Should I use Travelex for money transfers?
Services Offered by Travelex
Travelex Review: Executive SummaryTravelex is a foreign currency exchange company that offers a variety of services to help customers manage their money while traveling abroad. The company offers a wide range of currencies, allowing customers to buy and sell foreign currency online. Travelex also provides a number of other services, such as travel insurance and prepaid cards. But as a pure money transfer service provider, it comes short when comparing to others like CurrenciesDirect, Moneycorp and the likes. The lack of real physical offices and hedging tools makes it a no-go for many businesses.
Travelex is a long time provider of international payments and travel money based in the UK. In this review we will talk all about it, what it offers and if it is a good option for you. But, since our focus is on the international money transfer aspect, we cannot provide Travelex with a perfect score because these services are currently only available in Singapore and Australia via a partnership with NIUM. In these territories we fail to see the advantage of using Travelex instead of going directly with other providers that are better equipped to handle international money transfers.
Our Top Rated Travelex Alternatives
On Money Transfer Comparison, we have reviewed 80+ money transfer services, 40+ of which could be considered direct Travelex competitors. View our best rated Travelex money transfer alternatives which have received higher ratings below:
- Min Transfer: £/€/$ 100
- Currencies Supported: 39
- Offices : UK, EU, USA, India, South Africa.
- Our Rating : 97.8%
- Most Global Offices and Reach
No Fees from Anywhere and Competitive Rates
96% Client Satisfaction
- Min Transfer: £/€ 100
- Currencies Supported: 40
- Offices : UK, EU, Singapore, and Australia.
- Our Rating : 93.4%
- High Quality Bespoke Service
MoneyFact's Best Provider Award
Over 100 Years of FX Experience Across Its Trading Desk
- Min Transfer: £/€/$ 50
- Currencies Supported: 120
- Offices : UK, EU, USA, HK, and UAE.
- Our Rating : 92.8%
- Business Oriented, Many High Profile Business Customers
Industry Veteran since 1979
Diverse Hedging Options and Excellent Guidance
Is Travelex Safe?
Launched in 1976, Travelex has grown to become one of the leading specialist providers of foreign exchange services. Travelex operates across the entire foreign exchange spectrum in over 20 countries. The group now runs a network of over 900 ATMs and more than 1,100 stores at both in-airport and off-airport locations around the world and has built a growing online and mobile foreign exchange platform. It also processes and delivers foreign currency orders for major banks, travel agencies and hotels. In addition, the group sources and distributes significant quantities of foreign currency banknotes for customers on a wholesale basis including central banks and international financial institutions. The group also has a small offering of remittance and international money transfer products around the world. Our review focuses specifically on Travelex money transfer which is currently only directly available under the Travelex brand in Singapore and Australia.
Prior to Thomas Cook going into liquidation, Travelex also ran Thomas Cook travel money services. These bureaux de change dealt with travel money and not remittances, unlike Western Union and Moneygram.
At various stages of its growth, Travelex has been more and less involved with overseas money transfers. In July 2011 for example, Travelex sold its Global Business Payments division to Western Union for £606 million.
Travelex has changed ownership a number of times throughout its existence. It was originally launched by Lloyd Dorfman and headquartered in London. In 2005, Apax Partners bought a majority stake in the company, with Dorfman retaining a 30% stake in the business. In 2014, Apax Partners sold its majority stake to UAE-based Indian businessman B. R. Shetty, a move at the time which valued Travelex at approx £1bn. Shetty was also the owner of UAE Exchange, a UAE-based money transfer business. In 2019, Travelex, UAE Exchange and a number of other financial service businesses were placed into a holding company called Finablr, paving the way for an IPO on the London Stock Exchange. In 2020, Travelex collapsed into administration with PWC being appointed administrators and restructuring the business. The ‘New Travelex Group’ was then bought out by Barings LLC and Vector Capital. Barings LLC claiming a 56% share of the newly formed group and Vector Capital a 14% share. The ‘New Travelex’ will be made up of businesses that will constitute over 80% of the 2019 revenues of the ‘Old Travelex’, but with a significantly lower cost base.
Travelex has also been known for its community involvement and sponsorship deals. For example, there’s a hall inside the Royal National Theatre in London named “the Dorfman Theatre”- a change of name granted to Lloyd Dorfman for a £10m donation to complete refurbishment works. In the past, Travelex was also known to sponsor the national Australian cricket team and the national opera house.
