Smart Currency Exchange Review

Quick FactsPros and Cons
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Established: 2004.


International Clients: ✓ Accepted


Currencies Offered: All currencies.


Minimum Transfer: None


Trading via: Online Platform or Telephone.


Offices In: UK, Spain and Portugal.


Regulation: ✓ Financial Conduct Authority (UK), HM Revenue and Customs (UK)


Fees: £5 on transfers under £3,000 


Client Reviews: 1,100+  on TrustPilot


Client Rating: 9.9 / 10.



Awards

None received, to date


Our Rating: 78%

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Pros

Great daily currency report

Since 2004

Familiar name in the industry

Traders not incentivised by margins

Privately owned by current Directors.

Cons

Unfriendly Website

Relatively Small in Volumes

No Industry Awards


Our Rating: 78%

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Company Information and Credibility


Company size:  

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 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 of  £1bn per annum, and has 100 employees, of which 22 are traders or account managers. The company has 40,000 active clients which it has steadily built since it started operating in 2004 (an active client is someone who registered and made at least one deal with them).

As well as its retail offering, Smart Currency also own  Smart Currency Business, a business FX subsidiary. Smart also own Smart Currency Options Ltd where business customers can also enter into option contacts (which requires a higher level of regulation with different capital reserve requirements and thus, a separate company).


Regulated By: 

Financial Conduct Authority (UK)


Awards: 

None that we found. Several publications in expat and property magazines about the company.


Conclusion: 

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 generally 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 £10 billion +  a year respectively).

Overall, we deem Smart Currency Exchange to be trustworthy.

Client Feedback


Research:

Smart Currency Exchange has a near perfect score on both TrustPilot (9.9 with almost 1200 reviews) and ReviewCentre (4.9 with less than 40 reviews). In addition, there is a lot of (highly positive) feedback on their Facebook page. Although putting this into perspective it is relatively low volumes of feedback in comparison to giants like Transferwise with 20,000+ reviews to be found online.


Positive:

Though compliments for SmartCurrencyExchange span over all the company’s aspects, these three really pop out from the list:

  • Bank beating rates
  • Friendly customer service
  • Transparency as a core value
Negative:

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 complaint about them in our comment section. They have responded to it explaining it is an isolated incident in which the client had demonstrated abnormal behavior and thus, their account was discontinued. We tend to take Smart Currency’s word on it.


Conclusion:

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 have, is the relatively small amount of feedback compared to some of the competing companies in this field who have as much as 20,000 different reviews.

 


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Exchange Rate & Fees


Research:

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  fee on transfers below £3,000 , but we have one review by a client claiming to pay as much as 20 Euros per transfer, comparable to bank charges. Although we suspect this may have been due to intermediary bank fees.

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.


Conclusion:

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.

Global Reach & Service


Research:

  • Dedicated Dealer: Yes.
  • Offices: UK, Spain (Costa Blanca), Portugal (Vilamoura, Algarve).
  • Ways to approach: Email, Telephone, Callback.
  • Translations: None.
  • 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

Conclusion:

The service and global reach  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.

Additional Functionalities


SmartCurrencyBusiness, the B2B version of SmartCurrencyExchange, offers a variety of hedging tools and payment options.

Hedging:

  • Forward Contract
  • Semi-Forward Contract
  • Limit Order
  • Stop Loss
  • 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.


App:

The site is now mobile responsive and generally speaking, much improved in terms of its friendliness for users. They offer an app which is nothing short of a placeholder which doesn’t enable clients to do anything but check the currency rates.


Conclusion:

Solid offering for businesses, and being mobile-friendly for private clients is a big improvement from when we previously updated our review.

Review Summary
  • 80%
    Credibility Score - 80%
  • 90%
    Client Feedback - 90%
  • 80%
    Fees, Exchange Rates - 80%
  • 80%
    Global Reach, Availability, Service - 80%
  • 60%
    Added Values - 60%
78%

Bottom Line

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. Most importantly .  they don’t have an online money transfer platform for private clients that enables 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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Denis

I have recently opened an account but due to my curiosity I have started to ask many questions over the phone and they have suspended my account after one transfer I made . Their compliance department is over suspicious and does not give any chance. Also their intermediate bank they use to send to Euro zone in my case charged 20 euros and they say everywhere on their marketing material and website that transfers are free, well, they appeared not to be free if 20 euros matters to you. I am really disappointed. I have complained and compliance department did… Read more »

Adrian Davis

You can get far more info on them by going to their business website – the exchange one and their “online platform” is from twenty years ago I’m sure. Moneycorp seems friendlier on the phone and quicker with payments.

Jamie

Seem to be very efficient and friendly. But the lack of any online service is very disappointing.

Kevin

I used Smart to transfer funds to Spain to pay for our second home. I chose them because they are ranked at #1 for both Currency Exchange and Money Transfer on Trustpilot. (Your review should really take this into account!).

They were incredibly friendly and professional the entire time, with dedicated account managers and traders. I always felt like David, my trader, had my best interests at heart.

While I agree with the other commenters, and an online platform for regular payments would be fantastic, the care and personal touch they show really made the process feel safe.

Geoff. Hirons

We have been using Smart currency for several years now. We bought our Spanish home using Smart to do the payments. Since then we regularly change GBP to Euros when the rate is reasonable (not at the moment). We have a dedicated trader which its pot luck if you speak to him or not. We have recently been charged 3 euros for our 2 latest transactions ,not a lot I know but its the principal. On speaking to Smart I was told that it was probably the intermediary bank who are charging the fee. They said they would use a… Read more »

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