Instarem Money Transfer Review (NIUM)

This Instarem review is designed to easily explain the pros and cons of using the Singapore-headquartered payment firm to make international money transfers. We focus on the important aspects like Instarem’s international payment fees, exchange rates, the quality of Instarem’s online platform and the overall level of service provided.

📝 Instarem is not among one of the best money transfer companies for September 2021, based on our editorial rankings. Instarem has enjoyed tremendous growth in Asia, but we advise you read about these Instarem ecommended alternatives here.
Logo
🏛️ Established2014
🌎 International Clients✔ Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore, UK, US
💱 Currencies Offered24
💷 Minimum TransferVaries per currency – more information in detailed review
📲 Trading viaOnline Money Transfer Platform only
🏢 Offices InCanada, USA, UK, Europe, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Australia
⚖️ Regulation

Financial Conduct Authority (UK)

Regulated by 8 other financial regulators across the globe (full information in detailed review)

🤯 Fees

Variable Fee between 0.25% – 1% (just like FX spread).

No fixed payment fees for settling payments via bank transfer.

£2 for settling payments with a debit card.

Promotional CodeN/A
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Client Reviews5,800+ on TrustPilot
⭐ Client Rating4.4/5
Websitewww.instarem.com
🏆 Awards

Winner, Singapore Fintech Award – Singapore Fintech Festival, 2017, Singapore

Winner, FinTech Rising Star Award – India FinTech Awards, 2017, Mumbai

Winner, Outstanding Digital Cross-Border Money Transfer Service –  ET Net FinTech Awards, 2017, Hong Kong

Winner, Blockchain Innovator Award – Swell by Ripple, 2018, San Francisco

Finalist, Excellence in Payments – Fintech Australia 2018

Winner, Best Value International Money Transfer Provider Award – Mozo Experts Choice, Australia 2020

👍 Advantages

Fast service, including quick payments to India

Good customer support over email

Large international footprint, including many countries in Asia

Easy to make payments online

Good rates on most currencies

Good app, cool dark mode

👎 Disadvantages

No number to contact customer support

Account verification sometimes slow

Dollar conversion rates not the best

Transfers from the US delayed

Relative newcomer to the industry

Not made for large transfers


View Recommended Alternatives:

Find Instarem money transfer competitors in the table below:

UK EU Currencies Direct: Best Overall for International Money Transfers
Headquarters:
1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AA, UK
97.8% Editorial rating
5,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent - Send From: UK, Europe, US, Canada, South Africa, India
Why Them?
  • #1 Rating on MTC for the Past 2 Years - Tailored to Larger Transfers with Excellent Phone Service
  • No Fees on any Transfers, Ever
  • Very Friendly Online Platform
+Read more
Australia UK EU USA New Zealand OFX: The Publicly-Traded Money Transfer Company from Down Under
Headquarters:
Level 19, 60 Margaret St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
90.4% Editorial rating
4,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent, Send From: Australia, New Zealand, UK, Europe, US, Canada
Why Them?
  • Excellent Reach - Transfer to Any Country
  • Excellent Online System, Easy to Understand and Use
  • 24/7 Support Wherever You Are on The Globe (Unique Perk)
+Read more
EU UK USA Australia Wise (Previously TransferWise): Valued at £10bn
Headquarters:
17 Avenue Marnix, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
86.8% Editorial rating
124,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
No Minimum- Send From: UK, Europe, US, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand
Why Them?
  • Largest Money Transfer Provider of its Kind
  • Fees for Most Routes under £1
  • Fully-Online Journey
+Read more
EU UK USA Australia One of the Hottest Money Transfer Startups
Headquarters:
Colm House, 91 Pembroke Rd, Ballsbridge, Dublin, Ireland
86.8% Editorial rating
5,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
No Minimum - Send From: UK, Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore
Why Them?
  • No Fees on GBP payments, EUR Charged at €3
  • Very Low Margins, Down To 0.33%
  • Great Reputation And Client Reactions
+Read more
UK Australia Hong Kong Singapore Unique payment network offering 134 currencies
Headquarters:
IDA Business and Technology Park, Ring Road, Kilkenny, Ireland R95 ETN5
N/A Editorial rating
14,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
No Minimum, Transfer from Number of Countries Worldwide, including 51 US States, UAE and Many Parts of Asia
Why Them?
  • Send 134 Currencies to 162 Countries
  • Available in 51 US States
  • £10 for personal transfers
+Read more
UK Germnay Turkey TransferGo: Rated 4.8 / 5 from over 22,000 reviews
Headquarters:
241 Southwark Bridge Rd, SE1 6FP, London, United Kingdom
72.0% Editorial rating
22,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
No Minimum, Remit from UK and Europe to over 65 destinations.
Why Them?
  • ltilingual Support Team
  • Excellent Client Feedback
  • Over 2.5 million Customers to Date
+Read more

