A money transfer service is a necessity if you want to dramatically reduce the fees banks take from transfers. In this review of CurrencyFair we will show you what they are great at and who we think does some things better.
I first signed up to CurrencyFair in 2015 as a way to save money compared to using my bank.
Back then they were able to offer incredible rates and to this day they still have an edge.
They even boldly say “8x cheaper than the banks”.
But you know the old saying, “you get what you pay for“?
Well in the case of CurrencyFair – you can actually have your cake and eat it. 🎂
But there are some circumstances when it’s not the best choice.
And fortunately, this isn’t another awesome CurrencyFair review!
We go through everything – including thousands of real user reviews.
Here is the good, the bad, the ugly and the alternatives, so that you can decide.
Disclosure: This post may contain offers and affiliate links to save you money and it also helps us to keep providing the best information. For more information, see our disclosures here.
1. Quick Take
On Trustpilot, CurrencyFair money transfers has a rating of 4.4/5 with over 6000 reviews, which is considered “Excellent”. Of these are 94% are positive with reviewers indicating CurrencyFair has competitive rates, is easy to use and has consistent customer service.
|🏦 Established||2009 in Dublin, Ireland|
|💁 Clients||Personal and Business (Worldwide)|
|🏛️ Physical Offices||Ireland, Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong|
|💻 Availability||Online and mobile|
|⚖️ Regulation||Regulated in Europe, USA, UK, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong|
|🔒 Security||Segregated accounts, 2FA, 256-bit encryption|
|⭐ Reviews||“Excellent” – 4.4/5 from 6,000+ reviews on TrustPilot (November 2022)|
|💰 Fees||Exchange rate margin + small fixed fee|
|🌐 Official Website||Visit CurrencyFair|
When compared to other money transfer companies CurrencyFair allows set your own exchange rate.
You can either:
- Select a favorable rate on CurrencyFair’s peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace and wait for it to be matched by someone else
or if speed is more important
- Send money immediately with CurrencyFair’s rate (that works off the mid-market rate)
This can mean you get the best rates out there.
Alternately the rates they offer are very competitive as well.
2. When CurrencyFair Works (and When it Doesn’t)
2.1 When it Works
CurrencyFair is an extremely inexpensive option for international bank transfers below $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 AUD/NZD
And you can get your first 10 transfers “fee-free”.
Better yet, as we just explained, CurrencyFair enables you to get the best rates because of its peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace.
They also do a few other really helpful things.
Hold and manage 20 currencies in a multi-currency account
It is no secret a multi currency account can be a game changer for some people who regularly work with multiple currencies.
And CurrencyFair’s multi currency account lets you send money home from overseas, pay bills, and receive wages without unnecessary conversions.
Businesses can also use their multi currency account to make managing money much easier and cheaper.
Need a dedicated business account for a growing global business
CurrencyFair offers dedicated business accounts for growing global businesses to manage their expenses and international income efficiently.
They have multi-user access, invoice generation and the ability to receive international payments and pay suppliers and employees anywhere in the world is particularly useful.
2.2 When it Doesn’t work
You want to send large amounts over $7000 USD ($7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 AUD/NZD)
One of CurrencyFair’s main advantages is the marketplace where you can get excellent exchange rates.
However as the amounts increase it can become harder to find the exchange rates you want.
That aside, there are other services we think are better designed specifically for larger amounts.
OFX is our top recommendation for large transfers because of its mix of online ease and 24/7 telephone support which when combined make for an inexpensive and stress free experience.
That said, if you are the type of person who would prefer to have a dedicated account manager to help guide you then TorFX or Currencies Direct are unbeaten.
TorFX AUS/NZ and Asia is 4.9/5 on Trustpilot
TorFX AUS/NZ and Asia is 4.9/5 on Trustpilot
Likewise Currencies Direct is 4.9/5 on Trustpilot for USA, Canada, India or South Africa and they are owned by the same people as TorFX.
You want to send cash
CurrencyFair supports bank-to-bank transfers only. But your recipient may only be able to receive cash — they’re traveling abroad or recently moved to a different country and don’t have a bank account.
Traveling abroad / pay for things
While CurrencyFair makes it easy to manage multiple currencies and more easily send money between banks you can’t take out cash or pay for goods and services as easily as a card connected to your multi currency account.
You need to transfer exotic currencies
Even though CurrencyFair has a wide base of receiving countries, they only support transfers in 20 currencies. This can be limiting, especially when you’re looking to convert and send in an exotic currency.
You can check out our options below for other services that support more currencies.
You want to pay for your transfer with a credit or debit card
Currently, you can only send money to your CurrencyFair account with a bank transfer as they don’t allow funding transfers with a credit or debit card.
3. Real Fees (including Hidden Fees)
If CurrencyFair is so affordable – 8 times cheaper than banks as they claim – how is it making money?
Through exchange rates and fees.
Here are the four costs you need to be aware of:
- Sending fee: Banks can charge fees to fund your CurrencyFair transfers. Often these can be eliminated because CurrencyFair has local bank accounts in most of the areas in which they operate.