It should be noted that over recent years, Travelex has encountered its fair share of criticism and negative media coverage. Much of this was driven by its old parent company Finablr but also because of cyber attacks revealing potential security flaws in Travelex’s operations.
Travelex was held to ransom by hackers in January 2020 after a cyber attack forced it to turn off its systems, a move which also brought Travelex’s white-label online travel money services for ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Tesco to a halt. It took a £25m hit after its systems were encrypted by Sodinokibi ransomware on 31 December 2019.
Finablr was suspended from the London Stock Exchange in March 2020 when it was discovered the firm sought undisclosed financing of £81m. The move signalling a collapse for Finablr when a hidden debt pile of £1.3 billion Travelex was held to ransom by hackers in January after a cyber attack forced it to turn off its systems. It took a £25m hit after its systems were encrypted by Sodinokibi ransomware on 31 December 2019.
Travel money, money exchange, cash withdrawal and prepaid currency cards are the heart of Travelex’s consumer-facing businesses. Travelex allows individuals to order the currency they need online for their very best rates. Individuals can then pick up cash in store or get it delivered to their home.
The two online options for travel money include:
Cash delivery to your doorstep: Free delivery for orders above £600, with next day delivery. For orders between £100 – £299.99 a £7.49 fee is charged, for orders between £300 – £499.99 a £4.99 fee is charged and for £500 – £599.99 a £2.99 fee is charged. You can also view a travel money rate comparison here.
Travelex Money Card: Use a multi-currency card (already pre-loaded with cash that you have purchased online or via the Travelex app). Existing ‘Globe Cash Passport’ customers can also still use their card until it expires, although this product is now closed to new customers..
Using a multi-currency card you are likely to cost about 2% in markups when loading or top-upping the card. Globe Cash Passport induces a fee of fixed 2.49% per transaction but doesn’t force you to forecast your expenses and the currencies you’ll be using.
For non-UK residents: Travel Money and Cash Passport are available, but the Globe Cash Passport option is not available.
MAS (Singapore), ASIC (Australia).
Travelex has long been known as one of the largest foreign exchange companies in the UK and indeed the world. Recent events show us that even a firm with this level of history and reputation can still encounter difficulties if it’s the hands of the wrong ownership. The old adage of being ‘too big to fail’ perhaps did save Travelex here though. Even when a number of other Finablr companies came crumbling down, there was interest in the revenue generating divisions of Travelex. Whilst the operation has been somewhat slimmed down in 2021, Travelex now has the capital and support to focus on becoming a growing company again.
📝 In July 2020, PwC were appointed administrators of Travelex to complete the restructuring of its debt. In August 2020, Travelex restructured to form the ‘New Travelex Group’ which was acquired by Barings LLC (A $354+ billion global financial services firm now owning 56% of New Travelex Group) and Vector Capital (a leading private equity firm owning 14% of New Travelex Group).
In April of 2021 Travelex has launched a new digital remittance service with Nium (a payment infrastructure) which is available in Australia and the South Pacific (Press Release).
Travelex Customer Reviews
On TrustPilot, there are over 60,000 client reviews for Travelex across its UK, America and Australia profiles. The average rating is 4.5 / 5 but it must be said most of these are relating to travel money services offered by the company. What we can say, is that while most reviews deal with currency cards and travel money, it still gives us an indication it’s a good company which clients appreciate.
There are also plenty of other reviews to be found online, as expected with a company this large. From Travelex insurance reviews, through forum discussions and Yelp entries relating to particular branches of the company. We have not been able to identify anything out of the ordinary with these reviews – mostly positive, some negative experiences, but nothing which is connected to their international currency transfer services
Those who enjoyed their experience with Travelex have mentioned the following qualities:
- Reliability. People felt confident all through the process. Whether they were sending money abroad, loading their card or buying travel money, they felt secure.
- Ease. It’s easy and immediate to sign up and perform any of the activities. Through branches, a great online platform or a great app (Check here the top international money transfer apps).
- Service. Helpful, friendly, and useful.
- Great rates for international transfers.
Clients are generally happy with the transfer services provided by Travelex.In fact, people are generally very satisfied with all 3 types of services offered online: international money transfer, travel money purchase, and travel insurance, and they all get good ratings.
