Instarem Review

Using a service like Instarem is the best way to stop giving high fees to banks. In this Instarem review we will show you when they work really well and when you might want to look at some alternatives.

It’s true that Instarem makes transfers across borders extremely affordable for personal and business users.

They even claim that there are no hidden fees and transfers are processed instantly or in a day. 

Does that hold up?

This is definitely not a “Instarem is great” kind of review.

We dig deep to uncover the good, the bad, and the ugly based on real user reviews. 

We also share alternatives for when Instarem may not be right for you.

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.

Instarem Review – Quick Take

On Trustpilot, Instarem is rated 4.4/5 with over 7000 reviews, which is considered “Excellent.” Instarem offers competitive exchange rates and makes it easy to send money to both popular and exotic destinations affordably.

🏦 Established2010 in London, UK
💁 ClientsPersonal and Business
💱 CurrenciesMany global currencies (Send money to 55 countries)
🏛️ Physical OfficesSingapore (HQ), the UK, the US, Europe, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India
💻 AvailabilityOnline and mobile
⚖️ RegulationRegulated the UK, the US, Europe, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India and Singapore
🔒 SecurityRegular audits, security scans, Security tools for malware detection, intrusion detection and prevention, traffic analysis, etc.
⭐ Reviews“Excellent” – 4.4/5 on Trustpilot with over 7,000+ reviews (December 2022)
💰 FeesService fees between 0.3% to 1%. Other fees apply (bank fees, margin on the exchange rate).
🌐 Official WebsiteVisit Instarem

What’s Instarem’s edge?

Compared to banks and competitors, Instarem’s service fees are extremely low (0.3% to 1%) and they offer the mid-market exchange rate. Usually, banks in total charge between 5-7% of the transfer amounts and competitors between 0.5-3%. 

Instarem also has a handy calculator so you can see what “they receive” based on how you will fund the transaction and the amount.

While there may be some other fees involved (bank fees and card fees) they show this upfront and you can usually save a lot on your small bank-to-bank transfers with Instarem.

2. When Instarem Works (and When it Doesn’t)

2.1 When It works

Bank-to-bank transfers below $7000 USD (£4500 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD AUD)

The combination of transfers at the mid-market rate and a low service fee for small amounts (they charge higher for larger amounts – more on this later) makes Instarem extremely affordable for small bank-to-bank transfers. Our cheapest money transfers list has their main competitors.

Easy payments for growing global businesses

Instarem offers dedicated business accounts with global receiving accounts in 6 currencies: SGD, USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, HKD. 

This means you can get paid in these currencies fee-free and increase your global footprint without having to maintain an overseas bank account.

2.2 When It Doesn’t Work

Sending large amounts

While Instarem doesn’t have a limit on how much you can send for personal transfers after your first successful transfer, they charge higher fees for larger transfers. This makes sending transfers above $7000 USD (£4500 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD AUD) extremely expensive.

For business transfers, they have an annual limit of $2.5 million USD and you need approvals to send more. 

If sending large amounts is your goal, check out our suggestions for large transfers in Instarem Alternatives below.

Sending cash transfers

Instarem doesn’t support cash payments – you can only send international bank-to-bank transfers with them.

However, if sending cash while saving on fees is a priority, you’ll love our suggestions below.

Holding multiple currencies

While Instarem lets businesses receive and withdraw six global currencies into your bank account, you can’t hold multiple currencies with Instarem at the moment. 

Want a multi-currency account for personal and business use? Get the low down on our recommended Instarem alternative below.

3. Real Fees (including Hidden Fees)

If Instarem is so affordable – how do they make money? Let’s dive deeper. 

First check out Instarems handy calculator (opens new tab) so you can see what “they receive” and the rest will make more sense.

Instarem’s fees depends on the following

  • Your local currency
  • The target currency
  • The amount
  • The payment method

Typically, you’ll pay three variable fees:

  • Instarem’s Send Fee
  • Margin on the exchange rate
  • Other fees

Instarem’s Send Fee

This is a small service fee charged by Instarem, which is around 0.3% to 1.0% of the amount. 