- Fixed fee: All CurrencyFair customers pay a fixed fee (€3 EUR or equivalent) for each transaction.
- Exchange rate margin: They say it averages 0.45% above the mid-market rate. (Banks fees can easily be from 3%-6% including the fees charged by the banks at either end).
- Receiving fees: Bank charges are applicable in locations where CurrencyFair doesn’t have a local bank account. This can be a significant percentage if you are transferring smaller amounts below a few thousand.
For example, notable exclusions are CAD and NZD.
However you’ll have no issues for USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, HKD, SGD, CZK, CHF, DKK, SEK, and NOK — they have local bank accounts into and out of your CurrencyFair account.
It’s fine if you’re sending money from these locations (they have local bank accounts here), but you will likely attract an additional fee if you are receiving funds into Canada and New Zealand.
To sum it up, CurrencyFair is extremely affordable even if you use the rate CurrencyFair offers. However the P2P (Peer to Peer) currency exchange marketplace – where you can set your own exchange rate (3) means you can find others willing to accept exchange rates that are even below the interbank rate (or mid-market rate)!
And even if you don’t decide to use CurrencyFair’s P2P marketplace, they also offer good rates themselves which will be around the mid-market rate (on average only 0.45% more – which is about as good as their competitors get and FAR cheaper than a bank).
They also have local bank accounts in most of the areas in which they operate. So this often rules out sending (1) and receiving (4) bank fees.
As for the Transfer fee (2), you can get your first 10 fee free!
But what’s the catch?
None really except the number of supported currencies has been kept low (20) which ensures there is enough users in on both sides of the currency pairs.
4. How Fast is CurrencyFair?
The quick answer is: 1-6 days.
But a more exact answer can be found using the CurrencyFair Processing Times & Fees Calculator.
Since CurrencyFair has local bank accounts across the globe, many international transfers are treated as local transfers, which makes these transfers go faster.
The most popularly exchanged currencies on Currency Fair are:
USD, AUD, CAD, EUR, SGD, HKD, GBP, and CHF.
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 days)
If you have the funds available in your multi-currency account and are working with a common currency, your transfer will typically take 1-2 working days in total.
If you need to send money to CurrencyFair from your bank account and match exchange rates on the P2P market, this can take longer (1-6 days).
Here are some speeds based on popular currency pairs:
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
Quick tip: CurrencyFair recommends setting up your transfer in the mornings, typically, before 1 PM GMT.
5. How to Use CurrencyFair
- Sign up for an account! (If you use this link you get your First 10 Transfers Fee Free — opens a new tab).
- Verify your identity — You often need to upload some photo identification and/or proof of your address.
- Set up the transfer for your currency pair:
- Choose “send money” to send money as quickly as possible. Once CurrencyFair receives your funds, it will automatically exchange and transfer the money out.
- Or “top up” if you want to hold money in your CurrencyFair account till you’re ready to exchange it. (This will enable you to use their P2P marketplace or CurrencyFair’s best current rate). Then you will need to “transfer out” to your recipient.
- Sit back and let CurrencyFair complete your transaction!
Heads up when using the “send money” option: 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 the section about transfer speed (above).
So if you’re not in a rush, using the “top up” option and holding money in your CurrencyFair multi-currency account will usually be more cost-effective.
You can convert between currencies you hold instantly and avoid losses as a result of market changes.
And if you’re even more flexible with time, you can use the money that’s sitting in your multi-currency account at the P2P marketplace.
Here’s a look at what using the P2P marketplace looks like below.
- You set up your rate on the sliding scale
- You can monitor your position on the queue, and adjust your rate accordingly.
- Click “set up exchange”, and simply wait for the exchange to take place!
5.1 Sign up for an account:
CurrencyFair supports registration from the following 62 countries (including the US, Canada, the UK, EEA countries, Australia, New Zealand, etc.) for both personal and business accounts.
5.2 Verify your identity
To activate your CurrencyFair account, you need to validate your identity with a copy of your photo ID, complete a selfie check as well as proof of address.
Typically, you’ll need the following:
- Driver’s Licence
- National ID Card
Also, your photo ID must be in color and must show:
- Your name and date of birth matching your CurrencyFair registration form
- Your signature (when applicable)
- A valid expiry date
- The full machine readable zone (MRZ code) – i.e. the letters and numbers at the bottom of your passport
If they’re able to verify all details electronically, you don’t have to submit additional documents (like bank statements, purpose of transfer, etc.). Usually the process can take 1-2 weeks.
Note: Completing this validation process is mandatory for setting up transfers on CurrencyFair.
5.3 Set up the transfer for your currency pair
Choose “send money” to send money as quickly as possible. Once CurrencyFair receives your funds, it will automatically exchange and transfer the money out.
Or “top up” if you want to hold money in your CurrencyFair account till you’re ready to exchange it. (This will enable you to use their P2P marketplace or CurrencyFair’s best current rate). Then you will need to “transfer out” to your recipient.
5.4 Using the peer-to-peer marketplace
You can use CurrencyFair’s peer-to-peer marketplace at no extra cost.
