Opal Transfer Review

Should I Use Opal Transfer?

Pros:

  • Multiple website translations with a focus on Eastern Europe
  • Transparent with payment fees
  • Telephone trading service (rare for remittance-focused companies)

Cons:

  • Not available to residents outside of UK and EEA
  • Limited capabilities to make transfers outside of EU
  • No hedging functionality
  • Only 8 currencies offered
  • Not the best exchange rates

Services Offered by Opal Transfer

Sending And Receiving Funds Into Bank Accounts  + 4

Official Website:

Opal Transfer Review: Executive Summary

Opal Transfer is a niche player in the FX domain, specializing in transfers primarily to Eastern Europe and Russia. While they have built a reputation for catering to migrants and individuals transferring smaller amounts, they are somewhat limited in their FX hedging tools and other alternative products. Their online platform and mobile application offer ease of access, and the presence of a physical outlet in Stratford adds a unique touch. Bottom line, Opal Transfer provides a specialized service, but it might not cater to those looking for a broader range of global services and advanced hedging capabilities.
Overall ratingN/A
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Updated on Aug 21, 2023
Aggregated User Votes
thumbs-up547
thumbs-down28

Current Rates?

🏆 No Industry Awards

Where is Opal Transfer?

View Recommended Alternatives:

Discover six of the best Opal money transfer competitors:

EU UK USA Australia Wise (Previously TransferWise): Best to Remit Money Abroad for Cheap
Headquarters:
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86.8% Editorial rating
124,000 Client Reviews
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No Minimum - Send From: UK, Europe, US, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand
Why Them?
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Wise / TransferWise
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Australia UK EU USA New Zealand OFX: Remittances Kings of Australia
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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 with no Fixed Fees
  • Intuitive Online System, Easy to Understand and Use
  • 24/7 Support Wherever You Are on The Globe - Be Treated with Respect
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OFX
OFX: Remittances Kings of Australia
90.4%
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UK EU Currencies Direct: Best for Large or Repeat Transfers
Headquarters:
1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AA, UK
97.8% Editorial rating
5,000 Client Reviews
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£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent - Send From: UK, Europe, US, Canada, South Africa, India
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Currencies Direct Money Transfer
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EU UK USA Australia One of the Hottest Money Transfer Startups
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86.8% Editorial rating
5,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
No Minimum - Send From: UK, Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore
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  • No Fees on GBP payments, EUR Charged at €3
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CurrencyFair
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UK Netherlands Azimo: Fees from £0.99, 4.6/5 on TrustPilot
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Milton Keynes Buiness Centre Foxhunter Drive, Suite 140 Milton Keynes, MK14 6GD United Kingdom
77.0% Editorial rating
51,000 Client Reviews
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£1
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transferGo
Azimo: Fees from £0.99, 4.6/5 on TrustPilot
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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
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No Minimum, Remit from UK and Europe to over 65 destinations.
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transferGo
TransferGo: Rated 4.8 / 5 from over 22,000 reviews
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This review of Opal Transfer will look into the pros and cons of using this European money transfer specialist. We focus on the important aspects like the credibility of the firm, the payment corridors they cover and the cost of using Opal Transfer to make international transfers. As always, we delve into the existing Opal Transfer Reviews left by customers online and see what they have to say about the quality of the service. To view other companies like Opal Transfer, see our best money transfer companies.

Is Opal Transfer Safe?

Company size:  

Opal Transfer registered as a business in London on St George’s Day in 2003 and has now helped over 300,000 customers transfer more than £1.5 billion. Operating for 20+ years, it’s one of the more established online money transfer companies to operate out of the UK. To put this into perspective, industry giant Wise only launched its services in 2010. With founder Gita Petkevica remaining as Opal Transfer Managing Director, it is also one of only a handful of money transfer firms (alongside TransferMate) to have a female CEO at the helm.

In its same year of founding, Opal opened its first and only branch in London. Providing a physical location for customers to initiate an international transfer face-to-face. The main money transfer destinations for Opal Transfer at the time were Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Georgia, and Uzbekistan.

