- Send more than 40 currencies to 180 countries
- Multi-currency accounts
- No transfer fees
- 24/7 app and online transfers
- Exchange rate alerts
- AutoWithdraw option
- Use app anywhere in the world
Currencies Direct is a well-known website that facilitates online money transfers and has been around for over 25 years. The company has an impressive clientele list that numbers in the hundreds of thousands, and the number of money transfers sent each year is over a billion British pounds. Before you continue reading our Currencies Direct review, check out our quick verdict:
One reason for its success is that Currencies Direct was an early adopter of zero-fee transfers when most banks and online money transfers did not offer that perk. Now, in addition to the no-fee mentality, they have created an app available for both the iPhone and Android.
About the Company
Created in the late 1990s, Currencies Direct is a web-based service that allows you to cheaply and quickly exchange and send money at a competitive rate. You can use the website on several different browsers and mobile platforms via its free apps.
You can create money transfers to/from over 180 countries in over 40 currencies using the SWIFT network. This network assigns each institution an ID code that identifies the bank’s name, branch, city, and country, providing an extra layer of protection.
Unlike its competitors, Currencies Direct does not charge transfer fees. Instead, they make their revenue from the buy/sell spread. Be aware that third parties may charge other fees that the website cannot control or change. For example, using a credit card may incur a fee from your own credit card company.
Pros and Cons
- iOS or Google Play app with access to your account, market news, transfers, tracking, and exchange rates
- Multi/currency accounts for corporate clients
- Best exchange rate alerts
- No monthly charges
- Purchase currency at a fantastic exchange rate and use it later
- Available same currency transfers
- No payment fees
- No cancel option once a transfer has begun
- Online transfer limit at £25,000 British pounds
- Transfer minimum of £100
- Does not include every African currency
No transfer fees are charged by the company itself, regardless of the country to which you are sending money. In contrast, a typical brick-and-mortar bank will almost always charge a fee.
However, the transfers do incur a 0.1% receiving fee, which Currencies Direct includes in the exchange rate. Keep in mind that SWIFT may also charge a per-transaction fee which Currencies Direct does not regulate.
Where Is Currencies Direct Available?
In our opinion, the convenience of using the app anywhere in the world is one of its significant advantages. You no longer need to visit a storefront to transfer funds if you already do all your business online.
How Does It Work?
Currencies Direct offers simple transfers online or on their app at any time, day or night. They focus on currency rates so you can get the best rates for your transfer.
The company allows you to set up rate alerts, which are convenient for when you want to wait until the best exchange rate occurs for your chosen currency, potentially saving you money. You can select a specific rate alert for up to a year if you’re able to wait for your currency transfer.
Once you have the exchange rate you want, you can even buy currency and save it for use at a later date.
You can transfer money online or download the app on iOS or Google Play for free. Using the app, you can set up an account, read market news, make transfers, track them, view exchange rates, set rate alerts, and buy currencies.
How to Create an Account
Before you start creating your account, make sure you have the proper documents on hand.
For personal accounts, you need the following:
- Phone number
- Full Name
- ID number, which varies by country. For US citizens, they must include their social security number or a driver’s license number.
For UK companies, have the following information readily available:
- Phone number
- Full name
- Copies of your driver’s license or passport
- Recent official form with your name and address printed on it for proof of address (for example, a utility bill)
For non-UK companies, you will need the above documents and:
- Annual tax return with shareholder names
- Business bank statement or certificate of incorporation
Have these on hand when you are creating your account to speed up the process. By asking for several forms of ID, the website stays within the boundaries of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
You will also have to verify via email or a phone call from a rep to make sure you are the person creating the account. Next, open the text from the company that contains your PIN that you will need to get into your account. You can change all the passwords once you’re inside your account page.
Once you are accepted and logged in, you can start an online money transfer. First, choose your currencies and then check the daily exchange rate. You can make a transfer right then or buy currency to hold and transfer at a later date if you don’t like the rate displayed.
Then, add a recipient’s name and contact information and your payment method, whether bank account or credit card. It’s going to be cheaper if you connect your bank account instead of a credit card.
Type in the reason for the transfer, which you will need for your record-keeping accounts. You could also create a rate alert, so you are sure to get a stellar rate on your next transfer.
Next, you will get to a transfer confirmation page. A “Transfer Summary” section will populate, which shows you the exact rate and fees you will pay. Review all fields before pressing “confirm.” Once you hit that button, you won’t be able to cancel.