Our Rating: 82.8%

“A leader in remittances since 2014 with excellent rates and overall good customer feedback. Regulated by 9 regulatory bodies and won multiple industry awards”

View Rating Breakdown


Read More:

Company Information and Credibility


Company size:

Singapore-headquartered Instarem was launched in 2014 by current CEO Prajit Nanu and co-founder Michael Bermingham. Indian-born Prajit Nanu was the catalyst behind Instarem, holding one simple objective – to make it easier and cheaper for everyone to make international currency transfers around the world. Instarem seeks to empower people to do more with their money, taking better control of their finances wherever they are in the world.

Instarem has enjoyed tremendous growth since inception, continuing to grow its international footprint year by year. In 2015, Instarem attained its first money transmission license in Australia, quickly picking up 8% of all AUD to INR transaction flows and received its first seed funding of $500k from GFC. Later in the same year, Instarem attained an MSB license in Canada and opened offices in India, Singapore & Australia. All this done with just 10 employees.

Rapid growth saw a second, much more sizable funding round of $5m in 2016, led by Vertex Ventures. Instarem used the capital to launch an office in the US and successfully gain MSB License approval in Hong Kong, Singapore and parts of the US.

In 2017 the firm raised an additional $13m through GSR Ventures and processed $1bn in transactions. Offices in the UK, Hong Kong, Malaysia, EU followed as the team grew to 100+ staff. An MSB license in Malaysia and EMI license in Europe meant the firm could start offering its services in more destinations.

The following year, Instarem launched real-time delivery to 50+ countries and multi-currency bank accounts, a digital trend which is making it drastically easier for individuals to travel and businesses to collect and make payments overseas.

The firm raised a further $35m in 2019 through Vertex Growth and Atinum, which was the same year the firm launched NIUM. A platform that connects business and financial institutions to a global payment infrastructure through one API. Instarem is now the SME & private client focused arm of NIUM.

Fast forward to 2021 and NIUM/Instarem has acquired Ixaris, the world’s 3rd largest B2B Travel card issuer, reached over 500 staff and has raised a whopping $200m in its latest funding round, valuing NIUM at over $1bn. Most recently, Instarem launched an office in Japan, taking the total number of offices to 12. Asia remains the primary focus for the firm and this is reflected by NIUM/Instarem’s headquarters being held in Singapore. The Asia focus is appropriate due to many of the major money transfer companies having a strong presence throughout the UK & Europe.


Regulated By:

NIUM Pte. Ltd. (formerly known as Instarem Pte. Limited) is the holding company of NIUM and Instarem subsidiaries globally.​

 

It is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore as a major payment institution in Singapore under License No. PS20200276​

Australia: NIUM PTY Limited (formerly known as Instarem PTY Ltd) is regulated in Australia by ASIC (AFS License No. 464627)

Canada: NIUM Canada Corporation (formerly known as Instarem Canada Corporation) (License No. M15669293) is regulated by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada

Hong Kong: NIUM LIMITED (formerly known as Instarem LIMITED) (License No. 16/01/01797) is regulated by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department

India: NIUM India Pvt. Ltd. (formerly known as Instarem India Pvt. Ltd.) operates in association with SBM Bank and is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India, vide its approval letter Number. SBM/Mum/RP/009​

Indonesia: PT Instarem Mitra Indonesia (License No. 21/261/Jkt/1) is regulated by Bank Indonesia.

Japan: Nium Japan Kabushiki Kaisha (formerly known as Instarem Japan Kabushiki Kaisha) (registration no: Kanto Local Finance Bureau no. 00073) is a Funds Transfer Services Provider registered with the Prime Minister under the Payment Services Act (Act No. 59 of June 24, 2009).

