CurrencyFair Review – Safety, Rates and Peer-to-Peer Transfers Uncovered

Did you know that peer-to-peer money transfer services like CurrencyFair can (possibly) save you a bundle of money?

Peer-to-peer is the latest when it comes to moving your money internationally but is it any better?…

Questions I will answer in this review.

  • Is peer-to-peer actually safe?
  • Are the rates better than other money transfer services?
  • What is the service like?
  • How do you sign up?
  • What does a transaction actually look like?

Watch this video to see me save $1000.

First – What the heck is peer-to-peer?

Simply put: Peer-to-peer money transfers are when you and someone in another country swap money.

For example, lets say you (Peer 1) have £1000 in the UK and you want to transfer that to Australia.

Fortunately, at exactly the same time someone else in Australia (Peer 2) has exactly the right amount of Aussie dollars that they want to transfer that to the UK to get £1000.

All you do is swap.

The advantages are huge, no fees, no dealing with banks charging exorbitant fees and giving you a bad deal (the spread) on the exchange rate.

You simply transfer the £1000 to their bank account in the UK and the do the same in Australia.

Of course, finding someone with exactly the right amount of money at exactly the right time and being able to trust that person is where things fall apart.

However a company like CurrencyFair make a pool of funds available in many countries at all times and if its not perfect, they make up the difference.

This means you can (theoretically) save a ton of money on international money transfers.

It also means that all the systems in place ensures things run smoothly.

But is CurrencyFair safe?

All money transfer companies and banks need to meet the requirements of financial regulators in the countries where they physically operate.

This usually means a lot of paperwork, hoops to jump through and bags of cash in banks in which they operate.

In a nutshell the best way to quickly determine how safe the company really is – is to look at the countries where they have offices.

CurrencyFair has offices in the Australia, Ireland and the UK. Australia’s financial regulator for example is considered very tough.

This does not mean you cannot send money from other countries or to other countries, simply that by virtue of operating in Australia, Ireland and the UK, CurrencyFair needs to operate within the guidelines of the regulators of those countries.

Are the rates better than other money transfer services?

Most people and even businesses still use a bank.

You probably know that banks charge an arm and a leg but if not …..

Comared to banks using CurrencyFair is an excellent way to save money, but are they better than comparable services like TorFX, Worldfirst and UKForex/OZForex that I have been using for years?

First let me say, whatever you do – do not believe the comparison sites rates.

Checking their rates is pointless!

If you read the fine print you will find that the rates shown are updated a regular intervals – but never in sync with the market which fluctuates second-by-second 24/7.

There is a very good reason for this – you can’t actually see the rate you are going to get until you log into their system.

How do you sign up?

The sign up steps are actually pretty fun.

You can start by seeing how much you will save on a bank… click the link at bottom of this page for the same form shown here.

CurrencyFair Signup and Comparison with Bank

Simple Signup

The process of signing up is two steps.

Step 1

Step 1 CurrencyFair

 

Step 2

Step 2 Activate Account

Step 3

Information Required by CurrencyFair

The system used by CurrencyFair in Step 3 is excellent and easy and makes it really easy to upload the information they need. All you need is a scanner or phone with a camera and then simply upload them.

What does a transaction actually look like?

How CurrencyFair Works - Transfer Platform

The Bottom Line

 

Extremely good service although I have not yet had a problem to test their service standards.

Sign up was simple and I love their platform for uploading document requirements (that all money transfer services require) – top marks.

Safety and security are as good as a bank or other money transfer service given that they are regulated inAustralia, UK and Ireland.

Rates and Fees are incredibly good. All money transfer companies easily beat the banks by at least a couple percent, but with CurrencyFair I was able to get rates close to the mid-market rate or 0.3%.

Usually 1% to 1.5% is considered very good.

Yahoo currency - midmarket snapshot

This snapshot of the midmarket rate was taken at exactly the same time as the trading screen above. The difference in exchange rates are as good as it gets.

