6 Things You Need To Know Before You Sign Up
In the next few minutes you will find out if Ria is the right money transfer service for you.
Here is the deal:
We uncover the good, the bad, and the ugly so you know if Ria is your best bet. We even break down what negative reviews really says about them.
That is not all:
As it turns out they could be great for you, but not always and when they are not – we will point you to a few services who might be better (and cheaper 🙂).
Let’s dive in!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links where you might be able to save money. For more information, see our disclosures here.
The 6 Things You Need to Know
- When Ria Works (and When It Doesn’t)
- Rates, Fees and Hidden Costs?
- What the Reviews Really Say (including negative ones)
- Best Way to Sign Up
- Safety and Security
- Local presence in 160 countries with over 400,000 agent locations
- Supports home deliveries and cash pay-outs
- You can set up your transfer with cash, a credit or debit card, or a bank transfer
- Near-instant transfers
- Excellent footprint in the US
- Supports very few countries you can send from (US, Canada, UK, Australia and Spain)
- Not the cheapest option
- Amount limits on transfers (above $3000 USD)
- Customer support issues
While you can only sign up for Ria in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and Spain, they support transfers to 160 countries in 60+ currencies. Ria is especially convenient if you’re in the US since they’re integrated into most 7-Elevens which means you can always find an outlet near you. Moreover, Ria Money has over 400,000 agent locations worldwide, which is second only to Western Union.
1.1 When Ria Works
- If you’re looking for near-instant (in 15 minutes) for cash transfers from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and Spain, Ria is a great option.
- Ria is also ideal if you want to fund your transfers with cash as well as when your recipient needs a cash payout. They have over 400,000 agent locations in its supported sending and receiving countries, making it easy for you to fund your transfers with cash and for your friends and family to collect their remittance in cash.
- Ria also supports home deliveries in many receiving countries, including Armenia, Hungary, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, and Vietnam (most of Ria’s competitors like Western Union and MoneyGram only support home deliveries in Vietnam).
1.2 When It Doesn’t
- Ria money isn’t equipped to handle large and extra-large transfers ($7000 USD and above) since you can only send $2999.99 USD per day and $7999 USD per 30 days via Ria’s web portal and mobile app. While Ria does support larger amounts if you send via their agent locations, you do have to jump through a lot of hoops and provide additional documentation (as opposed to doing it online with other services).
- Ria doesn’t support business transfers (Keep reading for our recommended alternatives if business transfers are a priority)
- If you’re looking for the most affordable international transfer option, Ria isn’t the right service for you. Ria’s exchange rates and fees are typically higher than their competitors and can even vary depending on how you’re setting up your transfer (online or at an agent location).
- Hidden fees that banks charge can be significant as we will see next.
Ria charges a fixed fee for each transfer (which increases with the amount) plus they offer a lower-than-average exchange rate (usually, Ria’s exchange rates are 1.5% – 2.5% different than the interbank rate), which makes them relatively costly (although still better than a bank or PayPal in most situations).
Typically Ria’s fees and exchange vary based on:
- The amount you’re sending
- The currency corridor
- How you fund the transfer
- Whether you’re setting up your transfer online or at an agent location
For example, if you fund your transfer with a credit or debit card, your cash can arrive in 15 minutes, but you will be charged a cash advance fee by your card issuer (which increases the cost of your transfer).
Bank-to-bank transfers are more affordable, but also take longer to be processed (see “Transfer Speed” below).
Banks at either end may also charge you a fee since Ria doesn’t collect and disburse funds from local bank accounts in the supported sending and receiving countries.
These fees can hurt – from $10 – $50 at each end.
Most people think that a service like Ria has no control over the fees the banks charge at each end, but they can minimise and usually eliminate these fees through having local bank accounts in these countries.
This is why services like TransferWise are often recommended because not only are the fees they charge very transparent they also have an extensive worldwide bank account network to make transfers inexpensive with less fee surprises.
Ria is rated 4.4/5 on Trustpilot with over 5000 reviews.
Over 73% of the reviewers had an “Excellent” experience and 10% had a “Good” experience transferring funds with Ria. They loved the easy-to-use mobile app and the efficient transfer process.
However, 11% of the reviewers rated the service “Bad,” and we were determined to get to the bottom of it.
After trawling through hundreds of user reviews (both positive and negative), we noted that the top causes of user dissatisfaction were:
- Transfer delays
- High fees
- Poor customer service
3.1 Transfer delays
Typically, card-to-bank transfers are processed instantly and the money arrives in 15 minutes. Bank-to-bank transfers and home deliveries are going to be slower. In most cases, Ria processes the funds as soon as it hits their bank account but as with all money services if banks get involved this is where things slow down.