Opal Transfer has seen the regulatory landscape in the UK make significant shifts during its near two-decade lifespan. The firm has always been on top of this, ensuring it meets all regulatory obligations. In 2005, Opal Transfer joined the United Kingdom Money Transmitters Association (UKMTA) and in 2011 it became a fully licensed payment company with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). When this became a requirement in 2011, much of the ‘deadwood’ in the money transfer sector exited the industry due to the increased compliance overheads. Opal Transfer also responded to the UK’s decision to leave the EU accordingly by having a separate entity in Lithuania in which it qualifies for the ‘EU financial passport’ to onboard customers throughout the EEA.

Opal Transfer launched its online platform in 2014 and its easy-to-use ‘one-click payment’ app followed in 2018. Today, customers have the choice between transferring funds in branch, on the telephone, through the online portal or via the Opal Transfer app. A comprehensive offering that suits all types of customers.

Regulated By:

FCA (UK)

Bank of Lithuania (Europe)

Awards: 

N/A

Conclusion: 

Opal Transfer is a reliable company which boasts 20 years of experience in the remittance industry. Having been regulated by the FCA for over 10 years for the specific purpose of international payments, the provider demonstrates a long track record of working within the required regulatory framework. Too many customer complaints or failing to adhere to the required protocols around customer due diligence would have simply seen the firm had its licence revoked.

Having helped over 300,000 customers to date, we are confident Opal is a safe selection for transfers to Europe. Its niche focus on Eastern Europe makes it a good option for customers looking to send money to these countries but we still think there are better solutions (mainly for reasons of price and quality of service) out there. More on this later.

Opal Transfer Client Reviews

Research:

Opal Transfer nets an impressive 4.8 / 5 (Excellent) score on TrustPilot, based on 572 reviews. This means it boasts one of the best client review scores in the industry, but admittedly on a relatively small number of reviews. Wise, for example, has a 4.6 / 5 score but this is based on over 190,000 reviews. Then there are firms like Currencies Direct which enjoys both a higher score than Opal Transfer and a greater number of reviews (4.9 / 5 from over 7,000 reviews).

The firm has a greater number of Google Play Store reviews with over 1,200 but its score is significantly worse at 3.8 / 5. Surprisingly, it has amassed just 55 reviews on the App Store and scores 4.2 / 5. A number of the best money transfer apps have received tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of reviews.

Positive:

94% of Opal Transfer reviews on TrustPilot are positive with 92% rating the service as excellent and 2% rating it as great. The common themes appearing in the reviews include:

  • Great multilingual customer support, easy to get hold of and helpful
  • Payment fees to most destinations are cheap
  • Easy-to-use app

Negative:

5% of Opal Transfer reviews rated the service as bad, with under 1% of reviewers rating it as either poor or average. The themes emerging from the complaints related to:

  • Verification issues quite common around proof of funds and customer due diligence
  • Not the best exchange rate
  • Some customers encountering longer delays with payments than they used to

Conclusion:

The clear theme that appears in the positive customer reviews is the quality of the customer support. Whether it’s English, Bulgarian, Italian or any of the multiple languages spoken by the customer support team, customers love being able to speak to the team in their local dialect. The support team is regularly praised for always being able to answer questions in-depth and ensure the customers know exactly what they’re doing in order to make a no-hassle and fast international transfer.

The negative reviews almost all centre around one theme – excessive documentation and due diligence required by Opal. In this sense, Opal has its hands somewhat tied as it must adhere to Anti Money Laundering laws. They should however be upfront about the requirements in order to avoid too much back and forth and ensure customers understand the process ahead of making a transfer. Depending on the amount sent, Opal is required to complete a greater amount of due diligence so this appears to be what’s confusing a number of Opal’s clients.

Opal Transfer Rates & Fees

Research:

Fees: Payment fees are variable and seem to be relative to the costs Opal incur themselves. We like this as it shows the firm is trying to pass on cost savings where possible. When payments are made via EUR through the SEPA network to countries such as Spain, Italy and Slovenia the cost is a very reasonable 0.30p. Transfers to Poland in PLN and Czech Republic in CZK incur a payment fee of £3.00. Opal is very transparent with its payment fees and it’s easy to use the online currency calculator to see what fees you’ll incur ahead of making a transfer.