Margin on the exchange rate

Fees for InstaREM
Exchange rate fees are a big part of the total fees, but in Instarems case they are very competitive.

Instarem offers the mid-market or interbank rate for both personal and business transfers.  For personal transfers, they charge a low margin on the exchange rate which varies according to the currency. 

For business transfers, Instarem approximately charges 1.75% of the amount, which is also extremely competitive. 

This is the main component in the fees that helps Instarem make money from our transfers.

Other fees

These include fees charged by sending and receiving banks as well as debit or credit card issuer. Card fees are higher – around 2-3% of the amount, but they also speed up the transfer considerably compared to when a transfer is funded from your bank account. 

Note: Instarem also charges a flat fee of $15 (or $20 for transactions of $5,000 or above) to send USD to USD abroad. So it’s always cheaper to send money in the local currency of your recipient. 

Currently, there are no sign up or subscription fees for either type of account.

4. How Fast is Instarem?

The quick answer is: Instant to 5 days.

According to their website, InstaReM processes their transfers instantly or at least the next day. Is that true?

Here’s what a regular Instarem user has to say about their speed on Trustpilot:

“Regular user of Instarem and impressed with their speed of transfers and conversion rates from Singapore to Australia. Today for the first time I transferred some money to India and the transaction was completed and money was transferred within minutes!”

In our real-world experience, the speed of the transfer depended on the country, currency, amount being transferred, as well as the method chosen to fund our transfer.

Typically banks at either end slow down the process far more than Instarem itself.

If speed is your focus you might also like to discover the fastest ways to send money internationally.

Quick tip: Same day transfers to pre-approved payees in some countries is possible. However mostly because of how banks operate – bank to bank it may take several business days all said and done.

5. Instarem Alternatives

Best forTrustpilot ScoreFeesThe GoodThe BadWhy better?
WorldRemitAffordable cash transfers4.0/5 with over 66,000 reviewsMediumWide coverage, many payout methods, very fast transfersNot always the cheapestChoose when you need to send cash fast. The WorldRemit Review has more.
WesternUnionCash transfers in 130+ currencies3.9/5 on Trustpilot from over 39,000+ reviewsHighAvailable worldwide, set up transfers online and offlineCan be expensiveChoose when you want to send money to exotic locations (bank and cash transfers) The WesternUnion review has more.
WiseAffordable bank-to-bank transfers, multi-currency account4.5/5 from over 184,000 reviewsLowTransparent pricing – no mark ups on the exchange rate, personal and business use, debit cardNot for large transfers

No cash transfers
No hidden fees, Robust multi-currency account for personal and business use (hold 50+ currencies, receive and spend in 10 currencies fee-free), MasterCard debit card
The Wise Review discusses all.
OFXSending large transfers above $7000 USD (£4500 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD AUD)4.1/5 on Trustpilot with over 5000+ reviewsMedium24×7 phone support, no fixed fee above $10,000, multi-currency account for businessNo cash transfersSending large bank-to-bank transfers without hidden fees in 115 countries. The OFX Review has more.
TorFX (UK/AUS) /Currencies Direct (USA/Can)Sending large transfers above $7000 USD (£4500 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD AUD)TorFX: 4.9/5 with over 5900 reviews

Currencies Direct: 5/5 with over 7,900+ reviews
MediumAward-winning customer support, Personal Account Manager, Set up transfers over the phoneNo cash transfersFor personalized support and advice on how to save on your large transfers.
TorFX Review and Currencies Direct Review
For more – International Money Transfer Comarisons

6. What do Instarem Customers Say (including Negative Reviews)?

Instarem is rated 4.4/5 on Trustpilot with over 7,600+ reviews, which is considered “Excellent” – a sizeable portion – 87% – have rated them as a 4-star or 5-star service. 

They also have good ratings on other review sites. 

However, we wanted to dive deeper into the 8% 1-star reviews to understand whether any possible issues that could come up while transferring.