Pros

  1. Sign up was very easy
  2. ID check system is the leader in the industry (this is usually the hardest part)
  3. Security is assured by virtue of being regulated in Australia, UK and Ireland
  4. The exchange rates I got were actually better than

Cons

Unfortunately if you are a resident of the US, due to the regulatory requirements (each State has its own requirements making it expensive and challenging) you cannot use CurrencyFair. Fortunately there are one or two great alternatives.

The only other possible negative: For some people, the level of control you have when you are making a transfer is pretty awesome. For me personally, I love this, but for many others the options of choosing “Better Requested” or “Best Available” or even choosing your own rate may be overwhelming.

CurrencyFair is a very solid choice if you want to get the best rates.

USForex Review (Now called OFX) – Safety, Speed and How it Works plus Trusted Reviews from others

Sending your money overseas can be a stress faced by many Americans and foreigners living in the US.

Did you know that hidden fees and terrible exchange rates are standard when using your bank and can be avoided simply by signing up to a service like USForex?

Hopefully, but really that is only half the story!Save Money on Money Transfers to and from America with Transumo

We all know banks provide very average customer service.

And that comes at a huge cost when you are sending money globally.

This is because customer service = piece of mind. For example, five days after you sent your money and it has not arrived, who are you gunna call?

Not Ghostbusters and not your bank either… (sorry, could not help myself)

So does USForex give us what we need?

  • Excellent Service
  • Great Exchange Rates
  • Low or No Fees
  • Safety and Security

Quickly, who the heck am I?

Quinn Askeland

My name is Quinn.

I was born in B.C. Canada and have been fortunately to have travelled and lived in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Now after living with my wife and 2 kids in North America for 10 years, we decided to sell our house and move back to Australia (again).

More importantly to you – right now, one of my my goals is to find out who does the best job at transferring our families money and not loose a good chunk in the process. This review is designed to help you find a great service without going to all the trouble of comparing all the different services.

For the purposes of my reviews, I am only be focusing on services that have operations in the countries where you live.

There are three very good reasons for this:

1. Your money is safe, because it is covered by the regulations in the US

2. Service standards are usually highest when the service has offices in the US

3. Rates can be most competitive because of economies of scale (Basically the more USD these guys deal in – the better the rate they can offer)

USForex Review

First let me say, I am very familiar with USForex. I have been using OzForex and CanadianForex (which owns USForex) for over 10 years and they share exactly the same platform.

This review is a renewed in-depth review of USForex.

For the purposes of this review I opened a brand new account and documented everything so you can get the good, the bad and decide for yourself.

First something lest look at something very important…

Safety and Security

As I already mentioned, using USForex for your international money transfers is no less safe than using any of the local banks. The safety is also guaranteed by the recent laws that were introduced by the federal government in February 2014. Nowadays, the US regulations of this matter are compiled under the Frank-Dodd financial regulation law. Besides the law, every state has its own ways of regulating money transfer companies.

Such companies that operate oversees are required to meet certain requirement for the anti-money laundering laws among the other regulations of the other countries.

The final goal of these regulations is to make the companies fully responsible for protecting their customers. As a result, no money transfer company would actually put themselves at the risk of losing your money.

The conclusion is that the risk of losing your money is super low.

How it Works

Set-Up

The set-up process is quite easy. The website, along with the customer support service team (if required), will guide you through the whole process. Basically, there are two things that you need to do:

  1. Register Online (clicking this link will give you two free transfers – usually you get only one)
  2. Verify Identity

Registering includes these basics steps. Due to local legislation and compliance requirements, USForex needs to confirm your identity. This can be done by email or, in some cases, automatically.

In my case, I had to send the information by email. There is nothing complicated with verifying your identity. All I had to do was take a screen shot (click to see how) of my bank account online and send it as a reply to the email from the USForex customer service team member.

There was no need to include transaction details; the recent statement with name, account number, date and bank logo on it was more than enough.

