Established in 2004 by Charles Purdy, an engineer, and Kim Brown, an accountant and director in the company until 2011, when she left to pursue her dream of becoming a travel blogger. It is now still privately owned by Charles Purdy (who also issues the daily currency newsletter of the company) and Carl Hasty (Director and Founder of Smart Currency Business, a subsidiary).
From information provided to us by the company, Smart Currency Exchange trades a tad shy less of GBP 1bn per annum, and employees 100 employees, of which 22 are traders or account dealers. The company has 40,000 active clients since it started operating in 2004 (an active client is someone who registered and made at least one deal with them).
Besides Smart Currency Business, a business FX subsidiary, they also own Smart Currency Options Ltd (which require a higher level of regulation and thus, a separate company).
Financial Conduct Authority (UK)
None that we found. Several publications in expat and property magazines about the company.
SmartCurrencyExchange have been in business for over a decade and have tremendous client feedback, and a very transparent approach clearly stating dealers are not being paid commission (so there is no conflict of interest when it comes to pricing). In addition, they have a fairly active Facebook presence, and a general positive appraisal from media.
On the other hand it is not one of the largest companies of its kind. At 1 billion transferred annually and a staff of 22 traders, they are above average in size, but not comparable to companies like World First or Moneycorp (who transfer 5 and 12 billion a year respectively).
In the overall, we deem Smart Currency Exchange to be trustworthy.
Smart Currency Exchange has a nearly perfect score on both TrustPilot (9.9 with almost 500 reviews) and ReviewCentre (4.9 with less than 40 reviews). In addition, there are a lot (highly positive) feedback on their Facebook page. It is relatively low volumes in comparison to giants like Transferwise with 20,000+ reviews to be found online.
We could hardly find anything negative about the company. The only thing we did read was about one delayed transfer, and we can’t really take a single complaint into consideration.
We now have a highly detailed negative complaints about them in our comment section. They have responded to it explaining it is an isolated incident in which the client has demonstrated abnormal behavior and thus, his account was discontinued. We tend to take their word on it.
The vast majority of clients are extremely content with the service they have received at Smart. In fact, it would be difficult to find a company which boasts a higher percentage of satisfied clients than Smart Currency Exchange. The only concern we may have, is the relatively small amount of feedback. Some of the competing companies in this field have as much as 20,000 different reviews.
Fees: Incurred on transfers below the 3,000 mark, but it’s not clearly stated on the website how much, which is a big fault. From information delivered to us by the company, they only charge a flat 5 pound fee on transfers below the mark, but we have one review by a client claiming to pay as much as 20 Euro per transfer, comparable to bank charges.
In any case, in the brave new world of currency transfers, where the vast majority of competitors offer a no-fee-policy, it is just not “smart” to charge it.
Exchange Rates: As client reviews are highly positive we assume the rates offered by SCE are much better than the ones offered by banks. It is extremely difficult to compare between their rates and their competitors rate. As with most good companies, their margins hover around 1%, that’s all we can say.
Limits: No minimum or maximum transfer amount.
Really unnecessary fee for small transfers, and lack of transparency on the site in regards to these fees, but other than that – just around average.
Exchange Rates & Fees Rating
Global Reach & Service
Dedicated Dealer: Yes.
Offices: UK, Spain (Costa Blanca), Portugal (Vilamoura, Algarve).
Ways to approach: Email, Telephone, Callback.
Accepts clients: All countries
Currencies Handled: All currency pairings available with the exception of .
Client reviews: Very positive reviews stating service is of superb quality
The service / global reach area is extremely strong with Smart Currency Exchange. It’s true that they don’t have the same volumes as some of their biggest competitors, nor a comparable number of worldwide offices as them, but they specialise in tailored services and deal with almost every currency on the planet.
It is evident through reading client reviews, that customers are happy with the level of professionalism demonstrated by Smart Currency Exchange’s dealers. In addition to that, the company told us that they keep their service friendly and non-pushy by not offering an incentive for the dealers; that means the dealers are not “chasing” clients, and have no interest of taking excessive margins.
In terms of currency availability – we have been handed a brochure by the company, which states which currencies are dealt and not dealt. It appears to us that they would deal with any currency as long as it is not legally forbidden from them to do so.
Global Reach Score
SmartCurrencyBusiness, the B2B version of SmartCurrencyExchange, offers a variety of hedging tools and payment options.
Combination between all types
FX Options (subject to approval and held with Smart Currency Options Ltd)
The hedging offering from SmartCurrencyExchange is quite good. They offer all the normal contracts as other companies, but in addition to that:
They offer a Semi-Forward (Flexi-Forward) which is a unique derivative.
They enable clients to buy FX options (Call / Put) via their subsidiary company.
On the private client side – regular transfers are not enabled on their trading platform, which is a big con.
The site is not mobile responsive and generally speaking, very unfriendly, and this is the company’s biggest vice.
They offer an app which is nothing short of a placeholder which doesn’t enable clients to do anything but check the currency rates.
Solid offering for businesses, but being non-mobile-friendly is a big problem for private clients considering the internet usage patterns.
Special Features Score
Credibility Score - 80%
Client Feedback - 90%
Fees, Exchange Rates - 80%
Global Reach, Availability, Service - 80%
Added Values - 60%
Though it isn't the most global or sophisticated service, Smart Currency Exchange has some perks. Professional dealers who are not getting paid in commission to stretch out the margins. Strong hedging service for businesses. Overall good client satisfaction. On the other hand, there are transfer fees for smaller transactions, and most importantly - their website isn't friendly at all, and in particular to mobile devices. It doesn't even enable clients to send regularly timed transfers. Overall, it's a professional firm with many advantages and two main disadvantages - a solid choice.
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