More than $2 Billion are converted to pesos each year in San Diego's border community of San Ysidro, says Jason Wells, executive director for the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce. And for many people who convert money, they are unknowingly paying hidden fees and commissions to the money exchanges.
“They charged me 9.39%,” said Tijuana resident, Jose Alberto.
“They charged me 7% and I had no idea,” said Rocio Carrillo.
But now, the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce is taking action.
On October 16, Wells and the chamber launched the Responsible Money Exchange program, a partnership of five of the largest money exchanges in San Ysidro to make sure customers are aware they are not getting charged extra fees when converting their hard-earned cash.
“It’s not fair to the customer, it’s not fair to the community and it’s not fair to our other businesses because if one part of san ysidro gets a bad rap then everybody is going to get it as well,” said Wells.
He and the chamber decided to move forward with the program after many customers urged Telemundo 20’s Responde and NBC 7’s Responds Team to look into the issue. During our investigation, the team discovered people were paying commissions and other hidden fees without even knowing about it.
“It wouldn’t have happened without Telemundo bringing this issue to our attention,” said Wells.
He added, “So what we are telling the public is to have confidence in your money exchange and not worry about if there is any small print or any extra charges, look for this sign.”
Wells said the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce will be posting a sign in all participating money exchange stores confirming they are not adding any fees to the conversion rate.
“So what we are telling the public is to have confidence in your money exchange and not worry about if there is any small print or any extra charges, look for this sign. After all, we are talking about a lot of money.”