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Business prevented from using international money transfer service

The story

Fiona sells New Zealand products overseas.  Her customers find it most convenient to pay through Overseas Cash, an international money transfer service.

Overseas Cash’s monitoring system identified the pattern of payments Fiona received from overseas customers as unusual, particularly as the payments came from countries identified as “high risk” for money laundering.  When Overseas Cash spoke to Fiona it discovered she is a business rather than retail client.  Overseas Cash referred Fiona to a related company specialising in business money transfers, Commercial Cash Overseas.

Commercial Cash Overseas told Fiona it could only transfer funds between bank accounts.  Fiona said Commercial Cash Overseas’ service was of no help to her because her customers very often do not have bank accounts, and prefer to use Overseas Cash.



Fiona said Overseas Cash was being unreasonable.  Fiona has a small business, her overseas customers are individuals and international money transfer is the most efficient way for them to send payment.  Fiona asked FSCL to persuade Overseas Cash to allow her to continue to receive funds from her customers.

Overseas Cash advised it does not transfer money to or from businesses.  The pattern of Fiona’s transactions indicated that she was conducting a business through Overseas Cash and it was not prepared to change its decision.


FSCL’s review

Overseas Cash’s decision to provide services only to retail customers is a legitimate policy decision.  Similarly Commercial Cash Overseas’ decision to only transfer funds between bank accounts is a legitimate policy decision.  We referred Fiona to paragraph 8.2(b) of our terms of reference, and explained we are unable to investigate complaints about policy decisions. 

We explained to Fiona that, like any other business, Overseas Cash can decide who it will and will not accept as a customer.  We cannot require Overseas Cash to accept her as a customer or to change its policy to accept money transfers for businesses.  We suggested Fiona withdraw her complaint about Overseas Cash.



Fiona did not accept our view.  Fiona asked us to reconsider saying she is a very small business accepting payments from individuals.  Fiona challenged Overseas Cash’s submission that it has a policy that it does not accept money transfers for businesses.

We considered Fiona’s submission and gathered more information from Overseas Cash.  We were satisfied its services are designed to meet the needs of retail customers.  When Overseas Cash identifies business customers it refers those customers to Commercial Overseas Cash.  Overseas Cash followed its usual process.

We explained to Fiona we were unable to take her complaint further and formally declined to investigate her complaint under paragraph 8.2(b) of our terms of reference.