CurrencyFair Money Transfer Review
Update February 8, 2017:
We have difficulties with Currencyfair’s affiliate program. The responses have been delayed for too long, and payments have been inconsistent (very odd behavior for a company dealing with payments).
We do believe Currencyfair’s pricing model is one of the best in the market, but until we figure it out and regain our trust in the firm, we recommend using Transferwise instead. They have similarly cheap prices with no minimums, and they have been far more responsive and trustworthy in our eyes than Currencyfair.
Quick FactsPros and ConsFree Transfer Promo
International Clients: ✗ Only from UK, EU and Australia.
Trading via: Online Platform, Telephone, Face to Face.
Offices In: UK, Australia, Ireland.
Regulation: ✓ The Central Bank of Ireland, ✓ The Autralian Securities and Investment Commission
Fees: €3 Plus Withdrawal Fees
Promotional Code: None but free transfer with our promo link.
Client Reviews: Over 750, mainly on TrustPilot.
Client Rating: 9.5 / 10
🏆 FinovateAsia 2014 – Best of Show
🏆 IIA Dot IE Net Visionary Awards for Most Insightful and Intriguing Internet Innovation
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0.35% Overall Markup Reported
Transparent Pricing in Online Platform
Opportunity to Beat Market Rate On P2P Marketplace
Highly Positive Client Rating
Overall Positive Client Reaction
First Free Transfer Using Our “Free Quote” Link
No Dedicated Dealers
Varying Fixed Fees which Could Be Significant
Fund Withdrawal Fees on Top of Fixed Fees
No Hedging Tools such as Forward Contracts
May Take a While to Find Best Rate Match
Our Rating: 83%
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Regardlress of whether it’s a small or large transfer, Currencyfair will be happy to do it for free.
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Company Information and Credibility
CurrencyFair, not be confused with travel money giant FairX, went live in Dublin in 2010. Since then, it has brokered roughly €1.5 billion, saving its customers some €100 million. CurrencyFair has expanded into the UK, Poland, and Australia, and it able to transfer funds to most nations around the world, though they don’t accept customers from anywhere but EEA countries or Australia.
The Currencyfair model has seem to find its way around investors minds, managing to raise in excess of $20m in several different rounds (as listed here, here, here and here). The company is often mentioned next to betting exchange giant Betfair in media, and we speculate there might be a connection between the two companies, with shared investors and employees (like this consultant).
Side Note: There’s also a strong connection between Betfair and Transferwise, as David Yu is an early investor in Transferwise.
Though the firm is still still young and developing, CurrencyFair is one of a few genuine Peer to Peer currency exchange companies, where transparency plays a huge rating, and saving is demonstrated across the board.
Whether this is a viable business model in the long term is yet to be seen. But for now, CurrencyFair seems to have a lot of happy customers and a growing influence.
The Central Bank of Ireland, The Autralian Securities and Investment Commission
🏆 Best in Show, FinovateAsia, 2012
🏆 IIA Dot IE Net Visionary Awards for Most Insightful and Intriguing Internet Innovation, 201311.
Though Currency fair can’t be matched with the old-timers in this industry like Moneycorp (operating since the 70’s and exchanging billions annually), it’s level of credibility is definitely in par with its direct competitor Transferwise.
Both companies have high expectations from them, cheap and transparent pricing, sexy marketing campaigns, and approximately similar trading volumes (both passed the 1bn mark in 2014).
There are 850+ client reviews available on TrustPilot , netting the company a 9.4 / 10 rating. This represents a large improvement from a shaky start Currencyfair had on the platform (in early 2014 it had an average rating of 6.2). It means that reviews added over the past 2 years have been almost unanimously positive.
CurrencyFair has received hundreds of positive client reviews and these were the main points:
- Best exchange rate
- Ability to achieve even better rates through marketplace options
- Courteous approach form the support staff
- Secure and prompt online platform
Complaints we have discovered about the company were most around these topic
- Unhelpful service
- Cumbersome platform which is not intuitive
- Lack of transparency about fund withdrawal fees
- Service discontinued to some countries without prior notice
The testimonials prove that Currencyfair meet the goals it has set up in order to become an industry leader:
- Ability to achieve the best rates through the marketplace
- An innovative product which combines an eWallet with currency transfers
- Helpful service and overall client satisfaction from the experience
View our eWallet comparison (Currencyfair included).
On the negative side there are some fairly justified complaints, but these are small things to consider inside a 95% positive overall feedback. The fact services were discontinued is indeed true, but doesn’t happen very often. The platform is a tad more complicated than other FX firms’ platform, but on the other hand it serves a different functionality, so it is expected. And yes, there are withdrawal fees but pretty negligible when it comes to high volume trading.
Exchange Rate & Fees
Fees: There’s a min. €3 fixed fee per transaction (which grows to €8 for priority /same-day transfers). That is if you send money from the UK. You can pay as much as 40 ILS ($10 or so) if you’re transferring Israeli Shekels, which is comparable to a normal bank fee.
In addition, there are withdrawal fees to collect money from your Currencyfair account to your bank account. We’re trying to look for additional information on that topic, as it is not clearly stated anywhere on the site (but clearly mentioned in some clients’ reviews).
Exchange Rates: The currency rates offered by Currencyfair are dynamic.
In fact, Currencyfair is a marketplace where buyers and seller meet to exchange currencies. Each person can set his preferred rate, or engage into trading with an existing offer.
There are two ways to go along:
1. If you need to exchange the currency quickly, you can use the Quicktrade option. This will automatically search for the best rates currently available on the marketplace and match your transfer. We don’t have particular data on the average margin achieved through this function but we can tell Currencyfair claims to step in and offer a 0.4%-0.5% margin if no marketplace match is made (and we assume margins will hover around these prices).
2. If you want to let the money sit for a while, and willing to wait for the best deals, then you can potentially even beat the mid-market rate. On the other hand, in terms of currency fluctuations, you could end up losing much more than the fees you saved.
The average spread that Currencyfair reports is 0.35% which is a great margin even for large transfers, but it’s difficult to know if it can be ever achieved through the more recommended Quicktrade option.
Limits: €8 is the minimum amount that can be transferred, one of the lowest seen anywhere. There is no upper limit.
The fees could be excessive with some currencies, or if you want a priority trade. If you are transferring small volumes in exotic currencies, or need a priority transfer, you better off not use them.
In terms of exchange rates, we think they are quite comparable to Transferwise, all in all, at around the 0.5% from mid-market rate (if you factor in the fees). Pretty good, but can be beaten by traditional companies when the amount transferred is significant.
The marketplace is the hottest, one of a kind, feature that Currencyfair bring into the table, but it’s a service which is only usable to expert which can predict market movements, or money managers in organizations. Still, it must be mentioned that in certain scenarios this marketplace can achieve rates that simply cannot be beaten.
Exchange Rates & Fees Rating
Global Reach & Service
- Dedicated Dealer: No.
- Offices: UK, Australia, Ireland.
- Ways to approach: Email, Telephone, Face to Face.
- Translations: Polish, French.
- Accepts clients: UK and Australia, Europe only.
- Currencies Handled: 15.
- Client reviews: 9.4 / 10, complimenting the company for saving and service.
Currencyfair is not the most global company there is. Not only it accepts clients from very specific locations, it also handles the least amount of currency pairs of all companies, especially in comparison to companies like FC Exchange.
On the service side, there’s no doubt the company stands to the highest standards of client satisfaction, but there are no expert dealers to assist you with market guidance (or offer hedging instruments such as forward contracts). That leaves the majority of customers at a disadvantage, having to make their own estimations on market movements if they decide to focus on the marketplace option.
Global Reach Score
Spot contracts (instant currency exchange) only.
For Online Sellers:
There are no special advantages for online sellers, whereas Currencies Direct and World First offer eTailers the option of opening collection bank accounts abroad.
Currencyfair has a great money transfer app, rated 4.2 / 5 on Google Play store. It is available to both Android and iPhone users, but seems much more popular on Android than it is on iPhone.
The app allows clients to log into their accounts, and basically perform all the necessary actions, such as opening a position, exchange money and transferring it from the account.
We cannot ignore the revolutionary P2P marketplace set up by Currencyfair, which represents a truly unique option of finding a mid-market rate (and then paying only 0.15% in spreads to Currencyfair itself).
Currencyfair has good features when it comes to two types of clients:
1. Experts who want to bet on currency movements without advisory on the subject. These individuals or businesses can fully utilize the marketplace and achieve tremendous rates, but they must know which way the market is moving.
2. Individuals or small businesses from UK or Europe who need to move money through popular corridors, and want to use the Quicktrade option to get pretty good rates. If they’re transferring massive amounts then they’re not likely to use an app for it, or let the money wait in the marketplace until a match is made (and could potentially get better rates with traditional FX firms).
Still, the whole concept is ground-breaking and the execution of features is good.
Special Features Score
- Credibility Score - 85%
- Client Feedback - 90%
- Fees, Exchange Rates - 85%
- Global Reach, Availability, Service - 85%
- Added Values - 70%
Currencyfair is a great company, with tremendous positive feedback from its clientele, and strong backing. It advertises an ultra-cheap average exchange rate spread achieve through its platforms, and enables clients to achieve and even beat mid-market rates.
Its disadvantages - fees which could be quite high if you are exchanging between exotic currencies, platform is a tad confusing for some people, and there's no expert advisory on currency movements (which makes waiting for a rate in the marketplace quite a gamble).
Weighing in the pros and the cons we have decided to recommend it for private clients sending medium-sized transfers (between 1,000 and 20,000) between popular currencies. Whether you use the marketplace option or the Quicktrade option, you are still likely to get great rates in these situations.
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