Also we noticed if you set up your transfer on a weekend or a holiday, the funds may take 24 to 48 hours to arrive in Ria’s account. Ria also takes 1 day to verify whether you’re the actual holder of the funding account (if you’re a new user), which may also lead to unexpected delays.
3.2 High fees
Ria’s exchange rate margins are 1.5% to 2.5% of the interbank rate plus the fixed fees and some additional charges (such as the cash advance fee charged by your credit card issuer) can drive up the cost of the transfer.
However, Ria offers home delivery and cash payouts in many regions not supported by their competitors, so it can be worth paying a premium in some cases.
3.3 Poor customer service
This one can be very important because it’s when you most need them that matters.
You can reach Ria via country-specific toll-free numbers and email. However, Ria’s customer support team can be hard to reach, which can be distressing if you’ve hit a bottleneck with your transfer.
One solution is to walk into your nearest agent location, and hopefully you can sort it out that way.
Alternatively choose a service like WorldRemit for cash pickup as they have only 3% of “Bad” one star reviews (with an almost identical overall rank of 4.4/5) compared to over 3 times that for Ria.
If you can avoid cash and transfer bank-to-bank, TransferWise will be cheaper and is backed up by a much better service with higher overall rankings at 4.6/5 with very low “Bad” one star reviews at just 4%.
4.1 Signing up
You can sign up for your free Ria account on their website. At this stage, you only need to enter personal details such as your name and local address.
Next, you’ll be prompted to add your bank account or card details.
After you link your bank account, Ria verifies it by sending two micro-deposits to your account, which can take up to 24 banking hours.
4.2 Setting up your transfer
- To set up your transfer, first check the fees offered by Ria on their pricing calculator.
- Next you’ll be prompted to add your funding method. Ria supports credit cards, debit cards, and bank transfers for online transfers. You can only fund your transfer by cash at an agent location. If you’re a new user, Ria will need to verify your bank account with two micro-deposits (which can take up to 24 banking hours).
- Then, enter your recipient’s details – their name (must match their government id), phone number, address, and bank account number (for bank-to-bank and card-to-bank transfers only)
Note: If you want to send more than $3000 USD, you need to visit an agent location and carry additional documentation (this is to make sure all transfers adhere to their anti-money laundering policy).
4.3 Tracking your transfer
Ria keeps you updated about your transfer status via email notifications. You can also check the transfer status on their track a transfer tool (keep your transfer PIN and reference number handy!).
Your transfer speed on Ria depends on how you fund your transfer.
Typically, transfers funded by a credit or debit card are near-instant, with the funds ready to be picked up or accessed within 15 minutes.
However, bank-to-bank transfers are quite slow, with the funds arriving in 4-5 days. And, if you’re a first-time user, Ria will need to verify your bank account with a couple of micro deposits (two $1 USD deposits in succession), which can take up to 24 hours to be completed.
Ria is a regulated financial services provider in all the sending countries they support and have a strict anti-money laundering policy.
Apart from that, they protect your data and money by:
- Employing industry-leading encryption protocols on their website and mobile app
- Regularly auditing transactions to make sure they comply with Ria’s service policies and to prevent financial crimes (like theft, fraud, and money laundering)
- Ensuring funds are delivered to the right people by cross checking recipient data at the time of fund disbursal (heads up: make sure your recipient carries their government ID when they visit an agent location to collect their remittance)
So rest assured, it’s completely safe to transfer money internationally with Ria.
Is Ria the right currency transfer service for you?
It really comes down to where you’re located, how much money you want to send, the currency corridor, and your chosen payout method.
Ria is a good option for you if you’re located in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, or Spain and want to send relatively small amounts in cash to remote regions (or need to home deliver cash in Armenia, Hungary, Morocco, Dominican Republic, the Philippines, and Vietnam).
However, Ria’s fees make it difficult to save a lot on your international transfers.
So you may be better off with TransferWise (transparent fee structure, available pretty much anywhere in the world, and offers dedicated business accounts), CurrencyFair (extremely inexpensive transfers), WorldRemit (large base of sending and receiving countries; supports cash payouts, business payments, and instant transfers) and Remitly (dedicated to making international transfers fast and affordable for immigrant workers in developed countries) instead.
Ria is also not ideal if you need to send larger amounts (over $3000 USD). For these transfers, we recommend going with XE, OFX (US and Canada – link to review), and TorFX (from Australia, Europe, and Asia) for great rates, ease, and incredible customer support.