6 Things You Should Know Before You Sign Up
Today, I will show you if XE is the right choice for you.
On the surface, XE (formerly HiFX) is a reputable and trusted international foreign exchange business.
But that does not mean it is the best for everyone.
This is not your average “these guys are great” type review – we dig a lot deeper (including looking into the scores of negative reviews).
In general, we found XE to be a cost effective alternative to banks and a leading service amongst its peers.
But no money transfer company is the perfect solution.
And if not for you, who could be a better alternative?
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 🙂 )!
- Strong services and support especially USA, Canada, UK and Australia
- Leading exchange rate tools
- Transfer in 60 currencies to over 170 countries
- Online transaction focus
- Exchange rate offered only when you transact
- Unable to find a list of local bank accounts they manage (which can save in fees)
Is XE Right for You?
XE is an efficient, secure and inexpensive way to transfer funds abroad. There is no transfer fee, but like others the company charges a small margin on the exchange rate. XE trades in 60 currencies so you can transfer money to over 170 countries.
The 6 Things You Need to Know
- Rates, Fees and (Hidden) Costs?
- What the Reviews Really Say
- How XE Works (and when it doesn’t)
- How to Sign Up
- Safety and Security
Top tips can be found at the bottom of each section in red!
Before you decide to use a currency transfer service, you must understand what are the real costs involved are.
1.1 Rates and Fees
Money transfer companies earn their profits in two ways: either through transfer fees or by charging a margin on the exchange rate.
To start with as you can see here – XE charges no transfer fee (opens tab, so you can keep reading).
They do however charge a small margin on the interbank rate.
Like most money transfer companies, you won’t know this margin until you sign up and are ready to transact.
XE operates similar to many other money transfer companies in terms of reducing the margin on exchange rates as the amount increases.
XE.com has live exchange rates and currency convertor widget on their site, but these widgets show mid-market rates.
Also known as interbank rates, these are the wholesale currency rates or rates at which banks buy currency. But this is not the rate you will get for your money transfer.
Here is what XE says about their exchange rates:
“Our exchange rates are linked to the live foreign exchange markets. When the markets are open, the exchange rate you are offered will often fluctuate right up until the moment you confirm your transaction. Your exchange rate is only fixed once you’ve confirmed your transaction. The rate you are offered is not the mid-market rate which is shown in the free information services on our main XE.com website.”
When comparing their rates against banks in our testing XE fares pretty well for major currencies. Compared to banks who may charge up to 2, 3 or 4% on the exchange + fixed fees they are way ahead.
They are also very competitive compared to other similar services.
% Costs including Fixed Fees
|Banks||3 – 7%|
|PayPal||6 – 8%|
|XE||0.5 – 2%|
|Other Similar Services||0.4 – 3.5%|
To find out the percentage they are charging you simply see the rate they are offering and compare it to the interbank rate which can be found on XE itself.
The formula is
% Fee = (Interbank Rate – Rate Offered) x 100 / Interbank Rate
Sending CAD to AUD with CAD/AUD interbank rate at 1.06. If the rate offered is 1.045, here are the calculations.
% Fee = (1.06 – 1.045) x 100 / 1.06
% Fee = 1.4%
1.2 Hidden Fees
Although XE does not charge any transfer fee, the banks at either end may still charge some fees.
The company facilitates all its currency transfers through SWIFT banking network. This gives them the ability to transfer funds across the world, but the downside is that the recipient often has to pay charges, of which the company has no control of.
This is only an issue for amounts less than a few thousand USD. Above this and fee the receiving bank may charge is relatively small.
Top tip 1: To minimize fees check if XE has local bank accounts at both ends and check the % fees charged are less than
The best way you can learn about a service is from real reviews, particularly the negative ones. 🙂
Of course they need to be taken in perspective but we believe they show you the real picture and help make a better decision.
In general, XE money transfer enjoys excellent reviews. On TrustPilot, XE has five stars from 24,620 reviews.
Most reviews are great with customers appreciating the ease of setting up and transfer, competitive exchange rates and great service.
82 percent of the reviewers found the service excellent and another 12 percent thought it was great.
However, we cannot afford to ignore the 4 percent who had an average or bad experience.
Of the 4% of negative reviews, we found three types of complaints represent about 1% of the total number of reviews each.
2.1 Confusion over HiFX merger: Many customers who have been using HiFX in the past now find things a little confusing after the merger.
The company in their responses says that they are still HiFX and just using the name XE so everything remains the same. For new customers, this should not be an issue. HiFX who?
2.2 Lost/Money delays: Some reviewers have complained of not receiving the funds in time. Many complaints seem to stem from simple misunderstanding in how long the whole process takes (including banks at either ends – see Speed below) but a small minority have had money delayed. Based on the responses from XE they take these cases seriously and some are related to the banks usually at the receiving end. In general, XE has pretty solid transparency on the timing of transfers and is proactive at resolving any issues. We actually rate them pretty highly on this, in what can easily be a much bigger issue for many of their competitors.
2.3 Accounts Blocked/Verification Issues: There are certain users who claim that they were not allowed to carry out transfer or their accounts were unapproved after they sent money to them. Like all their competitors, regulatory and compliance requirements mean that some accounts are unapproved usually because ID requirements are not met.
We feel confident that XE is a very good service despite a small minority of complaints these seem to be actively moving towards being resolved.
Top tip 2: Understanding how Speed (below) works can be very helpful in preventing concerns surrounding when your money will arrive. If you have recently changed address, names or other important information you may find they require extra information to be approved.
There is lots to consider beyond fees and the reviews of others – however now we have enough to decide with confidence if XE is the right service for you needs or if you should consider another service.
3.1 When it works?
XE covers 60 currencies across 170 countries, which pretty much covers the entire globe. They also offer support in English, French, and Spanish.
If you are someone who is looking for convenience of transferring funds on the go using your smart phone, XE money transfer is a great choice. XE money transfer app is available on most platforms and gets high ratings.
Their rates are competitive and there is no lower limit on funds transfer. However, there is a £300,000 or $500,000 limit on online transactions. (So when you sell those islands in the Caymans, you need to speak to their customer service.)
3.2 When it doesn’t?
Not everyone is comfortable doing everything online (like uploading ID) and XE is very much geared towards transacting online although they do have customer service teams that can answers questions and troubleshoot if required.
Although setting up XE account and making a transfer is quite simple, many people prefer talking to someone than doing it entirely online. For a more hands on experience, TorFX (review) is the most telephone based company we have found even stepping you through sign up. OFX (review) is a mix of online and telephone support and if you are in North America they have a strong presence there as well as the rest of the world.
If you are comfortable online and moving amounts less than $7000 USD (£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/$9500 AUD) using a company like TransferWise (review) can be slightly cheaper and you can see all their fees up front (before you sign up).
Check out out TransferWise VS XE comparison.
Like most services, you won’t know the exchange rate being offered unless you are logged in and ready to transact. So, it may not be the best choice if you want to make easy comparisons.
Top tip 3: XE is a great option for many money transfer situations, but if you don’t want to do everything online, or if you have smaller amounts (less than $7000 USD) and you want the absolute most money as possible to arrive there are other services that you may want to compare.
Opening an account with XE (opens a new tab) is simple if you follow the steps below.
Follow these steps:
1. Select “Get Started”
2. Sign up for an account. You will need to select your country of residence, your name and your email address. Select continue.
3. You will be prompted to create a password and security question. Select Next. Go to Your Details.
4. Fill in details such as your address, date of birth, phone number, social security number and type of identification you will provide. Select Next. Go to Your requirements.
5. Upload the piece of identification
6. Wait for account approval.
Once the account is approved, setting up a money transfer is a breeze. You just sign up and provide payment details, the amount you want to transfer, the currency you want to send it in and the recipient details. After you submit the details, you will get a chance to review the exchange rate and transaction details. If you are happy with it, you can go ahead and send the money.
Top tip 4: Setting up an account on XE is quite simple. Just check their list of documents they accept as proof of identity, and keep it handy. You can start transacting as soon as the account is approved (shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours, but can take longer). Please note that XE accepts only bank transfers.
For XE’s part most fund transfers go through on the same day. XE gives you a delivery date as part of the transaction flow. If they receive your payment on time, you will be given a payment date that is earliest they can process your transfer.
Typically, the transfer speed depends on a couple of factors, including the currency you are sending, the amount of fund transfer and the banks used at either end. In most cases, it may take up to 2-4 days for the funds to reach the recipient’s account.
Money sent between bank accounts is processed via the SWIFT network, a global network of banks. The network works like a series of connecting international flights. Each payment may be handled by 1-3 intermediary banks before it reaches the recipient. This is the reason why it may take a couple of days for the transaction to complete.
Top tip 5: Although very similar to others in this business, XE is a leader when it comes to being transparent about when you money will arrive. They also have a streamlined process if your money arrives later than expected.
The most important assurance you want from a money transfer service is that your money is safe with them.
XE money transfer is a reputed and trusted company with a great track record. The company is registered and regulated in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. XE is registered with the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and registered with The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). In the UK, the company is registered with and regulated by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They are mandated by law to safeguard your funds and appropriately segregate them from business funds.
XE money transfer holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). They also have a Derivatives Issuer Licence issued by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). XE is also a Qualifying Financial Entity (QFE) in New Zealand. Last year, the company transacted over $18.5 billion of currency on behalf of 112,000 clients from across 117 countries.
Top tip 6: If you keep your passwords safe your funds are as safe as reasonably possible with XE. In fact, they are as safe as any financial institution out there.
XE is a good choice for safe, secure international transfers to 170 countries in 60 currencies. They are known for good customer support and a great online platform. There is no transfer fee but they do charge a reasonable margin on the exchange rate.
For smaller amounts (less than $7000 USD) they may not be your best choice, especially if you are happy to do everything online.
For larger amounts they are great choice particularly if you are in North America with their network to back you up.