After that, I just scanned my driver’s license (a photo taken with a smartphone is also valid). I also filled out a “Direct Debit” form and sent it through with everything else, but that is not a requirement.

The whole process took only few minutes and was really simple.

USForex also has electronic checking facilities and if you are lucky enough you will not need to send anything as they may be able to active your account immediately.

Sending Money

USForex offers you two options of topping up your account:

1. Direct Debit
2. US Wire Transfer

The Direct Debit requires you to fill out a special form to authorize your further transactions, but once you have set it up, it is super easy and completely free. So, the benefits of this method are obvious, the only disadvantage might be that you are limited by $25k for your first transaction and $50 for the next ones.

US Forex also offer a “penny test” for extra security. The way that it works is that they send you a small amount and wait for you to verify that you received the money.

Next, we have the wire transfer method, which allows you to transfer larger amounts, but is not free. With US Wire Transfer, you are paying a fee to your bank ($25 in my case). When you have to transfer large sum ($50k) this might be the only option for you, but it is still better than getting ripped off by the hidden fees of the banks.

Plus, US Forex offers better exchange rate as the amount increases.

Speed

Once I had the money on my US Forex account, it took only three days to reach my Australian bank account. It was easy to monitor as I received email notifications on every step of the process. (It is optional though, you can also disable the email notifications.) This was several days faster than my previous bank-to-bank transfers. Don’t forget that it may take an additional day or two for your bank to get the money to your US Forex.

Service

Rates and fees of the money transfer companies are impressive, but service is where they completely take over the banks. Us Forex provides not only 24/7 online transactions, but phone based ones as well; it can be really convenient at times. You can call any time and expect the answer on the other end.

Online transactions can also have its benefits. US Forex gives you an opportunity to observe each step of your transactions and request email alert every time something is done. Compared to the banks that always give you the worst rate possible, you can save plenty of money by monitoring the “live rate”.

It was one of the greatest benefits for me; I managed to save a lot of extra money with such level of control and communication. To be exact, I saved $1220 on a $20,000 transaction following my own advice.

If you feel too lazy to watch the rate all day, you can easily save money simply by using money Transfer Company like US Forex.

Rates and Fees

Saving money is definitely something that makes me happy, but what really excites me is not giving it to my bank.

The fixed fee is one of the best parts of the US Forex; it ensures that there are no hidden fees on the other end. But, what makes it truly awesome are the exchange rates that can save you thousands of dollars in the end.

There is a simple logic behind the US Forex exchange rate – “the more you transfer, the better the rate”; that is how it was explained to me.

I compared the mid-market rate and the rate I was offered by US Forex on my online transaction and the difference was 0.9%. Keep in mind that the rate improves for larger amounts. As for the banks, the difference is somewhere between 2% and 4%; this can be a lot when transferring big amounts. To be precise, you save minimum of 2% on every transaction that is $400 per $20,000 transaction.

Trusted Reviews from Others

Before giving my full endorsement I like to make sure I am not the only one having a good experience. There are loads of review sites out there the key is know which ones to trust.

Better Business Bureau – BBB.org is an organisation the registers complaints and reviews and is a great place to start. The only thing I could find here was a complaint saying that they did not get a $50 gift certificate. The complaint was also resolved, but most importantly no mentions of bad customer service or bad rates mentioned.

Reviewcenter seems to be the most comprehensive site for USForex with 104 reviews.

Here are their results:

USForex Reviews

Compared to Xoom which is a leader in the industry (usually small amounts) with over 6000 reviews – They got 4.4/5 and 90% of users recommend their service, which is pretty awesome but in my opinion there is a big difference between 96% and 90% wanting to use the service. That presumably means 4% or 10% would not recommend it.

The Bottom Line

From my previous experience with the company I was expecting a great rate, awesome service and fast transactions and I have to say I was not disappointed.

USForex has stood up to my high expectations so far.

Other reviewers also agree with my assessment.

What could I possibly complain about?

