quality of the notes that have been handed to you. Ensure that the notes are not damaged, torn or written on as these may not be honoured when you present them in the destination countries.
Do not be pressured to leave as soon as you’ve been handed your foreign currencies
We know, this is easier said than done. What with the many pairs of impatient eyes from customers in the queue and the money changer staff peering down at you, its understandable to leave as soon as you’ve been given your money and “hope for the best”. However, this is a common mistake because once you leave the money changer shop, you have basically given up your ability to bring up any disputes. As money is easily fungible, its often very difficult to prove that your problematic cash was indeed from the money changer whom you may have a dispute with.
So please take your time to count and check your notes and do not be pressured to leave. If needed, move to the side of the shop to do your checking but remember to always remain in view of the money changer staff so that he / she would be unable to accuse you of tempering with the notes.
Alternatively, use an online currency exchange service from MoolahGo
Using MoolahGo’s online currency exchange service provides you with these benefits:
Very Competitive Exchange Rates – Be assured that you’re getting one of the most competitive exchange rates across Singapore. This is because MoolahGo’s rates consistently beat the traditional money changers’ rates including those that are located in the Central Business District such as The Arcade.
Rate Assurance – Lock in your exchange rates by booking online. You no longer need to be disappointed after traveling more than 30 minutes across Singapore only to have the money changer change its rates against you (yes, this happens regularly).
Utmost Convenience – Book online and collect your currencies at your own convenience. Or if you have become a regular customer of MoolahGo, they would even deliver it to you for free for amounts more than S$2500.
No Disputes – Because you have the option of making cashless payment online, potential disputes over your payment have been fully avoided.
Safe and Licensed – MoolahGo is licensed by Singapore’s Central Bank, The Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”). On top of this, it has a S$100,000 Security Deposit placed with the MAS which will be used by the government to pay out to customers in the event of an unresolved dispute. Furthermore, MoolahGo is a company with strong financial backing. It’s paid up capital as at Aug-2018 is worth more than S$250,000.
Rewarding – As at the time of this writing, MoolahGo awards users with 1 Reward Point (they call it “GO7Coin”) for every S$10 (or equivalent) of transaction value performed. Accumulate 1000 GO7Coins and you can exchange them for a S$10 shopping voucher from popular merchants such as NTUC, Cold Storage, Takashimaya, Isetan or Watsons. MoolahGo is the first in its industry to provide this reward programme.
Lots of people in Singapore are already moving to MoolahGo’s online currency exchange service and enjoying these benefits. Time for you to make the change and to avoid the potential issues with traditional money changing process.
MoolahGo Pte Ltd (Singapore Company Registration No. 201709931R) is a Major Payment Institution ("MPI") regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") under the Payment Services Act to carry on the business of providing Cross-border Money Transfer and Money-changing Services. You can confirm this information in the MAS website here. Consumer Advisory - MoolahGo Pte Ltd continues to provide other payment services such as eWallet and Domestic Money Transfer services pursuant to the Payment Services (Exemption for Specified Period) Regulations 2020. Consumers (users) are advised to read the terms and conditions carefully. Please also note that MoolahGo is not a bank and therefore the Singapore Deposit Insurance Scheme does not apply.