Virgin Money International Payments Review

📝 This Virgin International Payments review was re-done on August 1st, 2021, to update that Virgin Money is no longer a white-label, but instead operates its own currency transfer service. Virgin’s current international payments are limited to Business clients. Virgin Money international payments did not meet the standards to be within our best currency transfer providers for October 2021, based on editorial rankings. View  recommended Business FX alternatives here.
Logo
🏛️ Established1995
🌎 International ClientsJust UK Business Clients
💱 Currencies Offered30
💷 Minimum TransferNot Specified but limited to Virgin Money Business customers
📲 Trading viaJust by communicating with the banker. Not available online – from Virgin’s Banking Tariff Guide Aug 2021: (About SWIFT International Payments) – This payment type is not available using Business Internet Banking.
🏢 Offices InUK
⚖️ Regulation

From Virgin Money PLC Corporate Governance:

Virgin Money UK PLC and Clydesdale Bank PLC are members of the Virgin Money UK group of companies (the “Group”)…

Clydesdale Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Financial Services Register No. 121873. The VAT number of Clydesdale Bank PLC is 261377066.

Virgin Money plc is registered in England and Wales with registered number 06952311 and has its registered office at Jubilee House, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE3 4PL.

🤯 Fees£7.00 per international wire over £100 in value
Promotional CodeNo promotional code
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Client Reviews2,411 reviews on TrustPilot
⭐ Client Rating1.3 Stars (out of five)
Websitehttps://uk.virginmoney.com/business/business-banking-payments/#international-payments-swift
👍 Advantages

Great Looking Website

Banking License – More Stringent Regulation than Most Money Transfer Providers who are Authorised by the FCA

👎 Disadvantages

Terrible Rates for Both Small and Large Transfers

Fixed Transfer Fees of £7.00

Not Offering an Online International Payments Platform

Not Specialists in International Money Transfers

Not Offering Dedicated Currency Dealer

Terrible Customer Reviews of Virgin Money

Relatively Small Selection of

Recommended Alternatives

Try UK’s Best Currency Brokers as a cheaper and more service oriented alternative to Virgin Money’s International Payments.

Since Virgin International Payments is a business-only service, the companies below are the ones top rated for business foreign exchange.

moneycorp
  • Supported Currencies: 120.
  • Clients From: Globally with offices in UK, USA, France, Spain, Ireland, Australia, HK, UAE, Brazil, Gibraltar and Romania.
  • Authorised? Yes, by the FCA.
  • Guidance / Dedicated Dealer: Yes.
  • Online System: Yes, including an app.
  • Strong Point: Credibility, Reputation, Liquidity, Level of Service, Best Credit Rating among Peers.
  • Operating Since 1979 and Maintaining Excellent Reputation Since. An Industry Leader.
  • Rating:
    4.6 /5 on Feefo
    Editorial (Corporate): 99.4%
Currencies Direct Logo
  • Supported Currencies: 59.
  • Clients From: Globally , with the exception of certain U.S states. Offices in UK, EU, USA, Canada, China, South Africa and India.
  • Authorised? Yes, by the FCA.
  • Guidance / Dedicated Dealer: Yes.
  • Online System: Yes, including an app.
  • Strong Point: Superb Service, Experienced Dealers, Batch payments, Forward contracts, Multi-Currency Wallets and Rate Alerts.
  • One of the leading currency brokerages turning over £7.5bn annually.
  • Rating:
    4.8 / 5 on TrustPilot
    Editorial: 97.8%
  • Supported Currencies: 121.
  • Clients From: Only accepts corporate clients & does not accept U.S businesses.
  • Authorised? Yes, by the FCA.
  • Guidance / Dedicated Dealer: Yes.
  • Online System: Yes, including an app.
  • Strong Point: Exchange Rate Margins of 0.25%-0.15% for Large Turnovers.
  • Trading more than $7bn each year.
  • Rating:
    9.8 /10 on Feefo
    Editorial: 91.4%

Our Rating: 34.6%

“Virgin Money is one of the poorest choices a business can do for international payments”

Read review and rating summary

Read More:

Company Information and Credibility


About Virgin, Virgin Money’s parent company

If you’ve never heard of the Virgin group, consisting of Virgin Media, Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic and 20+ more brands, you must have been living under a rock since the 1970’s. This UK-headquartered multinational  conglomerate which employees over 70,000 people is considered one of the world’s largest and most diverse companies. It has consistently ranked in the Forbes global #2,000 with a market capitalisation of a whopping $12.5bn.