Well it would be better to avoid the paperwork, but that is just US legislation and there is probably nothing USForex or any other service can do about that and in the end it is to our benefit anyway I figure.

Anyways, it is not a big of a deal if you consider all the other benefits.

Overall, I was very pleased with USForex and will continue to use them personally.

If you feel like sharing your experience saving money or asking any questions, please do not hesitate to comment below.

Thanks for reading!

 

Should You Transfer USD Now? – October Update 2014

Want to move US Dollars from the States to CAD, GBP or AUD?

Transferring money overseas can be challenging – news, market commentators, forex analysts and changing economies can be sources of confusion for someone who simply wants to know if they should transfer US Dollars to the UK, Canada or Australia.

Transumo Man with US FlagI have shown how I saved $2500 or 10% in one transaction  by using simple chart analysis.

But I understand even simple chart analysis can be a challenge to get right so I will show weather you if you should WAIT or SEND your US dollar NOW for the CAD, GBP and AUD.

I will also provide some guidelines if I indicate WAIT as to what you do in the coming weeks.

Finally I will show on a monthly basis if my analysis and the charts have been correct and you can get the latest monthly analysis and charts sent to your inbox as soon as they are published.

First a Disclaimer: This website is intended to provide general information and opinions. The information contained in this post, page and website does not constitute and is not intended to be financial advice. You should make your own decisions and potentially in conjunction with a registered financial professional.

Scroll down to see if you should SEND NOW or WAIT for the following currencies:

  1. US dollars to Canadian dollars
    • My recommendation: SEND NOW (short term) – Long Term WAIT
  2. US dollars to British pounds
    • My recommendation: WAIT (see notes for when to exit)
  3. US dollars to Aussie dollars
    • My recommendation: WAIT (see notes for when to exit)

 Should You Send USD to CAD Now?

USD to CAD 2yr Chart 1 October 2014Based on the two year chart the US dollar is strengthening against the Canadian and is pretty clearly in a long term uptrend.

The question is, should we sit tight or send our money now – I have found the three month chart is usually the best indicator when shown within the context of longer and shorter term trends.

USD to CAD 3 month chart 1 October 2014

Based on the 3 month chart, the trend is pretty clear. Interestingly the trend is at the top end of the channel right now so it looks as if you want to move your money now now will be a good opportunity to do it.

Longer term, clearly it might be best to wait. That said, if the USD to CAD was to fall significantly below the lower trend line (currently at $1.10) I would have no hesitation to move my money.

Lets take a quick look at the five day chart.

USD to CAD - 5 Day - 1 Oct 2014

The 5 day chart shows a continuation along the top end of the current trend with a slight dip recently. This tracking of the upper limit of the trend line is a clear signal to me that the risk is to the downside.

So should you send your USD to CAD now? – SEND NOW

You probably will save a cent or two in the short term.

Longer term however – if you have weeks or even months on your side, it looks highly likely that the US dollar will continue to strengthen. That said, all bets are off if the currency falls significantly below the three month trend line. A cent below the trend line would for me be enough to hit the “transfer money now” button.

 Should You Send USD to GBP Now?

USD to GBP - 2yr Chart - 1 October 2014

No shortage of excitement in this chart! The short sharp most recent trend is a strong turn around but the three month chart will be super important especially in light of the most recent little spike we can see in September which was caused by the Scots wanting, “Freeeeedoom!”

But since then the trend looks to have resumed – the three month chart will tell us if this is the case.

USD to GBP - 3 Month Chart - 1 October 2014

Well the Scots are staying, but that has not helped the GBP. Looks like the US dollar has continued along it very well defined upward trajectory.

The next chart, the 5 day, should always be taken with a grain of salt – just really checking nothing has radically changed.

USD to GBP 5 Day Chart - 1 October 2014

 

The 5 day chart just confirms the current trend. Right now, the trend is confined to a narrow band of upper and lower limits. So…

Should you send your USD to GBP now? – WAIT

However if the lower trend line is breached by more than 1/2 pence I would move my money immediately, or at least part of it. For now though, it seems like a good idea to hold on to this nicely entrenched uptrend and in the short term there is not much to be gained.

