If you are looking to find the safest international money transfer company, then looking into the aspect of regulation is critical. The FCA makes sure that companies authorised by it will qualify as a safe and secure way to transfer money abroad.
How the UK Financial Conduct Authority regulates money transfers
What is the FCA? The FCA, which stands for Financial Conduct Authority, was previously a part of the FSA. The FSA (Financial Services Authority) was a UK self-funded authority, founded under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). It ceased to exist in 2012, and split into two authorities, one is the PRA and the second is is the FCA (all detailed in our money transfer history timeline).
The FCA is the regulatory body that authorises money transfer firms to transfer money internationally and repatriate it. Every company that wishes to engage in the transfer of funds across borders, needs to be registered under Payment Services Regulations 2009, supervised by the FCA. The FCA makes sure the that it’s a safe international money transfer, and is secured to a necessary degree.
The authority is governed by a board appointed by the treasury, and supervises the activity of over 50,000 UK-facing financial business firms.
Official website: https://www.the-fca.org.uk/ (moved from fca.org.uk after a recent redesign in mid-June 2016).
Offices: The Financial Conduct Authority UK office headquarters is at: 25 The North Colonnade, London E14 5HS. Here’s a unique photograph we took of the impressive building.
Core responsibilities to make money transfers safe
- – Day to day supervision / check on authorised FCA money transfer providers: making sure that funds are secure, and money transfers are safe
- – Investigating through customer complaints (the Financial Ombusdman Services does that)
- – Regulation committees and periodically FCA checks
- – Issuing warnings against unsafe providers
- – Escalating issues to Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) and the Commissioner of Complaints
- – Supervision over Anti Money Laundering
FCA Approved Secure Money Transfer Firms
The following list of companies are authorised as either Payment Institution or Electronic Money Institution; these are firms that the Financial Conduct Authority UK approves to offer safe international money transfers adhering to the requested levels of security and scrutiny.
|Company||Companies House #||PSD Status|
|Currencies Direct Ltd||900669||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|World First Limited UK||900508||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|Tor Currency Exchange Limited||900706||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|TTT Moneycorp Ltd||00738837||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Currency Solutions Limited||4864491||Authorised Payment Institution|
|UKForex Ltd. (Now OFX)||902028||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|Global Reach Partners Limited||04344764||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Currency Index Ltd||06586857||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Transferwise Ltd||900507||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|Axia Ltd||05762951||No longer authorised|
|FairFX PLC||05539698||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Azimo Ltd||900220||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|CurrencyFair Ltd||(registered in Ireland)||Regulated by Central Irish Bank|
|AFEX Markets Plc||07061516||Authorised|
|Halo Financial Limited||5155787||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Foreign Currency Direct PLC||902022||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|VFX Financial PLC||900530||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|Ebury Partners UK Limited||900797||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|Pure FX Limited||05990857||Authorised Payment Institution|
|HiFX Europe Limited||3517451||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Western Union Payment Services GB Limited||11326797||Authorised Payment Institution|
|MoneyGram International Limited||03287157||Authorised Payment Institution|
|WorldRemit Ltd||7110878||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|Kantox Limited||900891||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Travelex Europe Limited||900537||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|Foreign Currency Exchange Limited||900205||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|CurrencyUK Limited||4017212||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Key Currency Limited||9603083||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management Limited||1896481||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Smart Currency Exchange Limited||05282305||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Trans-Fast Remittance Limited||4609973||Authorised Payment Institution|
|TransferGo Ltd||07914165||Authorised Payment Institution|
|NatWest Markets Plc||SC090312||Authorised|
|The Foremost Currency Group Limited||900204||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|Post Office Management Services Limited||08459718||Authorised|
|Virgin Money plc||06952311||Authorised|
|Veem||(registered in the USA)||Regulated by FinCEN|
|Privalgo Limited||900887||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|Payoneer (EU) Limited||900105||EEA Authorised|
|Xoom||(registered in the USA)||Regulated by FinCEN|
|Ria||(registered in the USA)||Regulated by FinCEN|
|Lebara Money||09753115||No longer authorised|
|Paysend plc||900004||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|SendFX Pty Ltd||(registered in Australia)||Regulated by ASIC|
|Flash Partners Pty Ltd||(registered in Australia)||Regulated by ASIC|
|Airwallex (UK) Limited||900876||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
|EasyFX Limited||592260||Authorised via VFX PLC|
|Frontierpay Ltd||577057||Authorised Payment Institution|
|Revolut Ltd||900562||Authorised Electronic Money Institution|
Global Currency Exchange Network Ltd
(now traded as GC Partners Ltd)
|04675786||Authorised Payment Institution|
Can’t Decide? View our Best Money Transfer Comparison on our Homepage.
