Western Union Review

7 Things You Should Know Before You Sign Up!

Summary

  • Wide availability
  • Flexible options
  • Complex fees and no guarantee on exchange rates
  • 3.5/5 on Trustpilot

Western Union may be top-of-mind for you, simply because they are everywhere and have been around for ever.

In a few minutes, you are going to find out if Western Union is right for you.

But wait there’s more 🙂

There may be alternatives that suit your needs better and can save you a bundle.

Real Reviews

We have also scoured hundreds of user reviews (including negative ones) to uncover what’s really going on.

Let’s dive in!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links (not for Western Union) where you might be able to save money. For more information, see our disclosures here.

Pros

  • Licensed and registered service
  • Wide availability
  • Flexible payout methods
  • Set up your transfer online, via a phone call, or at an agent office
  • Offers different transfer speeds – including instant transfers (See “How Fast is Western Union?” below)
  • Option to get a prepaid debit card powered by MasterCard or Visa (depending on the country)
  • Dedicated business accounts

Cons

  • Complex fee structure
  • Can be relatively expensive (See “The Real Transfer Costs” below)
  • Transfer limits by plan, user usage, and country

Jump Links

  1. When it Works and When it Doesn’t
  2. The Real Transfer Costs
  3. How to Make the Most of Your Western Union Transfers
  4. How Fast is Western Union?
  5. What Reviews Really Say (including negative reviews)
  6. Is Your Money Safe with Western Union?
  7. Verdict

1. When It Works and When It Doesn’t

1.1 When It Works

Wide availability

You can sign up for Western Union from pretty much anywhere in the world – currently they support registrations from 70 countries and transfers to 200 countries in 130 currencies. Plus, they have over 500,000 physical agent locations around the world.

Western Union has exceptional presence in the US, where transfer kiosks and agent counters are integrated into convenience stores, check cashing stores, etc.

Flexible payout methods

Western Union offers a lot of payout methods to make money transfer easy for you and your recipient.

They support bank transfers, cash payouts, bill payments, and mobile wallet transfers (may vary by location).

So if your recipient doesn’t have a bank account, you can always opt for alternative methods of payment.

Both personal and business transfers

Western Union offers dedicated accounts for both personal and business transfers. In fact, Western Union provides industry-specific payment platforms for businesses as well as risk management consulting to save money on transfers in the long term.

Essentially, you can rely on Western Union to pay your family, friends, overseas employees as well as support your favourite non-profits.

Here is a promo video from Western Union, that does give good information on how things work.

1.2 When It Doesn’t Work

You’re looking for big savings on your transfers

Western Union’s exchange rate includes a markup plus their “transfer fees” which increase according to the amount. Additional fees depend on a lot of variables like how you are paying and how the money is being received. Paying by cards and allowing for cash pick up increase the fees.

This makes it difficult to understand the total fees and make comparisons, although we do unpack this in a moment.

WesternUnion V TransferWiseYou might also like: Western Union VS TransferWise for amounts below $10,000 USD.

Also some other transfer services offer fee free promotions from time to time.

You need to send larger amounts

Western Union’s transfer fees tend to increase as the amount goes up, which means they’re not the best option for larger transfers ($500/£400/€450 USD and above).

They also have sending limits that vary based on the country you are sending from.

For example, you can’t send more than $2,500 USD online or $500 through mobile in the US.

Transfers from agent locations have less clear restrictions, but they are also generally more expensive.

The next video touches on a few issues, but there is more to the story.

2. The Real Transfer Costs (including hidden?)

Western Union’s fees depend on

  • The target currency
  • Transfer speed
  • Funding method
  • How you want the money to arrive (cash or bank account)

There are two main fees are:

  1. Currency Exchange
  2. Fee Shown when setting up a transfer

As a rule of thumb, transfers funded by a credit or debit card (for instant transfers) are more expensive than those funded by bank transfers or where you pay in-store.

Check out the “Money In Minute” fees by location here for the EU, which shows how fees change based on the amounts sent.

You can also use the Price Estimator which shows the exchange rate offered and adds up the other fees.

To figure out the exact fees you are paying you need to calculate the difference between the interbank rate and the rate offered.

To calculate the fees which are part of the exchange rate, use their Price Estimator and they also have a Currency Converter which gives you the interbank rate.

A bigger issue

Western Union’s exchange rates are also subject to market fluctuations and may change when the transfer goes through.

Here’s what Western Union mentions on their website:

“…the exchange rates shown on the website are estimates and the actual exchange rate will be pulled during the time of the transfer.

Western Union will calculate its exchange rates on the basis of the interbank rates available in the market, plus a margin.”

This can be significant as currencies can more in either direction on a minute to minute basis. Many other money transfer companies guarantee the exchange rate at the time of transacting. When currency pairs can move 1% or 2% a day sometimes this can be very valuable.

2.1 Hidden Fees and Others?

There may be some other fees that increase the cost of transfers.

Many of these are outside the control of Western Union, but you should know about them.

Additional fees can be found in their Terms and Conditions (US) for the country you are sending from.

  • Receivers who choose to receive funds through a payout method other than cash or in a currency other than the one You selected may incur additional fees to access funds.
  • Certain countries and/or jurisdictions may impose a tax, fee and/or tariff on Receiver’s receipt of, or access to, transferred funds.
  • Messaging and notification services may be included for additional fees.
  • Transactions to Accounts: The Account provider may impose additional fees on Receiver for receiving the funds into an Account
  • Card Fees

2.2 Western Union Card Fees

Western Union may issue a MasterCard or Visa prepaid debit card, depending on the location.

While not directly related to money transfers, a prepaid debit card can be very useful so it is great to know the fees involved.

For example, their WesternUnion® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard® (which is only available in the US) has cool perks like:

  • Funding international and local transfers
  • Receiving government benefits
  • Receiving your salary
  • Direct debits features for recurring bill payments

However, this card comes many fees including

  • A monthly or pay-as-you go fees
  • ATM withdrawal fees ($2.50 USD per withdrawal in the US)
  • Inactivity fees ($5.95 USD)

Learn more about Western Union’s prepaid card fees here.

3. How to Make the Most of Your Western Union Transfers

3.1 For online transfers (website and mobile app)

Online transfers are great if you’re comfortable handling all aspects of currency transfer yourself and typically need to send a smaller amount $2,500 USD or below online and $500 for mobile. (The limits may vary depending on your country)

If you need some help before setting up a transfer, you can reach Western Union on the phone.

a. Sign up and verify your details

b. Choose your recipient’s country, transfer amount, and pay out method. Make sure you double check your recipient details – their name and personal details should match the ones on their government ID (heads up: they need to carry this ID for cash pick ups)

c. Fund the transfer with a credit card, debit card, or bank transfer

d. You’ll receive a confirmation email with a tracking number (MTCN), which you need to share with your recipient (especially important if it’s a cash pick up)

3.2 For transfers at an agent location

Western Union has over 500,000 agent locations in all their supported receiving countries, so it’s fairly easy to locate one if you’d rather speak to a human or need more hands-on support with your transfer.

Transferring from an agent location also has the added perk of no-limit transfers (in most cases). However, you may pay extra in agent fees.

A few things to keep in mind

  • Double check your chosen transfer speed and sending limitations by user level, transfer speed (see below), location and transfer method to avoid unexpected transfer hold ups.Here’s a quick over view of Western Union’s sending limits:
    • Phone transfers: $300 USD to $2,500 USD
    • Online transfers: Up to $2,500 USD
    • Bill payments: $2,500 per week to one biller
    • Agent locations: Usually unlimited
    • In Minutes & Three Day: $2,500 USD
    • Next Day: $500 USD
  • Factor in upcoming holidays to make sure your money arrives on time
  • Make sure you don’t initiate a business transfer from a business account and vice versa

4. How Fast is Western Union?

One great thing about Western Union is that they offer a lot of flexibility in terms of transfer speed.

You’ll be able to choose from three available options:

  • In Minutes
  • Three Day
  • Next Day

With the “In Minutes” plan, transfers are near instant. You can fund these with a credit card and your recipient can collect their remittance in 10 minutes.

Usually, the “Three-Day” transfer plan is the most affordable option – you can fund these with a bank transfer and your recipient can either choose to pick it up at an agent location or get it transferred into their bank account.

5. What Reviews Really Say

Western Union has over 17,000 reviews on Trustpilot and is rated 3.5/5.

64% of the reviewers had an “Excellent” experience while 19% had a “Good” experience.

People love the easy availability of agent locations and the quick service.

However, 11% of the reviewers had a “Bad” experience and can be very helpful to know why.

Upon reviewing hundreds of reviews, we found that the top two reasons for dissatisfaction were;

5.1 Delayed transfers/Transfers on hold

As a licensed financial service, Western Union audits their transfers to prevent money laundering and fraudulent activities. Usually, the investigation is over in a couple of days and money’s on the way as usual. Most good money transfer companies have similar policies.

Typical triggers for on-hold transactions are unusually large amounts, business transfers sent from a personal account, and if a transfer is funded from a bank account that doesn’t match the Western Union account holder’s name.

5.2 Poor customer service

It can be distressing when your transfer is unexpectedly put on hold, and even more so if the customer service is difficult to reach or unhelpful.

While you can walk into an agent location to try and get the low down on your transfer (keep your MTCN handy), Western Union has some very stiff competition these days with high customer service standards.

6. Is Your Money Safe with Western Union?

Established in 1851, Western Union is the oldest currency transfer company in the world. Their headquarter is in Denver, Colorado and they’re a regulated financial institution in the US.

Western Union uses advanced encryption methods to protect your money and personal data online. For offline transfers, they require you and your recipient to carry a government-issued ID and share the unique transfer code (MTCN) to make your funds reach the right person.

In the past, Western Union was in the headlines for failing to prevent money laundering and transfer scams.

In recent times they’ve adopted extra protective measures like helping to educate the world on how to avoid scams and fraud.

7. Verdict

Western Union can be a sound option for smaller transactions because of their wide availability and support for a large number of receiving countries and currencies (both major and exotic).

If you’re in the US, Western Union agent portals are very easy to locate as they’re integrated with convenience stores, gas stations, and cash checking points.

However (as we discovered above) you do pay a premium for convenience and transfers can get relatively expensive especially if you are transacting regularly or larger amaounts.

If instant transfers and cash pay outs aren’t a priority, you might like to check out some alternatives and save a significant amount of money with and based on Trustpilot reviews, you will more likely have a much better experience.

Happy Transfers!

PayPal International Transfers

7 Things You Need To Know (and Save a Bundle)

Summary

  • Two Ways
    • PayPal International (to PayPal Accounts)
    • Xoom owned by PayPal (to Bank Accounts)
  • Both convenient but at a relatively high cost
  • May work well in certain situations but alternatives can suit needs better

For years I used PayPal almost daily personally and for business, but I had no idea what it cost and how exactly it worked… it just worked.

Question is, are you wasting money in exchange for convenience?

When does PayPal work and are there better options (like Xoom who are owned by PayPal)?

That is exactly what we uncover now!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which as you will see can save you a lot of money and doesn’t cost you any more. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Jump Links

  1. When PayPal Works and Doesn’t Work
  2. PayPal International Costs and Fees (Including Hidden Fees)
  3. How to Set Up Your PayPal-to-PayPal International Payments
  4. When Xoom Works and Doesn’t Work
  5. Xoom International Transfer Costs and Fees (Including Hidden fees)
  6. How to Set Up Your International Payments on Xoom
  7. Alternatives

Verdict

PayPal makes it easy to transfer money to friends and family in your own country as well as send funds abroad to a PayPal account.

The problem is your recipient then usually needs to transfer those funds to a bank account.

To solve this PayPal owns Xoom (below) to transfer money directly to a bank account. 

They also own Venmo (review) but this is for domestic transfers in the US.

First let’s dig into PayPal to PayPal transactions.

1. When PayPal Works and Doesn’t Work (for International Transfers)

Works

1.1 Convenience

Steps to sending funds overseas by PayPalWith the option of dedicated personal and business accounts, PayPal provides easy, convenient ways to send money to your friends and family, overseas employees, pay for things and even support your favourite non-profits.

Insanely Easy

From a senders perspective you only need the email address or phone number of the intended receiver to make a payment.

From a receivers perspective, you can also request funds and it is just as easy.

Even if they don’t yet have a PayPal account, it is usually a relatively simple matter for them to set up a PayPal account to retrieve the funds.

PayPal supports transfers from 200 countries to 75 countries worldwide in 25 currencies. Your recipients can withdraw money from their PayPal account or use it to pay for goods and services online.

1.2 Confidence

With over 277 million active account holders making about 7.5 billion transactions every year, PayPal is one of the largest payment companies in the world.

In addition to that, your recipient likely also has a PayPal account (or will soon have one) which by default often means payments often work seamlessly and practically instantaneously.

That does not make PayPal perfect, far from it, according to the current Trustpilot rating is 1.3 stars out of 5 but there is more to this story below.

1.3 For small transfers and payment ($100 – $300 USD)

If you make very occasional small transfers or payments between $100 – $300 USD, PayPal is not the cheapest (not even close) but it is no doubt convenient.

Doesn’t Work

1.4 Fees

Here is an example of a test we ran sending AUD to CAD. This is an approximation simply to illustrate the Total Costs but other currencies like USD and GPB are similar.

Paypal Example for Money Transfer

* The “% difference from spot” is also the “percentage in fees” and this varies based on countries, currencies and amounts.

Whilst $5000 is more than most people send, small amounts can add up, and it gives you some idea of what you will pay for the convenience for PayPal especially in comparison to a Money Transfer Service.

For larger amounts (especially above $1000 USD) PayPal can end up being very expensive.

This is because of the fixed percentage fee which remains constant in addition to other fees.

For smaller amounts as will show in the next section, there is a range of fees which also add up to be significant.

PayPal’s fee structure is complex and varies based on many factors but if you want to go deep on what you are paying check out our PayPal Fee page.

1.5 Reviews

We always analyse companies services based on their overall ratings on Trustpilot.

Normally we emphasize the five star reviews which usually run at 80% or better and then dig into the negative reviews to try and get a great handle on a service including its weaknesses.

PayPal stands alone with a poor Trustpilot score of 1.3 out of 5.

80% are one star reviews with just 12% at five stars.

The reality is that PayPal can’t be compared directly with other money transfer companies on Trustpilot simply because it is mostly used as a way to pay for things not transfer money overseas.

Their negative reviews are also compounded because many money transfer companies solicit reviews which gives them more chance of being positive while PayPal gets hammered with negative reviews from upset people who have had issues with vendors or products they purchased.

That said, when it comes to transfers a lot of PayPal issues relate to customer service and for this reason alone we recommend other methods of transferring money.

2. PayPal International Costs and Fees

When it comes to fees, if you use the PayPal site directly you may have found it quite difficult to work out exactly what you are paying.PayPal International Fees

It is not just you.

The PayPal fee structure is complex and based on the country where you reside and if you are sending money to family and friends or for business.

If you want to know exactly what you are paying we have made it easy as we can here.

For the following countries Personal Transfers are uncovered here:

Essentially PayPal’s fees for international transfers can usually be broken down into the following.

  1. A (small) fixed transfer fee
  2. Another fee (based on the transfer amount)
  3. Currency conversion fee
  4. Additional charges by your credit or debit card provider (if not from PayPal balance)

For example, in the best case scenario, if you are sending $100 USD from the US to Canada or Europe, you will pay total fees of about US$3.29 if it is from your PayPal balance and the receiver is happy to receive USD.

Fees Example (Australia to USA)

If you are sending the money to arrive in a different currency then (C) the currency conversion fee also needs to be added. This is a 2.5% to 5% margin from the interbank rate.

Total Fees = (A) + (B) + (C) = $0.30 + 5% + 4% = $9.30

For comparison we compared these fees with the TransferWise which shows exactly what you pay in fees, the fees were $2.69.

However because the amount and countries you are transferring are likely to be different, check out the exact fees you will pay using the TransferWise Widget which shows what you pay up front.

Other fees

If you’re using a debit or credit card to fund your transfer, expect to pay an additional fee (about 2.6% of the amount in my example).

To save the most money and get a suitable service check out the Alternatives section below.

You might also like our pages on free or cheap services.

3. How to Set Up Your PayPal-to-PayPal International Payments

3.1 Signing up

  • You can sign up in minutes with your email address and other primary personal information (for example: location, date of birth, etc.) online or by downloading their mobile app.
  • Next, they’ll ask you to verify your email. The verification email usually arrives within minutes.
  • You may be asked to provide additional verification documents like a bank statement, government issued ID clearly showing your name, etc. for personal accounts and registration, incorporation documents, vendor list, vendor invoices, and bank statements for business accounts.