Lithuania (with full EU passporting rights): UAB NIUM EU (formerly known as UAB Instarem EU) (License No. 14) is regulated by Lietuvos Bankas (Bank of Lithuania)​

Malaysia: NIUM SDN. BHD. (formerly known as Instarem Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.) Registration No. 201701000367 (1214517-X) is regulated in Malaysia by Central Bank of Malaysia under MY License Serial Number 00222.​

Singapore: NIUM Pte. Ltd. (formerly known as Instarem Pte. Limited) is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore as a major payment institution under License No. PS20200276. ​

United States of America: NIUM, Inc. (formerly known as Instarem USA Corporation), operates in the United States under a program sponsored by Community Federal Savings Bank, to which NIUM is a service provider (NMLS ID No. 1528562).​

UK: NIUM FINTECH LIMITED (formerly known as Instarem Limited), Reference number 901024, is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Authorised Electronic Money Institution (EMI) provider and is licensed to issue electronic money (e-money) and provide payment services.


Awards: 

Instarem has won a number of awards (the majority in Asia) for Fintech innovation, including:

  • Winner, Singapore Fintech Award – Singapore Fintech Festival, 2017, Singapore
  • Winner, FinTech Rising Star Award – India FinTech Awards, 2017, Mumbai
  • Winner, Outstanding Digital Cross-Border Money Transfer Service –  ET Net FinTech Awards, 2017, Hong Kong
  • Winner, Blockchain Innovator Award – Swell by Ripple, 2018, San Francisco
  • Finalist, Excellence in Payments – Fintech Australia 2018
  • Winner, Best Value International Money Transfer Provider Award – Mozo Experts Choice, Australia 2020

Conclusion:

Despite being a relative newcomer, Instarem, now powered by NIUM, has enjoyed tremendous growth through its young history. After gaining its first MSB license in Australia, it wasn’t long for the firm to soon expand into Canada and the US. More recently Instarem launched in a number of Asian markets and the UK & Europe. In total, the firm is regulated by nine of the leading regulatory bodies around the world, including arguably the world-leading FCA in the UK. As a result of this, we feel confident in saying Instarem is a safe and secure option for money transfers.

The idea of offering a transparent variable fee rather than charging an unpublished and unknown FX spread shows Instarem is operating in the market with the right intentions too. The fee, which ranges from 0.25% – 1% depending on the currencies being exchanged, is similar to the business model of Wise.

With hundreds of millions of dollars in investment from well-known VC firms, a valuation of over $1bn and partnerships with a number of leading financial institutions (including Visa and Ripple) this further goes to cement the credibility of the firm.

 

 

Client Feedback


Research:

There are quite an impressive number of Instarem Reviews on TrustPilot, particularly given the relatively young age of the company. With over 5,800 this is more than many of the niche UK currency brokers that have been on the foreign exchange scene for an awfully long time. However, it’s still trailing the likes of Currencies Direct and Moneycorp who top the FX broker space, and is some way behind the remittance providers such as Azimo, WorldRemit (who enjoy 50,00+ reviews each) and Wise (who has accumulated over 125,000!). And it’s the remittance space where Instarem, the private facing arm of Nium, is largely targeting.

The firm bags a 4.4 / 5 TrustScore on TrustPilot, which is not bad for the money transfer industry, but not as high as the market leaders TorFX and Currency Solutions who both enjoy a 4.9 / 5 score for their excellent service.


Positive

Positive

Including those that rated the service as average, 91% of Instarem reviews found on TrustPilot are from users who are content with the level of service provided. Positive themes that continue to pop up are:

  • Payments to India are very fast, often completing within minutes
  • Good customer support over email
  • Wide number of settlement options
  • The online platform is easy-to-use and no difficulties in setting up payments
  • Good rates on most currencies (with exception of USD)
Negative

Negative:

9% of the Instarem reviews rate the service as negative, so at almost 1 in 10 users, we do consider this to be quite high. Although, we do have to bear in mind a user who had a poor experience is more likely to leave a review than a user who made a payment just fine. Negative themes to appear in the bad Instarem reviews include:

  • No method to call Instarem if something goes wrong with a payment (customer support online-only)
  • Account verification sometimes slow
  • Dollar conversion rates not the best
  • Transfers from the US delayed

It’s not uncommon for remittance-focused services to have online-only customer support, it’s one of the ways that these companies can provide lower fees due to cutting down on their own overheads. Perhaps the most common theme is that account opening and transfers can often be delayed due to more paperwork being requested. Whilst this can be particularly frustrating when trying to send money to yourself or a loved one quickly, it certainly isn’t uncommon in the industry. It shows us Instarem is enforcing its compliance and financial crime procedures.

