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What is the difference between 'dealing by phone' & 'transacting online'?


Some clients see the differences between these two methods of broker engagement as being like analogue vs. digital, old vs. new, telephone vs. carrier pigeon...and yet, given the way some of the brokers in London operate you'd get a faster response if you did use 'Speckled Jim' to issue your instructions.

What do we mean, specifically and in the context of this post, by these two terms and why do we have them listed separately on PrimeCap.com?

DEALING BY PHONE:

If we're teaching you to suck eggs then do bear with us...you may stumble across something you'd not considered.

Yes, dealing by phone means picking up the telephone, calling Prime Cap on 02031728193 and asking your dealer to provide a rate of exchange.

We like this way of working because it means we can inform on noteworthy details about the countries and currencies involved in the transaction.

We cannot take payment from a client over the telephone. Debit cards are not a settlement method we accept. Likewise, we cannot extract funds from your account. You will still need to electronically transmit the base currency amount to us to 'settle' a booking.

When Prime Cap refers to 'dealing by phone' we also like to include emailing about rates and transactions, largely because they too are real-time ways of communicating with your dealer.

If you're on PrimeCap.com, maybe visiting our data centre to see what your currency pair is up to, then you can pick up the phone and ask our team to provide you with a live rate too, every one of our brokers is here to explain what you are looking at.

TRANSACTING ONLINE:

We're not sure if it was online banking per se, or just some bright spark who thought that removing the need for an operative at the end of the telephone could save time and no doubt money (for his employer), but, conducting an international transfer online is pretty straight forward nower days...

Many businesses like it because it means that, provided the activity is straight foward, it can be repeated without external input by finance teams the world over. This is precisely why Prime Cap's online platform is styled in the way that it is; however, these platforms do come in different shapes and sizes and you often find that technology focused foreign exchange businesses focus more on style rather than function. We've attempted to keep things simple and offset any short fall in stylistic merit with capable and articulate guides at the end of the telephone for you.

One of the more innovative features of ours is that you can very easily and immediately see the currency specific balances you're holding. Our system will tell you when someone has credited funds to you and from there you can login to do something with/about it.

Companies with expenses in more than one currency (those with an office abroad for instance) can then conduct either a conversion or a payment...payments and conversions are technically separate functions.

Aside from liking talking to our clients and therefore knowing that things are done correctly, conversing with you over the phone serves some other useful purposes. For one thing it is acts as a level of security. If we can hear your voice and get a feel for why a payment is being made then fewer erroneous or fraudulent payments slip through the net.

We're not saying someone logging in to your platform is in any better a position to send your money overseas (they'd have to be able to login to your bank account too in order to send us the money - and if they're going to do that then why not just do an international payment there?), but, people genuinely take comfort from having a friendly experienced voice over the phone.

We like email communication and so do you (it seems). We like it because it means we can

put all necessary information in one communication, plus, on busy days we do not need to free up our lines for other deals. You seem to like emailing us for quotes because you have something visual and you have as close to a real time chat as you can get without having to be verbally polite.

As you might imagine, we get asked a lot whether or not now is the right/best time to convert. Our team love to hear themselves speak. For one thing they can hone their rhetorical skills. It is a training tool of sorts. But, the reason why we prefer to answer this question over the phone is because the data and detail that goes in to form some of our analysis can be long, varied and detailed. Does it get read? That is not a concern of ours...but it's whether or not we can successfully keep your interest that matters.

One of the reasons we chose to define three operating settings for our private client activity is because we wanted to publicise an internal tracking and service tiering system. Presenting 'Fully Managed', 'Execution Only' and 'View Only' as packages clients can opt for was a strategic move. No other FX company presents their services in that way and it was in an attempt to communicate a little bit about our approach to matters or briefs. The client has an idea about what to expect from us. We can unify our approach to certain clients across our entire dealing team and we have now, we believe, set a precedent whereby we can add other facets in to the packages and wrappers.

Why couldn't there by a private client 'View Only insurance' wrapper? One where, in partnership with strategic referrers and service providers, information like renewal schedule is shared between providers at the client invitation. We're just brain storming out-loud now (but if we see that idea anywhere else then...well, y'know).

At the end of the day, the payments and foreign currency space has gone down a particular path. It is far cheaper to ship all of your clients onto an online system and simply employ a call centre of people to trouble shoot usability than it is to employ a room full or experienced currency dealers. The technology appeals to a sufficient number of people that those who struggle with it can be considered collateral damage - or at least that is what we see as the mentality of a number of our online, do-it-yourself competitors.

The alternative though is not to shun an online system and stick with the old manual way of working. Why can't the two be married?

Well, in fact, the two can be married and it is called Prime Cap.

Interestingly, our unique commitment to integration with our partners and referrers is one of the main reasons why we can afford to keep our costs (to our client) as low as they are. Many FX companies court the open market. Marketing and advertising, investing in every changing gimmickry to try and broaden their appeal, but, their use remains distinctly currency focussed. The cost of diversification is competition - at least in the world of FX.

The steady flow of consistent referrals we receive from are partners means that changes we want to introduce do not get paid for by an increase to our top-line. Many FX firms win awards for being high growth. That is worn as a badge of achievement. But, anyone who's watched a BBC Attenborough programme knows that it is in the nutrient rich waters of cold and frozen regions that, slowly, organisms reach tremendous size.

So, at Prime Cap we like talking to our clients. We see the value of giving them online access because it means they can chose what they want to do and when, but, we will always advocate verbally discussing requirements because that, in union with our online visibility, is the very very best way to get the most out of the sort of services we provide.

Marrying online with old school talking is what makes Prime Cap different; that and the ways in which we have spun the presentation of foreign exchange on it's head. We are proud to essentially ned 'not on the high street'. So many specialists in their field pride themselves on letting their strengthening reputation do the business development leg work and we are no different.

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Prime Cap Payments Limited (T/A Prime Cap | Prime Cap Payments | Prime Cap Global Payments) is registered in England and Wales No: 10755730. Registered address: 27 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AXPrime Cap is partnered with, and a programme manager of, Ebury Partners UK Limited who provide Prime Cap's FX and payment services.  Ebury Partners UK Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Electronic Money Institution (Financial Services Register No. 900797) and is registered in England and Wales (registered no. 7088713). Registered office: 3rd floor, 100 Victoria Street, Cardinal Place, London, SW1E 5JL.  Ebury Partners UK Ltd is registered with the ICO with registration numnber ZA345828.