3.2 Set up payment methods

Log in to your account online and click on “Wallets” to add your payment methods.

You can choose a debit card, credit card, or your own bank account to fund your transfers.

Make sure all payment methods reflect your ownership to prevent any hold ups during the transfer process.

3.3 Setting up your transfer

  • You can send money to your family, friends, or vendors by simply entering their PayPal email or registered mobile number. If they don’t have a PayPal account, they’ll receive an email to sign up for one to access their funds.
  • But before you set up the transfer, make sure you check the currency exchange rate offered by PayPal – Go to “Wallet” and check under “Balances”
  • Select the currency you want to exchange
  • Select in the amount you want to send
  • Select your payment method (bank transfer, credit card, debit card, or PayPal balance)
  • Hit “Send Money Now” if everything looks good

4. When Xoom Works and Doesn’t Work

Works

4.1 Fast personal payments from the US, Canada, UK, and Europe countries

Review of XoomAlthough Xoom is a PayPal company, they only support personal remittance. But the good news is they have a wider base of receiving countries and supported currencies –130 countries and 100+ currencies.

Xoom supports transfers from the US, Canada, UK and Europe (Eurozone and non-Eurozone countries).

4.2 Easy bill payments

Xoom supports bill payments for electricity, phone, water, trash, internet and cable in the following countries: Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica and Vietnam.

So whether you need to help out your family in these countries or need to make utilities payments for your properties abroad, Xoom is a way to do it. Bill payments are also instant in most cases.

4.3 You need cash payouts and home delivery

Recipient doesn’t have a bank account? No problem.

Xoom lets you set up cash payouts in most of the supported receiving countries. And if your recipient is in Vietnam, they can even opt for same-day home delivery. Check out Xoom’s home delivery details here.

Doesn’t Work

4.4 Fees

As we will see in greater detail in the next section, like PayPal itself Xoom is relatively expensive Xoom charges a mark up on the exchange rate and their fees are based on a lot of other variables.

4.5 Availability

If you’re based in Australia, New Zealand, or in the Asian countries and want to send money overseas you can’t use Xoom.

4.6 Restrictions

Xoom has sending limits that vary according to user level, sending country, and rolling periods. While you can lift these restrictions, this may increase the transfer fees. See “How Xoom Works” here.

5. Xoom International Transfer Costs and Fees (Including Hidden fees)

Working out the exact fees for Xoom (like PayPal) is not easy as we uncovered in a review and go into a lot more detail.

Xoom’s transfer fees depend on:

  • Funding method
  • Payout method
  • The target currency
  • The transfer amount

When you use Xoom they have a quite clear “Show Fees” link highlighted. Clicking this will give you the Transfer Fee and it you look carefully you will see the following message,

“In addition to the transaction fee, Xoom also makes money when it changes your send currency into a different currency.”

Xoom Costs and Fees5.1 Hidden Fees + Others

Hidden

Xoom’s transfer fees include a mark up on the exchange rate (which varies according to market conditions).

This fee can be dominant.

To find out exactly what fees they are charging you will need to calculate it yourself by comparing it with the interbank rate offered.

Some Others

For card-to-bank transfers, you may also pay a fee charged by your card issuer.

Other fees to be aware of include fees charged by banks at either end which can be between $10 and $30 USD.

There may also be transaction fees for bill payments usually $2.99 USD/ $2.99 CAD/ £2.99/ €2.99.

6. How to Set Up Your International Payments on Xoom

6.1 Signing up

  • Sign up for your Xoom account with your email and personal details on their website or by downloading their app
  • Activate your account by confirming your details on the confirmation email

6.2 Setting up your funding methods

You can fund your Xoom transfers with a bank account, credit card, debit card, or PayPal (in some countries). Typically, you must use a payment method to conduct a transaction first before you can use it to fund your international transfers.

If you’ve been using PayPal for a while, your linked bank accounts and cards should be available to you for funding your transfer (You’ll be able to check this out in the “My Account” section of your Xoom online or app dashboard).

6.2 Setting up your transfer

  • Make sure you have the following information handy: your recipient’s address and phone (as it appears on a government id) and their banking details
  • Check out the fees based on target currency, funding method, and pay out method on Xoom’s currency calculator
  • Once you’re happy with the fees, enter your transfer details (recipient details, amount, payout method)
  • Fund your transfer and hit send

6.3 Paying bills with Xoom

  • For bill payments abroad, you need the following information: utility company’s name and the recipient’s name and account number as it appears on the bill (family member’s or yours, depending on whose bill you’re paying)
  • Enter the payment details and amount
  • Hit send

A few things to remember

  • Xoom only supports personal transfers – so any payments made to vendors, non-profits, or for other purposes not in their scope of service is likely to be blocked
  • Xoom has sending limits based on user usage levels and countries and you may need to provide additional documentation to increase your limit. Learn more here.

Check out our full review of Xoom here.

7. Alternatives

PayPal and to a lesser extent Xoom are leaders because of their size and perception of safety. PayPal is very convenient simply because you probably have a PayPal account already or your recipient does.

However both services are relatively expensive and there are other excellent services to consider.

7.1 Top Picks and Comparison

Service

Fees

Trustpilot
Review
Score

Countries
Available

Type of
Transfers

Use Mid
Market Rate

PayPalIt’s complex,
please see
section on
fees
1.2200 countries to 75 countriesPayPal to PayPalNo
XoomIt’s complex,
please see
section on
fees
4.6US, Canada, UK,
and Europe to
130 countries
Bank-to-bank,
Card-to-bank, PayPal to Bank
No
TransferWise0.4% – 1%4.6From and To
pretty much
the whole world – Check if your countries are supported here
Bank-to-bank,
card-to-bank
Yes
OFX0.4% – 2%4.3From US, UK,
CA, HK, NZ,
SG to pretty much the whole world.
Bank-to-bankNo

7.2 More Information and Options

TransferWise (below $7000 US) and OFX (above $7000 US) are our top picks but they are limited to transfers to a bank account.

Here is some more information and transfer services that are highly recommended.

1. TransferWise (Personal and business transfers)

Service highlights: Low, transparent fee structure, transfers at the mid-market rate, personal and business transfers, great customer service and multi-currency wallet. Useful extras include prepaid MasterCard debit card, international bank details in major currencies, ability to transfer money and get paid like a local, access to more currencies with TransferWise Borderless (review).

Service lowlights: Only transfers to bank accounts. Online focus limits awesomeness for larger amounts. 

Availability: Available in 59 countries (including the UK, Europe, US, Canada, Australia, and NewZealand) and supports transfers to 60+ countries in 40+ currencies.

Ideal for: Anyone based in the supported sender countries and especially digital nomads, solopreneurs, and freelancers.

Check out our full review of TransferWise here.

2. OFX (Personal and Business transfers for extra large amounts)

Service highlights: Excellent rates for extra large transfers ($10,000 USD) but also a solid performer for smaller transfers, great phone support, keeps transfer costs low and reduces percentage fees you pay as amounts increase. No daily or monthly sending limits.

Service lowlights: Charge a $15 fee for amounts below $10,000 US but you can get that removed here

Availability: Available in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong (not available in Europe). OFX supports transfers to 190 countries and 55 currencies.

Ideal for: If you frequently make large transfers for your business or need excellent support for a one-off, extra-large personal transfer, you can’t go wrong with OFX.

Check out our full review of OFX.

3. WorldRemit (Personal and business transfers)

Service highlights: Wide base of receiving countries, both personal and business transfers, affordable option for smaller amounts ($1000 USD and below), many payout methods (cash pick up, mobile wallet transfers, bank transfers, home delivery in Vietnam).

Service lowlights: Relatively complex fee structure and not as competitive as the best. Some limits on larger amounts.

Availability: Available in 44 countries and supports transfers to 150 countries worldwide.

Ideal for: People based in the UK, US, Europe, Canada, Australia, and NewZealand as well as the Middle East and looking for flexible pay out methods for international transfers.

Check out our full review of WorldRemit.

4. Remitly (Personal transfers only)

Service highlights: Designed from the ground up for immigrants. Instant transfers and flexible payout methods.

Service lowlights: Fees can be at the high end compared to other alternatives and can only send from the 16 countries to developing countries.

Availability: Available in 16 developed countries including the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Sweden.

They support transfers to 50+ developing countries.

Ideal for: For immigrants based in the 16 sender countries who need easy, fast, and flexible international transfer options to support their families back home.

See our full review of Remitly here.

5. XE (Personal and business transfers for large amounts)

Service highlights: Great rates for large transfers ($1000 USD and above), great support for setting up transfers, minimizes costs with local bank details in most supported sender and receiving countries

Service lowlights: Only transfers to bank accounts. Online focus for smaller amounts, prohibits confidence in large transfers.

Availability: XE has a great presence in Europe as well as the UK, US, Canada, Australia, and NewZealand. They support transfers to 170 countries worldwide in 60+ currencies.

Ideal for: People who want to save big on their large transfers (both personal and business transfers).

Check out our full review of XE here.

6. TorFX (large personal and business transfers)

Service highlights: Great rates for large transfers ($1000 USD and above), set up transfers online or over the phone, assigns a dedicated account manager, great support for large transfers for businesses (including transfer strategies to minimize costs in the long term).

Service lowlights: Focus is premium service and online offering is not as awesome as other top picks here. 

Availability: Great presence in UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia (not available in the US).

Ideal for: People who’d rather speak to a human while setting up large personal and business transfers.

Check out our full review of TorFX.

Verdict

Between PayPal and Xoom there are lots of ways to fund transactions and for the funds to arrive.

Unfortunately both are usually expensive for international transfers and the complex fee structures both have makes it hard to figure out exactly what is going on.

Fortunately if you want to save on fees and have access to more receiving countries, currencies, pay out methods and useful extras (like a prepaid debit card, multicurrency wallet, transparent fee structure, phone support for your transfers, etc.), there are some recommended alternative services (above).

Happy Transfers!

TorFX Review

7 Things You Should Know Before You Sign Up.

Review of TorFXSummary

  • Top ranked customer service at every step
  • Not always the least cost 
  • Pro transfer options

In a moment you are going to find out if TorFX is the best option for your needs.

(I’ll also show you how you can save potentially thousands $$$’s or £££’s no matter which money transfer company you choose.)

But wait there’s more 🙂 and this is important.

This is not your average “TorFX is wonderful” kind of review.

In many situations TorFX is a clear leader (especially when you value or need customer service) but I am also going to uncover situations where TorFX is NOT your best option and point you in the right direction to who might be.

Real Reviews

We also dig deeper on real customer reviews particularly the negatives ones where we uncover what is important to you.

Here is the good, the bad and even the ugly, so that you can decide.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Pros

  • Top ranked customer support – you’ll be assigned a dedicated account manager (UK, Europe and Australasia)
  • High end support for both personal and business transfers 
  • Flexible transfer options (offers forward contracts, spot contracts, and market orders)

Cons

  • No service for those in USA and Canada
  • £100/$250 minimum transfer 
  • Bank-to-bank or card-to-bank transfers only

Jump Links

  1.       When it Works and When it Doesn’t
  2.       The Real Transfer Costs
  3.       How to Make TorFX Work Best
  4.       How Fast is TorFX?
  5.       What Reviews Really Say
  6.       Is Your Money Safe with TorFX?
  7.       Verdict

Look for “Things to Know” at the end of each point

1. When it Works and When it Doesn’t

1.1  When it Works

1.1.1 You’re based in Aus/NZ, Asia, UK/Europe and want to send money worldwide

Choosing your best option ideally starts with a service that has offices in your timezone and ideally country of residence because of the service and security advantages inherent.

Given that TorFX is very telephone oriented and has offices in the UK, Singapore and Australia there is a slight advantage to choosing TorFX for customers of Europe and Australasia who are in the same time zone during TorFX office hours.

AUS/NZ and Asia – Get a quote online or by phone

UK and Europe – Get a quote online or by phone

If you are based in the Americas – OFX (review) is our suggested alternative.

1.1.2 You want flexible transfer options

TorFX makes business and personal transfers fit your needs through their personalised service business and partly because they are extremely flexible in the way they can transact. 

Examples:

  • Your business has to pay people overseas each month they can structure the transactions to work best for your business.
  • Sold a house overseas and you want to transfer funds to a new country within certain timeframes.

Spot Contracts

If you’re looking to transfer money immediately (in a couple of days), TorFX can help you secure a great exchange rate.  

Forward Contracts

With forward contracts, you can secure a rate for your international transfers for up to 2 years. This protects your funds against market fluctuations.

Market Orders

Eyeing a specific currency pair only? On TorFX, you can opt for a limit order or a stop loss order to reign in risks from surging or falling exchange rates.

1.2 When it Doesn’t Work

1.1.1 You want to do everything online

First it is important to point out, as amounts increase, particularly above £4000 GBP/€4500 EU/ $9500 AUD you will likely want and often need a telephone call to assist with making transfers go smoothly (this usually is usually because of limits your bank enforces) – TorFX excels at ensuring these transfers go smoothly.

However below £4000 GBP/€4500 EU/ $9500 AUD and most transactions can be done online without any assistance. Online transactions can be done relatively easily and sometimes more inexpensively through alternate services (although TorFX is no slouch).

1.1.2 You want cash payouts

Like most of their competitors who focus on large transfers, TorFX only supports bank-to-bank or card-to-bank transfers only.

However, if you’re looking for alternate payout methods such as cash transfers or mobile wallet transfers, check out WorldRemit (review).

Before we get too far – See if TorFX can do what you need:

Thing to Know 1

When you speak to a “Personal Account Manager” have an open conversation about your needs now and in the future. Apart from getting a good rate, there are also advantages to developing a relationship beyond what you might expect.

2. The Real Transfer Costs (including hidden costs)

Services like TorFX have three main ways they can make money.

  1. Fixed Fees       
  2. The Exchange Rate Offered
  3. Hidden Costs

2.1 Fixed Fees

TorFX doesn’t charge any fixed fees. Instead, they keep things simple by adding a margin on the exchange rate they offer (interbank exchange rate).

2.2 The Exchange Rate Offered

To figure out their margin you have to start with the base the rate they offer you and compare it with the interbank or mid-market rate between two currencies at a particular point in time. 

For comparison how fixed fees + exchange rates add up:

2.3 Hidden Costs

TorFX does not hide any costs, however it is important to note that banks at both ends can charge fees. 

TorFX has local bank accounts in Australia and the UK, so if you are working outside of these countries it may be worth checking with your bank what they will charge especially for smaller amounts.

Thing to Know 2

The next section shows you how to register online (slightly quicker) or by phone (more personalised) based on the region where you live!

3. How to Make TorFX Work Best

You can set up transfers easily online (24x7), on the TorFX app (24x7), or via phone.

Register and set up your transfer with these 3 steps.

3.1 Open an account

You can register for a TorFX account online or over the phone in minutes. In either case you’ll be asked whether you’re opting for a personal or business account (you can’t make business transfers from a personal account and vice versa).

AUS/NZ and Asia – Get a quote online or by phone

UK and Europe – Get a quote online or by phone

For those who would rather not speak to someone initially, when you click on those links you will find there is a simple four step process which aims to essentially get you to the same place quicker.

This sets up the account username and password and some of the fundamentals need to open your account.

Next you get a call from TorFX so they can understand your needs (very prompt response in my experience and another reason to love TorFX).

3.2 Talk to your Personal Account Manager and secure a rate

A “Personal Account Manager” will start by asking a few questions to get an idea of the amounts you are sending. This is also a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

After having your questions answered they send you an email to complete the sign-up and account verification process and by this point you will feel a lot more confident and comfortable with their system.

You can arrange transfers of any size with your Account Manager over the phone or via email. If you’d rather do it by yourself, you can always log in to your account online or initiate a transfer via the TorFX app.

Quick Notes:

  • Personal account holders can transfer online 24/7 up to £25,000 GBP or $50,000 AUD
  • Business account holders can send up to £100,000 online in the UK/Europe. However in Asia/Australia/NZ you need to go through your account manager for those extra large transfers.

3.3 Fund your transfer

Once you zero in on a suitable rate – either by checking online or by speaking to your Personal Account Manager – fund your transfer from your bank account or with a supported debit card (TorFX supports Sterling-nominated Visa debit cards. Also includes Solo and Switch branded cards.)

