Our 0.2% fee: how small is it?

By on March 1st, 2017 in Editorial, FinTech, Foreign Exchange, Small Business Advice

By contrast, the average fee for currency transactions is 0.8%  – as reported last year in the Sunday Times – and can sometimes be as high as 1.5% if banks and brokers deem you a small enough business to be exploitable. As a result, SMEs are losing £4bn a year in hidden fees.

Take a look at these less abstract and mathematical illustrations of the size of 0.2%.

Let’s see how far 0.2% gets us through one of the most famous poems of all time.

If y

Rudyard Kipling’s If gets short shrift when boiled down to 0.2% of its original length, barely managing to surpass the length of its title. The poem loses much of its inspirational bossiness in the condensed version, resoundly failing to suggest the reader keep their head while others around them are losing theirs and providing far fewer absurdly prescriptive tips on how to “be a Man, my son!”

How much, in years, is 0.2% of modern human existence?
The Bahraini Tree of Life is a Prosopis cineraria in the middle of the desert and nobody knows how it survives. At approximately 400 years old, it clocks in at 0.2% of the 200,000 year lifespan of homo sapiens. This Greenland shark is also around 400 years old and therefore supposedly the “longest-living vertebrate”. It is nice to think that the tree and the shark could have been great friends having conversations spanning the events of the last 0.2% of modern human existence, were it not for their immediate surroundings and inability to talk making this quite impossible.

While we’re paddling in the shadows of prehistory, why not consider the opening 0.2% of the tangentially-related film Jurassic Park?
As you can see, we barely make it to the end of the Universal logo, which results in a far less thrilling cinematic experience. Although we get the general (and frankly coincidental) impression that the film takes place on Earth, we are not presented with a single dinosaur and are forced to conclude that 0.2% of Jurassic Park is such a small proportion of the film that it may as well be 0% of Jurassic Park.

What is 0.2% of the age of the Great Pyramid of Giza?
Built around 2580 BC, the Khufu pyramid is an estimated 4,597 years old. But what does that look like at 0.2%? Four fifths of a year younger than US President Donald Trump’s youngest son Barron William, who is 10. Bonus fact: if you shrank Khufu to 0.2% of its 230m height, it would be under half a meter tall and therefore also considerably shorter than Barron Trump.

Finally, consider 0.2% of England’s greatest moment of sporting glory: the 1966 World Cup Final against West Germany.
Oh dear. Not quite so glorious any more, is it? Although our lads in red make a decent fist of fending off an early attempt from white-clad West Germany, 0.2% of this match gives the impression that England were mercilessly and humiliatingly pummelled with near misses by a far more powerful team, making it feel more like a modern day England match than the jewel in our nation’s footballing history.

It seems there are many situations in which reducing something to the tiny proportion of 0.2% is distinctly undesirable. Fortunately, we can all agree that a microscopic 0.2% fee on international payments and currency exchanges is invariably a good thing.


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Alice is Head of Account Management at freemarket. Her friendly, customer-centric approach ensures that everyone who joins gets an efficient, added value service that’s right for them.

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