 Should You Send USD to AUD Now?

 

USD to AUD - 2 year chart - 1 OctoberThe two year chart shows some pretty amazing volatility, with the most recent trend sharp, short and sweet if your funds are in US dollars and need a home in Australia.

At $1.15 we are at a two year high, but the real question is does the three month chart show we are still in the same trend? The answer to this will significantly help our decision.

USD to AUD 3 month chart 1 Oct 2014

The three month chart seems to pretty clear show that the USD is gaining ground on the AUD. We never know how long this trend will continue of course, but we do know that it is in our interest to hold on tight for the ride – ready to jump if the time is right.

Lets to a quick check of the five day chart just to be sure the wheels are still on.

USD to AUD - 5 Day Chart - 1 October

 

The five day chart just further validates current trend.

So to answer the question, should you send your USD to AUD now? – WAIT

But be ready for decisive action.

The lower trend line on the three month chart indicates the ride might be over. If it was my USD on the line I would be enjoying this ride for all it has to offer, but with a very itchy trigger finger. As the two year chart shows the USD/AUD make uneasy bedfellows and a move of 1 cent below the bottom trend line would be enough fun for me.

Final Word

The only reason I suggest sending your money from the US to Canada now is that the currency pair is at the top end of the trend line right now.

Longer term the USD is clearly strengthening against all major currencies. If you have a longer term time horizon the trend shows that it will most likely pay to wait.

However, this of course can change without notice which is why I suggest keeping an eye on the lower trend line in all cases and be confident in when capitalizing on the majority of the most recent gains.

You know what they say – “Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered”

Get the latest analysis and charts sent to your inbox as soon as they are published each month

USForex V World First – Smart American Money Transfers

Did you know American banks take a healthy cut when you make an international money transfer?

To the dismay of many folks living in the USA, we have recently discovered that banks are only too eager to relieve you of as much as they can in fees – hidden or otherwise.

Save Money on Money Transfers to and from America with TransumoUnfortunately, money transfers to overseas destinations or back into the US are no different. For years the banks and remittance services have been the only choices for those who needed to transfer money internationally, but in recent years much better options are helping more and more people every day.

Now fortunately there are some much better ways to send your funds – money transfer companies!

Between transfer fees, varying exchange rates and processing time, using the right service for your specific transfer needs could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Here is a comparison of the different ways to make international money transfers to help you make an informed decision.

Service NameMinimum Amount ($USD)Phone/ Online ServiceLocationsFees + ConditionsSpecial OffersTransferring $5000 to Canada (see *Note)Transferring $50,000 to Canada (see *Note)
My Bank In USANoneOnline/ Phone/ BranchCanada, US$40None5,239.56*52,395.60*
USForex (now called OFX) $250Online/ PhoneCanada, UK, Australia, US, NZ, Hong Kong , Over $5,000 free. Under $5,000 is $5First two transactions free5,424.75*54,247.55*

Click for full review
World First - Full Review$500Online/ Phone (below $2000 online)UK, US, AustraliaOver $1000 USD is free - Under $1000 is $30 USDFee free transactions for ever5,419.30*54,179.33*
Transferwise$1 USDOnline/ PhoneBased online. 41 Supported Countries Including AUS, CAN, UK and USPrice depends on route (eg. AUD>USD is 0.7%)None5,451.87*54,518.74*

See our full review of USForex here

As you can see the difference between a bank and companies like USForex and World First and banks vary significantly. In general, a money transfer company will almost always be the best option. In terms of the rates offered and fees charged, the difference between USForex V World First is minimal. However their are differences in the minimum allowable amounts, countries where they operate and their services.

A leading financial news outlet Quartz details how American banks are increasingly withdrawing from the money transfer business entirely in the face of quicker, more cost-effective money transfer methods that dealt a crippling blow to their near-monopoly.