The reason for a delay in transfers from the US appears to relate to the fact the payments have been settled by ACH transfer, which can take up to 3 days to complete. This is a result of the US-operated ACH network and has nothing to do with Instarem.


Conclusion:

Over 5,800 reviews is quite an impressive figure given the age of the company. Over 5,000 reviewers were extremely positive about many facets of the company, notably the ease of the online platform and the timely execution of transfers. Payments to India seem to be particularly fast and is a currency corridor Instarem has been used to handling ever since it gained its first MSB license in Australia in 2015.

That being said, almost 1 in 10 reviewers rated their experience with Instarem as either ‘poor’ or ‘bad’. There’s not much Instarem can do about slow ACH transfers from the US – customers should look to use an alternative settlement method when making payments from here if they need faster delivery. It would of course be preferred for Instarem to provide a contact number for telephone support but it’s not uncommon for digital-only services to offer digital-only customer support. If you’re moving sums regularly or as a business, then it might prove more beneficial to work with a specialist currency broker, where clients will be assigned a dedicated account manager for placing trades and resolving any payment issues.

 

 

Exchange Rate & Fees


Fees: There are no fixed payment fees when settling payments via bank transfer. A £2 fee is charged for settling payments with a debit card.

Exchange Rates: Like Transferwise and Currencyfair, Instarem prices its currency exchange with a published variable fee, meaning the client achieves the interbank exchange rate, i.e. the rate banks trade currencies with each other. Instarem then clearly displays its variable fee (ranging from 0.25% to 1% of the total transfer amount) and deducts this from the amount received.

Limits: Limits are quite complicated as they vary from one country to the next. Instarem helpfully publishes whether the limit is imposed by themselves or the regulator in the country. Whilst you’re unable to avoid regulatory limits there are plenty of providers who have large liquidity pools and do not implement any self-imposed payment limits – like moneycorp for example. A full breakdown of Instarem’s payment limits is as follows:

CountryMin Transfer – Same CurrencyMin Transfer – Other CurrencyMax TransferComment
Australia
– IndividualAU$1N/AN/A(Instarem Limits)
– BusinessAU$1N/AN/A
Singapore
– IndividualSG$100USD 50N/A(Instarem Limits)
– BusinessSG$200USD 50N/A
Hong Kong
– IndividualHK$1000USD 50N/A(Instarem Limits)
– BusinessHK$1000USD 50N/A
Malaysia
– IndividualMYR 200USD 50RM30,000(Regulatory Limits)
– Business to ConsumerMYR 200USD 50

Max Daily:RM50,000

RM30,000 per transaction via FPX.

No limit if funded via bank transfer.

(Regulatory Limits)
– Business to BusinessMYR 200USD 50

Max. Daily Limit:

FPX: RM5,950,000

Bank Transfer: RM5,950,000

Per Transaction Limit

RM1,000,000 per transaction via FPX.

No limit if funded via bank transfer.

(Regulatory Limits)
India
– IndividualINR 4000N/AUSD 5,000 equivalent (Per Transaction)(Regulatory Limits)
– BusinessN/AN/AN/A
Europe
– IndividualEUR 200N/AN/A(Instarem Limits)
– BusinessEUR 200N/AN/A
UK
– IndividualGBP 200EUR 200N/A(Instarem Limits)
– BusinessGBP 200EUR 200N/A
US
– IndividualUS$50N/A

Bank Transfer – N/A

ACH -1500 USD per transaction

3000 USD per 30-days

Mexico: Max per transaction is USD 1000

For higher amounts, use Bank Transfer

(Instarem Limits)
– BusinessUS$50N/AN/A
Canada
– IndividualCAD 50N/A

INERAC e-Transfer limits –

3000 CAD per day

10,000 CAD per week

20,000 CAD per month

(Instarem Limits)
– BusinessN/AN/AN/A

Conclusion:

No fees for payments settled via bank transfers is certainly welcome. This is the same policy you’ll see from the best money transfer companies on the market today and significantly better than the excessive payment fees charged by banks which can range from £10 – £25. A £2 fee for card payments is reasonable and around the industry average.

