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Money Transfer Companies Compared

September 25, 2017 business / expats / retirees / students

Money Transfer Companies Compared – How Much Can You Save?

If you are trying to decide which is the best way to move your money abroad (or receive money from another country), this article Money Transfer Companies Compared is exactly what you need.

Below are all the different options for making international money transfers. We’ll help you with some common questions like:

  1. Which is better, WorldFirst, TransferGo or CurrencyFair?
  2. How do currency brokers like OFX compare to CurrencyFair?
  3. Are banks much more expensive than CurrencyFair?
  4. CurrencyFair vs Transferwise?
  5. CurrencyFair v Paypal
  6. Which is the best peer to peer currency exchange?

Money Transfer Companies Compared

So, let’s get into it (note, we’ll be adding more companies to this list over time so keep checking back) . . .

  1. AIB
  2. Azimo
  3. An Post
  4. Bank of Ireland
  5. Barclays
  6. Halifax
  7. HiFX
  8. HSBC
  9. Lloyds Bank
  10. MoneyCorp
  11. Nationwide
  12. Nat west
  13. Neteller
  14. OFX
  15. PayPal
  16. Permanent TSB
  17. Post Office (UK)
  18. Revolut
  19. RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland)
  20. Skrill
  21. The Co-operative Bank
  22. Travelex
  23. TransferGo
  24. Transferwise
  25. Ulster Bank
  26. Western Union
  27. WorldFirst
  28. WorldRemit
  29. XE.com
  30. Xendpay.com

Save On International Money Transfers

For the purposes of providing a standard example, we are comparing each provider on the basis that, on today’s date (updated 29th Sep 2017), you are sending €10,000 to the UK for Eurozone providers or £10,000 to Euros in France for UK providers.

AIB

aib-logoAccording to AIB, “going abroad, sending or receiving money internationally is less hassle with AIB.” Yes, that may be the first time you’ve ever seen the words “less hassle” written by a major bank.

Going beyond their headline, they say that “the cost of an International Payment is based on AIB’s charge and the charges of other banks involved in the transfer, such as Intermediary (Agent) banks and the Receiving bank.”. They even reserve the right to throw in some extra charges – “In addition to the international payment charge, account transaction fees will apply.” That doesn’t sound cheap nor hassle-free. In total it takes AIB over 250 words to explain their fees. After all that, they don’t even provide you with a definitive number or percentage for their fees.

We looked further into what the fees and charges are with AIB. If you were to use Allied Irish Bank for a €10,000 transfer (Sep 29th 10.33am), you’d instantly be £247.50 worse off than if you used CurrencyFair.

Azimo

azimo-logoAzimo’s mission statement is one we heartily agree with – “We believe sending money abroad should be fast, easy and good value for everyone”.

Their pricing does support this goal, but while they’re cheaper than your average high-street bank in terms of fees and FX margins, sending £10,000 from the UK to Spain using Azimo would see you end up with around €90 less than if you’d used CurrencyFair. (as of 2.40pm, Nov 23rd 2015.)

An Post

An Post are keen to promote their “0% commission” throughout their website. We checked out their claims a few years ago in this blog post, and we weren’t that surprised what we found.

Taking a look at the An Post Currency Calculator, converting €10,000 to GBP, you would be £239.50 worse off than if you’d used CurrencyFair (as of 10:38am, October 2nd, 2017)

Commission free or not, they’re clearly making profit somewhere on the deal (hint – it’s the exchange rate).

Bank of Ireland

boi-logoHuh? It’s a little confusing . . . Bank of Ireland says on its website that it offers “Free online international payments”. Unfortunately, the special offer then comes with a warning message that reads much like the warning on a cigarette packet: ‘Warning: This product may be affected by changes in currency exchange rates.’ Well, yes, the product is affected by exchange rates (to the tune of 1.5% to 3% depending on volume) – that’s probably why it’s called currency exchange. And when it comes to currency exchange, you’d instantly be £193.50 worse off if you sent €10,000 to the UK with them instead of CurrencyFair on today’s date (as of 10.47am, October 2nd, 2017).

The Irish Independent summed it up nicely:

“Don’t be lured by promises of commission-free foreign exchange as this doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll get more bang for your buck. Be careful too to check the foreign exchange rate offered by your bank – as many of these rates have hefty margins built into them.”

Barclays

barclays-logoAnother big well-known bank and, again, more big fees and expensive exchange rates. Using Barclays on today’s date to send £10,000 into the Eurozone would cost you a whopping €562 over what you’d pay using CurrencyFair (converted 11.09am Oct 2nd 2017).

Barclays display their fixed transaction charges on their International Payments Services page. But that’s not all. On top of that is the additional foreign exchange fee which is where most of the charges lie. Barclays don’t make it as easy for you to find them.

barclays-charges

 

 

Halifax

Halifax don’t make it easy for you to find details of their exchange rate but at least they are up front with their charges: £9.50 to commence an online transfer (This fee will not apply to GBP sent to an EU bank account from a Halifax Basic Account). More worrying are the delivery times for international payments – expect it to arrive anywhere from the next working day to 14 working days later; are they delivering your money by boat?!

Unfortunately a daily transaction limit of £100,000 applies when sending International Payments via Online Banking. And for customers planning on making regular substantial payments – Halifax recommend using Lloyds Bank but advise:

HiFX

hifx-logoHiFX is another company that is taking on the big banks and we applaud them for it. They provide better exchange rates than many companies such as the banks and Transferwise’s Express Exchange. Of course, they still cost more than CurrencyFair but then they don’t have our unique peer-to-peer money matching system that allows many CurrencyFair customers to beat the interbank rate. We like the fact that other companies like HiFX are joining us as we take on the big slow expensive banks.

hifx-tcs

They do, however, state that rates shown on their homepage are “indicative only”, and unavailable for private individuals and small/medium business. In other words, they price discriminate, something that CurrencyFair doesn’t do.

HSBC

hsbc-logoHSBC are one of the largest banks in the world with a market capitalisation of over £120 billion. But they don’t always seem to use this scale for consumer good.

HSBC detail their fixed international money transfer fees. But that is only a small part of the overall cost and is used to hook you in. Next time you go to transfer with them, find out the real HSBC exchange rate you are receiving and compare that to the actual exchange rate at that time. Prepare for a shock and make sure that you are sitting down.

barclays-charges

 

Lloyds Bank

lloyds-logoHmmm . . . the Lloyds Bank website claims that you will save a lot of money with them for international money transfers. They even have a fancy calculator. Unfortunately, here’s the disclaimer that comes with their calculator:

“The International Money Transfer Calculator is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to provide commercial, financial, investment, accounting, tax or legal advice. All information, content and rates displayed are indicative only and do not represent, nor are intended to represent, the exchange rate or price at which you may be able to purchase or sell currency when using the International Money Transfer Service. As such, you should not use or rely upon the [Lloyds Bank] International Money Transfer Calculator as the basis for any transaction or treat any rates displayed as definitive.”

Using Lloyds online banking to send money internationally is not without it’s disadvantages – You can only send up to £30,000 – or currency equivalent – a day to almost anywhere in the world. And there is a limit of £10,000 per payment.

MoneyCorp

moneycorp-logoHow do you feel when you exchange money at the airport? Probably a little tense because you know it’s not the cheapest way to exchange money. MoneyCorp is a proud partner of Heathrow Airport, Gatwick, London Stansted, and various other airports, and in this market they’re competitive, but we’re not concerned with holiday cash purchases in physical locations here, we’re just wondering why they can’t offer the same exchange rates to individuals and businesses as CurrencyFair do, when transferring online. Instead they explain how they use the Interbank rate as a “reference” – not a very accurate method:

hifx-tcs

Nationwide

nationwide-logoNationwide have some helpful information on their website regarding the costs associated with sending money abroad.

“There are typically two types of cost when transferring money abroad – banking fees and exchange rates differences. Fees: Usually you are charged a fee for international payments and these will differ according to the service used and the bank or building society that is providing the service. There may also be fees charged by any agent banks involved in the payment transmission before a payment reaches its final destination account. Exchange rates: If you choose to send a Sterling payment overseas, you usually also need to take into account exchange rates for the currency conversion between the two countries as this can affect what is received by the recipient.”

We commend their honesty for at least explaining the different charges that their customers face. Unfortunately that doesn’t stop Nationwide for excessive charging for international money transfers. If you used Nationwide instead of CurrencyFair to send £10,000 home to France (for example), you’d be missing out on €183. (as of 16.18pm Oct 2nd, 2017).

Natwest

natwest-logoAs of today’s date, Natwest’s upfront fees for completing an international money transfer online start at £15 for transfers under £5,000 – and this excludes the £10 agents fee (where applicable). That’s not to mention their exchange rate fees.

