Blog Post

CurrencyFair Review

In the recent past, there were few options for sending money abroad. You could choose from banks or companies like Western Union with enormous fees. Fortunately, technology is now giving us greater freedom of choice with how to move our money. CurrencyFair is one of these revolutionary companies who has started using peer-to-peer networks to reduce fees and offer better quality services. In this CurrencyFair review, I will provide comprehensive information about the company’s services and share ideas about how to get the most out of them.

CurrencyFair site

Quick facts

  • CurrencyFair fees are low thanks to use of P2P technology
  • Fees are transparent
  • Real mid-market exchange rates are offered
  • Safe to use as they are:
    • Regulated under the EU Communities Regulations by the Central Bank of Ireland (see Registers of Payment Services Firms section).
    • Regulated in Australia by Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
  • A good reputation; holds “Excellent” rate on TrustPilot (9.3 out of 10)

What is Mid-Market Exchange Rate?

The mid-market exchange rate is the middle point between sell and buy prices on the currencies exchange market. It is considered the reference rate; it’s also called the interbank exchange rate. Banks and exchange services usually add margins on top of the mid-market rate; we call that a ‘hidden fee’.

How Does CurrencyFair Work?

CurrencyFair is peer-to-peer payments system that exchanges money in between people with minimal involvement from banks. They use banks only to receive your deposit and to credit the recipient’s account. It works in the way that actually keeps money from crossing borders, allowing CurrencyFair to keep low and transparent fees.

How Does CurrencyFair Work?

  1. Make a bank deposit to your local CurrencyFair bank account (it’s free!)
  2. CurrencyFair finds the match for your transfer and does the conversion using real market currency exchange rates
  3. CurrencyFair makes local bank transfers to recipient’s bank account

The entire process takes 1-2 days to complete for most destinations.

CurrencyFair Rates and Fees

Currencyfair Typical Bank
Transfer amount Transfer amount
£ 2,000.00 £ 2,000.00
International transfer fees International transfer fees
£ 2.50 £ 40.00
Exchange rate margin Exchange rate margin
£ 6.00 £ 60.00
Total cost of transaction Total cost of transaction
£ 8.50 £ 100.00

CurrencyFair’s fees are quite transparent when you compare it to some competitors who add margin on top of currency exchange rates. Their fee consists of:

  1. Fixed €3 transfer fee for each transaction
  2. A fee of 0.25% to 0.3% of the amount you send. This fee changes depending on which currencies are being exchanged.

How to Get the Best Deal on the CurrencyFair Marketplace?

Did you know that there is a unique marketpace feature on CurrencyFair? There you can get full control over your exchange rate and minimise the variable fee up to 0.1%. There is how to get this awesome deal:

  1. You can pick up the exchange rate you want to use for the conversion
  2. The system will wait until the market exchange rate gets to the point when your order can be fulfilled and will do everything for you on auto pilot
  3. You can always modify exchange rate or cancel your order

When you use the marketplace, you place an order to exchange money with a rate that you choose. The order will stay open until the market exchange rate reaches the rate you have set. Then CurrencyFair will match your order; your match will be somebody who is transferring money in opposite direction. It may take longer to complete but you will get the one of the best deals possible. All you need is:

  1. Your currency exchange rate (just ask 0.5% more and wait for the exchange rate fluctuation)
  2. Fixed €3 transfer fee for each transaction
  3. Plus 0.1% to 0.3% fee from the amount you send depending on currencies exchanged

Fees Can be Higher in Some Situations

There is chance that you won’t ever find a matching transaction to fulfil your order. In this case, CurrencyFair will step in and use their funds to do the conversion. The fee for this type of transaction will be 0.4% to 0.6% depending on currencies you are converting. But it happens very rarely.

CurrencyFair Needs You to Succeed!

CurrencyFair’s success depends solely on the number of active customers. For every single transfer, they need to match a transaction coming from the opposite destination. For example, if you convert 1000 GBP to EUR then obviously they need to find somebody else who needs to send at least the same amount in EUR equivalent to GBP. This is how all P2P payment providers work. This ensures you’ll get great customer service and the best rates that can afford to give you.

Is CurrencyFair safe?

First, we should define the profile of a safe online money transfer company. There are several important things you should pay attention to:

  1. Is the company licensed to provide financial services? Is it licensed in your region? Always confirm license status on the official website of your local regulatory institution.
  2. Is the company trustworthy? How old and big is it? Who are investors?
  3. Are the customer’s feedback positive?

Now that we’ve established our criteria for a safe service, we can see where CurrencyFair stands when it comes to safety of your money. Let’s find out more about how secure CurrencyFair is.

Regulations and licensing

CurrencyFair is licensed to perform payment services under the EU regulations and is authorized by the Central Bank of Ireland with license number 419450. They also legally operate in Australia and are regulated by ASIC with the license number 402709. Both are confirmed to be valid on official websites of regulators.

According to EU regulations CurrencyFair are bound to protect their customers funds by implementing various security systems and procedures. This includes keeping customers funds in segregated accounts that are isolated from CurrencyFair’s own accounts. Also, they are required to maintain certain level of capital and liquidity dictated by regulations. This ensures your money is as safe as it can be.