A variable payment fee of 0.25% – 1% is much better than the banks too who normally charge around 2.5% – 4% of the total transaction value. Instarem CEO, Prajit Nanu, has been on the record stating that the average spread is around 0.5% which is very similar to transfers with Wise. Given they have a highly comparable, online-only platform it makes perfect sense.

Instarem adheres to regulatory limits in Malaysia and India when it comes to the maximum payment amount that can be sent and sets some of its own upper payment limits in the US & Canada. If this is prohibitive, users will want to consider OFX who has a presence in both locales and no upper payment limits. There are some self-imposed limits on the minimum amount that can be sent when the payment is in the same currency and this makes sense – the firm makes money on international payments so is unlikely to want to process too many same-currency transfers.

 

 

Global Reach & Service


Research:

  • Dedicated Dealer: No, online-only
  • Offices: UK, Lithuania, Canada, USA, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Australia
  • Ways to approach: Email or online chat support.
  • Translations: English-only
  • Accepts clients: From UK, Europe, Canada, USA (some states), India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Australia
  • Currencies Handled: 24

Conclusion:

Instarem’s primary focus has been on growth in the Asian markets and their registration capabilities and international offices are closely aligned to this strategy. There are a handful of well-known money transfer companies with a presence where Instarem is headquartered in Singapore but many less in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Hong Kong. Since WorldFirst closed its private business, individuals with money transfer requirements in Japan and Hong Kong who were using WorldFirst may benefit from Instarem’s services.

The offering in terms of payments is rather limited as just spot transfers are available but again this is exactly what we see with other remittance-focused companies. There is no hedging functionality whatsoever, so tools such as forward contracts are not available. The website is only available in English and 24 currencies is amongst one of the smallest currency selections we’ve reviewed. The likes of Global Reach offer over 100 for example.

 

 

Additional Functionalities

  • igital multi currency bank accounts
  • Debit card available in some countries
  • App for both Android & Apple
  • Pay to debit cards with Visa connect
  • Faster processing on RippleNet platform

 

App:

The app has a limited number of reviews on the App store, with just 111, netting the firm a 3.7 / 5 score. On Google Play the firm has a much higher number of reviews – 5,526 – rating the Instarem app at 4.0 / 5.

Functionality includes:

  • Registration / onboarding capabilities
  • Faster transactions with Debit Card Transfers
  • Message centre for latest news and promos.
  • Quick Send to send money quickly to saved beneficiaries.
  • View transfer history
  • Dark Mode theme

Conclusion:

A very standard offering that you would expect with an online-only remittance company. Very similar to other online money transfer companies such as Wise, and significantly less in terms of payment options than that offered by specialist currency brokers such as Global Reach & Currencies Direct. All the basics are there for Instarem, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The multicurrency account is certainly smart functionality but with it having very limited advertising from Instarem itself (most information is available on the NIUM website) it would suggest to us the product is not fully established yet for individuals and SMEs. It certainly seems behind the functionality of Wise (individuals) and WorldFirst (SMEs) who both have a significant network of international accounts that are held local to the country they represent, i.e. HKD in Hong Kong, USD in the USA and AUD in Australia.

Instarem Review Summary
83%
83 of 100 1 review
  • Credibility Score - 90%
    90%
  • Client Feedback - 90%
    90%
  • Fees, Exchange Rates - 83%
    83%
  • Global Reach, Availability, Service - 70%
    70%
  • Added Values - 80%
    80%

Summary

Instarem has enjoyed tremendous growth and won a number of awards in its relatively limited history. For individuals seeking low-cost and easy online transfers from Asia, Instarem looks a very sound option. Its payment capabilities to India seem particularly impressive, with many users reporting that payments are completed in minutes. Instarem is available in the UK and Europe but individuals based here may prefer the slightly stronger brands in that part of the world of Currencyfair and Wise.

With Instarem being part of the NIUM family it would appear a major focus of the group is expanding the payment capabilities of NIUM and its offering to financial institutions, online marketplaces and travel companies. That’s not to say Instarem’s offering to individuals and SMEs will be left behind but the online-only platform simply remains plain and does the basics well.