Here are the timelines to fund your transfer for different transfer options on TorFX

Spot transfers: Prompt funding is important if you want your immediate transfer to go through on time for spot transfers

Forward contracts: For forward contracts, please make sure that your funds reach TorFX at least one business day before the settlement (or transfer initiation) date specified on your contract note.

Thing to Know 3

Sometimes your Account Manager can get you a better rate than what’s listed on the website. So, contacting them after checking the exchange rate online can reduce costs.

4. How Fast is TorFX?

Your transfer speed on TorFX depends on the following:

  • Your location and the destination country
  • The currency pair selected
  • When you initiate the transfer
  • Verifications and security checks

Typically, it takes about 1-3 days for your money to go through once you set up the transfer. For exotic currencies, it can take up to 4 days.

Card payments are processed faster than bank payments. However, your card issuer may charge a convenience fee, which can potentially drive up the cost of the transfer.

And, when you initiate your transfer can also affect the transfer speed. TorFX can only handle your money during normal banking hours.

Thing to Know 4

If the sending bank you are using is not in the UK, Europe or Australia, it might take an extra day given that you need to send money to a TorFX account in those countries. 

5. What Reviews Really Say

TorFX is rated 4.8/5 on Trustpilot with over 3,400 reviews.

An exceptional 88% of the reviewers had an “Excellent” experience while 8% had a “Good” experience transferring money with TorFX.

They loved the smooth registration and transfer experience as well as the excellent advice provided by their account managers.

However, 2% of the reviewers had a bad experience with the service and we were keen to know why.

We dug through all the negative reviews to give you the real picture and the top issues we uncovered were

5.1 Transfer delays

Some TorFX users were thrown off by unexpected transfer delays, and we agree that it can be concerning when a large amount of money is on the line.

3 Top tips to avoid delays

  1. Understand transfer speeds can be slower for exotic currencies
  2. Initiate personal transfers from personal accounts and business transfers from business accounts
  3. Fund your transfer from a bank account in your name (instead of a third party account holder)

5.2 Unexpected deductions

TorFX doesn’t charge any hidden fees, but the sending or receiving banks at either end may charge some processing fees.

For larger amounts these are going to be negligible. However below £4000 GBP/€4500 EU/ $9500 AUD and these amounts can start to become a factor. Banks typically charge £10 to £20 / $15 to $20 at each end.

5.3 Poor exchange rates

Some users were dissatisfied by TorFx’s exchange rates for their transfers.

In our experience, TorFX has provided bank-beating rates for those large transfers. Your Account Manager can also be helpful for getting an even better rate.

Thing to know 5

If you want arguably the best service in the industry, simply transfer larger amounts to lower your total costs. However if you are always going to send amounts below £4000 GBP/€4500 EU/ $9500 AUD you can likely save some additional money on fees and do things 100% online here

6. Is Your Money Safe with TorFX?

TorFX is regulated by the FCA in the UK and ASIC in Australia. They also have an Australian Financial Services License.

But there’s more.

TorFX holds your funds in separate accounts and never merges it with their operating funds. Moreover, Barclays Bank Plc is the custodian of clients accounts at TorFX and the company’s own accounts are audited by PriceWaterhouseCoopers to ensure complete compliance.

TorFX also uses industry-leading TLS encryption to safeguard your data on their website. And, they employ two-factor authentication to make sure all the actions on their app and website are indeed initiated by you.

So it’s safe to say that your money is in good hands.

7. Verdict

For those seeking who want a smooth as possible setup and would rather build a relationship with someone to make things happen easily and cost effectively as possible TorFX is a clear leader.

AUS/NZ and Asia – to get a quote online or by phone

UK and Europe – to get a quote online or by phone

However if you would much rather not have to speak to someone and want to save every penny on smaller transactions there are most likely better services for you.

Either way your transfers will certainly be much cheaper than your bank.

Happy Transfers!

 

Xoom Review

8 Things You Need to Know Before You Sign Up!

Review of XoomIn the next few minutes, you are going to find out if Xoom is right for you.

Xoom lets you send money internationally, pay your bills, and top up prepaid phones.

Since Xoom is owned by PayPal and regulated in the US, it’s a safe and secure way to move your money.

But there are many other things to consider while transferring money overseas.

And that’s where we come in.

Real Reviews

We’ve analysed hundreds of real user reviews so you can make an informed decision.

Ultimately you’re going to find out if Xoom is your best option.

You will also want to check out their competitors below to see if other services might suit you better and you are going to want to know about the real costs to transfer

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Pros

  • Fast and secure international transfers to over 130 countries
  • Many payout methods (includes cash pick up)
  • Many ways to fund transfers (credit card, debit card, and bank transfer)
  • Supports utility bill payments (varies by country)
  • Great online and app interface for easy transfers
  • Helps you stay updated on your transfers with regular text messages and email notifications

Cons

  • Not always the cheapest option (See “The Real Transfer Costs of Xoom” below)
  • Transparency on fees 
  • Sending limits by user level, country, and rolling periods
  • Personal transfers only

Jump Links

  1. When Xoom Works
  2. When It Doesn’t Work
  3. The Real Transfer Costs of Xoom
  4. How Does Xoom Work?
  5. How Fast is Xoom?
  6. What Reviews Really Say (Inc. Negative Reviews)
  7. Xoom Alternatives
  8. Is Xoom Safe?

Verdict

1. When Xoom Works

  • Xoom is a great currency transfer option if you want to move money from the US, Canada, UK, and Europe to over 130 countries around the world.
  • Your recipient doesn’t necessarily need a bank account to receive money as Xoom supports cash payouts, mobile top ups, home delivery (depends on the location) as well as bank transfers.
  • You can fund your transfer with a credit card, debit card, and bank transfer.
  • You can pay utility bills for your friends and family members if they are in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Jamaica, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, and Vietnam.
  • If you’re comfortable handling all aspects of money transfer online, Xoom has a great web interface as well as an easy-to-use mobile app (for both Android and iOs).
  • If you need multilingual phone support, Xoom has you covered. (They offer support in English, Spanish, Filipino, French, Italian, German, and Arabic.)
  • Xoom transfers funded with credit or debit cards reach your recipient within minutes (although this may cost you more – See “The Real Transfer Costs of Xoom” below).

2. When It Doesn’t Work

  • You’re based in Australia, New Zealand, or in the Asian countries and want to send money overseas. Xoom currently only supports transfers from the US, Canada, UK and Europe (Eurozone and non-Eurozone countries).
  • Xoom doesn’t offer a multicurrency wallet like some of their competitors
  • Xoom has sending limits that vary according to user level, sending country, and rolling periods. While you can lift these restrictions, this may increase the transfer fees. See “How Xoom Works” below.
  • If you want to save big on your transfers, Xoom may not be the right option for you. Xoom charges a mark up on the exchange rate and their fees are based on a lot of other variables. (See “The Real Transfer Costs of Xoom” in the next section).
  • You want to pay your overseas contractors or cover other business expenses.

For many, Xoom is not an option, but even for those who can use them, there are better options you will find in the Xoom Alternatives section.

3. The Real Transfer Costs of Xoom

How much does it really cost to send money through Xoom?

The costs to send money through Xoom are highly variable and depend on the following:

  • How you fund your transfer
  • The payout method
  • The target currency
  • The amount you’re sending

Generally, Xoom fees can be broken into 3 areas:

  1. A Transfer Fee for carrying out the transfer
  2. Xoom Exchange Rate (*hidden fee)
  3. Bank & Other Fees – your bank may charge you additional fees on top for making the transfer

Xoom Costs and FeesWe will uncover these now!

3.1 Xoom Transfer Fee

These transfer fees are quite variable and relate mostly to how you fund your transfer and the payout method.

Xoom has an impressive range of ways to fund transfers as well as the way in which the transfers can be received. Their fee calculator (opens a new tab – select your country) does a pretty good job of focusing on fees attached to these.

After clicking on the link above, start by simply selecting the country where you want to send the money to.

For example, you’ll pay $30.49 USD extra in fees for sending $1000 USD from the US to major corridors like Canada, the UK or Europe if you transfer money to a bank account and fund it with a debit or credit card.

3.2 Xoom Exchange Rate

As you will see when you visit Xoom, you could be forgiven for thinking that their transfer fee is the only fee they charge.

However, a * hidden fee we think that a lot of customers miss that can make up a significant part of the total fee is the exchange rate that your money is converted at.

As with most money transfer companies, the exchange rate they give you is not always the best exchange rate. Typically they add a mark up to the rate which is an additional cost you should take into account.

Luckily there are some alternative providers who focus on transparency and making international transfers as cheap as possible. For example, one of the leaders in the market are TransferWise. They’re a global tech platform whose focus is on making sending, receiving or spending money as cheap, convenient and fair as possible. They always convert money at the mid-market rate (ie. the one you see on Google) so you’ll know you’re always getting the best rate possible. They then charge just one, low transparent fee for your currency conversion which can make them a much cheaper alternative. See the Xoom Alternatives section below for more information.

3.3 Bank & Other Fees

Other fees to consider involve the banks at each end of the transaction. In some instances they can charge their own fees. This can differ based on the way that you decide to fund your transfer or the method in which you want your transfer paid out eg. direct to a bank account, in cash, to someone’s card details. These fees can be minimised or eliminated by Xoom but it is unclear to what extent Xoom has done this.

Also consider other fees which may be indicated when using the fee calculator (opens a new tab).

4. How Does Xoom Work?

Setting up your Xoom account for transfers, mobile top ups, and bill payments is pretty straight forward.

  • You can either sign up on their website or by downloading their mobile app (both iOS and Android options available). If you have a PayPal account, you can use that to sign up for Xoom.
  • Next, fill out your basic details on the sign up form
  • Verify your ID and email to activate your account
  • Connect your bank account, credit card or debit card (you can manage or delete it at any time from your “My Account” page)

Although Xoom is a PayPal company, you can’t dip into your PayPal balance for international transfers, bill payments, and mobile reloads.

You can’t use your PayPal balance to pay for a Xoom transaction at this time.

However, once you log in or sign up with your PayPal login information, you’ll be able to use your PayPal-linked bank account, credit card, or debit card (when available). Source

Things you can do;

  1. Sending international payments with Xoom
  2. Mobile top ups with Xoom
  3. Paying bills with Xoom

4.1 Sending international payments with Xoom

To send money internationally, you’ll need:

  • Your recipient’s name (as it appears on their national ID), address, and phone number
  • Their bank account details if you’re making a bank transfer

The amount you can send depends on

  • Your location
  • The Payout method
  • Partner limits (local banks, cash pick up points, etc.)

Xoom Money Transfer Limits – Sending and Rolling Periods

Your sending limit depends on the “user level” and rolling periods.

For example, if you’re a Level 1 user from the US and want to send money to a recipient’s bank account, you can send $ 2999 USD in a 24-h period, $6000 USD in a month, or USD $9999 USD in 5 months.

You can increase your sending limit by verifying additional documents with Xoom.

Learn more about Xoom’s sending limits by country here and the documents you need to increase your limit here.

Quick heads up: Xoom’s local partners like banks and cash pick up points may impose limits based on amounts that can be paid out in a single transaction or over a period of time.

So it’s always a good idea to dig deep into operating hours and partner sending limits too before initiating a transfer.

4.2 Mobile top ups with Xoom

For mobile reloads, you’ll just need your recipient’s mobile number (Xoom identifies the carrier for you).

  • Navigate to “Reload” on the mobile app
  • Choose your recipient’s country
  • Enter their phone number and a reload amount
  • Choose your payment method if you’ve added multiple options (bank transfer, credit card, or debit card)
  • Hit “Authorize”

While Xoom doesn’t impose limits on reloading a prepaid mobile, the provider may have limits based on rolling periods.

Learn more about these limits here (scroll down to “Partner limits on reloads received”).

4.3 Paying bills with Xoom

Currently, you can pay utility bills for your friends and family in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Jamaica, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, and Vietnam.

In these countries, Xoom supports bill payments for

  • Phone
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Internet
  • Trash Collection
  • Cable

To pay a bill with Xoom, you’ll need your recipient’s name (as it appears on the bill), their bill number, and the name of the utility company (the required information can vary by country).

Make sure you double check this information before hitting send or contact Xoom ASAP if you think money was transferred to the wrong utility account.

5. How Fast is Xoom?

Xoom’s transfer speed depends on the funding method, the payout method, the recipient country as well as the transfer amount.

Typically, transfers funded with credit or debit cards are usually received within minutes.

However transfers funded by bank accounts (and sent to bank accounts) usually take 3-5 days which is normal and most of this time is taken up by the banks at either end.

The great thing about Xoom is they keep you updated with regular text messages and email notifications about the status of your transfer.

6. What Reviews Really Say

Xoom is rated 4.6/5 on Trustpilot with over 21,000 reviews, which is great according to industry standards.

Overall, 88% had an “Excellent” experience while 4% had a “Good” experience transferring money with Xoom. Users loved the prompt service and the easy-to-use online and app UI. They also felt safe using Xoom since it’s a PayPal company.

However, 5% of their users had a “Bad” experience with the company and rated them “1 star.” We were curious to know why so we dug deep and went through 100s of negative reviews on Trustpilot.

Here’s what we uncovered:

6.1 Some users were dissatisfied with the exchange rate, and we can understand why. Xoom does have a complicated fee structure and the markup on the exchange rate makes it a relatively expensive service compared to leading competitors (below).

6.2 Transfer delays were a major cause of dissatisfaction. Xoom tries to process your transfers as soon as possible, and the hold up is generally caused by their transfer partners (cash pick up points, home delivery services, or local banks).

To avoid unnecessary delays, we recommend:

  • Double checking your recipient’s information
  • Factoring in the varying transfer speeds based on funding methods and payout methods. Sometimes transfer delays can also be caused if you send money on a weekend or holiday.
  • Keeping all documentation (your id, your recipient’s information, bank statements, etc.) handy if Xoom needs to verify these

6.3 Some users were also upset when Xoom asked for additional documentation to process a transfer. As a regulated financial services provider, Xoom often needs to audit their transfers to prevent theft or fraud. They may also put your transfer on hold if you’ve breached your transfer limit.

6.4 A few users were also annoyed when Xoom blocked their transfers initiated for charity purposes. Currently, Xoom is a person-to-person remittance company, which means they only support personal transfers to friends and family. All other types of transfers, such as business transfers or donations, are likely to be blocked by Xoom as it’s beyond their service scope.

7. Xoom Alternatives

While the vast majority of reviews are positive for Xoom the negative reviews help show where some alternative services may be preferable for your needs.

Service

Fees

Trustpilot
Review
Score

Countries
Available

Type of
Transfers

Use Mid
Market Rate

XoomIt’s complex,
please see
section on
fees
4.6US, Canada, UK,
and Europe to
130 countries
 No
TransferWise0.4% – 1%4.6From and To
pretty much
the whole world – Check if your countries are supported here 
Bank-to-bank,
card-to-bank
Yes
OFX0.4% – 2%4.3From US, UK,
CA, HK, NZ,
SG to pretty much the whole world.
Bank-to-bankNo

 

7.1 TransferWise VS Xoom

TransferWise and Xoom are a great comparison because in many important ways they are very different.

For example, TransferWise always convert money at the mid-market rate and are upfront and transparent on their fees, while Xoom are less transparent around their fees and don’t highlight as predominantly the additional fees charged from the exchange rate they give.

Having used TransferWise extensively and reviewed them here, you will find the fees not just transparent but also very competitive.

This can be done through their widget which shows you upfront the exact fees you will pay and even gives you a comparison with other services. They’ll even tell you when their service is not as cheap as other providers!

Compare TransferWise fees here

If bank-to-bank or card-to-bank transfers work for you, we suggest TransferWise as an alternative for speed, customer service and their great online platform.

7.2 Xoom VS OFX

OFX is also inexpensive and also provides an excellent service by mixing online transactions with phone support.

For amounts above $7000 USD we recommend OFX (review) but also because of the limits Xoom has (see above).

They also have a fee structure that is conducive to larger transfers as they systematically reduce the percentage fees you pay as amounts increase.

8. Is Xoom Safe?

Xoom is a money transfer service by PayPal Inc. and they’re regulated by both the state and federal government agencies in the U.S.

Xoom partners only with major banks and retailers for cash pickups and home deliveries to ensure complete safety and compliance with local laws.

Moreover, they use industry-leading security like 128 bit SSL on their website and app. They also used advanced encryption to protect your personal data as well as your money in transit, which makes Xoom one of the most secure currency transfer companies out there.

