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.
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…)
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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
Dedicated Dealer: No.
Ways to approach: Phone, Email.
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.
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
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.
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
Credibility Score - 85%
Client Feedback - 68%
Fees, Exchange Rates - 85%
Global Reach, Availability, Service - 70%
Added Values - 70%
Ria money transfer is a solid remittance provider for those who want to send small amounts of money online from the USA to a developing country, or a remote place in the world. It is a far cheaper option than using options like Western Union. On the other hand, if you’re sending money to locations like Europe you could use companies like World First or Currencies Direct which offer cheaper rates and more personalized service.
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