Is CurrencyFair trustworthy?

The company was founded in 2009 by group of expats. It quickly became one of the top online money transfer companies in the world. The have around 60 employees working in 3 offices in Ireland, Australia, and the UK. So far, they helped to transfer more than €5.6 billion, allowing their customers to save more than €202 million from bank fees and rates. Back in January 2016, the company was nominated as the best online provider for sending £10,000 to Europe by which.co.uk. According to Crunchbase, there were numerous funding rounds performed by various investors like Enterprise Ireland and Octopus Ventures. They got around $24.5 million of total funding. You know if investors trust their money to CurrencyFair, you can too.

CurrencyFair customer reviews

The company receives very positive customer feedback all the time. They keep a very high 9.3 (Excellent) TrustPilot rating that’s based on more that 2500 customers reviews. Moreover, they are in the Top 5 companies in Money Transfer category on TrustPilot. People typically rave about their amazing exchange rates, low fees, and how the entire transfer process is quick and simple. Customers also highlight responsiveness and helpfulness of customer services. There are a few people who claim that the transfer process is a bit overcomplicated and transfers speed could be better. Some people complained that they had to provide too many personal details when opening their account, but this is regulatory requirement. CurrencyFair makes the process as easy as possible and only asks for what they need.

Sign Up for a CurrencyFair Account

The steps are very simple, and you can do everything online using your browser or a mobile app. However, I would recommend using a laptop for signing up; it’s much more convenient. The registration process is quick and simple. But make sure to have the following documents available before you start:

  1. Passport, national ID card, or driving license for proving your identity
  2. Recent utility bill, bank, or credit statement to prove your address. You may be asked to provide 2 different documents.

These documents are required to be uploaded during the registration. You can scan them or take a photo of them. Try to aim for the best alignment and image quality so that CurrencyFair’s automated verification can pick out the details. This way, they can verify your identity as quickly as possible. In certain cases, more documents may be required for manual verification. It’s usually done within one day. You need to pass this process only once, then you’re ready for your first transfer.

Why do They Need Copies of My Documents?

These documents are required by EU regulations, and CurrencyFair is obliged to collect this information. You will see all other money transfer companies do the same; you should be very cautious if they don’t. Certain companies allow you to send limited amounts before asking for proof of ID and your address. TransferWise for example.

As mentioned earlier, I would recommend opening a CurrencyFair website on your laptop. Here’s how it will go:

  1. There will be a simple form where you need to enter your email and choose a password for your CurrencyFair account
  2. Enter your name, surname, and country of residence. You will be asked a reason for opening the account
  3. To finish the registration process, you will only need to accept the terms and conditions, then press “Create Account!” button. Shortly after, you will be transferred to the next page where you can start sending money.

You should receive confirmation of the registration to your email within couple of minutes.

Making Your First Transfer and Account Verification

Once you get registered, you are almost ready to start sending money. The last step is to complete the verification process where you need to upload copies of documents to prove your identity and address.

  1. Select “Send Money” option and specify how much you would like to send and in what currency. You will instantly see the exchange rates, fees, the amount that will be sent to the recipient, and estimated delivery date.
  2. You will be asked to provide more details about yourself to complete the account verification:
    1. Your date of birth
    2. Phone number
    3. Nationality
    4. Address
    5. Occupation
    6. Your photo identity; either your passport, national ID card, or driver’s license
    7. Your proof of address; it can be any utility bill, bank, or card statement. Make sure your effective address is present on the document, and the document itself is dated within the last 3 months.
  3. Now you should be ready to complete your transfer request:
    1. Specify the name of account holder (recipient) and select the destination country where the account is held
    2. Enter the full name of the account holder, country of residence, recipient’s IBAN, and purpose of the transfer. You can optionally provide payment reference for the recipient.
    3. Then you will be asked to confirm your phone number. It will be used as an extra safety measure to authenticate payments with mobile phones. You will receive an SMS with a security code every time you do a transfer to new bank account. You will need to enter this code in order to authorize the transfer.
    4. The last step is to send money to CurrencyFair’s account in your currency. You will get exact instructions with account details and payment reference required to complete the transfer. Make sure to copy the payment reference information to avoid any possible delays. These transfers are normally free of charge and money will arrive at CurrencyFair within few hours.

Keep in mind that CurrenyFair relies on the real mid-market exchange rates, so it may change while they are processing your request. There is a built-in protection against exchange rate fluctuations that are higher that 3%. In this case, you will get your money back.

Making Your First Transfer and Account Verification

You should be able to see your transfer under “My Account” overview once you complete all the steps. Payment and verification status will be displayed when opening details of the transfer. Now you’re done! Your transfer should get complete shortly.

Conclusion

You definitely can’t go wrong if you choose to try CurrencyFair for sending money abroad. Their fees are low and transparent, and there are no hidden margins added to the exchange rates. Thanks to CurrencyFair marketplace, you have absolute control over the exchange process. You can get even lower fees if transfer time is not critical for you. I definitely can recommend this service for individuals and businesses who deal with international transfers. Whether you need to transfer money once or regularly, CurrencyFair is a great service that can fit all of your transfer needs.

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