This newspaper article about Natwest recommended the following:

“Always compare high street foreign currency rates with those of online providers if you have the time. Ignore “commission-free” deals and “buy-back” offers. These are often bogus as exchange rates will already include markups levied by suppliers.”

Sounds like good advice.

PayPal

paypal-logoPaypal has been great for spreading online commerce but as a way to send money from one country to another it’s just plain bad. Unfortunately, some people still believe that Paypal is free for currency exchange. No, it’s not – it’s actually very expensive.

Like the banks, Paypal charge a Currency Conversion Fee above the wholesale exchange rate. This fee varies between 3% and 4% depending on the currency that is being bought.

If you are looking to transfer money to the UK from a EUR account, it would cost you substantially more using Paypal. As of September 27th 2017, at 4:40pm, a £10,000 payment from a EUR account in Ireland would cost you €11,864.84. The equivalent transfer with CurrencyFair would require €11,470.76. Using CurrencyFair, that’s a saving of €394.08.

paypal-transaction-fees

Permanent TSB

permanent-tsbThis newspaper article included Permanent TSB in review of bank-provided currency exchange:

“Don’t be lured by promises of commission-free foreign exchange as this doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll get more bang for your buck. Be careful too to check the foreign exchange rate offered by your bank — as many of these rates have hefty margins built into them.”

We agree. Check out our Currency Exchange Calculator.

The Post Office (UK)

post-office-logoThe humble Post Office has evolved from simply handling our letters and selling stamps, to providing mortgages, credit cards and even motor insurance. They also offer currency exchange, and once again we see this all-too-familiar claim rear its head:

competitive rates and 0% commission from the UK’s number one provider

Who needs commission when the rates are so bad?

As of 16:56, October 2nd 2017, sending £10,000 through the Post Office to euro account would get you €11,097. Compared to our rates at the same time, you’re €155.77 out of pocket by not using CurrencyFair. Interestingly the Post Office’s international online payments service is actually provided by MoneyCorp.

Pasted image at 2016_08_18 04_23 PM

How many stamps could you buy with that?

Revolut

revolut_logo

Revolut is a pre-paid card solution with app that is building a “21st century banking alernative designed for a global lifestyle”. So while ideal to use for small amounts or suiting a mobile millenial lifestyle, for transfers of larger sums abroad we believe other currency exchange providers might give you a better deal.

When exchanging and transferring large amounts, with Revolut there is a catch – there is a cap on the volume of FX transfers that can be done for free every month with them. A Revolut customer can only transfer up to £5,000 / €6,000 or it’s currency equivalent fee-free per month at the live market rate. After reaching the limit of £5000 or it’s currency equivalent, Revolut charge a 0.5% fee thereafter. That is unless you pay to go Premium with Revolut, where for the fee of £6.99 / €7.99 a month you have unlimited FX transfers.

With CurrencyFair however there is no limit to how much you wish to transfer each month in you personal account.

There are 2 types of transfers offered with Revolut – Standard and Turbo.
Transferring £10,000 to Euro with Revolut would be:
revolut-GBP-Euro-Standard-fee
Revolut_GBP_EURO_Turbo_Fee
(as of 9:04 on November 9th 2017)
Doing the same transfer With CurrencyFair your money moves faster and for £2.50 – every time. When depositing GBP, the funds generally reach your CurrencyFair account within one hour. With our Faster Payments for outgoing transfers, funds will generally reach their destination in the same time-frame. And most importantly this service is offered by us at no extra cost – our standard CurrencyFair transfer fee of just £2.50 will still apply.

RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland)

rbs-logoOuch! Of all the international currency exchange companies we’re looking at in this list, RBS are the most expensive. Just exchanging an example amount of £10,000 into Euro would cost you an extraordinary €437 more than if you’d used CurrencyFair (Oct 2nd 2017, 17.17pm).

€437 more than CurrencyFair! What could you buy with €437? Definitely some new shoes. Perhaps a nice little weekend getaway somewhere nice? Lots and lots and lots of chocolate cake? You get the idea.

Skrill

skrill-logoWe like Skrill for their convenience and for joining us in our quest to bring a level of sanity to the money exchange industry. We also really like their name – we don’t understand it but it’s definitely very cool. Still, we’d prefer it if you didn’t have to pay so much for the convenience and a cool name. Using Skrill to send £10,000 to France would cost you a painful €422.74 more than if you’d used CurrencyFair. We’re not sure if a cool name is worth €422.74 – those highly-paid marketing gurus would probably tell us otherwise but we think you’d probably just prefer to keep your money.

The Co-operative Bank

coop-logoWell, it’s not what you’d expect to hear from an FAQ page when you’re about to send money abroad:

“Please note, all foreign transactions are done at your own risk. We will do everything that we can to get the funds to the receiver with the information that you provide.”

Also, this wasn’t great:

Unfortunately we do not have the facility to display our exchange rates daily on the website.

Ok, well how much will it cost? To send an example of £10,000 to France with the Co-operative Bank will cost you €389 more than if you use CurrencyFair (as of 17.33 October 2nd, 2017).

Transferwise

transferwise-logoWe like those funky hipsters at Transferwise. Like us, they’re taking on the banks by bringing currency exchange online. If you need to exchange small amounts, they’re less expensive than a big bank and we applaud them for their efforts.

There are a few differences between CurrencyFair and Transferwise that you might want to know.

At CurrencyFair, you can set your own rate but our average exchange rate fee is a low 0.4% (with a €2/£2.50 transfer fee). Our standard peer-to-peer exchange rate is 0.15%. Yes, you read that correctly, that’s only 0.15%. In contrast, Transferwise charge an exchange rate fee of between 0.5% and 2.5% (for Colombian pesos) which obviously means that Transferwise gets comparatively more expensive the more you transfer.

Transferwise’s transfer fees can be very high – their pricing structure varies depending on the amount being transferred, ranging from €2 for a transfer up to €400 to 0.5% as the transfer amounts get larger. So, if you transferred £10,000 to France with Transferwise, you’d have to pay an extra €10.67 than if you’d used CurrencyFair.

transferwise-currencyfair-feb2nd-1305pm

Not in a hurry? If you’re happy to wait for an even better exchange rate than the always excellent rate using CurrencyFair’s “Create an Auto-Transaction”, you can opt for CurrencyFair’s Exchange (previously our “marketplace”) to post your funds and wait to see who matches you at an amazing rate. We call it our peer-to-peer or money matching system. You can find out a little more on the difference between Auto-Transaction and the Exchange here. Unfortunately, unlike us, Transferwise doesn’t pass on any savings that come when there are more people using the system. Don’t get us wrong – that’s still better than a big bank, but our unique peer-to-peer system lets people power take over and improve the exchange rate even further. That’s why we encourage everyone to spread the word about CurrencyFair.

Finally, don’t forget that with CurrencyFair (because of our unique peer-to-peer system) you have the potential to beat the interbank rate (the rate that the big banks use amongst themselves). No other company can offer that.

Travelex

travelex-logoLike MoneyCorp, Travelex is a big player in the airport currency exchange scene. We know that it is always expensive when you exchange money at the airport. That’s life – people need money at airports and we have no problem with Travelex charging extra when providing physical locations. We just wonder why they would need to be €132.35 more expensive than CurrencyFair when transferring, say, £10,000 to Euros online? Shouldn’t their international money transfers be a lot cheaper if done online?

Western Union

western-union-logoWestern Union are synonymous with remittance payments across the globe, but they also offer online bank transfers so it’s only fair to include them in our comparisons. According to their online price calculator, sending £5,000 to a Euro account would get you €6,889.50 (9th Dec 2015, 11:40am) – compared to €6874.50 with CurrencyFair, however this is based in the current interbank rate only – the text below the calculator explains why, at a glance, these rates do appear to be pretty good:

western-union-calculator

The rates displayed by our free currency converter are neither “buy” nor “sell” rates. They are the current interbank rates, which are the wholesale exchange rates between banks for transaction amounts over $5 million USD. They do not include spreads or handling fees that may be charged by any foreign exchange provider. Please note that these rates will vary from the rates available to our private and small business customers, due to transaction sizes and processing costs. These rates are therefore provided for indicative purposes only. Please log in to your Online FX account to see the rates we offer to customers.

OFX

ukforex-logoWe like the fact that OFX are taking it to the big banks and trying to be more reasonable when it comes to online international money transfers. Whilst they are still a lot more expensive than CurrencyFair, they are cheaper than the big banks and we applaud them for their efforts. Of course, there’s room for improvement. An example £10,000 international money transfer from the UK to France would cost €111.25 more than if you used CurrencyFair.

Ulster Bank

ulsterbank-logoThis newspaper article included Ulster Bank in review of bank-provided currency exchange:

“Don’t be lured by promises of commission-free foreign exchange as this doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll get more bang for your buck. Be careful too to check the foreign exchange rate offered by your bank — as many of these rates have hefty margins built into them.”

We agree. The trick is to look out for the exchange rate they give you, and compare it to the amazing exchange rate offered by CurrencyFair. Our exchange rate is so good because of our ‘people power’ (is it too late for us to copyright that phrase?) – our unique peer-to-peer money matching system provides you with well-deserved savings. Check out our Currency Exchange Calculator.

XE.com

xe-logoXE was the brainchild of Steven Dengler and Beric Farmer, who in 1995 introduced the web’s dominant currency converter to the world. Since then, they’ve gone from strength to strength and are rightly proud to be

“…one of the last remaining independent first-wave Internet companies around”.

Once registered with their site, the numbers and rates you see are the real rates your transfer will realise – and we like that transparency. However, in terms of saving money, you’d be £69.93 better off using CurrencyFair when sending €10,000 to GBP (January 4th 2016, 12:00pm).

£7,287.57 (XE) v £7,357.50 (CurrencyFair)

xe-jan4

Neteller

neteller-logoIn fairness, Neteller offer some very innovative payment solutions, such as prepaid Mastercards and mobile payments, but for comparison we’ll be looking at their overseas bank to bank transfer option only.

While it’s free to deposit from your bank account in the UK (as it should be), they charge €7.50 (£5) to withdraw back out from your Neteller account. On top of this, there are the currency exchange fees, which adds a whopping 3.39% charge to the daily market interbank rate. (this charge gets lower if you become a VIP member, however).

At this rate, if you were to send £10,000 to a EUR account using Neteller’s bank transfer option today (11.09am, March 9th, 2016 – 1 GBP = 1.29743 EUR), you’d end up with €12,529.47. Using CurrencyFair would get you €12928, a rather significant difference of €398.53!

WorldFirst

world-first-logoWorldFirst pride themselves on offering better exchange rates then the banks, with lightning fast transfer times. They’ve won the 2014 European Business Award for Customer Focus and the 2013 Customer Experience Award (Financial Services – Banking and Investment), so we do like that aspect!

However, how do they compare to our rates? As with most online providers (not us!), their calculator simply uses the current interbank rate, with their fees and charges mentioned below, yet no exact figure given. So, we checked MoneySuperMarket.com to see what they were offering.

At 11:38am, March 9th 2016, you’d receive €12,705.66 when sending £9,900 to a EUR account. With CurrencyFair, the amount received would be €12,798.69, which is €93.03 more.

worldfirst-fx

WorldRemit

Another company pushing innovative payment solutions is WorldRemit, who offer payments not only via bank deposit but also cash and mobile.

However, from a pure currency conversion angle, you’re still better off using us. As of September 7th 2017, at 1pm, sending £10,000 from the UK to a EUR account in France would result in €10806.50 received at the other end. Using CurrencyFair, you’d get €10882.00, a significant saving of €75.50.

worldremit

TransferGo

In terms of transparency, TransferGo are one of the better providers out there. All fees are clear, and the amount you see on their calculator doesn’t hide behind the usual “rates shown are indicative only” nonsense.

transfergo-march15th-1345

We like that.

They charge a flat fee per transaction, as well as between 0.6% and 1.5% on the currency conversion itself. These costs fluctuate depending on which currency you are sending and receiving. However, you will know exactly how much you’ll get thanks to their transparency.

Is TransferGo cheaper than CurrencyFair though? No – not when we checked on March 15th 2016. At 1:46pm, sending £10,000 from a UK account to France would result in €12,710.64, compared to €12756.09 with ourselves, a difference of €45.45 in CurrencyFair’s favour.

Xendpay.com

transfergo-march15th-1345

Xendpay has a “Pay What You Want” model or “PWYW” for a personal account that transfers up to £2,000 per annum. You can Pay What You Want for any transfers of up to £4,000 per annum when you have a business account. Above these amounts, Xendpay charges a low transfer fee which depends on the currency you’re sending to, in most cases 0.45% or 1.4% with a minimum fee.

With CurrencyFair, we prefer to keep fees fair and transparent at all times. For a business paying invoices, salaries, and expenses it will reach the limit of £4,000 quickly and the have a varying fee applied after. Where with CurrencyFair have a flat fee of charge €3 or £2.50 applies no matter how much you transfer and we don’t limit on transfer amounts for either personal or business accounts.

Save On International Money Transfers

So there you have it – the best money transfer companies compared. We’ll keep an eye on the industry and will continue to add new companies as they join the scene.

Don’t forget to spread the word about CurrencyFair!

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