It was founded by Sir Richard Branson, one of the most colourful businessmen, known for his sharp business sense and foolish antics, who is, ironically enough, a leading investor in startup Transferwise (wise.com), one of the most prominent competitors of Virgin Money’s International Money Transfers.

Virgin Money: Services, Media and public Opinion

Virgin Money is a part of Virgin Group’s branded portfolio. It is a public company with ticker VM:LON with market cap of £1.2bn. It operates in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia (previously also USA). In each market, the financial service provider offers different products, mostly mortgages, savings accounts and credit cards. The brand grew tremendously in the UK after purchasing the Northern Rock Building Society in 2012, and the Church House Trust in 2010.  The company boasts in being the official UK financial services partner of Manchester United FC.

The company’s customer reviews are gloomy, though, describing the company’s consistently awful service, lack of care about customers, not adhering to requests, not reacting to complaints and so forth. On TrustPilot, there are 2,400 reviews of mostly disgruntled customers and the overall rating is 1.3 stars “Bad”.

Virgin Money International Payments

There’s little known about Virgin Internaitona Payments because this has never been a major part of Virgin’s Money business.

In fact, until sometime in 2020 (estimated), Virgin Money had a white-label setup (with WorldFirst, a leading foreign exchange provider. We speculate that when WorldFirst stopped accepting private customers, Virgin Money has stopped offering that service to its private customers coordinately, and once they realised their volumes with WorldFirst have decreased significantly, they have decided to take it upon themselves to handle international payments for their custoemrs.

* Similar White-Label Setups in the Money Transfer Industry:

All White Label Setups in the Money Transfer Industry


Regulated By:

From Virgin Money PLC Corporate Governance:

Virgin Money UK PLC and Clydesdale Bank PLC are members of the Virgin Money UK group of companies (the “Group”)…

Clydesdale Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Financial Services Register No. 121873. The VAT number of Clydesdale Bank PLC is 261377066.

Virgin Money plc is registered in England and Wales with registered number 06952311 and has its registered office at Jubilee House, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE3 4PL.


Conclusion:

Obviously, Virgin Money is incredibly trustworthy – it is regulated by the PRA as a bank, is part of a public group that undergoes much more serious auditing than any small financial service provider, and the company/bank has been running for many years. On the other hand, customers are wholeheartedly dissatisfied which is a reason for concern.

 

 

Client Feedback


Research:

More than 2,400 reviews on TrustPilot true for August 2021. None of the ones we have sampled has address the company’s international payment service directly (and even if they were, prior to 2020 the service was ran as a white-label service by WorldFirst). With that being said it is importantly to look at these customers’ reviews in order to assess whether the company provides a good service for its customers. The overall score is 1.3 stars out of 5, with 8% positive reviews, 2% neutral, and 91% negative reviews.


Positive:

  • Good customer service at certain branches
  • Good credit card offer
  • Better credit limit than others
  • Successful car loan
Negative:

  • Awful service is the #1 complaint
  • Slow applicatino process
  • Terrible banking app
  • “Shadow payments” on credit cards
  • Money stuck in account
  • Constantly failing payments
  • High interest rate on loans
  • Technical issues with the website
  • Treating people with mental issues with the necessary sensitiveness
  • Its features for personal finance management are not good

Conclusion:

Customers really despise the company based on those 2,400 reviews available on TrustPilot. It’s not merely complaints describing one aspect of the service but customers who are crying out to other customers to stay away. There is really no way to believe that Virgin Money provides a good customer service.