Interestingly, remittance companies still have their place and so to do solutions like PayPal especially if you are transferring less then a few hundred dollars the recipient does not have a bank account. If you would like to learn more on how you can use PayPal or Remittance companies we have step-by-step info-graphics and explanations on Transumo.

In general banks not only charge exorbitant fees but they also offer subpar exchange rates. If that is not enough, they are also one of the slowest ways to move money – often taking up to a week to actually arrive in the destination account.

Speed and Costs Comparison of Banks versus Money Transfer Company

If there is one point in favor of using a bank – it is that you do not have to use a third party company but for the minimal time it takes to actually set up an account in our experience the benefits far out the small commitment to signing up. In addition to Costs and Speed there are other important points that for many Americans are top of mind and these are Security, Servic and the Countries Served. After considering what is important to you, you will be in a great place to make an informed decision.

Points to consider:

  1. Speed
  2. Security
  3. Service
  4. Countries Served

Speed

Typically remittance companies are often the fastest, but this does come a cost of up to 9% or your money. For amounts less then a few hundred dollars, if both parties have a PayPal account we found that PayPal (and similar services) can be an excellent option. Remittance companies on the other hand may be your only option if you need to deal with cash. For amounts above $300, banks and money transfer companies do sometimes offer expedited services usually for an extra fee, but the most common choices take anywhere between 3 to 7 working days, with a dedicated money transfer company usually a couple days quicker than banks because they usually have the distinct advantage of having bank accounts in both countries.

Security

When it comes to regulation in the US, in February 2014 new rules were introduced by the federal government as part for the Frank-Dodd financial regulation law. In addition to this, each state also also regulates money transfer companies.

If that weren’t enough, companies who operate overseas need to also meet the needs of anti-money laundering laws and other regulations of those countries. The idea behind some of this regulation is that companies have a duty to protect consumers. In reality, it’s in the best interest of any service to safeguard your money and the risk of losing your money during a transaction is extremely low. A far great risk exists in sending money to a fraudster, especially in the case of cash transactions.

Service

The main theme of international money transfers is that one service does not fit all, so it is important to seek out a service tailored to your needs. Some companies handle the majority of their business by phone through a 24-hour hotline, and for those making large or complex transactions internationally, the live service and guidance these systems are set up to provide often prove indispensable. Others offer a more automated service over the Internet. Always choose an international money transfer service that is set up to provide you the services you need at the moment you need them, and this description fits very few banks.

Countries Served

The entire point of an international money transfer service is to be able to move your funds to a destination country as quickly and easily as possible, so the first thing to check is that your destination country is served. Other than this, just a handful of companies have domestic operations in the United States for sending money out of the country. Companies with operations in your home country are the best options because of service levels and rates they can offer are more likely to be more competitive.

Best Solutions We Can Find (So Far)

Money transfer services such as USForex and World First are rising in popularity. We have chosen these two because they actually have physical locations in the United States. They are also companies that do one thing: transfer money between countries as smoothly and inexpensively as possible.

Many of these companies offer 24-hour service, favorable exchange rates compared to other transfer methods, and minimal transfer fees. US Forex in particular charges just $5 for transfers up to $5000, and waives the fee entirely for larger transfers.

The this growing market is extremely competitive, and so the providers will usually offer much better exchange rates than with other transfer types such as remittance companies, banks and other payment providers.

Due to strict regulations in these countries, transfer companies based in North America must be extensively evaluated on a regular basis to even operate, and they are governed by all the same regulations as a remittance service, so they also offer a high level of security.

In my experience, domestically based, international companies are the best options for transferring money because they are designed from the ground up to serve your needs.

Still Unsure? – Check for Yourself

It is easy to register with one of the companies I recommend and then to check against that bank or service you currently use. You will easily save a few percent on each transaction on average amounts to hundreds if not thousands of dollars saved.

If you would like to save even more money, I wrote a short PDF about some of the secrets about transferring money and I provide three ways to help save you more.