Learn more about Xoom’s robust security policies here.

Verdict

Xoom is a good currency transfer option if you’re looking for a safe and secure way to move money from the US, Canada, UK, and Europe to 130 countries worldwide.

Xoom also supports cash picks and home deliveries, which is helpful if your friend or family member is travelling (or recently immigrated) and doesn’t have a local bank account.

But (as we discovered above) Xoom is rarely the cheapest option to send money abroad. Plus, their sending limits (based on user levels, rolling periods, and country) make it really difficult to process larger amounts.

For the majority of people who can keep within the limits, competitors (above) like TransferWise who offer bank-to-bank and card-to-bank transfers for small amounts) are worth a very good look.

TransferWise Review

7 Things You Should Know Before You Sign Up!

Review of TransferWiseIn the next few minutes, you will find out if TransferWise is the right choice for your needs.

Pros

  • Can be inexpensive
  • Transparency of fees/costs (see below)
  • Rates guarantee (24/48 hrs)

Cons

  • Online focus, limits telephone contact to troubleshooting
  • Larger transfers can be limited

In many situations TransferWise is a clear leader but in some circumstances TransferWise may not be the right choice and we want you to know!

But wait there’s more 🙂

Real Reviews

We make it easy for you to figure out if TransferWise is best for you and if not who is.

But importantly, we dig deep into reviews from real folks including the negative ones so you know exactly what you are going to get – the good, the bad and yes, even some ugly.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Jump Links

Best for YOU?

  1. When and How it Works (and When it Doesn’t)
  2. The Real Transfer Costs (+ Hidden)
  3. Two Best Ways to Sign Up
  4. How Fast is TransferWise Really?
  5. What Reviews Really Say (inc. Negative Ones)
  6. Is Your Money Safe with TransferWise?
  7. Bottom Line – Best Service for YOU?

Best for You?

Focused on making international transfers, TransferWise is typically far cheaper than banks and insanely transparent starting with the real exchange rate and then showing the fees up front. They are particularly good at smaller transfers and have the very useful multi-currency Borderless account.

See the fees you pay for yourself with their widget! 🙂 You can also compare with other services.

However

The main reason TransferWise may not be the best choice is for larger amounts more than $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD. We will talk more about that in a moment or you can skip ahead to the “When and How it Works (and When it Doesn’t)” section.

First let’s focus on the awesome.

In addition to their money transfer service after signing up, you can opt into their seriously useful Borderless account (review) and get access to their pre-paid Mastercard (review).

The Borderless account enables you to accept money from GBP, EUR, USD and AUD and hold more than 50 currencies it’s a bit like having an account in the US, UK, EU and Australia. You can also transfer funds between different currencies within your Borderless account and they have a calculator to show you what you will pay for this too. Spoiler Alert: It could be a game changer in saving money and helping you to do more – more easily.

That combined with the optional card means you can spend it in any currency without the usual fleecing you get from involving banks and other cards.

In addition, for the sake of security and services, the best option ideally starts with a service that has offices in your country of residence.

TransferWise has offices in the UK, USA, Australia, Estonia (which covers Europe), Hong Kong, Brazil, Belgium, Hungary, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Ukraine and the UAE.

1. When it Works (and When it Doesn’t)

Right from their outset in 2011, TransferWise wanted to take power away from banks (who continue to fleece most people) and put it back into the hands of individuals.

This means they can have some serious advantages, as we will show now.

1.1 When it Works

TransferWise roots were as a P2P peer-to-peer service, but they have moved away from this, which we think may or may not be a great thing – time will tell.

The benefits of P2P were huge; it meant that they match people who want to transfer one currency into another, with people who want to do the opposite swap (as much as possible anyway). This has huge cost savings especially for smaller transfers.

But TransferWise has not lost the most important benefit for smaller transfers – low costs.

What this means for you

TransferWise cost structure works wonderfully for smaller amounts and this is where great cost savings are. This includes amounts below $7000 USD/ £4000 GBP/ €4500 EU/ $9500 CAD AUD.

If you plan on only sending amounts smaller amounts, skip down to The Real Costs of Transfers (+Hidden Fees). This section will show you stuff TransferWise is really made of.

1.2 When it Doesn’t Work

In the same way TransferWise was designed from the ground up for smaller transfers, for larger transfers ($7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD AUD) we think other services could be better and here is why.

1.2.1 Costs

TransferWise says, “The more money you send, the more your transfer costs. That’s because the TransferWise fee is worked out as a percentage of the amount you’re sending. The percentage varies from currency to currency, and you can check it on our pricing page.

By comparison, services designed from the ground up for larger transfers simply charge progressively less in percentage terms as the amounts increase.

This means you can be more confident you will pay less in percentage terms as amounts increase and this makes sense when you look into the way services are structured.

OFX Exchange Rate Fees as a Percentage

1.2.2 Service Structure

While TransferWise has terrific customer service, services designed from the ground up for larger transfers do a number of important things differently.

A) Pre-approval for Larger Amounts
B) Service

A) Pre-approval for Larger Amounts

Once you get into larger amounts ($7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD AUD) regulations, Anti-terrorism and Money Laundering laws mean that all money transfer companies require additional information. 

This is usually just ID checks but sometimes other documents are required.

Services such as TransferWise tend to make it easier for you to sign up (better for smaller transfers).

Others get everything they need up-front, which it turns out is better for larger transactions.

Those focused on larger amounts tend to ask for more information when you sign up, which means you can avoid a lot of potential issues later in the transaction.

As we saw (below) in the excellent reviews for TransferWise, some negative reviews come from TransferWise needed to ask for more information and freezing accounts.

Now this happens with pretty much every good money transfer service, but TransferWise clearly focuses on smaller amounts and easier sign-up. 

B) Service

Part of the beauty of using a really good money transfer service is that they become partly responsible for your money arriving.

Different banks in different countries have different rules around how much they can send and the ways to fund your transaction. This means that knowledgeable and helpful customer service who know the ins and outs of each bank can make a world of difference to ensuring your transaction runs smoothly.

TransferWise does a great job of making things work online and then troubleshooting if required. This works extremely well for smaller amounts, but for larger amounts things can get tricky and ideally require human intervention built into the service. 

For example, we recently transacted a large amount but the bank we use did not allow direct debit over a certain amount. The only alternative it seemed was to fund the transaction through a wire transaction that required us to go into the branch – not going to happen, as I no longer live there.

Our money transfer provider worked with us on the phone to decide on a few options. The best it turned out was to split the transaction and do it in two amounts. After we agreed they just did it without further input from us and also locked in the rate for both transactions.

This is why we use TransferWise for the majority of our transactions which are smaller but use OFX (review) or TorFX (review) for larger ones. TorFX in particular loves doing business of the phone while OFX strikes a sweet balance between online and telephone support.

2. The Real Transfer Costs (+ Hidden)

2.1 The Real Fees

TransferWise is incredibly transparent about exactly what you pay, which means that you can see what you will pay very easily at each step.

The trouble is, different amounts, different currencies and different countries all lead to different costs.

Good news!

The answer is at hand.

Simply open the TransferWise widget, (opens in a new tab) and follow these three easy steps to compare your TransferWise fees with any other service:

3 Simple Steps to See What You Pay (and Compare)

Step 1)

With your opened widget, specify the currency you wish to convert and the currency you want to convert it to. The currency to be converted is under the “You send” panel and the resulting amount is under the “Recipient gets” panel.

Please take notice of the fee breakdown between the two panels as shown.

TransferWise Fee Checker

Step 2)

Divide the “fee” by the amount “You send” and multiple by 100 to get the percentage of fees you pay.

In my example, because I entered £1000: (£4.78/1000) X 100 = 0.478%

Step 3)

Compare the values with the other services you’re considering so you can get the most of what you’re paying for.

Here are some rates from the following money transfer service providers:

As we see, 0.478% is extremely competitive. However, this percentage will change depending on a number of factors, which is why we recommend following all 3 steps ↑↑↑ above.

What else should you know?

As I hope we have made clear, TransferWise offers the mid-market exchange rate (essentially the best exchange rate anyone can get) and is transparent about the exact fees you pay so you are off to a great start.

But this can be useless if the exchange rate is not guaranteed.

Some services do not guarantee the rate they offer you. This means you are at the mercy of exchange rate fluctuations which can go either way quite easily by 1% or more each day.

TransferWise guarantees the rate for 24 or 48 hours, depending on what currencies you choose. This gives your bank time to get the money to them.

They say, “as long as we receive your money within the specified period of time, then that’s the rate you’ll get. If your money does not reach us in time, we’ll still convert your funds as soon as possible, but will use the mid market rate valid at the time of receiving your money.”

In our real world test, we found that TransferWise is more than good on its promise. For example, once I transacted Saturday morning knowing my bank would take at least 48 hours from Monday morning to send them the money. In the 4 days or so it took for them to get the money, the exchange rate have moved slightly against them, but they still held the rate we originally locked in. 👍

2.2 Hidden Fees

When it comes to smaller transfers one the easiest ways you stand to lose the most money is to not be aware of the fees banks charge at each end.

I call these hidden fees because while you may think money transfer companies are powerless to do anything about these fees they can!

Although it is expensive to have local bank accounts in almost every country in the world, this is exactly what the best money transfer services do to avoid (as much as possible) banks hammering you with fees of $10 – $50 USD at each end.

Example: Moving $1000 from USA to the UK.

  • Low Cost Fee of Money Transfer Service = 1%
  • $10 Fee from sending bank
  • $20 Fee from receiving bank 15 GBP $20

Total Fees = $50 or 5% of $1000

From this example, you can see that while the money transfer companies fees are around 1% of the total (this is a very competitive fee) the fees banks charge are relatively horrendous. That said, even if you used an inexpensive money transfer service like TransferWise and got hammered at each end by the banks you would still be ahead of the banks which charge 2 – 4% instead of the 1% and do not have local bank accounts!

To a very large degree TransferWise is excellent at having local bank accounts, but no service is perfect so it is good to be aware of them!

3. Two Best Ways to Sign Up

3.1 Signing Up

Initial sign up for TransferWise is very straight forward.

It can be done in two ways:

  1. Sign up using Google or Facebook
  2. Register on their site starting with their super useful currency guides 

3.2 Mobile and Email Verification

As part of the authentication process TransferWise will send you a text with a security code and an email.

Once these are verified by entering a security code and clicking the email link, you can set up your first transfer.

3.3 The Transfer

This is where you finalize the amount you want to transfer.

As a bonus, you will see an estimate of when the amount will arrive.

The also will guarantee the rate they give you for 24 or 48 hrs (which is highly valuable).

3.4 Who Your Sending Money To

Next you enter bank details of where you want the money to go.

3.5 Verify Identity

TransferWise will ask you to upload images of your ID to verify your identity.

(This can easily be done with photos taken from a smartphone, shared with your computer and uploaded to their site.)

Although they say this could take 2-3 days, in our experience we found this step instantaneous.

This is standard required practice for all money transfer services.

3.6 Make Payment

After you check the details of the transfer you set up like the bank account and the amounts you will be given a number of options to pay TransferWise based on the country where the money is coming from.

3.7 Track Progress

You can track the progress online just to make sure everything is running fine, but at each major step you will also be sent an email which is very reassuring.

4. How Fast TransferWise is Really

When it comes to transaction speeds for bank to bank transfers, TransferWise is on par with the best.

The truth is banks at either end are a much greater part of the time required equation, although in theory they could hold onto your funds for a while (while they sort out the swaps etc.).

From our experience using them and the reviews, TransferWise is excellent in this regard.

But TransferWise does something others don’t.

Although not directly helping speed, just like when you are in an airplane stuck on the tarmac and the captain continually reassures you and updates you on the situation, TransferWise sends quite a few helpful emails so you know exactly what is going on.

4.1 Real Speeds

TransferWise is pretty vague (understandably) because transactions can literally take 1-5 working days.

They say, “Every currency and country is different. Converting your money can take a maximum of 2 working days, but it’s very rare that it takes this long.”

But the “2 working days” mentioned, is just the conversion side (B shown in the diagram below). After using them multiple times for their part they seem to transact in hours not days, but then again we are working with major currencies like (USA, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD, NZD, SGD).

They also say, “And how quick your transfer arrives depends on how quickly your recipient’s bank can process your money, as well as the ways you’re able to pay in the country you’re sending from.”

This is the same for every money transfer company focused on bank to bank transfers.

TransferWise does however have a trick up its sleeve (for a price)!

Speed of Money Transfers

Transfer speeds can be significantly improved if TransferWise receives your funds through a credit or debit card. This means the whole funding process (A in diagram) goes from days to practically instantaneous.

For most people the fees TransferWise passes on will make them happy to wait a day or two extra, but this option can significantly speed up the process.

But don’t forget the receiving bank (C) will also take its sweet time regardless.

If you use a card (credit or debit), TransferWise can be one of the fastest services around but because of the additional costs associated with this most people just go bank-to-bank.

The reality is that most services swap the currencies very quickly and the speed of the whole transaction has much more to do with the banks at both ends than anything else.

How long it takes to arrive in your account will often come down to your bank/s (A) and (C) and not the transfer company itself.

5. What Reviewers Really Say (inc. Negative Ones)

No matter which review site you look at, you will find the majority of reviews are very complimentary.

For example, Trustpilot averages the reviews and finds TransferWise to be “excellent”with a 4.6/5 rating based on 85,000+ reviews.

Having used them personally, I am very confident that these reviews are mostly genuine.

But, nothing is perfect and it is in the poor reviews where a lot can be learned. The trouble with reading individual reviews however is that it is easy to find yourself caught up in the individual stories.

So we analyzed 100s, so that you can learn from it. It is important to keep the negative reviews in perspective, as they account for less than 4% of customer reviews.

Most bad reviews relate to these things:

  • Accounts Deactivated After a Transfer (Approx. 1%)
  • Money Delays (Approx. 1%)
  • Better Rates Elsewhere (Less than 0.5%)
  • Customer Service (Less than 0.5%)
  • Problems With Card Service (Less than 0.5%)
  • Other (Less than 0.5%)

Only two stand out and they only represent about 1% each of total reviews, but the first one is a big one.

5.1 Accounts Deactivated After a Transfer

TransferWise seems to have a policy of asking for additional ID if the transaction reaches certain thresholds. No doubt this is related to meeting regulatory requirements.

This benefits most people because there is less hoops to jump through when you initially sign up.

However for a minority, accounts get deactivated because they can’t meet requirements. In this case their money is almost certainly refunded to them, but they are understandably upset.

Most other transfer companies (which are geared towards transferring larger amounts from the outset) get all the ID checks out of the way before making even very small transactions.

This is one reason we recommend using alternative services over $7000 USD (£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD AUD). See “When and How it Works (and When it Doesn’t)

5.2 Money Delays / Lost

A significant number issues relate to the money being delayed. Some believe the money has been lost and some even think TransferWise might be a scam.

This seems like a big problem but in almost all cases what we found has nothing to do with TransferWise at all, and is more about the banks at both ends who take time to process transactions.

If anything, TransferWise shows how good it is at rectifying the situations.

6. Is Your Money Safe with TransferWise

TransferWise claims 6 million customers in 71 countries transacting £4 billion every month and there is no doubt their business is growing like crazy.

But that does not mean they can’t loose or mismanage your money, even accidentally.

However, because of its presence in many countries TransferWise is heavily regulated.

Each country it operates in has its own regulatory framework that TransferWise must abide by. This means that it is regulated by, authorities such as Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (USA), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (UK), National Bank of Belgium (Europe) as an Authorised Payment Institution, the Australia Securities and Investments Commission (Australia), Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (Canada) and Financial Customs and Excise Department (Hong Kong). It is also regulated in India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UAE.

At a practical level, one of many measures TransferWise needs to take is to manage funds using separate accounts. These funds are separate from the company’s operating accounts. So in the situation they run into trouble, your money should still be safe.

On top of that, they claim to have”bank level” data security and from what you can see when using them, this is likely the case. 

Possibly more importantly – What if they go bust?

We wrote an article about if your money transfer company will be around in 2021 and we were assured by what we found for TransferWise despite its recent fund raise and the fact it is private.

In comparison to others (except maybe public companies) TransferWise seems solid.

7. Bottom Line

Checking out the comparison with other providers on TransferWise is an excellent way to transfer money abroad. Its brilliance is in its simplicity online and in the fact that they are very upfront about what they charge and the amount of money you will receive when you make a transfer.

They also have some leading optional services like Borderless and their prepaid Mastercard which may appeal to you.

However, as we discussed in When it Works (and When it Doesn’t) ↑↑↑, if you need to speak to human at critical times, or want to transfer larger amounts we think other services may be better.

Check out our other recommended providers for larger amounts or more telephone based services.

Either way your transfers will certainly be much cheaper than your bank.

Happy Transfers!

OFX Review

7 Things You Need to Know Before You Sign Up!

Review of OFXToday you’re going to find out if OFX is your best option.

(I’ll also show you how you can save potentially thousands $$$’s or £££’s no matter which money transfer company you choose.)

But wait there’s more 🙂

In many situations OFX is a clear leader (especially when there is no $15 fee below) but it may not be the right choice for you and in those instances I will show you who is likely to work better for your needs.

Real Reviews

Importantly, we have dug deeper than anyone else by assessing real customer reviews particularly the negatives ones where we uncover what is important to you.

Here is the good, the bad and even the ugly, so that you can decide.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Voted #1 by Transumo.com fours years in a row for good reason. A standout due to their service standards and online platform. However competition has caught up and other services may be better in some situations as we reveal below.

Click here to learn how you can get transfers through OFX fee free.

Pros

  • Physical offices globally (inc. US) = better service (very important)
  • Very competitive exchange rates (in most situations)
  • Top ranked service by 3rd party reviewers
  • Online platform + offline service option

Cons

  • Smaller amounts it can be cheaper
  • Slower bank to bank transfers only (But speed comes at a cost)
  • No cash pickup

Jump Links

  1. When it Works and When it Doesn’t
  2. The Real Transfer Costs
  3. How Does OFX Work?
  4. How Fast is OFX?
  5. What Reviews Really Say
  6. Is Your Money Safe with OFX?
  7. Is OFX the Best Service for Your Needs?

Look for “Things to Know” at the end of each point

1. When it Works and When it Doesn’t

Summary:

OFX works really well for most people in almost all situations above their minimum of $1000. Above $7000 and we think OFX is the best money transfer company and we have voted it the winner for fours years in a row – including 2020.

Below $7000, OFX fees are a lot less than banks due to their competitive exchange rates and network of 115 local banks accounts worldwide. However depending on what you want you can do better as we will show.

Lets’ get stuck into it!

Above $7000 USD / 4000 GBP /  9500 AUD/CAD / 5000 EUR is considered a large amount.

Below these amounts is a small amount for money transfer companies.

1.1 When it Works

A) Fees + Costs

Tough to beat OFX for larger transfers. OFX has been designed from the ground up for exactly this. This means that fees are excellent and actually improve (in percentage terms) as the amounts increase.

As we show  in the Real Transfer Costs section below there are four main costs.

Two of these fees are minimized and often eliminated by OFX through local bank accounts worldwide – OFX has 115 of them which pretty much covers everyone.

OFX may charge a fixed fee of $15, however if you click here you can avoid these fees all together.

The only other fee left is usually the largest and it is the exchange rate margin which we found to be very competitive especially for smaller amounts.

Of course, money transfer services need to go beyond very low fees.

For a start, you need you money to arrive in a stress free, timely way.

B) Smooth Sailing

Right from the start, when you sign up OFX gets all the necessary ID checks and other regulatory checks out of the way so that you don’t run into any worries later on.

Afterwards it is simple to login and transact.

Other services may make it a bit easier to sign up – but then run the risk of needing to freeze your account while they gather more information to meet the needs of the regulators (which can be very stressful).

C) Support

Having a good online experience is great.

Having telephone support to back up the online experience is more important especially with larger amounts!

OFX has struck a great balance between keeping as much as possible online while providing 24/7 telephone support. OFX supports an impressive network of offices in the following countries – USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

While some companies are 100% about reducing costs, OFX keeps costs low and has a physical presence in North America, Australasia and Europe/UK which can be extremely helpful when it comes to dealing with banks throughout the world.

1.2 When it Doesn’t

Let’s be clear if you need to make money transfers that are both small and large OFX is a great choice and it will be far cheaper than a bank under any circumstances.

However if you only plan of doing smaller transfers ($1000-$7000), you can often do better in terms of fees and sign-up is often a little easier too.

For smaller transfers we recommend: TransferWise (review) for bank to bank transfers or WorldRemit (review) which also has cash pickup and is generally excellent as well.

We also recommend TorFX (review) (Europe & Australasia) and XE (review) (for the Americas) if you are the type of person who would prefer to do things on the phone.

You might also like OFX Vs TransferWise

2. The Real Transfer Costs

Everyone likes saving money but it can be quite confusing trying to understand what exactly you are being charged.

To keep things simple, we logged onto our OFX account and calculated the total % costs compared with the interbank rate for major currency pairs like USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, and AUD – see chart below.

As we showed the percentage fees actually reduce as amounts increase.

This is not the whole story.

Essentially there are 4 fees to keep in mind when it comes to overall costs:

  1. Fees charged by sending bank
  2. Exchange rate you get usually includes a margin (fee)
  3. Fixed fee or percentage
  4. Fees charged by receiving bank

2.1 and 2.4 – Fees charged by banks

The fees banks often charge at each end can be significant.

These fees can be $30/£20 but usually about $15/£10 at each end.

I refer to these as hidden fees because they do tend to surprise you when you get your bank statement!

These fees are not actually collected by the money transfer company BUT money transfer companies can do a lot to minimize or eliminate them.

Fortunately OFX does.

OFX has a network of 115 local banks at the sending and receiving ends for most major currencies so they can pay into you account there without attracting any fees.

2.2 Exchange rate you get usually includes a margin (fee)

Most money transfer companies including OFX generate their income by offering a different exchange rate to the mid-market or interbank rate.

The following chart shows the cost to use OFX.

To calculate the actual costs simply multiply the amount by the percentage and divide by 100.

OFX Exchange Rate Fees as a Percentage

OFX Cost for a Major Currency Pair (Please Note: Results may vary depending on the currency pairs, countries and the amount. Last checked April 2020)

With OFX for larger amounts the exchange rate improves.

The logic here is simple: the more money you transfer, the better the exchange rate you’ll receive making OFX hard to beat.

When I compare the mid-market rate and the rate I was offered (shown in the chart) – the range is about 2% to just below 0.6% which for larger amounts is as good as you will find.

For comparison, the banks total costs can set you back between 6% and 3% – which can be a lot of lost $ or £s.

For example, if you save 3% on a transaction of $20,000 that is $600.

2.3 – Fixed fee or percentage

Many money transfer companies charge a small fixed fee. OFX does sometimes charge a small fee of $15 however, if you click here you can avoid the fees all together.

This way you only pay the difference in the exchange rate offered.

You might also like OFX Fees

Thing to Know 1: Transfer larger amounts to minimize total costs.

3. How does OFX Work?

3.1 Setup

Registering with OFX is simple. The setup process is clearly outlined and customer service “dealers” are there to help if you find you need any help.

Here are the two things you have to do:

1. Register Online – to check the rates for your currency pairing. (Use the link above to avoid the $15 fees if applicable for ever)
2. Verify Your Identity

Registration takes less than five minutes, then you’ll be on to verifying your identity, either automatically or through email.

You may also get a call from someone at OFX. They call themselves “dealers”, but really they are really there to help answer any questions you have.

When I registered, I found they needed me to provide a bit of additional information, like a copy of my ID.

Getting this information back to them was pretty straight forward.

In my case I simply scanned my driver’s licence, but a smartphone photo would be fine as well. Sending them over was simply by replying to the original email I received.

3.2 Setting up a Deal

Now the real fun begins. (Yes it is actually fun, especially when you lock in a good rate.)

Once you are registered and after you login, it is time to set up a transaction. This can be done on the phone as well but I find their online platform to be powerful yet easy.

What an OFX transaction looks likeIt is as simple as logging into your account, selecting the currencies and amount.

Then you need to fund your account.

There are some main ways of funding your OFX account depending on the country you bank account is in:

  • Electronic Bank Transfer (Australia, Canada, US and UK)
  • Wire Transfer (Canada and US)
  • ACH Direct Debit (US)
  • BPay (Australia)
  • Debit Card (UK)

Electronic Bank Transfer is used by businesses in most cases.

3.3 Tracking your Funds

Thing to Know 2: Set up alerts so you can track progress of your funds. You can “Choose to receive notifications when funds are received by OFX and funds are paid out to your recipients.”

4. How Fast is OFX?

When it comes to speed, OFX is as good as any other for bank to bank transfers.

When it comes to bank to bank transfers a lot depends on the banks at either ends. Typically they will take a day or two to clear funds.

The amount of time OFX has with your money is minimal and usually measured in hours.

If speed is critical, you can “wire” the money to OFX from the sending bank. The bank will usually charge an additional fee compared for this, but this can increase speed to just a day or two.

5. What Reviews Really Say

OFX Review AnalysisThe best way to learn about a service is to dig deep into real user reviews especially the negative ones, especially when your money is literally on the line.

Overall we found OFX to be top notch and with a rating of 4.2/5 and almost 4000 reviews on TrustPilot many reviewers thought it was “great” too.

OFX users focus on solid performance, excellent customer service with reassuring email and SMS follow ups.

Solid performance and excellent customer service

OFX has been delivering the service I need consistently. Every interaction I’ve had with their staff has been professional and helpful. The way that they monitor and inform me about my transactions is very reassuring. After poor experiences with lower end companies I am so pleased to have the team at OFX working for me.

says Michael Pearson

Many reviewers also comment on the great exchange rates.

But how about the 8% (one or two-star reviews) who had a negative experience?

We trawled through hundreds of reviews to figure out what went wrong, and found three points that will help you.

5.1 Account verification delays

Some OFX users were unable to initiate transfers because the account verification process took longer than anticipated.

OFX generally verifies your documents submitted during registration fairly quickly. But sometimes they may require additional documents (like recipient ID and bank statements), which may take about 4-5 days more.

This is because OFX lets you send large amounts of money (from $1,000 USD to $2 billion!), which calls for regular scrutiny to prevent fraud or money laundering.

The benefits of this are huge compared with many competitors who regularly freeze accounts once you get over a about $7000 USD or 4000 GBP or $9500 CAD/AUD.

5.2 Delayed or slow transfers

Some users were also concerned about slow or unprecedented delays in transfers.

We narrowed it down to three reasons:

5.2.1 The bank at the receiver’s end may need to make sure the transfers is in line with local and international currency transfer regulations. So, even if OFX sends the money through, the recipient’s bank can take 1-2 business days to verify and process the transfer.

5.2.2 Transfers in major currencies such as USD, GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR, NZD, and JPY usually get processed quickly (within 1-2 business days). But transfers in regulated currencies (such as Chinese Yuan, South African Rand, or Korean Won, etc.) or to less popular markets may lead to delays (3-5 business days). You may also see some delays if you’re initiating a transfer over a holiday or on weekends.

5.2.3 Transfers can also be delayed if any detail (yours or your recipient’s) is incorrect or missing.

These three issues which slow or delay transfers are common in the industry and are more an issue of understanding how it work than anything else. (See How Fast above)

5.3 Blocked accounts

A handful of users complained their accounts were blocked when initiating a transaction. As a regulated financial service provider, OFX still needs to do things by the book and from what we could tell many issues related to issues that were easily resolved.

For example;

  • You need to make sure that you’re not initiating business transactions from a personal account.
  • You also need to have linked your own bank account with your OFX account (transactions will be blocked if you link a friend or family member’s account to fund transfers).

Generally most people avoid these issues but now that you know what can cause issues, it is less likely going to happen to you.

6. Is Your Money Safe with OFX?

In today’s financial markets (2020) this question is particularly important to answer.

We think it needs to be answered in two parts.

  • Can you trust OFX?
  • Will they still be around in years to come?

6.1 Can you trust OFX?

OFX is one of the oldest pioneers of modern money transfers and have been operating since 1988 (previously known as OzForex). They have physical presence (offices) all over the world and have facilitated over $100 billion in transactions till date. Plus, they are regulated in 5 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, USA, UK, and Canada.

OFX holds your funds separately from its own operational funds. This ensures you get your money back if they ever shut down.

Other than that, OFX relies on industry leading digital encryption, trained staff, as well as regular automated and manual audits to keep your money and personal information safe.

6.2 Will they still be around in years to come?

Despite everyone’s best intentions (most the time) companies that have large amounts of debt or require funding could easily not exist in the years to come.

According to public documents (they are listed on the ASX Stock Exchange) OFX has zero debt generating profits year on year with strong growth particularly in the US.

7. Is OFX the Best Service for Your Needs?

In our opinion, there is no one service best for everyones needs.

Where OFX shines for almost everyone is in large transfers. They strike a balance between keeping costs low as possible and providing the online and most importantly the offline service (telephone) needed to ensure your money arrives smoothly and safely.

Of course it helps when you can have the $15 fee removed from each transaction.

As we showed, they still do well with smaller transfers (compared to banks), but if all you are doing is smaller transfers from a cost point of view you can do a little better and don’t need to jump through some of the regulatory hurdles OFX requires.

As far as their negative reviews go they seem to form a pattern which suggests they are sticklers for the rules. Given the additional benefits that come with being one of the most regulated companies in the world, we find ourselves thinking that perhaps negatives are really positives.

What we also like in today’s uncertain times is that OFX is almost certainly going to be around for many years, probably decades to come.

Happy Transfers!

Remitly Review

6 Things You Should Know Before You Sign Up

Review of RemitlyIn just a few minutes, I will show you if Remitly is the right choice for you.

They say, “no hidden fees, 24/7 customer service, and guaranteed delivery”.

But this is not just another “Remitly is wonderful” type review, I am going to show you where Remitly IS and IS NOT a good option and even who else to consider.

Uncovered! 🙂

Like all our reviews, I will show you the good, the bad and even the ugly, so that you can decide.

First, here is a quick roundup of pros and cons.

Full Disclosure: While we aim to show you the good and the bad in each review so you can make the best choice, there are links contained in this page which are affiliate links (and while not costing you anything) do earn us a commission. We often also get the opportunity to provide you with discounts and offers as part of using the link. If you use these links thank you for supporting our mission to making money transfers simple (and cheaper 🙂 )!

Pros

  • Fast transfer option
  • Two plans to send money – Express and Economy
  • Easy tracking for both senders and recipients
  • Options to receive money (Bank transfers, pick up points, home delivery, and mobile wallet transfers)
  • Funds your transfers with a credit card, debit card, or bank transfer (depending on the plan)
  • Guaranteed delivery (on time or fees back)

Cons

  • Doesn’t allow transfers between the 16 sender (major) countries (focused on sending money home to family and friends)
  • Fees can be expensive compared to others  (check “Fees & Costs” below)

Is Remitly Right for You?

Remitly is very focused on easy and fast international money transfers for immigrants to the developed world who want to send money home. They do a good job of keeping costs low – especially if you consider the convenience, speed and ability for recipient to receive cash. The reviews we uncovered show some very happy customers.

Their closest competitors are the likes of Western Union and WorldRemit (review).

But like we said, that does not make them the best for everyone.

While you can send very small amounts and relatively large amounts, the sweet spot for Remitly is when you need to money to arrive very quickly (hours instead of days) and want options like paying easily and cash pickup.

See How Remitly Works (and when it doesn’t) for alternatives.

For cash pickup, they have partnered up with delivery and distribution providers in many countries (banks, cash pick up stores, or delivery services) so that your friends and family can choose a number of ways to receive the funds.

With Remitly, you can transfer money from these 16 countries: UK, US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Sweden to over 50 countries worldwide.

Make sure your countries are covered here.

The 6 Things You Need to Know

Jump Links

  1. Rates, Fees and (Hidden) Costs?
  2. What the Reviews Really Say
  3. How Remitly Works (and when it doesn’t)
  4. How to Sign Up
  5. Speed
  6. Safety and Security

Bottom Line

Top tips can be found at the bottom of each section in red!

1. Rates, Fees and (Hidden) Costs

Currency transfer companies earn money in two ways – either through transfer fees or by including a margin on the exchange rate.

Remitly does the same.

1.1 Transfer Fee

Remitly’s fees vary depending on the country you’re sending from, service you’re using, and the target currency.

They generally charge a flat fee (like $2.99 or $3.99) for a transfer.

Sometimes it is even, “Zero Fees!”

You can see what you will pay (desktop) or get the App for mobile – iOS or Android.

But that is not the whole story.

1.2 Exchange Rate Margin

Most people are unaware that this is usually the biggest cost.

Fortunately the exchange rates Remity offer are shown right on the website (or in the App – see links above) when you select the currencies you want to transfer.

They offer two plans for sending money – Express and Economy.

To calculate the Margin Fee, open Remitly, then open XE to get the interbank rate. Take the Remitly number and minus it from the XE rate. You will get a number like 0.04. Multiply this number by the amount to get the margin fees you will pay in the margin.

You will notice express transactions are super fast (recipients can get money within banking 4 hours) but the margin is higher than their Economy plan.

1.3 Total Fees

To calculate the Total fees, simply add the Transfer Fee + Margin Fee.

For smaller amounts, the total fees will be about $10-20 which is much less than a bank and pretty competitive with their competitors especially when you consider cash pickup and their guarantee which is pretty attractive.

They say, “It makes a lot of sense to have a guarantee that if your transfer doesn’t arrive on-time, we should have your back. That’s why Remitly has a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back.”

1.4 Other Fees

  • If you’re opting for Express transactions, you can fund your transfer with your credit card. But this will cost you an extra 3% of the transfer amount.
  • Bank fees: If you’re funding your transfer from your bank account and sending money to a bank account, the banks at either end can charge a small fee.

Top tip 1: Keep amounts smaller to get competitive total fees.

2. What the Reviews Really Say

Remitly scores 4.7/5 on Trustpilot with over 20000 reviews.

Remitly users love the fast service, inexpensive rates, and the transparent tracking feature.

Overall, 86% of their users had an “Excellent” experience and 6% had a “Good” experience.

But that’s not the whole picture. That’s why we’re digging into the top issues of the 5% who had a “Bad” experience with the money transfer service.

Before you get too caught up in what can go wrong, or worse reading 100s of reviews yourself (we have done that) know that 4.7/5 is truely excellent.

2.1 Top issues

A) Account locks

Some users were locked out of their accounts after initiating a transfer, which can be concerning.

But in most cases, this can be easily solved by logging out and resetting your password and the two-factor authentication code.

Other reasons include

  • Remitly needs to verify whether your age (you must be 18 or older to use Remitly) and location (you must sign up from and send money to areas Remitly services).
  • You have another active account with them
  • You have initiated a transaction not supported by Remitly. Remitly only lets you send money to friends and family in your home country or other supported areas. So if you’re making a charity donation or trying to pay for business transactions, your transfer may be flagged.
  • You tried to send money on behalf of someone else

B) Transfer under review by partner

Remitly partners with banks and other financial services (like physical cash pick up) who also need to regularly review that your transactions are in line with international regulations.

This is quite common and is generally resolved quickly. Plus, Remitly sends you a notification (via email or text message) so you’re in the know.

C) Additional details and documents

While this can be annoying if you’ve already spent some time registering and getting your account verified, it helps to know who exactly Remitly serves so you can avoid more disappointment in future.

Remitly can ask you for additional documents or your relation to the recipient to make sure your transfer is in line with their service policy (that is, only personal transactions).

D) Transfer on hold

Some users’ transfers were put on hold and this can be pretty disheartening when folks back home are relying on your funds to come through.

Remitly usually puts transfers on hold when

  • They need to verify your identity (make sure you complete this after the sign up)
  • You request a sending limit increase and try to send an amount higher than your current tier before this request is approved by Remitly (Remitly has daily and monthly limits, which can be reviewed under your account settings. You can also request to increase your limit by getting in touch with their customer service).

E) Customer service

Remitly offers both phone and email support. But a few users complained that customer service team members responded with generic messages to their concerns.

As an online-only service, Remitly keeps costs low with a remote customer service team. However given the challenge of keep costs low and still looking after you, they do quite well.

Top tip 2: Remitly’s has some pretty well defined service policies which by simply reading above (A,B,C,D and E) you will now probably avoid most issues. 🙂  

3. How Remitly Works (and when it doesn’t)

While fees and real-customer experience are primary decision-making factors for choosing a reliable money transfer service, other aspects come into play too.

These help you confidently decide whether Remitly is right for your specific needs or if you need to go with another service.

3.1 When it works?

Remitly only allows personal transfers. That is, if you’re located in a sender country you can send money to a family member to cover the cost of utility bills, household expenses, medical expenses, or travel expenses.

If that is you, then Remitly’s servise offering can be particularly attractive.

The areas they really shine:

  • Cash Pickup
  • Express Service
  • On Time Guarantee – or they refund your transfer fee (not the margin)

Currently, Remitly supports 16 sender countries and over 50 recipient countries. Check the full list here.

So if you’ve recently moved to a developed country for work and want to support your family in your home country Remitly could be a great option. (see Fees above).

Also see alternatives in a moment.

3.2 When it doesn’t work

Remitly may not be right for you if;

  • You want to transfer funds between supported sender countries. In other words, you cannot send money between the following countries UK, US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Sweden.
  • You want to cover business expenses, such as pay an overseas employee or for inventory.
  • You want to send monetary gifts or donate to charities.
  • You want to pay for activities and items such as gambling, firearms, or controlled substances.
  • You’re directly transferring USD, GBP, AUD, etc. instead of converting it into a local currency.
  • You want to make international transfers lower than USD 100 or equivalent.

3.3 Best Alternatives to Consider

Don’t get us wrong, we think Remitly is a fine option, but in some circumstances others stand out.

If bank to bank transfers are acceptable for you with there lower speed (2-5 days) and limited ways to fund the transaction – TransferWise (review) is almost certainly a cheaper option and they are pretty great too.

If you need a similar service to Remitly – WorldRemit (review) is their strongest competitor offering similar services but in our testing slightly better fees especially on the exchange rate margin. Note: This varies from country to country and also in the amounts.

4. How to Sign Up and Send Money

Follow these steps below to sign up and start sending money.

  • Go to the Remitly website or download their app (both iOS and Android apps available) – When you click those links look for New Customer Offers as these can be quite generous.
  • Enter your email and a password for your account
  • Verify your identity before your initiate a transfer to avoid hold ups
  • Make sure you have the sender country and target currency pair right
  • Choose a plan (Express or Economy)
  • Fund your transfer
  • Enter (and double check) your recipient details (they don’t need a Remitly account to receive money)
  • Hit send

Sending money home with Remitly is fast and easy. You only need to set up your transfer and Remitly will do the rest. They even let your recipient know when the money hits their bank account or if it’s ready to be picked up from a cash-pickup location.

Top tip 3: When you go to the website or download the Apps you will often find a “New Customer Offer” which are usually quite generous.

5. Speed

Transfer speed depends on a number of things: the plan you choose (Economy or Express), how you fund your transfer, and the target currency.

If you need to send money urgently, choose their Express service, which makes sure the money is in the hands of the recipient “within minutes when using a debit card”.

If your transfer can wait, opt for their Economy plan, which gives you better exchange rates and helps you save on transfer fees. Money sent via the Economy plan usually arrives within 3-5 business days.

Remitly also sends you and your recipient transfer updates which does add a lot of peace of mind.

Remitly also notifies you if your transfer is on hold, under review by their partner in the recipient country, or if you’ve made any changes to your recipient’s details.

6. Safety and Security

They have over 1 million users who make collective transactions of over $6 billion every year.

Remitly is a licensed financial services provider in the 16 sender countries and over 50 receiver countries. In the US, they’re regulated by the US and authorized “to transmit money in all U.S. states and Washington, D.C”,  Canada. They’re also regulated in the UK, Ireland and Australia.

Other than that, Remitly also has a 100% satisfaction guaranteed clause. This means if you’ll receive a full refund if you cancel a transaction. And, if you’re dissatisfied with their service (but your money was received), they’ll refund the “transfer fee” (but not the margin).

Remitly also verifies all transfers to prevent fraud, protects your data with 256-bit SSL encryption and two-factor authentication.

They also claim to use state-of-the-art manual and automated verification techniques to flag suspicious account activities.

Bottom line

Remitly is a great money transfer service if you work abroad (in a developed country) and want to send money back home to support your folks back home.

They’re available in 16 sender countries (UK, US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Sweden) and support transfers to over 50 countries worldwide.

But if you want to pay for business expenses, send larger amounts or are happy to do slower bank to bank transfers, they may not be the right choice for you (see above).

Happy transfers!

Bunq Review

7 Must Knows – Before Bank with Bunq

In a just a few minutes you’ll get to know whether Bunq is the right card and app for your needs.Review of Bunq

This is not just another “Bunq is awesome” type review. I am going to show you where Bunq works and where it does not.

Uncovered! 🙂

As usual in our reviews, I will uncover the good, the bad and ugly.

First, here is a quick roundup of pros and cons.

Pros

  • Three simple options – personal accounts, joint accounts and business accounts
  • Excellent user experience online and in the app
  • Sustainability at their core: plants trees and even have a “Green Card”
  • MasterCard debit and Maestro debit cards standard
  • Issues optional credit cards (with no debt attached)
  • Good chance they will stick around (have expanded organically – not through massive funding)

Cons

  • All accounts are subscription only (no free limited option)
  • Some additional fees applicable (see fees)
  • Receiving payments from a non-SEPA bank attracts charges
  • Customer service issues (see reviews)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here

Jump Links

  1. Is Bunq Right for You? 3 Accounts, 2 (Optional) Cards
  2. Customer Reviews
  3. How to Sign up?
  4. Is Bunq Really Fun and Easy? (like they claim)
  5. Bunq Fees (exposed)
  6. How safe is Bunq?
  7. Bottomline

Bunq promises to make banking fun and easy.

But do they?

One thing for sure, Bunq is focused on what people need in an online bank with a travel card rather than having everything.

They limit options, ditch the gimmicks and do make it easy.

Starting with just offering personal accounts, joint accounts and business accounts, they focus on your experience.

Easy – Check.

Fun?

First, let’s see if Bunq is right for you?

1. Is Bunq Right For You?

Bunq’s offers the choice of three different accounts which makes it pretty simple to figure out the best option for you. They start with a personal account, joint account or business account.

Start here to see the latest offerings (opens a new tab)

Instantly you will know which one to choose.

Simply check out the cards and accounts that apply to you and read on.

In each account option, Bunq does away with a restricted free option and instead offers a 1 month free trail. Each account then attracts a month subscription fee, but all options automatically come bundled with all the main features you would expect from a premium card with high limits on free international ATM withdrawals and inexpensive currency exchange.

This is good news so far. There is however one thing that really sets them apart.

The cards they offer on all accounts standard include a Maestro and a Debit Mastercard which is a step up on their competitors when it comes to international travel and being able access your funds.

In addition, an optional “travel card” enables you to do more than the Mastercard debit card can do because it is technically a credit card without debt. This means making bookings on hotels and car rentals which often require a “real” credit card is made possible. This makes Bunq a clear leader in travel cards.

They also offer a premium “green” debit card (which as actually made of metal) which aims to plant trees through their partnership with Eden Projects for €100/yr.

But that is not the whole story.

When we looked deeply into the reviews they were receiving on Trustpilot, especially the negative ones we found a few things you should know about (below) to help you make a decision.

Quick Facts

In 2020 Bunq is in all EU countries making them available in the following 30 countries:

Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, the UK, Norway, Iceland, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.

Bunq is a Netherlands-based challenger bank with a European banking licence from the Dutch Central Bank.

1.1 Bunq Personal Premium Account

Currently, Bunq doesn’t offer a forever free account and the Personal Premium account will cost you €7.99/month (€95.88 annually).

With the Personal Premium plan you get

  • 25 sub accounts
  • 2 cards (a MasterCard, a Maestro card, and a travel debit card)
  • 5 virtual debit cards
  • 10 free ATM withdrawals per month
  • 1 card replacement per year (travel and debit cards)
  • €100 deposit per month

Features

  • Initiate instant payments
  • Decide where Bunq invests your funds (Green companies are preferred)
  • Get paid easily with a Bunq link
  • Make international transfers
  • Have full control over your money with advanced budgeting features and easy bill splitting capabilities
  • Round up transactions to the nearest euro and save the change in a savings pool
  • Block or enable your card from the app
  • Link one card to two sub accounts (separate pins for each account)
  • Share your sub account with friends or family
  • Contactless payments with Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Voice controlled banking on Apple Watch
  • Shop safely with disposable virtual cards
  • Earn interest on all your sub accounts and get interest payouts every month (no minimum amount to earn interest; interest payout for balances up to €10,000)

1.2 Bunq Joint Account

Bunq Joint accounts cost €9.99/month (€119.88 per year) and come with all the features of the Personal Premium account plus

  • 4 cards (debit and travel cards)
  • Shared and private subaccounts

You can sign up for a Bunq joint account without visiting a branch with your partner.

We get that some of you maybe looking for a free plan to dip your toes into digital banking.

1.3 Bunq Business Account

The bunq Business Account is one of the best digital bank accounts for new-age businesses. It costs €9.99/month (€119.88 per year) and integrates with a bunch of key business apps.

With the Bunq Business Account you get

  • 25 sub accounts
  • 2 cards (a MasterCard, a Maestro card, and a travel debit card)
  • 5 virtual debit cards
  • 10 free ATM withdrawals per month
  • 1 card replacement per year (travel and debit card)
  • €100 deposit per month

Features

  • Auto VAT calculation
  • Receipt scanning, tagging, and archiving
  • Integration with bookkeeping apps
  • Instant payments
  • Bulk payments
  • Add or revoke employee/company director access to sub accounts from the app and without any paperwork
  • Overview of your finances with micro-view of your sub accounts (each sub account comes with its own IBAN)
  • Voice controlled banking on Apple Watch

If you’re in the US, Australia, or Canada and looking for a digital banking account for your business, check out TransferWise Borderless.

1.4 Bunq Travel Card

The Bunq Travel Card (powered by MasterCard) is one of the few travel credit cards issued by a neo bank. It’s included with your Bunq account at no extra cost and lets you pay for goods and services while travelling (MasterCard exchange rate applicable for foreign transactions).

Heads up: Bunq does check whether you have sufficient funds in your account to cover the payment before you make a transaction (they don’t offer a credit line). This means you don’t have to worry about paying off a hefty debt once you’re back from vacation.

You can also apply for the Bunq travel card as a standalone travel money card.

1.5 Bunq Green Card

While the Bunq travel card is bundled with the bank accounts at no extra cost, the Bunq Green card is a different ball game.

It’s a sleek stainless-steel card launched in line with Bunq’s sustainability initiatives and can be linked with your existing bank account. Yep, you don’t need to switch to Bunq if you’re opting for the Green card.

It costs a pretty penny (€99/year), but hold on to that guilt storm. Bunq plants a tree on your behalf every time you spend €100 on the card.

2. Customer Reviews

2.1 When it works

Over a million European residents trust Bunq with their money every day.

Bunq is a hit with regular folks and business owners.

a. Regular folks who want a premium digital banking account

Although Bunq only has paid plans, they offer a lot of premium features and flexibility. So many European residents are happy to pay the €7.99 monthly fee for 25 sub accounts, multiple debit cards (MasterCard and Maestro), a travel card at no extra cost, and an incredibly smooth app experience.

Here’s a real user review from Trustpilot

“Bunq is the best online out there by far, the app has an amazing user interface that makes the other online banks look simple and rudimentary.”

Plus, their partnership with TransferWise (review) makes international fund transfers easy and cheap. What’s not to love?

b. Small business owners

Bunq offers one of the most powerful digital bank accounts for businesses. From receipt tracking and VAT calculation to bulk payments and simplified employee access, Bunq has everything covered.

Essentially, you don’t have to jump through hoops and drown in paperwork to get a robust business bank account that works with you instead of against you.

But there’s more to this.

Bunq is rated 3.3/5 on TrustPilot with over 9000 reviews, which is considered “Average.”

So what went wrong?

Let’s find out.

2.2 When it doesn’t

After digging deep through hundreds of user reviews, we’ve uncovered the top issues users faced with Bunq.

We also try to offer so perspective.

a. Unexpected account locks

Some users complained that Bunq barred access to their accounts after receiving a big payment.

Like most regulated financial institutions Bunq also has a process of vetting transactions to curb money laundering, theft, and other illegal activities. So if a transaction is flagged, you may have to wait while Bunq finishes the investigation.

We know this can be extremely annoying, especially if you were relying on the credited amount to make some urgent payments.

b. Fees

Many users were put off by Bunq’s fees.

The main difference here is that they simply do not offer a free option which most their competitors do.

Compared to their competitors, Bunq offers a lot in the plans, but if you simply want a free travel card and app that you use on occasions check out our travel card section.

c. Customer Service

Some users were also miffed with their hard-to-reach customer service.

This is concern with most all challenger banks like Bunq as they tend to cut costs with remote teams and chatbots.

d. The travel credit card

The card functions more like a prepaid travel money card or a debit card (Bunq doesn’t offer credit lines and only lets you make a transaction if you have enough money in your account).

Basically, it can be frustrating if you run out of cash while travelling and need a little extra something.

On the upside, this makes sure you travel within your means and don’t end up being saddled with debt.

e. Account verification delays

Some folks also faced account verification delays because Bunq wasn’t able to verify the information on the documents uploaded.

A quick fix seems to be simply to make sure you upload a clear photo of your ID and address proof before submitting them for verification.

3. How to sign up

Signing up for Bunq is typically quick and easy.

  • If you’re above 18 years old, you can register on their website. You’ll simply need an address proof and your national ID.
  • Minors can also bank with Bunq as long as their registration request is approved by a parent or legal representative (who also need to have a Bunq account).

After your account is verified, you can top up your account with a bank transfer, credit card, debit card, iDeaL (Netherlands), or Sofort. Cash top ups are only supported in Germany, Austria, and Italy.

Your debit cards are shipped to you at no extra cost, but you’ll need to pay a shipping fee of €9.99 for the Bunq travel card.

4. Is Bunq Really Fun and Easy?

Bunq focuses on sustainability, simplicity and practicality when it comes to their app and what is offered within the service. This does indeed amount to being fun, easy and practical too.

Here are some highlights:

  • Bunq-to-bunq payments are instant. And since Bunq is a part of the SEPA network, it enables fast payments to non-Bunq users too (within 24 hours, throughout the year).
  • You can make payment requests to the aliases of other Bunq users as well as e-mail addresses and phone numbers of non-Bunq users. Receiving payments in Euros is free.
  • They’ve partnered with TransferWise (review) for easy and low-cost international payments.
  • 25 sub accounts, 3 spending cards, 5 virtual cards, and contactless payments offer a lot flexibility
  • Free ATM withdrawals as long as you don’t go over the limit (10 per month)
  • Contactless payments with Google Pay and Apple Pay
  • Advanced budgeting features and instant payment notifications
  • Rounds up spending and puts away the change to build your savings
  • Easy bill splitting features
  • Set up direct deposits for your salary
  • Pay bills easily with direct debits
  • Savings interest pay-outs are monthly instead of yearly
  • Business account simplifies bulk payouts, taxes, and invoice management. Approved employees can also access sub accounts. API integrations makes this a powerful digital business account.

5. Bunq Fees (exposed)

Apart from their monthly subscription, bunq charges a few other fees that varies across plans. But the good news is their fee structure is pretty pretty transparent, but here we make it even easier.

Here’s what you need to know.

Subscription fees

  • The Personal Premium account costs €7.99/month
  • The Joint account costs €9.99/month
  • The Business account also costs €9.99/month

Card fees

  • Debit cards and the Travel credit card cost €9.00 per card per year
  • The Green card costs €99.00 per year
  • Card payment in euros is free
  • Cash withdrawals with the debit card in a foreign currency costs €0.99 per withdrawal
  • Cash withdrawals with a credit card in euros or foreign currency costs €0.99 per withdrawal
  • Foreign payments are made at the MasterCard exchange rate

Fees for sending and receiving money

  • Sending and receiving money in euro in the SEPA network is free for Premium and Joint users. Business account users need to pay an extra €0.10 per transaction.
  • Premium and Joint account users pay TransferWise rates for international fund transfers. Business account users pay €0.10 extra for these transactions as well.
  • Receiving money from banks outside the SEPA network will cost between €5 and €20, depending on the amount.

Additional fees

  • Deposits after the initial limit of €100 are charged at 1.5% of the deposit amount
  • Additional sub accounts and cards will also attract charges
  • Bunq also charges a “safe keeping” fee to accounts with a high balance to cover their costs of holding customer money safely at the European Central Bank (ECB charges Bunq interest for your funds).

6. How Safe is Bunq?

Bunq is a fully licensed European bank and your funds are protected by the Dutch Deposit Guarantee (up to €100,000 for all accounts combined).

Bunq also employs advanced security measures such as two-factor authentication to keep your money and personal information safe. Plus, they recommend keeping a close eye on your account activities and reporting any anomalies to Bunq immediately.

7. Bottomline

While Bunq charges subscription fees for their accounts, the fees are quite reasonable and they do hold up their promise of a being fun and easy. They also have great account security, instant SEPA transfers, low cost international transfers, as well as immense flexibility with sub accounts and card options.

We think they are certainly one of the best digital business bank accounts in Europe. Not to mention, the app user experience leaves their competitors in the dust.

They also have not taken on heaps of funding which means the chances of them disappearing (like N26 from the UK) are substantially less.

However, as we uncovered in our reviews, like all challenger banks we do recommend having a back up plan if your account is frozen due to regulations.

CurrencyFair Review

7 Things You Should Know Before Sign Up

In 5 minutes or less I am going to show you 7 things to consider to see if CurrencyFair is the best choice for your needs.

Review of CurrencyFairThis is not just another “CurrencyFair is awesome” type review, I am going to show you where CurrencyFair may not be the best option and even who else to consider.

Uncovered! 🙂

Like all our reviews, I will uncover the good, the bad and even the ugly, so that you can make the best call.

First, here is a quick roundup of pros and cons.

Pros

  • Inexpensive options available for both individuals & businesses
  • Great control over each step (if desired)
  • Two low-cost options to exchange & send money: match FX rates with peers or send money with CurrencyFair’s best rates (matches the mid-market rate)

Cons

Full Disclosure: While we aim to show you the good and the bad in each review so you can make the best choice, there are links contained in this page which are affiliate links (and while not costing you anything) could earn us a commission. We often also get the opportunity to provide you with exclusive discounts (see below) and offers as part of using the link. If you use these links thank you for supporting our mission to making money transfers simple (and better for all 🙂)!

CurrencyFair offers huge savings on transfers compared to banks, and a much better way to transfer you money.

They are also leaders in when it comes to putting the control of your money in your hands.

Not only that!

You can also get your first 10 transfers fee free (opens a new tab).

Compared to its competitors it is very inexpensive and leading online service with lots of control for people with a service that seems geared to smaller amounts below about $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD/SGD.

For most individuals and businesses CurrencyFair works very well, however for larger amounts or in smaller countries, costs may rise as they need to step in to complete the transaction and the need for more documentation (for regulatory reasons) becomes likely. See “When Things Go Wrong and Trustworthy Reviews? (below)” for more.

They also require that you have funds available in your CurrencyFair account in order to secure rates and if you simply prefer to speak to a customer service person throughout the process, other options may suit you better.

Jump Links

  1. How it Works (pretty awesome)
  2. How to Sign Up
  3. When CurrencyFair Works (and when it doesn’t)
  4. Rates, Fees, Cost and Additional Fees?
  5. When Things Go Wrong (inc. negative reviews)
  6. Speed
  7. Safety and Security

Bottom Line – (Are they right for you?)

See what you will get.

1. How it Works

CurrencyFair is rather unique through its P2P (Wikipedia) platform and offers huge savings on international transfers compared to banks and compare very well with other similar services.

It is quite simple.

With CurrencyFair, you can choose your own exchange rate in their peer-to-peer marketplace as long as another user (transferring in the other direction) matches or accepts your rate.

If you don’t want to wait for another user, you can initiate a transfer anyway and CurrencyFair will ensure you get the best available rate. This rate usually matches the interbank or mid-market exchange rate (Wikipedia) and they say it can be up to 8x cheaper than regular bank rates (which in our experience is true).

But unlike most other providers, they require that you have funds available in your CurrencyFair account in order to exchange and transfer funds.

You can also set daily or weekly alerts so you can move money at the best possible rate.

Currently, CurrencyFair is available in 150 countries and supports 18 currencies for international exchange and transfers.

CurrencyFair also offers business accounts that make it easy to pay overseas contractors and receive international payments.

2. How to Sign Up

1.1 Get 3 Transfers Free

Sign up using this link you get your First 10 Transfers Fee Free (opens a new tab).

1.2 Identity Verification

CurrencyFair at this point requires more information to meet regulatory requirements. You often need to upload some photo identification and/or proof of your address (typically a national ID and proof of address; check list of supported documents here). However, this information can sometimes be verified automatically if CurrencyFair has approved Electronic Verification from your country of residence.

This part of the process is pretty easy if you keep the required documents handy and share a clear photo with them (make sure no information is covered or obstructed).

An email confirms this process is complete, which can be almost immediate or up to 24hrs.

If CurrencyFair is unable to verify your id with the uploaded documents, they’ll send you an email and ask for additional documents.

This is standard required practice for all money transfer services but some are better than others and the systems CurrencyFair provides is generally very smooth and fast.

1.3 The Transfer

Now you have two main options.

  1. Send Money
  2. Top Up

a. Send Money

Click “Send Money” if you want to send money as quickly as possible. This option moves your money from bank account to your CurrencyFair account. Once CurrencyFair receives it, they automatically exchange and transfer the money out.

Heads up: the exchange rate may change between the time you initiate a transfer from your bank account to when the money actually gets deposited into your CurrencyFair account. Also check out Speed (below).

b. Top Up

With the Top Up option you can hold money in your CurrencyFair account till you’re ready to exchange it.

CurrencyFair usually prefers online bank transactions to “Send Money” and “Top up” your account. But this could vary according to the currency and the exchange amount.

They also offer Express Deposits with Visa or MasterCard debit cards in some countries.

1.4 What does a transaction actually look like?

Three pretty simple steps.

How CurrencyFair Works

1.5 Track progress

CurrencyFair sends you an email when money from your bank account is available in your CurrencyFair account. You can also set up SMS alerts, browser notifications and mobile push notifications to stay in the know.

3. When CurrencyFair Works (and when it doesn’t)

3.1 When it works

Basically CurrencyFair’s big advantage is that they transfer your money without actually transferring any money at all.

CurrencyFair is a peer to peer (P2P) service. What this means is that they match people who want to transfer one currency into another, with people who want to do the opposite swap (as much as possible anyway).

This results in very inexpensive transfers for major currencies.

3.2 When it doesn’t

  • If you’re transferring larger amounts (above $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD/SGD), CurrencyFair may ask for additional documents for regulatory compliance. Others like OFX (review) are recommended not just because they get this documentation out of the way right from the start but they also have customer service people in many of the major countries which can be extremely helpful because each bank in each country has their own rules and limits and they can ensure things run smoothly.
  • If you want to time the market to get a desirable exchange rate, CurrencyFair requires that have your funds ready to go in your CurrencyFair account. For some this means CurrencyFair might not be the best option.
  • CurrencyFair also doesn’t seem to be a great choice for digital nomads. You may be denied transfer services if you’re travelling (long term) to a country where CurrencyFair registration is not supported (even if you have created your account from a supported country and initiating transfer to a supported currency).

4. Rates, Fees, Cost and Additional Fees?

4.1 Rates

Most other money transfer companies base their exchange rates they offer around the mid-market or interbank rate, which is the best rate possible. CurrencyFair has created a market for people all around the world to choose the rates they can get and swap with each other.

This rate offered in theory will always be extremely competitive and close to the mid-market or interbank rate. CurrencyFair also steps in to make transactions happen at a competitive rate if required.

4.2 Fees and Cost

  • CurrencyFair doesn’t charge you anything for transferring money from your bank account to CurrencyFair. But fees are applicable if you opt for Express Debit.
  • If you’re opting for peer-to-peer transfer via the marketplace, CurrencyFair charges 0.25% – 0.3% of the total amount exchanged when other customers match yours.
  • However, if you’re not willing to wait and are looking to make a transfer now with CurrencyFair’s best available rate, they make this transfer happen with their funds and charges 0.4% to 0.6%, which is still way lower than a bank rate or international wire transfers.

In both cases, the rate you see includes a transfer fee which is the currency equivalent of €3 ($4).

You can also save the transfer fee if you use the link we negotiated for you at the bottom of this page.

4.3 Additional Fees

Another potential cost that CurrencyFair customers should be aware of is bank charges in locations where CurrencyFair doesn’t have a local bank account (the banks charge a fee at both ends). This can be a significant percentage if you are transferring smaller amounts below a few thousand.

In recent years CurrencyFair has dramatically improved and now covers most major countries.

For example for the USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, HKD, SGD, CZK, CHF, DKK, SEK and NOK they have local bank accounts into and out of your CurrencyFair account. 👍

Notable exceptions are CAD and NZD, which are fine if you are just sending money (they have local bank accounts) but you will likely attract an additional fee if you are receiving funds into Canada and New Zealand.

5. When Things Go Wrong and Trustworthy Reviews?

There seems to be truck loads of positive reviews for pretty much every money transfer company including CurrencyFair (I mean this is probably not surprising, when the competition is banks).

However, CurrencyFair is rated 4.7/5 with over 3,800 reviews on TrustPilot, which is considered “excellent.” and is one of the highest in the industry.

CurrencyFair users are raving about the efficient and fast transfer service, great exchange rates, and the transparent fee structure.

However, there’s loads to uncover from the negative reviews too because they show where any pain point might be experienced and we have found that they can be really useful when deciding if a service is right for you.

CurrencyFair is no different.

So, after trawling through 100s of reviews (both positive and negative), we’ve listed the top 3 issues people faced:

5.1 Unable to track funds/contact customer service

Some users experienced unexpected delays with their fund transfers, which prompted them to reach out to CurrencyFair via the chatbot on the website.

Unfortunately, their chatbot can seem unhelpful on occasion and their contact information is hard to locate. CurrencyFair seems to prefer resolving customer issues via email rather than on the phone – which no doubt helps to keep costs low.

Essentially, many people felt stranded without being able to track their money and reach customer service. Some people were worried CurrencyFair was a scam, which shows how concerned some people were.

While CurrencyFair’s response time on email is fairly quick (about 2 hours), for some people instant telephone support is going to be a must even if the costs are slightly higher.

5.2 Some transactions were flagged

Some users were left frustrated when their transactions were flagged as “suspicious” and were asked to submit additional documents.

While this can be annoying, as a regulated financial institution, CurrencyFair is required to conduct regular checks to curb illegal activities.

The transfers that were flagged were usually of larger amounts.

This is major reason we recommend using alternate money transfer companies if you’re transferring more than $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD/SGD.

The companies we recommend for larger amounts tend to avoid regulatory issues by getting extra checks out of the way from the outset.

5.3 Refusing service to registered users while travelling

CurrencyFair can refuse to transfer your funds if you initiate transfer with your registered account in while travelling to an unsupported country for a long time (more than 3 months).

However, chances of this happening are pretty low since CurrencyFair is available in more than 150 countries.

But if you don’t want to take a chance, we suggest taking a look at a TransferWise borderless account (review).

6. Speed

Transfer speed mainly depends on the location and currency.

The transfer speed is also a sum of these three parts:

  • Time to Reach CurrencyFair Account (1-2 business days with Faster Payments or CHAPS in the UK)
  • Processing Time and Matching (can vary)
  • Time to Reach Beneficiary Account (1-2 business day)

You can see an estimate for all supported currencies here!

Essentially, a lot depends on the banks at either end. And, if you have additional requirements like using the “Choose your own rate” service – this can make the peer-to-peer transaction slower.

Generally though the Processing Time and Matching activity is a small part of the process which could be as quick as one day if you have the funds available and are working with common currencies.

Typically 1-6 working days in total.

More specifically, here are the main currency channels with number of business days expected following:

EUR CAD 3-4, AUD CAD 3-4, EUR AUD 3-4, AED CAD 6-7, AED USD 5-9, AUD AED 2-3, AUD EUR 2-4, AUD INR 1-3, CHF EUR 2-5, DKK USD 2-6, EUR AED 2-3, EUR CZK 1-3, EUR GBP 1-3, GBP AUD 1-3, GBP DKK 1-2, GBP EUR 1-2, GBP USD 1-5, SEK USD 2-6, USD DKK 1-3, AED AUD 5-7, AUD NZD 3-4, AUD HKD 2-3, USD EUR 2-4

7. Safety and Security

As a regulated financial institution (regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland under the European Communities (Payments Services) Regulations 2009 and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission), CurrencyFair makes sure your hard earned money and personal information are safe – so far as we can tell.

For example, as part of being regulated they ring fence your funds in segregated accounts. This means CurrencyFair can’t touch your money or invest it and that you should get it all back in case they shut shop.

They also depend on industry-leading safety and security protocols such as two-factor authentication and 256 bit encryption via SSL from VeriSign on their website.

Bottom Line 

CurrencyFair is a leader in the world of money transfers – they have done a great job of empowering individuals and small business owners while cutting costs.

They do this by removing the currency risk from waiting for funds to arrive in its accounts it focuses on putting you in control and saving you money through its P2P network.

We also love that you can get your first 10 transfers free which makes trying them a no brainer.

However if you plan on transferring relatively large amounts or value phone support especially during the transfer process we will recommend others.

Also for smaller countries and currencies, if you find that you are getting charged fees from your bank accounts at either end, then we suggest trying TransferWise (review) who might charge larger fees but have an extensive local bank network worldwide which makes them cheaper.

Happy Transfers!

Skrill Review

8 Things You Need to Know Before Sign Up

Selecting a reliable multi-currency account, online money transfer service, prepaid debit card or payment gateway can be pretty rewarding but challenging with so many providers vying for your attention.

Review of SkrillIn minutes, we will help you make up your mind.

Skrill is unique in the way it does so much.

On the other, Skrill has some great competition in all the areas it operates and we want you to know about these.

Where Skrill might be your best option is if you need it for a number of services.

To help make your choice we analyse real user opinions not just our own (including negative reviews – see below) to answer whether Skrill is a good fit for YOU (and when it isn’t).

Full Disclosure: While we aim to show you the good and the bad in every review so you can make the best choice, there are links contained in this page which are affiliate links (and while not costing you anything) do earn us a commission if you click on them and decide to use the service. In many cases we also get the opportunity to provide you with discounts and offers as part of using the link. Cheers and Thank You!

Dive in to uncover the good, the bad, and even the ugly about Skrill.

Pros

  • Wide availability in 200 countries
  • Both Personal and Business options available
  • Ability to work with forex and online gambling accounts
  • No fixed transfer fee when you send money directly to a bank account
  • Send money easily to an email address or phone number linked to a bank account
  • Buy and sell crypto currency
  • Offers a prepaid card powered by MasterCard
  • User-friendly mobile app

Cons

  • Getting fully operational can be tedious
  • Complex fee structure
  • High currency exchange fees for “Skrill to Skrill” international transfers

The Low Down

Skrill (opens a new tab so you can see what we are talking about) was launched way back in 2001 with an aim to simplify online payments (that is, Skrill to Skrill money transfers).

But over time, Skrill has evolved to offer a wide range of services, including payment gateways (used for e-commerce), bank account withdrawals, international money transfers as well as cryptocurrency trading.

Many of Skrill users are forex traders and online gambling customers simply because they are a FCA regulated way to hold funds while other services shy away. They have a multitude of ways to fund your account and can be very fast at transacting which can be very important.

Skrill is also goes head to head with PayPal as a payment gateway used by over 120,000 online merchants globally.

For individuals, Skrill also offers a prepaid MasterCard linked to your account so you can easily spend the funds in your e-wallet for online purchases, while traveling abroad (wherever MasterCard is accepted) and contactless payments (within EEA country-specific limits). However, this card is only available to authorized European Economic Area (EEA) countries.

Here’s everything you need to know about Skrill.

Jump Links

  1. When Skrill Works?
  2. When it Doesn’t Work
  3. How Does Skrill Work?
  4. How Much Does Skrill Cost?
  5. How Fast is Skrill?
  6. REAL Customer Reviews (including negative ones)
  7. Is Your Money Safe?
  8. Verdict – Is Skrill Right For You?

1. When Skrill Works

As a one stop shop for fast money transfers, multi currency account, crypto investing and possibly a prepaid Mastercard (Eurozone only) – Skrill may be a good solution to cover many needs.

Skrill also works hard to make things easy and has a user friendly online platform which supports 40 fiat currencies in over 200 countries.

Generally speaking, you can rely on Skrill in the following cases:

Sending money to friends and family: You can easily and quickly transfer funds to your friends and family with Skrill even using a credit or debit card. In terms of convenience and user experience for smaller amounts the experience works well.

But there are some fees you need to know about which we will address in a moment.

Prepaid debit Mastercard (for most Eurozone countries)

For many a prepaid debit Mastercard is a valuable addition but it is relatively expensive compared to their competition charging an annual fee of €10, ATM usage fees of 1.75% and foreign exchange of 3.99%.

Freelancers and solopreneurs: Freelancers and solopreneurs can also opt for Skrill to request and receive payments. Some freelance marketplaces (like Freelancer.com) also support Skrill.

For those on their own like PayPal, you can provide your email address associated with your Skrill account to receive funds. For many this might be suitable, for others having a multi-currency account with local bank account details and invoicing functionality may be preferable.

If you are looking to get paid or pay others internationally you might also like: Top 5 Alternatives to Payoneer

SMBs: Business owners can use Skrill to create payment gateways and make mass payments.

Online sellers: E-commerce merchants can integrate Skrill to offer customers a variety of payment methods (including over 100 local payment methods, 170 direct bank transfer connections as well as an e-wallet option)

Forex trading: The Skrill account is ideal when you need to move money fast across Forex platforms worldwide.

Travelling abroad and spending online: You can use a Skrill MasterCard prepaid card to withdraw cash from ATMs overseas as well as pay for products and services while travelling (accepted wherever MasterCard is supported). Want to spend at an online store? You can do that too.

2. When It Doesn’t Work

Skrill can be a good choice for you if you want to do a number of things with one service, but if you just need a pre-paid debit card for travel or want to make money transfers, then from a cost point you could do better.

For example, here are some of the main fees;

  • Depositing Funds (Usually free if you use a bank wire transfer)
  • Withdraw Funds – Usually 4.65 GBP (EUR 5.50) or 7.5% for a withdrawal to Visa
  • Transfer domestically is up to 2%
  • Transfer internationally is fixed fee free, unless there is currency conversion
  • For transactions involving currency conversion Skrill adds a fee of 3.99% to their wholesale exchange rates.

We go into more details below with in our How Much Does Skrill Cost section because you can save a lot of money if you know a few things!

For example, with money transfers, the “Skrill to Skrill” service is expensive but the “Skrill Money Transfer” service there is zero-FX rate mark up (normally 3.99%).

3. How Does Skrill Work?

3.1 Setting up a Skrill Account (Personal and Business Accounts)

Getting started on Skrill (opens a new tab so you can keep reading) is a simple process but as you will see the verification process is  interesting.

1. Select “Register” on their online sign up page or download the Skrill app on your iOs/Android device.

2. Enter your personal details such as First name, Last name, Country, Currency and email address

3. Set a password and click “Register now”

4. Once you log in, you’ll be asked to set up your security Pin

5. Fund your account with a deposit. (Funding your account is mandatory for account verification. Plus verifying your account means you can use their service uninterrupted and increase payment limits associated with your account).

Skrill offers the following options for funding your account:

  • Bank transfer
  • Debit/credit card
  • Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash
  • Neteller
  • Paysafecard
  • Trustly
  • Klarna

6. Complete the verification process by keeping the following documents handy.

Personal Accounts

A color copy of your ID (such as driver’s license or passport) and a proof of address (for example, a utility bill or a bank statement issued in the last three months).

Additionally, you may be asked for “live” identity verification, for example, a picture of you holding up your ID. You can also verify your ID by linking it with Facebook.

Business Accounts

National ID of the Skrill account creator, proof of registered company address, incorporation certificate to prove you’re a legitimate operating business (not applicable for sole-traders) and details of your shareholders and business partners on company header (signed and stamped, not applicable for sole-traders). You also have to complete a Merchant questionnaire.

If you follow the process to the tee and submit the right documents, your account can get verified within 5 minutes.

3.2 Receiving Funds

3.2.1 Personal accounts

Receiving payments with Skrill is free. There are three ways to get paid with Skrill on a personal account:

  • You can easily receive money from clients or friends and family by sharing your email address registered with Skrill (no need to share financial details). This fund is deposited into your Skrill wallet and can be withdrawn into your bank account in all countries where Skrill Limited provides payment services. You can also withdraw the money to a Visa card, although it will attract higher fees.
  • You can also get paid via a direct deposit into your bank account
  • Alternately, you can get paid into a number of mobile wallets Skrill has partnered with by sharing your registered phone number. These funds can then be withdrawn in your local currency at nearby money agents

3.2.2 Business accounts

  • Businesses can also get paid directly into their Skrill wallets by sharing their registered email address
  • Online merchants can integrate Skrill at checkout to get paid via Skrill wallet transfers, bank transfers, or by credit and debit cards

3.3 Making Payments

  • If your friends, family, or vendors have a Skrill account, you can simply initiate a payment by entering their email in the “Skrill to Skrill” option in the “Send” section of your mobile or web app. The funds will be deducted from your Skrill wallet. If they don’t have an account, they’ll receive an email with quick sign up instructions. Typically, “Skrill to Skrill” transactions are ideal for domestic payments. The maximum per‐transaction limit using this option is 10,000 EUR or equivalent.
  • You can opt for lightning-fast bank transfers with Skrill Rapid Transfer. Rapid Transfer is also a great way to deposit funds into your Skrill account instantly.
  • For international transfers, you can opt for “Skrill Money Transfer,” which lets you send international payments with zero-FX rate mark up (vs the 3.99% currency conversion fee on “Skrill to Skrill”)
  • You can activate Skrill 1-Tap instant payments for trusted online vendors.
  • You can also payment online merchants with the Skrill MasterCard prepaid card.
  • Verified businesses can set up Mass Payments for up to 3000 recipients with Skrill.

4. How Much Does Skrill Cost?

It’s no secret that the fees and benefits are huge decision-making factors when choosing an online service such as Skrill.

Now, while opening (and closing) a Skrill account is free, there are numerous other charges (over and above currency transfer and currency exchange fees) that you should be aware of to avoid unexpected surprises.

But here’s the thing: although you can’t completely knock off the fees, you can save a cool bunch by signing up for their loyalty and affiliate programs: Knect Loyalty Programme, the VIP Programme, the VIP Ambassador Programme, Paysafe Affiliates.

Here we breakdown Skrill’s complex fee structure to make it crystal clear for you (regular accounts).

4.1 Deposit Fees

No matter which deposit method you choose to top up your account, you will be charged a convenience fee (except in the USA). Navigate to the “Deposit” section of your mobile or online account to check out the fees associated with your chosen top up method.

4.2 Withdrawal Fees

Withdrawal fees depend on the withdrawal option. This is how it looks like in the Eurozone:

  • Withdrawal to Bank account– flat fee of EUR 5.50
  • Withdrawal to VISA – 7.5%
  • Withdrawal to mobile wallet – 1.45% (min. EUR 0.50)
  • ATM withdrawal with Skrill Prepaid Mastercard®* – 1.75%

4.3 Fees for sending money

Skrill usually charges 1.45% of the transfer amount for sending money to another Skrill account, but this can vary by location. Direct deposits to bank accounts via Skrill are free though.

Skrill also charges a 3.99% mark up over the Reuters exchange rate if you’re using “Skrill to Skrill” for international payments. Skrill Money Transfer may be a better option in this case (no mark up on the FX rates). If you initiate a lot of international transfers, you may want to check out our International Money Transfer Services section.

You can fund an international transfer with Skrill Money Transfer if you’re from the following countries:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bahrain, Canada, Switzerland, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Hong Kong, Croatia, Hungary, India, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Latvia, Morocco, Malta, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Serbia, Slovakia, South Korea, Slovenia, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and South Africa.

You can receive funds from Skrill Money Transfers if you live in these countries: Austria, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India (India to India transfers aren’t allowed), Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nepal, Netherlands, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Philippines, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, United Kingdom.

4.4 Skrill Prepaid MasterCard

You’ll pay EUR 10 to apply for the physical card and another EUR 10 in annual fees to hold the card. ATM withdrawals will attract a 1.75% convenience fee anywhere in the world. Skrill doesn’t charge anything when you pay for goods and services in your country, abroad, or online with the card, but your merchant may levy a fee.

You can also hold one free virtual Skrill card with no annual maintenance fees. The cost of any subsequent card is EUR 2.50.

4.5 Buy and Sell crypto currency

Buying and selling crypto currency will also attract a fee depending on the transaction amount. You can typically expect to pay between EUR 0.99-1.99 for transactions of EUR 1-99. Transactions above EUR 100 will attract a flat fee of 1.5% of the amount.

Also note: If you don’t hold a EUR account, Skrill applies foreign exchange fees when you buy or sell crypto currency.

4.6 Account maintenance fees

Holding a Skrill account is free as long as you make at least one transaction a year. However, if you’re inactive, expect to pay about EUR 5 in maintenance fees (deducted from the funds in your account).

4.7 Other fees

Other than the service fees mentioned above, Skrill can also charge you for prohibited transactions (for example, transferring funds on behalf of a third party or using Skrill to make a cash advance on your credit card), chargebacks, reversing an incorrect transaction, etc. Some of these fees are pretty hefty (up to EUR 150), so you should definitely read the fine print.

5. How Fast Is Skrill?

5.1 Payments

Skrill is not doing itself any favours with their fee structure, but the one thing users vouch for is the transfer speed. Both Skrill to Skrill and Skrill Money Transfer for domestic payments are pretty much instant. But sometimes this varies by country and time of payment initiation.

International transfers with Skrill Money Transfer (available for both non-existing and existing customers) and Rapid Transfer funded bank transfers usually take 2-3 business days.

Skrill also issues refunds for failed transfers pretty quickly – you can expect to see the money back in your digital wallet within 1-2 business days.

Oh and remember to keep an eye on those payment limits, which vary by country. This will be shown to you when you initiate a transfer.

5.2 Withdrawals

Withdrawal time frames also vary by country and Skrill may apply withdrawal limits to your account.

Usually, the funds take 1-5 business days to reflect in your bank account or Visa card. Don’t worry though, Skrill updates you about the processing time frame the moment you initiate a bank withdrawal.

Quick Tip: Make sure your bank account number, sort code, IBAN and/or BIC/SWIFT are correct while withdrawing if you want to avoid paying a reclaiming fee (typically EUR 25).

6. Customer Reviews

Skrill is rated 4.5/5 on Trustpilot with over 8000 reviews, which is considered “Excellent”. Most of their customers are raving about the fast and secure currency transfer services and the intuitive app.

But you can only gauge the true merit of a service by digging deep into real customer experiences. That’s why we trawled through 100s of user reviews for Skrill on Trustpilot.

And here’s the rub: a whopping 24% of these reviews are “Poor” reviews! Whoa.

So what really went down?

We found out that most of the poor reviews revolved around their tedious verification process and unexpected account freezes when large amounts were deposited in the digital wallet.

These issues are actually somewhat connected.

Skrill needs you to deposit funds in to your account before you can go ahead with the verification. In fact, you can keep using their payment services even without verifying your account if you stay within the prescribed payment and withdrawal limit (which varies by country and can be checked under your Account settings).

But if you want to send and withdraw higher amounts, Skrill needs you to mandatorily go through the verification process. Plus, as a fully authorized and regulated financial institution, Skrill also vets transactions that they consider unusual to prevent fraud and theft (this is pretty common with regulated financial bodies).

Our advice?

Be prepared to jump through some hoops to get your shiny new regulated and potentially very useful service up and running.  Don’t wait around to get verified after you sign up and read the fine print to avoid bitter experiences. Plus, it never hurts to double check your documents before submitting them for verification.

7. Is Your Money Safe With Skrill?

It’s safe to say that Skrill has done their due diligence for protecting your funds and data. Skrill is fully authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and the U.S. Department of Treasure’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

Skrill relies on the same security demands as your typical high street banking service and share trading websites.

Skrill also uses a two-factor authentication method for keep your money and sensitive information safe. Apart from your personal security PIN, your account login, personal details, and transaction details are SSL protected with a 128-bit encryption method certified by VeriSign.

Lastly, Skrill never shares your bank or card details with merchants and recipients when you initiate a payment.

8. Verdict

So does Skrill get a thumbs up from us?

Currency exchange with Skrill isn’t cheap and the fee structure seems geared to your convenience rather than streamlined to minimise costs.

That said, Skrill has evolved to offer a useful suite of services and those fast transfers are a potential deal maker.

Skrill addresses a gap in the market by offering a speedy and reliable and often excellent alternative to PayPal.

Essentially, it all comes down to what YOU’RE looking for in an online payment service and digital wallet.

If you are just looking for a service that does money transfers, a prepaid debit card or multi-currency account then we think you can likely do better.

Opening an account with Skrill is free and it may be worth signing up to find out whether it’s a good fit for you personally or for your business.

Happy Money!