There are some complaints to be found online though. When we look into these reviews we discover that the vast majority of them relate to the quality of service or rates in their brick and mortar currency exchange offices. These, we feel, aren’t particularly good, with claims of rates that represent a whopping 8% margin, and the service is not up to par with the one you get for services like online travel money buying, currency card purchases and money transfer. This is similar in nature to Moneycorp – they charge wide spreads known to be between 8-10% at their airport outlets but much tighter spreads for online money transfers.
Travelex Exchange Rates & Fees
Fees: there are no fixed fees for online money transfers from either Singapore or Australia, which represents a large saving against Australian high-street banks which charge $20+ per transfer, but it’s the same as other money transfer providers like Currencies Direct, Moneycorp or OFX h who charge no payment fees for private clients globally for any size of transfer.
For ordering travel money online, there are fees to have this delivered when the order is under £600.
Exchange rates: Whilst there is no direct mention of the exchange rate spread applied, Travelex’s money transfer partner in Australia and Singapore says in its FAQs “NIUM offers you money transfer service at low cost and at very competitive rates which are sourced from Reuters. A nominal fee is added to cover the cost of the transaction depending on the payment corridor used to fulfil the transaction. NIUM does not have any hidden charges. You may check the rate when you initiate a transaction.” NIUM is also the provider of Instarem – an online money transfer service which appears to charge fair fees and exchange rates.
Limits: The minimum to transfer with Travelex Singapore is $100 SGD and the minimum transfer of Travelex Australia is $200 AUD.
The fact there are no fixed payment fees is definitely a plus, it shows a commitment to be cheaper than the banks but it is quite standard across online money transfer providers. We have no real indication on spreads but if they are the same as what NIUM applies directly, then we have reason to believe they should be fair. The payment limits of $100 SGD and $200 AUD are also quite fair. Some money transfer providers like Wise have no minimum limits, whilst others are known to have minimum transfers of $1000+.
Travelex Global Reach & Service
- Dedicated Dealer: Yes.
- Offices: UK
- Ways to approach: Email, Telephone, Website Form
- Translations: Only available in English
- Accepts clients: UK, Australia and USA clients only.
- Currencies Handled: 50
- Client reviews: 60,000+ worldwide but very difficult to distinguish those relating to international payments.
As it stands, there are strict limitations on where clients can come from to access Travelex International Money Transfer (just Singapore & Australia for now). There are also less currencies dealt with than companies like Moneycorp, as well as no real physical offices to approach for money transfer. There are registered Travelex offices almost anywhere across the globe, but since they aren’t the service provider, we can’t see how they aid customers who come for advice on these topics. In truth, an employee at a Travelex bureau de change is unlikely to have any awareness of Travelex money transfer and their payment partner NIUM.
- Spot contracts
- No regular payments
- No forward contracts
- No limit orders
Travelex has no hedging capabilities, the money transfer service is online only and it’s only suitable for those who wish to make a payment at the time they initiate the transfer.
App: Travelex offers apps relating to its travel money and cash passport card, but not a money transfer app. To check the top money transfer apps in the market, click here.
Travelex money transfer only accepts retail clients and the hedging functionalities are definitely limited. It’s nowhere near up to par with companies that have multiple foreign exchange solutions or online providers that have apps, or at the very least, mobile-friendly websites. We think the Travelex money transfer service is largely designed for existing Travelex customers who trust the brand.
Travelex Money Transfer Review Summary
- Credibility Score - 92%92%
- Client Feedback - 92%92%
- Fees, Exchange Rates - 85%85%
- Global Reach, Availability, Service - 68%68%
- Added Values - 58%58%
Travelex is just about as recognisable a name as you can come across in the foreign exchange industry. Following some difficulties in 2020, a restructuring has meant the number of Travelex locations and ATMs around the world has declined slightly. It appears to be the cash delivery service provided to financial institutions and travel agents which has largely kept the Travelex name in existence today. Now that the firm no longer partners with OFX, the international money transfer offering has drastically reduced too – currently it’s only available in Singapore and Australia – but with a solid choice of payment provider in NIUM we would expect payments to go through smoothly. Our only reservation with this and most white label services is we think it’s better just to approach a specialist provider directly. OFX for example is available in Singapore, Australia, UK, Europe and the USA.