The Good

Instarem’s customer’s love their:

  • Bank-beating rates
  • Fast transfers
  • Safe and easy transactions

Here’s what a happy customer – Arvan –  has to say about Instarem’s exchange rates:

“Instarem provides UNBEATABLE Exchange rates!

I checked it myself online and found them to be competitive than all other online money transfer services.

Moreover they don’t charge you any fee even if you want to transfer just $100.”

– Arvan on Trustpilot

Here’s a veteran user’s views on transfers with Instarem:

“I am using Instarem since last 2 Years. Website and mobile app is super user friendly and gives clear information about transactions. Exchange rate is always better that other service providers and with less service fees. 99.99% of time the amount is transferred within seconds. Safe and secure checks for account opening and transactions. Superb experience with Instarem. Highly recommended.”

– Ganesh Sonawane on Trustpilot

The Bad

  • Transfer delays
  • Customer service
  • Slower refunds

Understanding the negatives

Transfer delays
Transfer delays could happen for a number of reasons. If you’re transferring with Instarem for the first time, they run a lot of due diligence checks to make sure your money reaches the right recipient. 

Delays can also be caused by banks if you set up a transfer outside banking hours. Instarem usually converts the money and pays it out instantly – however sending and receiving banks may add to the transfer time. 

Entering incorrect recipient details, using your bank account to fund the transfer, sending an unusually large amount can also cause delays. 

Customer Service
Instarem’s customer service can be hit and miss. Sometimes they’re available to guide you through any bottlenecks, but at other times they respond late and share template replies when customer’s need answers the most. 

As an exclusively online service, Instarem needs to improve their customer service game for a 5-star transfer experience.

Slower refunds
Many users have complained that Instarem takes a long time to refund money if a transfer is canceled, recipient details are entered incorrectly, etc. 

In these instances, Instarem wants to make sure all compliance checks are covered so that the money is refunded to the right account. This can take from a few days to a few weeks – again, improving their customer service can be a great way to reassure users during these times.

7. Is Instarem Safe?

Short answer: Yes.

Instarem is government regulated in the following 9 countries:

Australia – by the the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
Hong Kong – by the Hong Kong Customs Excise Department
Singapore – by the Monetary Authority of Singapore
India – by the Reserve Bank of India
Europe – by the Bank of Lithuania
Malaysia – by Bank Negara Malaysia
The US – by The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
Canada – by Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)

Apart from that, Instarem also has the following security protocols in place to protect your money and data:

  • Mandatory KYC after sign up
  • Regular audits and security scans to flag unusual transfers, 
  • Security tools for malware detection, intrusion detection and prevention, 
  • Traffic analysis to make sure the right people are signing up for Instarem

8. Instarem for business

Growing global businesses will benefit the most from Instarem’s business account – you can get paid like a local with local receiving accounts in these currencies: SGD, USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, and HKD.

Instarem also makes it easy to pay your suppliers and vendors abroad by automating the process (bulk payments). They also make it easier to track cash flow with notifications and a transparent overview for every payment, which reduces bookkeeping errors. 

Verdict

Overall, Instarem can be extremely affordable for small to mid-sized bank-to-bank transfers and we recommend them highly. Over the years they have improved and we now really like their focus on transparency and their solid performance on 3rd party review sites.

Also Instarem also has a handy calculator so you can see what “they receive”.

However, if you’re looking for larger transfers we recommend going with specialized services like OFX (review) for its mix of online and phone support, TorFX (review) for UK/Europe and Aus customer service, and CurrenciesDirect (review) for USA/Canada customer service. 

You may also like Instarem Vs Wise they have seem pretty similar on the surface – but there are some big differences.

Happy Transfers!

Does Instarem have low fees?

In many situations Instarem does have low fees and is very competitive for smaller amounts. However you can do better for larger amounts.

Is Instarem a good idea?

Instarem is a great way to save money on smaller transfers and even larger transfers when compared with banks.

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