When Currencies Direct receives your request, you can track the progress on the app or website. The company also emails you when the transfer successfully goes through. They usually can approve the application in 24 hours, as long as you have included all the necessary documents.
A bonus feature – and one of our favorite options – is their friend referral program. If you refer someone to the website using your link and they make a transfer within 90 days, you can get an Amazon voucher as a reward.
Types of Transactions
Currencies Direct offers three main currency products:
- Spot contract
- Forward contract
- Limit order
The most common transaction made on the website is a spot contract, which is simply a single transfer into another currency. Or, you could set up an automatic recurring payment if you want to create a customized schedule without having to constantly log into the site. This method is helpful if you have employees you need to pay regularly or certain payment obligations that recur.
A forward contract lets you choose a preferred exchange rate and lock it in for up to a year. A foreign currency option would give you the right to buy a chosen currency at a set rate, but you are not obligated to buy it.
For larger businesses that have customers worldwide, Currencies Direct allows them to utilize a multi-currency account. You can also keep your cash in your account for as long as you want, but you won’t earn interest on that money. The ability to save funds in your account lets you quickly transfer money without having to separately fund each transfer and go through that process every time.
Finally, setting up a market order would allow you to wait for a targeted rate, and the site will automatically make the transfer for you. This type of transfer is best if you can wait a few days or weeks for a better rate. The site will let you know when it hits your target rate, so you don’t have to keep checking the site every day.
You can pay for your transfers with either a bank account or a credit card, but be aware of any associated fees with a credit card payment. The cheapest way to convert money is to use your bank account, and that’s the same advantage across all money transfer websites. Actually, a lot of similar sites will not even accept credit cards.
For e-commerce sellers on sites like Amazon, eBay, etc., Currencies Direct can transfer your money from these accounts into your business bank account. As such, foreign sellers especially enjoy using this site, per several online reviews. E-commerce sellers can work in any country and accept various currencies while ensuring they can get a good exchange rate on the app.
Looking at Trustpilot, the company has a 4.8 rating out of 5. Eighty-eight percent of its clients gave it a rating of “Excellent,” and only three percent said it was “Bad.” The company has replied to 87% of their negative reviews. Most of the reviews say the customer service was exceptionally prompt and helpful via the phone. Many reviewers mention the favorable exchange rate as a reason why they continue to use the app.
Some of the negative reviews say that the fee for smaller transfers is too high. Delays are another complaint.
Is My Money Safe with Currencies Direct?
Your funds are held on trust within a separate account that does not commingle with company funds. This procedure follows an obligatory Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation. Additionally, Dun & Bradstreet gives the company a level 1 credit rating, which is a low-risk category. In other words, your money is safe with Currencies Direct.
Additionally, users receive a notification via email or text when their transfers are complete. The company stays in contact with the user during and after the transfer to make sure everything goes through correctly.
The site also has TLS encryption, which keeps your information secure during your visit. Look for the small, green padlock on the upper left corner of the address bar to confirm that your information is protected. Also, the site uses two-factor authentication. That means it requires the visitor to verify their identity twice before being allowed to access the account. This extra protection is critical if you are going to hold funds inside your account like a bank account.
How Long Do Currencies Direct Transfers Take?
The typical online transfer speed is about two to four days, which may be too long for some people to wait. Other online transfer services advertise their speed between one and five business days.
The speed depends on what types of currencies you are transferring between. For example, US dollars, euros, and British pounds are usually same-day transfers. Currencies from smaller countries will typically take closer to four days.
Who Owns Currencies Direct?
Established by Peter Ellis and Mayank Patel, it took three years for them to launch the company in Spain in 1995. About 20 years later, in 2015, the two entrepreneurs sold the company to Palamon Capital and Corsair Capital for over £200 million.
Today, it has more than 20 offices worldwide that cater to its corporate and private clients. Its main office, however, is located in London.
The Bottom Line
We think that Currencies Direct is a great way to transfer money and save while you do so. With the exchange rate alert and no transfer fees, you don’t have to spend an exuberant amount of money to transfer funds. It is one of the oldest and best-known online money transfer services available, which speaks volumes of its reliability.
However, remember that you cannot cancel a transaction once it has begun, and Currencies Direct does put limits on the amount you can transfer.
With over 150,000 happy clients worldwide who transfer billions a year, Currencies Direct seems like a safe choice for money transfers. Still, do your research and check out some reviews to make sure the company is reputable and in legal standing.