- Set up your rate on the sliding scale and monitor your position on the queue
- For a quicker match, you can adjust your rate accordingly.
- Click “set up exchange”, and simply wait for the exchange to take place!
5.5 Does CurrencyFair Have an App?
CurrencyFair’s mobile app is available on both Android (rated 4.3/5 on the PlayStore) and iOs (rated 4.8/5 on the App Store).
The app is a great option for setting rate alerts, topping up your CurrencyFair multi-currency account, setting up transfers, and staying updated with your transfer on the go.
6. What do CurrencyFair Customers Say (including Negative Reviews)?
CurrencyFair has an impressive 94% are positive on Trustpilot (out of 6000+ reviews) and an overall rating of 4.4/5 which is considered “Excellent.”
They also have a great reputation on other review sites.
While the positive reviews are reassuring, we want to understand if there are any major issues through the 6% negative reviews (1-star and 2-star reviews).
Here are the results:
XE’s customers love its:
- Bank-beating rate
- Easy to use
- Consistently good service
Here’s what a veteran user, Alex, had to say about CurrencyFair:
“Everything went smooth, received the transfer to my new European bank account as expected with no issues. The rate is much better than what the bank would have offered, so I saved more than 2%. There are some steps to verify your sources of income which I did, but should’ve been clearly communicated upfront. I recommend and will reuse their services.” – Alex on Trustpilot
And here’s a review by a new user, Sean
“I send money to South Africa for family support every month. I have done this for years through CurrencyFair. I have only had fantastic service and if I’ve made an error they are so communicative and helpful. Highly recommend!” – Shelley Broinshtein on Trustpilot
Long verification times
Holding funds meant for transfer
Hit and miss customer service
Understanding the Negatives
After going through many of the most recent negative reviews, the most common issues faced by CurrencyFair users are:
Long verification times
Many users were dissatisfied by the long time taken to verify their accounts.
Part of this is the “Know Your Customer” process. This is done to keep their service with the laws of the countries they service as well as prevent illegal activities like theft, fraud, and money laundering through their platform.
Holding funds meant for transfer
CurrencyFair regularly audits the transfers on their platform to ensure compliance with their own service guidelines or as well as that of the sending and receiving country.
This is done when CurrencyFair notices red flags such as:
- Unusually large transfers
- Dispute raised by a payee (for business payments)
- Limit exceeded for a sending or receiving country/bank
- Recipient’s account is red flagged (phishing or other malicious activity)
In most cases, the funds are released in a few days, but in some cases it can take longer.
That said, CurrencyFair looks to be proactive in resolving this issues.
Customer service issues?
According to the reviews on Trustpilot, by far the majority of users had a great experience with CurrencyFair’s customer service, but some were disappointed.
But this really needs to be put into context. CurrencyFair overall gets 4.4/5 and banks by comparison struggle to get over 2/5.
7. Is CurrencyFair Safe?
One way to see if a service is safe is to see where it is regulated and CurrencyFair is regulated in many countries which are considered to have high standards:
- The Australian Securities and Investments Commission in Australia (ASIC)
- The Central Bank of Ireland in Europe
- The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) under the Money-Changing and Remittance Businesses Act (Cap. 187) in Singapore
- The FinCen in the US
- The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK
- They are also registered as a licensed Money Service Operator in Hong Kong.
Other ways they claim to keep your money and information safe:
- CurrencyFair is fully regulated in every territory they operate in.
- Customers’ money is held in tier 1 international banks, separate from their operating funds. This means if CurrencyFair becomes insolvent, you’ll never lose your money.
- Their website uses 256-bit encryption via SSL from VeriSign. This indicates that your connection is secure.
- They use two-factor authentication on their website and their mobile apps
- Your sensitive data is stored on a secure server and can only be accessed via the biometrics of high-level personnel
- There’s a digital paper trail of all your transfers with CurrencyFair (including the banks involved), which can be easily made available to you if required.
CurrencyFair for business
CurrencyFair also has great features for growing global businesses:
- Hold over 20 currencies with their multi-currency account: Convert between them to pay overseas employees and international suppliers.
- Avoid hefty bank fees while receiving international payments from 150 countries
- Multi-user access feature lets admins and team leaders create tailored permissions, custom roles, and enable dual approval for efficient, safe management of funds
- Integrates with Xero accounting software for easy cash management
CurrencyFair is our top choice if you’re looking for the lowest fees and the ultimate in control when it comes to getting the best rates for sending smaller bank-to-bank international transfers. A welcome addition to the USA and Canada!
Don’t forget to use this link to get your First 10 Transfers Fee-Free — opens a new tab!
However, as we showed above When CurrencyFair Works (and When it Doesn’t) we think there are better options for transfers above about $7000 USD or you can’t send cash.
Is CurrencyFair the cheapest way to send money overseas?
Yes, CurrencyFair has a unique ability to make the cheapest money transfers through its marketplace.
Is CurrencyFair better than Wise?
CurrencyFair gives you more control of the exchange rate through its P2P marketplace. Wise on the other hand offers more currencies and an optional prepaid debit card attached to your multi currency account.