Why Stick To FCA-Authorised Entities in the money transfer space?
In simple words, if you want to have the same level of confidence and security when issuing overseas payment via an commercial provider, as you do with banks, that commercial company should undergo scrutinization / authorisation of a regulatory body. Someone has to make sure things are happening as they should be. A firm simply stating they offer the safest money transfer or that their website is secure is insufficient with a third party verifying this is the cast.
Think of a money transfer company as a mediator. The way it works is that you send them money domestically in your own currency, and they make the exchange and move it forward. What would happen if that money you sent them will be transferred directly into their bank account, with no designated bank account for client transactions (“ring-fenced”)? You absolutely don’t want that to happen. You want any financial institution to have separated client accounts, as well as securities in place. That is truly the “safest money transfer method“.
The FCA processes complaints, issues fines, and revokes licenses, if necessary, i.e. too many complaints, business misconduct, failing to pass their tests etc.
They make sure it is clear to for every UK customer which company is approved by them.
For more information view the FCA Official Website.
Foreign Exchange Rigging Fines
As detailed on our bank scandals page, the FCA had a prominent role in cleaning up the UK financial system in 2014 when they issued a great deal of fines to banks for their business fx practices and rigging the LIBOR rate.
The FCA announced fines totalling £1.1 billion ($1.7 billion) for five prominent banks for ineffective controls among foreign exchange traders between January 1, 2008 and October 15, 2013.
The five banks facing fines for “failing to control business practises” in their spot FX trading operations were: Citibank (£226 million), HSBC (£216 million), JP Morgan (£222 million), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) £217 million) and UBS (£233 million).
One of the primary benchmarks that the FX traders attempted to manipulate was the World Markets/Reuters Closing Spot Rates (WM/R Rates). Regulators discovered that banks went to great lengths to collude in this core benchmark used to price cross-currency swaps, foreign exchange swaps, spot transactions, forwards, options, futures and other financial derivative instruments.
The FCA also collaborated with the US-based NFA and SEC to levy over $10 billion in fines back in 2014. Within days, other regulatory agencies weighed in with additional levies based on similar findings and discoveries of market abuse and collusion.
If you want to see more interesting statistics about the development of the commercial foreign exchange industry view our 50 milestones in the development of international money transfers infographic.
Are We FCA-Approved?
MoneyTransferComparison.com is by no means regulated, authorised by, or registered with the FCA. As we do not provide personal financial advice, nor process any payments what-so-ever from our visitors, we don’t fit the criteria of the companies that should undergo their scrutinization. Nevertheless we try to follow the gist of what the FCA is trying to achieve – we try to be as transparent and straightforward as we can, and always keep the information on our website up to date and truthful. If more money transfer providers were like us, sending money would have been much safer.
We offer a free service of investigating FX cases.
Does the Financial Ombudsman protect corporate clients?
The answer to that is unfortunately no when the turnover is above GBP 2m annually. Although many of the fx brokerages mainly deal with corporate clients through their corporate fx department, these clients cannot file a complaint as private clients do via the Financial Ombudsman. These corporate clients have to resort to a civil court to handle their complaints.
Related: read our comprehensive analysis asking when does regulation turns into over-regulation and does it protect consumers?
The FCA also plays a role in the regulation of banks, alongside commercial companies handling people’s money (of course beyond the scope of secure and safe money transfers). Banks, which were traditionally overseen by the FSA until it was split in 2012, are now inspected by 3 regulatory bodies: HMRC, PRA and the FCA.
Each one of the regulators is responsible for different things. The FCA’s specific roles with banks is to make sure competitiveness is maintained, and making sure the banks day-to-day activity is compliant with the legal requirements, such as capital requirements, credit requirements, exposure requirements and transparency requirements.
Final Notes About Money Transfer Regulation
It is an absolute necessity to check whether the a company you pertain using for international money transfers is in fact regulated by the FCA, or another major regulatory body from around the world (such as ASIC or FINCEN). As a customer, the very first requirement you should have upon using such a service is safety and security. You would want your funds to be safe in any case, regardless of the financial situation of the provider you have decided to use, and you would want a secure international money transfer because you are providing the service provider some very delicate details in order to comply with Anti Money Laundering law. Checking for the best exchange rates should only comes second after clearing this issue.