Big Four bank blocks transfers into British pounds after Brexit

Angus Kidman 24 June 2016


CommBank and NAB customers can't take advantage of the improved exchange rate.

Britain's surprise decision to leave the European Union is already causing problems for Australians overseas, with one of the Big Four banks temporarily blocking money transfers into British pounds.

Commonwealth Bank confirmed on Twitter that it was "temporarily suspending all foreign exchange of GBP pounds and transactions that do not include AUD until the morning of Monday, 27 June".

Users on Twitter reported that they had been unable to use CommBank-issued travel money cards which had UK currency preloaded on them, or exchange Australian dollars for UK pounds. For any Australians currently resident in the UK, the low rate would make shifting existing Australian dollar holdings into pounds appealing.

The value of both the pound and the Australian dollar slumped dramatically following the results of the "Brexit" referendum. The pound's value relative to the US dollar is at its lowest levels since 1985.

Business customers and large traders do not appear to have the same restrictions imposed. This year there have been calls for a royal commission into bank behaviour, and moves which favour large business accounts over individuals are unlikely to improve perceptions of larger banks.

Disclosure: The author is currently in the UK and is very glad he has some actual paper currency in his wallet.

Picture: Shutterstock

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