The country to look out for is Ukraine in which a 1% payment fee is taken by Opal. This is in addition to the FX margin which is also taken as a % of the total amount. For larger payments this could really add up. It’s also worth noting that companies like Currencies Direct charge no payment fees whatsoever to private clients.

Exchange Rates: Opal is slightly less transparent with its exchange rates. They clearly display the rate that is achievable on their currency calculator but they do not specify the FX spread applied. Given that exchange rates are clearly publicised, however, we can provide an estimate on Opal’s spreads based on comparing their rate vs the interbank rate at the time. As an example, we can see a £1,000 transfer from GBP to EUR achieved an exchange rate of 1.14 with Opal on 09/08/23, whilst the interbank exchange rate at the time was 1.16 – meaning a 1.7% spread was applied by Opal. Pretty good by remittance standards but significantly higher than online money transfer companies like Currencyfair and Wise.

Limits: Opal’s minimum transfer is £1. It also has various progression points where  documentation requirements increase as the value of payments increase. For transfers up to £4,999 (in 30 days) Opal may ask for a certified copy of your personal ID card or passport. For transfers over £4,999 (in 30 days), Opal may ask you to send a certified copy of your personal ID card or passport, compliance form and source of funds. For transfers over £12,500 (annually), Opal may ask for a certified copy of your personal ID card or passport, compliance form, source of funds and proof of occupation.

Conclusions:

Opal’s payment fees are transparent and on the whole, very reasonable. This is proved by one reviewer who compared Opal’s 0.30p transfer fee with their bank who was charging £25 for the same transaction. However, the exchange rate spread is much smaller with companies like Wise. Opal has a very highly regarded customer support team but users should be wary of the ‘hidden’ costs found within Opal’s exchange rate markups, i.e. the difference between the rate Opal achieves and the rate they offer their customers.

Global Reach & Services

Research:

  • Dedicated Dealer: No but high quality customer support available.
  • Offices: UK and Lithuania
  • Ways to approach: Phone, Email, App.
  • Translations: English, Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Ukrainian.
  • Accepts clients: UK & EEA
  • Currencies Handled: 8
  • Client reviews: Excellent review score but based on a relatively small sample size.

Conclusion:

Given that Opal has a niche focus on transfers to Eastern Europe and Russia, the number of website translations it has is simply outstanding. It covers dialects in the majority of Eastern European countries as well as Italian and Spanish. It also has a multilingual customer support team that is available in the same languages. Somewhat disappointing is the very small number of currencies that Opal Transfer handles. With just 8 it’s one of the lowest in the industry. Given that they have a niche focus on transfers in Europe it makes sense but the service is simply not usable for individuals looking to send money to countries such as Canada, Singapore or Australia. These individuals are better off with the multinational OFX that holds 155 bank accounts worldwide, enabling local settlement.

Additional Functionalities

There are no other FX functionalities to Opal besides sending and receiving funds into bank accounts. With a branch in Stratford, it does allow individuals to have a physical outlet to make payments but due to compliance protocols, you have to pay via debit card. Cash is not allowed. Since 2018 there has been an Opal Transfer app which clients generally seem to like, although, much like the online platform, there are no hedging tools, and no regular transfers that can be done automatically. It receives a mention on our app page but is generally not regarded as one of the best money transfer apps out there on the market.

Conclusion:

Opal transfer is an international currency transfer service that suits migrants and individuals who are transferring smaller amounts quite frequently (i.e. a monthly salary vs purchasing a house). For this reason, its FX hedging tools and alternative products are pretty much non-existent. The firm instead prefers to invest in its customer support team than allows clients to trade over the phone as well as online.

Opal Transfer Review

Bottom Line

Opal Transfer has a niche focus targeted at individuals required to send money to/from Eastern Europe. It has a phenomenal number of relevant website translations and a multilingual customer support team that’s on hand to help clients throughout Europe. Its payment solutions, however, are limited and anyone looking to hedge their currency exposure simply cannot do so through Opal. And whilst its payment fees are transparent and low, its exchange rates are by no means the best in the business. At 1.7%+ they’re moderate to high. Some customers may think it’s worth it for the excellent customer service but we’d encourage you to consider alternative money transfer companies that have better exchange rates and a well-regarded customer support team.