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Ria Money Transfer Review

Quick FactsPros and Cons
ria-logo

Established: 1987.


International Clients: ✗ American Only


Currencies Offered: 100+ (Worldwide reach including Africa and Asia)


Minimum Transfer: No minimum. Limited to $2,999 in most states.


Trading via: Online or via branches.


Offices In: California.


Regulation: ✓ FinCEN (USA)


Fees: $3-5 dollar for Bank to Bank transfers, additional $20-$35 incurred with Debit/Credit payments


Client Reviews: Over 200 on TrustPilot.


Client Rating: 7.3 / 10


Website: www.riamoneytransfer.com

Awards
Top Money Transfer 2015 – The International Association of Money Transfer Networks
Best Traditional Model Award at 10th Annual Global Money Transfer Summit 2015

Our Rating: 75.2%

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Pros

One of the largest providers in the world

Very wide global reach

Professional website and support

Fair rates for remittances

Cons

Limited to USA clients

Limited to $2,999 per transfer

For large transfers rates are not great


Our Rating: 75.2%

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Company Information and Credibility


Company size:  

Ria money transfer has been established in 1987 by Jesus Perez Santalla, an immigrant from Cuba, and purchased by Euronet Worldwide, which is also the owner of HiFX, in 2006; even before that it was considered to be the third largest money transfer service in the world, with over 200,000 agent locations. Euronet Worldwide has a market cap of well over USD4bn and is traded in EEFT on NASDAQ.

That means that together with Western Union, Xoom, and Moneygram, Ria money transfer is most definitely a world leader in cross border payments.

Ria money transfer offers a variety of services, including mobile top-up, ATM’s, bill payments and check cashing but its main business comes from money transfers across the world. Though the majority of transfers are still physical via agents and stores, its online business is growing at an astonishing pace, but at this point limited to USA based clients.

Ria is widely covered through mainstream media on news websites like CNBC and, MarketWatch, and as well as on partner companies like Walmart.


Regulated By: 

FinCEN (USA)


Awards: 

Top Money Transfer 2015 – The International Association of Money Transfer Networks
Best Traditional Model Award at 10th Annual Global Money Transfer Summit 2015

(… and plenty more over its almost 30 years in the business…)


Conclusion: 

Ria Money Transfer is a reliable company as they get in terms of size. We mean, they are the company that were chosen by Walmart as their payment service provider on their stores, and they have over 200,000 agents working with them globally. Being owned by a company like Euronet Worldwide Inc. makes the feasibility of them going bankrupt very low.

In accordance to their gigantic size, they are offered covered by mainstream media, and considered as a highly-known brand, especially in the states. In terms of online transfers we do know it’s large but it’s not nearly as much exposure from the media about this particular service.

Credibility Rating

Client Feedback


Research:

Ria money transfer nets a 7.3 / 10 score on TrustPilot. While it’s indicating an overall positive experience, it also represents 20% in complaints. There are plenty of other reviews of Ria money transfer on various websites, but nothing that we thought has added value over TrustPilot’s reviews.

The overall number of reviewers on TrustPilot is fairly low, at less than 200 reviews, but since TrustPilot has stronger UK orientation and Ria is big in the USA, it felt natural (and additonally there are hundreds of reviews on other websites).


Positive:

About 75% of the users did enjoy Ria money transfer’s experience (online) and have mentioned these positives:

  • Good prices
  • Wide reach worldwide
  • Good service that deals with people in a respectable way
  • Good platform
Negative:

There were about 50 complaints we discovered about the company online. The complaints focused on the following:

  • Slow arrival of funds
  • Unhelpful customer service, disarray
  • Verification issues after money has been transferred to them
  • Funds withheld in the account for no apparent reason
  • Charities and churches working with Ria were cut off with no further explaination

Conclusion:

The overall notion we definitely get is that Ria’s prices are cheap. In fact, there were no complaints about this topic but many positive reviews attesting they have proved cheaper than other major remittances providers in the USA like Xoom.