 

 

Exchange Rate & Fees


Fees: £7.00 for SWIFT transfers above £100, with the exception of Sterling, Euro, Swedish Krona or Romanian Leu which are free.

Exchange Rates:

It is to be said on Virgin Money’s good side that they are transparent about their exact conversion markups for international transfers, similarly to Wise, Azimo, OFX, as well as their the provider who supplied their international FX needs in the past years – WorldFirst.

These are the advertised margins on August 1, 2021:

Transaction amountFX Markup
£0-£25,0002.50% of market rate
£25,001-£50,0001.70% of market rate
£50,001-£100,0001.55% of market rate
£100,001-£250,0001.20% of market rate

Conclusion:

 Virgin Money taking a fixed fee per transfer ABOVE £100 is plain bizarre and would make trading any currency other than Sterling, Euro, Swedish Krona or Romanian Leu with them quite expensive if you are planning on a small transfer. A £7 fee out of £500 transfer would be 14% value loss, but that’s only the beginning –

Virgin Money International Payment rates are horrific. For a small or even medium sized transfer, below the £25,000 threshold, a business owner would expect to pay 2.5% in markups. In layman’s words, £500 fee for £20,000 transferred. WorldFirst which is readily available for all UK business owners who need to transfer £1,000 or more have a base markup of 0.5% on all transfers, with no wire fees which means saving a minimum of 80% in comparison to Virgin Money’s International Payments. When we say “minimum” we mean that WorldFirst minimal currency markup for businesses with large volumes can be as low as 0.15%, so in theory, as much as 95% savings is possible.

Virgin money’s rates are fixed at that atrocious 2.5% markup but when they go as “low” as 1.70%, 1.55% or even 1.20% which is their top tier for large transfers, these rates are not competitive at all. Any one of the best rated companies on MoneyTransferComparison.com offers much better rates at any tier. The ever-so popular Wise has fixed margins at 0.3%-0.6% depending on the currency pair, for example.

 

 

Global Reach & Service


Research:

  • Dedicated Dealer: No, or at least not advertised on Virgin Money’s websites.
  • Offices: UK
  • Ways to approach: The company does offer online banking as well as a banking app but they state international transfers are not available online, which means you would have to contact your bank in person, through telephone or via email to make the transfer.
  • Translations: Irrelevant.
  • Accepts clients: From UK.
  • Currencies Handled: 30.
  • Client reviews: 2,400 bad reviews.

Conclusion:

Virgin Money is a UK bank with limited offering in regards to international payments. Even the smaller currency specialists today have some for of an online money transfer system. 30 currencies is also quite a limited selection.

 

 

Additional Functionalities

It does not appear as if Virgin Money for Businesses offers anything other than spot contracts for currency and international payments. Simply moving your money from point a to point b, expensively, without an online platform to do it in, or an app.

Virgin Money International Payments Review Summary
35%
35 of 100 1 review
  • Credibility Score - 80%
    80%
  • Client Feedback - 13%
    13%
  • Fees, Exchange Rates - 40%
    40%
  • Global Reach, Availability, Service - 40%
    40%
  • Added Values - 0%
    0%

Summary

Virgin Money is a trusted UK bank which is highly regulated and has been operating since 1995. The company sports a nice looking website and app. Those are probably the only two good things you could say about Virgin Money’s International Payments.

On the contrary, Virgin Money’s customers seem to dislike the level of service they are receiving, giving the company 1 star on TrustPilot. The exchange rates offered by Virgin Money International Payments are terrible in comparison to any specialist provider, and to top it off Virgin Money doesn’t even offer online international money transfer (or via an app), unlike any other modern service provider in this space.

We would normally tell readers about any service that we review that it may prove good to some specific scenarios but here we are simply not seeing it. For small transfers, you have a fixed fee and a killer markup that could cost up to 10% if you factor in the fixed fee costs, for large transfer you’ll be paying easily double of what you would pay with the vast majority of UK money transfer providers. We wouldn’t even recommend businesses who have a business account with Virgin Money to use this service, unlike they like paying more and getting nothing extra in return as compared to competitors.

More bank international payments reviews: