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Virgin Money International Payments Review

By 
Matt Di Vincere (Chief Editor)
Last Edited Dec 04, 2022

Should I use Virgin Money for money transfers?

Cons:

  • Poor Rates for Both Small and Large Transfers
  • Extortionate SEPA fee of £20 and SWIFT fee of £25
  • Not Specialists in International Money Transfers
  • Not Offering Dedicated Currency Dealer
  • Terrible Customer Reviews of Virgin Money
  • Relatively Small Selection of Currencies

Pros:

  • Great Looking Website
  • Banking Licence – More Stringent Regulation than Most Money Transfer Providers who are Authorised by the FCA
  • Big Recognisable Brand

Services Offered by Virgin Money

Transfer Money Abroad to a Bank Account  + 3

Official Website:

Virgin Money Review: Executive Summary

Virgin Money is a UK-based bank and financial services company owned by the Virgin Group. The company offers a range of banking and financial services, including personal and business banking, credit cards, loans, savings, investment products, and money transfers. For the latter, its service and offerings are very limited and the fees are high compared to most of the specialised foreign exchange companies. We recommend browsing our website and choosing a more well-versed money transfer company.
Overall ratingN/A
  • star-0
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  • star-0
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Updated on Dec 04, 2022

Not Top 10 Ranked

🏆 No Industry Awards

Where is Virgin Money Available?

Our Top Rated Virgin Money Alternatives

Try UK’s Best Currency Brokers which are cheaper and more service oriented alternatives to Virgin Money’s International Payments.

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TorFX
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moneycorp
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  • Currencies Supported: 120
  • Offices : UK, EU, USA, HK, and UAE.
  • Our Rating : 92.8%
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    Diverse Hedging Options and Excellent Guidance

Is Virgin Money Safe?

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 employs 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 and a market cap of £2.3bn in November 2022. 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 of being the official UK financial services partner of Manchester United FC.

More than 4,900 reviews on TrustPilot (true as of November 2022). None of the ones we have sampled address the company’s international payment service directly (and even if they were, prior to 2020 the service was run as a white-label service by WorldFirst). With that being said, it is still important to look at these customers’ reviews in order to assess whether in general the company provides a good service for its customers. The overall score is 1.2 stars out of 5, with 5% positive reviews, 2% neutral, and 93% negative reviews.

Virgin Money International Payments

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

In fact, for some time 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 stopped offering international transfers to their customers coordinately, and once they realised their revenues with WorldFirst would decrease significantly, they decided to take it upon themselves to handle international payments for their customers.

* 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.

Virgin Money Client Reviews

Research:

More than 4,500 reviews on TrustPilot (true as of October 2022). None of the ones we have sampled addresses the company’s international payment service directly (and even if they were, prior to 2020 the service was run as a white-label service by WorldFirst). With that being said, it is still important to look at these customers’ reviews in order to assess whether in general the company provides a good service for its customers. The overall score is 1.2 stars out of 5, with 5% positive reviews, 2% neutral, and 93% 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 application 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 the 4,948 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 good customer service.

Virgin Money Exchange Rate & Fees

Fees: SEPA fee of £20 and SWIFT fee of £25 for outgoing transfers.

A £7.00 receiving fee when receiving money from overseas for amounts over £100 in any currency except euros, Swedish Krona or Romanian Leu, which are free.

Exchange Rates:

One positive for Virgin Money is that they are at least transparent about their exact conversion markups for international transfers, similar to Wise. However, the similarities end here as the FX markup that Virgin adds is far higher than that of their competing providers.

These are the advertised margins on Nov 23, 2022:

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
£250,001-£500,0000.9% of market rate
£500,001-£1,000,0000.65% of market rate

This is how Virgin Money’s FX rates stack up against other UK banks:

BankCurrencyExchange Rate Margin
BarclaysGBPEUR2.75%
LloydsGBPEUR3.55%
NationwideGBPEUR2.03%
Natwest / RBS*GBPEUR2.33%
Virgin MoneyGBPEUR2.5%

Conclusion:

The outgoing payment fees are very excessive. A £20 transfer fee for SEPA transfers (i.e. EUR payments to the eurozone) is frankly ridiculous – these transfers are generally free, even with other UK banks. As shown by our dedicated guide to international money transfer fees, a £25 SWIFT fee also makes Virgin one of the most expensive banks for non-SEPAtransfers alongside Barclays and Santander.

Virgin Money taking a fixed fee for incoming transfers above £100 is uncompetitive and means receiving any currency other than Euro, Swedish Krona or Romanian Leu with them is quite expensive. Even receiving GBP from outside the UK is charged a £7 receiving fee. Those managing their own personal or business funds internationally will be best using a dedicated multi-currency account

Virgin Money International FX Payment rates  are poor. For a small or even medium sized transfer below the £25,000 threshold, a business owner will pay 2.5% in markups. In layman’s words, a £500 fee for £20,000 transferred.

Virgin Money International FX Payment rates are poor making less than the best bank for international transfers in the UK. For a small or even medium sized transfer below the £25,000 threshold, a business owner will pay 2.5% in markups. In layman’s words, a £500 fee for £20,000 transferred.

Virgin money’s rates are fixed at that atrocious 2.5% markup on smaller transfers but even when they lower for larger transfers, they remain uncompetitive and any of the major UK money transfer companies should be able to easily beat their foreign exchange markups. On a large transfer of £1,000,000 even the 0.65% spread applied by Virgin Money would see £6,500 lost in the transfer, plus the £25 fee. So even if you can shave off just 0.1% or 0.2% from this with a dedicated international money transfer provider, that could be a saving of £1,000 – £2,000.  The ever-so popular Wise has fixed margins at 0.3%-0.6% depending on the currency pair, for example. There are various steps you can take to transfer money internationally for cheap and it’s not always simply about the lowest fees.

Virgin Money Global Reach & Service

Research:

  • Dedicated Dealer: No, and no hedging products available.
  • 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 to private customers online, which means you would have to contact Virgin either in-branch or on the phone.
  • Translations: Irrelevant.
  • Accepts clients: From UK.
  • Currencies Handled: 30.

Client reviews: 4,500 bad reviews.


Conclusion:

It does not appear as if Virgin Money retail or indeed Virgin Money for Business offers anything other than spot contracts for currency and international payments. Simply moving your money from point a to point b. In the case of retail customers, they can’t even do this online, via an app or over the phone. They have to physically turn up at a branch in order to make a payment overseas.

Additional Functionalities

It does not appear as if Virgin Money retail or indeed Virgin Money for Business 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 or app to do it in (in the case of reailt customers).

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 transfers for individuals (or via an app), unlike any other modern service provider in this space.

We would normally tell readers about any service we review that it may prove good to compare some specific trading scenarios with other providers 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 and for large transfers you’ll be paying roughly 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, otherwise they’ll be paying more and getting nothing extra in return as compared to competitors.

 

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