Increasing transparency of online foreign exchange calculators

Last registered on May 24, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Increasing transparency of online foreign exchange calculators
Initial registration date
May 22, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 24, 2023, 4:52 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) currently has a Best Practice Guide for International Money Transfer (IMT) calculators. However, evidence suggests that online calculators may still be confusing for users.
This research will test a number of potential changes to IMT calculators. These changes are designed to improve the communication of fees and exchange rate margins with users. These changes should allow consumers to directly compare IMT services with each other, which will improve competition and ultimately improve value to consumers.
Findings from this research may inform updates to the ACCC Best Practice Guide.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Copley, Scott, Bethany Jones and BETA Team Registration. 2023. "Increasing transparency of online foreign exchange calculators." AEA RCT Registry. May 24.
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Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome for this trial will be the group mean proportion of correct responses.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
At an individual level, the primary outcome will be the proportion of correct responses given across the five scenarios. A correct response occurs when the participant selects the ‘best deal’ out of the four IMT calculators presented in a scenario. Thus, each individual’s outcome will be a binomial trial where n = 5.
The ‘best deal’ is defined by the calculator that represents the highest ratio of converted dollars to total cost. For example a calculator that delivers 6907.38USD at a cost of 10,000.00AUD has a ratio of 0.69074. This is better value than one that delivers 6925.00USD at a cost of 10,045.00AUD with a ratio of 0.6894.
Individual level outcomes will be averaged within treatment groups, to give the average proportion of correct responses by arm.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
There will be two secondary outcomes (confidence and proportion of don’t know responses) and two outcomes for a secondary experiment (identification of a ‘bad deal’ and information seeking).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
For our comparison experiment we will include a ‘don’t know’ response option for each calculator comparison question. When calculating our primary outcome, ‘don’t know’ responses will be treated as a wrong answer. However, we will assess ‘don’t know’ responses by treatment arm, presenting this data as a proportion.
We will measure confidence using a single survey item after the experiment. Participants will be asked to rate how confident they were that they could pick the calculator with the best value. It will be measured with a three-level single-sided response frame (not at all confident; somewhat confident; very confident). We will examine the distribution of individuals answering each of the three categories across treatment arms.
Our secondary judgement experiment will have two outcomes based on two separate survey items. The first will measure the proportion of individuals that are likely to seek more information, and the second the proportion that identify the presented bad deal calculator as such. These proportions will be compared across treatment arms.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This research will consist of two 8-arm randomised controlled trials embedded in a survey delivered online using the Qualtrics platform.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomisation will be conducted in Qualtrics using simple randomisation
Randomization Unit
Individual participants
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The experiment will have 95 per cent power to detect an effect size of five percentage points (Cohen’s d ~ 0.18). Should recruitment prove difficult, even 500 participant per arm provides 88 per cent power to detect a five percentage point difference in groups.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee Humanities and Social Sciences (HREC HASS)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials