There appears to be no limits whatsoever when it comes to the peer-to-peer phenomenon. Whether it’s taxi rides via Uber, apartments through Airbnb, or lending and borrowing funds online – the peer-to-peer process allows consumers to exchange value with limited reliance on the third-party intermediary.
As such, it was only a matter of time before the peer-to-peer space found its way to the multi-trillion dollar international money transfer industry. One of the first innovators to realize the benefits of a peer-to-peer money transfer service is that of CurrencyFair.
In a nutshell, CurrencyFair gives you the option of choosing your own foreign exchange rate. If another user within the CurrencyFair ecosystem is happy to take the same rate, you can exchange currencies on a peer-to-peer basis.
In terms of the exchange – by sending the required funds in your local currency to CurrencyFair, the platform will then forward the funds in the beneficiary’s local currency – directly into their bank account. In doing so, not only is the process much faster than using the SWIFT network via a traditional financial institution, but it is also significantly cheaper.
If this sounds like something that you would like to explore further to assess whether the process is conducive for your international transfer needs, be sure to read our in-depth CurrencyFair review.
We’ll cover everything from how the money transfer process works, what kind of rates you’re likely to get, what fees you need to consider, how long transfers typically take, and more.
What is CurrencyFair?
- 1 What is CurrencyFair?
- 2 How does CurrencyFair Work?
- 3 How Much Does CurrencyFair Cost? Fees and Exchange Rates
- 4 Peer-to-Peer Exchange Marketplace
- 5 How Long do CurrencyFair Transfers Take?
- 6 What Currencies are Supported?
- 7 CurrencyFair Review: The Bottom Line?
- 8 CurrencyFair
- 9 Pros
- 10 Cons
CurrencyFair is a third-party money transfer company that allows you to send funds to your chosen beneficiary via its website. Launched in 2009, the platform is headquartered in Ireland, although it also has offices in the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia.
The overarching concept of the CurrencyFair platform is that everyday consumers can now benefit from fast money transfers that come with a cost that is substantially lower than what established providers charge.
In fact, the team at CurrencyFair claims that its money transfer service is 8 times cheaper than what banks typically charge – resulting in more than €230 million in savings for its customers since the company’s inception. More specifically, this amounts to an average foreign exchange rate that is just 0.4% above the mid-market rate.
While the specific money transfer process itself isn’t too dissimilar to the process executed by its main market rivals, it is the peer-to-peer exchange rate system that makes CurrencyFair stand out.
Through the CurrencyFair Exchange, buyers and sellers of competing currencies are brought together, subsequently allowing users to benefit from more competitive exchange rates on their respective currencies. If a suitable match can’t be facilitated, then you will have the option of taking the best available market rate at the time of the transfer
How does CurrencyFair Work?
In order to show you how the CurrencyFair international transfer system typically works, we have outlined the general step-by-step process below.
Step 1: Open an account
First and foremost, you will need to head over to the CurrencyFair website and open an account. You do this online or via your mobile web browser. You will be asked a number of questions pertaining to your personal identity, such as your full name, home address, date of birth, and contact details.
Step 2: Verify your identity
You will now be asked to enter your government-issued document number. In most cases, this will need to be either your passport or driver’s license number. The CurrencyFair system will then attempt to verify your identity by cross-referencing the information with its third-party sources.
If the system is unable to do this automatically, CurrencyFair will prompt you to upload your document. The system should be able to verify the authenticity of the document automatically, meaning that the verification process shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.
Step 3: Choose your currencies and how much you need to send
Once you have completed the account registration process, you can then make your first international transfer. You will need to select where you are sending the money from (by default this will be your home country and currency), and to which country you are looking to send the funds to.
The local currency will match that of your chosen destination.
You also need to enter the amount that you wish to send. You will do this by stating the figure in your local currency, with the opposing currency amount updating in real-time as and when you type it in.
At this stage of the process, you will be given a full breakdown of the fees involved. If you want to proceed, move on to the next step.
Step 4: Enter details pertaining to the beneficiary
You will now need to enter details about the person you are sending the funds to. As CurrencyFair will be forwarding the funds onto the receiver’s local bank account, you will need to enter their bank details. As the payment is not going through SWIFT, you won’t need to provide the BIC and IBAN numbers associated with the account. On the contrary, you will be entering the local bank account number for the beneficiary, as if you were executing a domestic bank transfer.
Step 5: Pay for your CurrencyFair transfer
Once you’ve provided CurrencyFair with the transfer fundamentals, you will then need to fund it. You have two options at your disposal in this respect – a bank account transfer or a debit card.
If opting for a bank account transfer, you will be sending the funds directly to the bank account of CurrencyFair. The specific account details that you need to send the funds to will depend on your country of residence. For example, if you’re based in the UK, you’ll be making a domestic transfer to another UK bank account.
If opting or a debit card, you will need to enter your card details directly into the CurrencyFair payment portal, and the transaction will be processed instantly.
Step 6: Wait for the funds to arrive
As soon as CurrencyFair receives your payment, they will then take care of the rest. In a nutshell, CurrencyFair will use one of its local bank accounts that is based in the beneficiary’s country of residence. As such, although the exact funding timeframe will vary from country-to-country and bank-to-bank, it shouldn’t take more than 1-2 days.
How Much Does CurrencyFair Cost? Fees and Exchange Rates
When using an international money transfer service, one of your primary concerns should be around fees. In the case of CurrencyFair, you need to make considerations on two key fronts – the flat commission fee, and the specific exchange rate that you are able to get.
- Flat Commission Fee: In the vast majority of cases, you will pay a flat commission fee of £2.50 per transfer, or the equivalent in your local currency. This fee remains constant irrespective of how much you are sending.
- Exchange Rate Markup: You will also need to pay an exchange rate mark-up when sending funds via CurrencyFair. While the specific mark-up will vary depending on a range of factors, this typically averages 0.4% above the mid-market rate.
For example, if you were to transfer £2,000 to a relative in Australia, you would pay £2.50 in commission, and £6 in exchange rate fees, taking the total cost to just £8.50.
Peer-to-Peer Exchange Marketplace
If you are not in a rush to make your transfer, it is well worth seeing if you can get an even better exchange rate via the CurrencyFair marketplace. In a nutshell, you are offered the chance to state your required exchange rate, which is then posted to the marketplace.
If [A] another user is looking to obtain your currency, and [B] is holding the currency that you want, and [C] they are happy to take your stated exchange rate, CurrencyFair will execute the trade on your behalf.
However, the platform will charge you between 0.25% and 0.3% of the amount that you transfer, so in reality, you’re not saving a considerable amount by doing it this way.
How Long do CurrencyFair Transfers Take?
Once again, there is no hard and fast rule as to how long a specific transfer will take, as it depends on a number of variables. This includes the amount you are sending, where the money is going to, and how quickly the respective bank is able to settle the funds. However, CurrencyFair notes that in most cases, transfers are typically executed within 1-2 working days.
What Currencies are Supported?
At the time of writing, CurrencyFair supports the following currencies:
We have reviewed other money transfer services here on MoneyCheck, as follows:
- Transferwise Review
- XE Money Transfer Review
- World Remit Review
- MoneyGram Review
- OFX Review
- Skrill Review
CurrencyFair Review: The Bottom Line?
In summary, using the CurrencyFair platform to send money abroad is as simple as it gets. You simply need to enter the amount that you wish to send and to who, pay for the transfer, and then CurrencyFair will take care of the rest.
Moreover, with a flat commission fee of £2.50 and an average foreign exchange mark-up of just 0.4%, the platform is really well priced. Moreover ─ although the potential savings are somewhat minute, we really like the peer-to-peer currency exchange marketplace that the platform offers.
The only chink in the armor for us is that the transfer timeframe could be faster. In fact, companies like TransferWise are often able to complete the entire end-to-end process on a same-day basis.