The other feel we get is that the time to arrive might be longer than with other companies. Again there were many complaints dealing with this issue, but hardly any positive reviews describing the service as prompt.

On the service side we see more positive reviews, but still a worrisome number of negative reviews that casts a dark shadow on this aspect. We can only assume that the service is usually OK, but some people have not received the care required with customers in such a delicate matter such as transferring funds abroad.

In terms of verification and stopping activity in certain accounts, we can only say that Ria should comply with Anti Money Laundering laws which forces their hands into these actions. If a certain transfer is deemed suspicious by their compliance team, asking for further documentation and details is definitely standard. It might take more time than required with Ria (one week is too much if client response is immediate), but it’s not Ria’s fault.

Overall, far from perfect.

User Rating

 


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Exchange Rate & Fees


Research:

Fees: Fixed for all countries – $3 for transfer below the $100 mark, and $5 for transfer above the mark.

Exchange Rates: We know the exchange rates are good in comparison with other remittances providers. The client reviews have attested for that, and so does the World Bank Remittances Prices site, ranking Ria very well for bank to bank transfers (usually one of the top five cheapest companies for the transfer) and cash pickups (Ria is possibly the cheapest option for that).

In fact Ria was transparent enough to provider rates on its Price Calculator, and we spotted a steady 2.5% margin. For some destinations that’s pretty good, especially Africa, South America and east Asia, where companies like Western Union can charge huge markups. For some destinations like Europe, if the transfer amount is $1,000 or more, it’s a huge spread. There are companies like Transferwise which are currently starting to operate in the USA and use fixed 0.5% margins for most destinations.

Rates are somewhat similar to other U.S-based remittances companies like Transfast.

Limits: There is absolutely no minimum, but a daily $2,999 max limit. In certain states a single day is capped at $999 in transfers.


Conclusion:

You can’t compare apples with oranges so we won’t be comparing Ria’s exchange rates to the ones offered by other specialist foreign exchange firm, else this rate would be extremely low. When you compare it with other companies in its sector, with this ultra-wide reach, and considering the fact it is very transparent in its approach (allowing to view prices before sending), we grade it as a cheap remittance firm.

Exchange Rates & Fees Rating

Global Reach & Service


Research:

  • Dedicated Dealer: No.
  • Offices: USA.
  • Ways to approach: Phone, Email.
  • Translations: None.
  • Accepts clients: Claims to take clients from many countries in Europe, but there’s a pop-up ad on the site mentioning they only take on USA clients online.
  • Currencies Handled: 100+
  • Client reviews: Mostly satisfied but still, many complaints.

Conclusion:

On one hand Ria is a truly international company. With 200,000 agents and stores across the globe, they have the right connections to sort out any issue. They handle a lot of very important corridors in Africa and make it cheaper for immigrants to send money home than ever before.

On the other hand, for those who want to transfer larger sums of money into less remote parts of the world, Ria isn’t a perfect solution. With competitors like World First you get a dedicated dealer helping you with every step of the transfer (including currency-related consultancy), and he is reachable via various channels – and this gets them much higher client satisfaction than with Ria.

Global Reach Score

Additional Functionalities

 

There are no other functionalities to this service besides sending and receiving funds into bank accounts or in cash pickup. There is no app, there are not hedging tools, no regular transfers that can be done automatically. Nothing.


Conclusion:

Ria is a remittance service. Easy and simple. Not meant for large transfers and thus there are no hedging tools of any sort. Regular transfers could have been nice, and so does an appp, but it’s not an absolutely necessity with this type of service.

Special Features Score

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14 comments

  1. desmond

    I am look for Ria money transfer office in Sierra Leone

    Posted on January 8, 2016
    • compare

      Hi Desmond,
      Looking for an office to receive funds that have been sent to you (to Sierra Leon)?
      There are dozens of offices available.

      For instance:

      Afro International (Afro Campbell Street Branch)
      53 Campbell Street, Opposit Np Petrol Station
      Freetown WE

      Frandia Foreign Exchange Bureau (Frandia Forex)
      11 Goderich Street
      Freetown WE

      More can be found on their Ria Location.

      Hope this helped!
      The MoneyTransferComparison Staff.
      Cheers.

      Posted on January 9, 2016
  2. jun tomis

    i send money in the philippines and i want to trak it if it is already deposited in the bank so i can advised my family to take it.thank you so much…

    Posted on February 19, 2016
  3. Michael Dempsey

    I am investigating the possibility of sending money from a bank account in Los Angeles, California USA to a friend who lives in Accra, Ghana. I would like the funds to be available for cash pickup. Can this be done? If so, what locations in Accra are available for my recipient to do a cash pickup?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Posted on June 2, 2016
    • compare

      Hi Michael. Sending money for a cash pickup is always more expensive. So first off our tip would be to send it directly to your friends bank account.
      Ria has more than 400 locations around Accra, you can view this on their website under “location locator”.

      Posted on June 3, 2016
  4. onyi

    Hi please what is the maximum amount of money i can send from a branch in the U.S..

    Posted on June 21, 2016
    • compare

      Hi, it is state dependent but normally $2,999. We wouldn’t recommend sending anything higher than that considering Ria’s rates in comparison to the other companies reviewed on this website.

      Posted on June 21, 2016
  5. Aditya

    Ria is horrible. It might give you slightly better rate but eventually fustrate tou through its tardy money transfer and pathetic customer service. Any email sent to them will not get response in less than 10 days. Use it only if you want to lose peace of mind and add frustration to your life…if time, effort and money are precious to you then Stay away from Ria. There are better reliable service providers.

    Posted on January 3, 2017
    • Compare - MTC Admin

      Thank you for your feedback!

      Posted on January 4, 2017
  6. Abhijeet Rajput

    DON’T USE THIS COMPANY FOR ANY TRANSFER. ATLEAST I AM NOT GOING TO USE.
    1). THEY SAY THAT THEY ARE GOING TO TRANSFER MONEY IN 3 BUSINESS DAYS. AFTER THE TRANSACTION WAS COMPLETED, I RECEIVED A CONFIRMATION TO RECEIVE BY 1/12/17
    2). I INITIATED A TRANSFER ON 1/4/17 AND UNTIL TODAY 1/14/17 THE MONEY IS NOT TRANSFERRED.
    3). I CALLED ON 1/12/17 ABOUT THE STATUS, AT THAT POINT I WAS INFORMED THAT MONEY WAS READY TO BE TRANSFERRED BY 1/5/17 BUT THERE WAS SOME ISSUE WITH THE BANK. PROBLEM IS NO COMMUNICATION IS MADE TO YOU AND YOU KEEP HOPING THAT EVERYTHING IS OKAY AND MONEY WILL BE TRANSFERRED SOME DAY .
    4). I ASK THEM TO RESEND MONEY AND INISTED TO SPEAK WITH A SUPERVISOR ( NATALIE) AND SHE PROMISED THAT THE MONEY WILL GO INTO ACCOUNT 1/12/17. I AGAIN TRUSTED HER WORD AND WAITED FOR 2 MORE DAYS.
    5). I CALLED AGAIN TO CHECK THE STATUS BECAUSE THE MONEY WAS STILL NOT TRANSFERRED YET, I SPOKE WITH WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE “DINA”. NO UNDERSTANDING OF SITUATION OR COURTESY OF THE SITUATION. I ON HOPE THE MONEY WILL BE TRANSFERRED I AM IN A COUNTRY WITH NO MONEY.
    6). I INSISTED TO SPEAK WITH A SUPERVISOR AND THIS TIME NO ONE IS AVAILABLE BECAUSE THE REFUND WILL NOT TAKE 3 TO 10 DAYS TO BE RETURNED BACK TO MY ACCOUNT.

    I AM IN A WORST SITUATION WITH MY FAMILY. THANK GOD THAT I HAVE FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO ARE GOING TO HELP ME OUT THIS TIME BUT I CAN JUST IMAGINE WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NO ONE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY. DO NOT TRUST THIS COMPANY FOR RELIABLE TRANSFER OR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION OR A BELOW AVERAGE CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    Posted on January 14, 2017
    • Compare - MTC Admin

      Thank you for your feedback! Very valuable indeed. Sounds like a horrible experience.

      Posted on January 15, 2017
  7. Jim W

    RIAMoneyTransfer.com: Not quite there yet

    I live in NY and my wife and I were trying to send money to the Dominican Republic which we already do monthly via Xoom.com but lately their fees (as well as USD to DOP exchange rate) are just not competitive. Like any company that’s grown enough and captured ample marketshare, service and value go down. So we figured we’d give Riamoneytransfer.com a try. In short, you get what you pay for (or don’t pay for in the case of these smaller players like Ria) and in our case we were never able to complete even our first transfer.

    Here’s a summary;

    1. The whole signup, initial bank verification process took four days. Waaaayyy too long.
    2. Once we had verified our bank account using Ria’s verification process (two micro deposits to our bank account), our first transfer failed. We received an email from their security dept. asking we call them.
    3. OK, we called and the young man in Ria’s security department asked all the usual questions to identify us. Then started asking what we were going to use the money for and when was the last time we traveled etc. Another poster mentioned it seemed really invasive and personal and I agree. Especially, “What are you going to use the money for?” HELLO? Of course there’s all the US anti-money laundering laws now in effect but with other transfer services it was always about verifying the sender and recipients are legitimate (e.g., the Identity of person, whether they were a US Citizen/legal resident, whether they were the owners of the bank accounts etc.), not what you were going to spend your money on. The conversation had the feel of the guy we were talking to making it up as he went along.
    4. The representative wasn’t even aware of their own bank verification process using the two micro deposits. I tried to explain that they already verified my bank account but it was no use, he just didn’t get it. Maybe a trainee or someone new but if so, that alone is telling about their internal processes that they would let loose someone who wasn’t fully versed on their own internal processed.
    5. In the end, he said I could send him a copy of my photo ID, passport with stamp of the last time I traveled to the Dominican Republic (not sure how this verifies a bank account-especially for people who don’t travel), picture of my first-born, a bunch of other stuff etc! At this point I had serious concerns about Ria from this conversation as well as from other reviews on the internet that essentially said the same thing. Alternately, he said I could try to find a Ria storefront and bring in cash. He said if I brought cash into one of their physical locations he said it wouldn’t be a problem. While I think that’s a nice convenience, I’m not going to travel to Washington Heights, NY NY to visit one of their storefronts and then go walking with a bunch of cash etc. so I declined and will probably just stay with Xoom.com for now.

    ***The takeaways….? **** While Ria may offer slightly lower rate than Xoom there’s a reason for it. They’re not on the same playing field yet. Service-wise and sophistication of their transfer process seems to lag the other players such as Xoom or Western Union by a considerable margin. Everything I experience indicated the transfer would take [at best], days. Xoom (and I assume, WU) does it in minutes. There’s clearly a big difference in the infrastructure Ria has in place vs.the other guys which probably accounts for the lower rates (it makes sense, lower infrastructure/overhead costs = lower rates). In the end, I don’t have enough trust in Ria from the experience to make the switch. They’re still trying to find their footing and the whole experience made me feel like so many decisions are done ad hoc and the processes still manual. Once they get themselves established and their processes smoother, maybe, but not today. BTW, while I mentioned Western Union in this post, I can’t really vouch for their service as I’ve never used them. Their rates are WAY higher however as they’ve been around forever I assume they’ve got things down too. Hope this review helps.

    Posted on April 19, 2017
    • Compare - MTC Admin

      It truly does. Very well written, super helpful, very focused on all the right things. Thank you, sir, for providing so much insight. Did you try any other companies? We would love to hear what you have to say about them.

      Did you try any of the top rated companies on this site like OFX? The rate is bound to be much better.

      Posted on April 19, 2017

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