- Low-cost transfers
- Set your own rate
- Live conversion rate
- Multi-currency account
- Business account
If you’re looking for a quick, effective, and affordable way to access international currency transfer, then CurrencyFair claims to be the solution. First established in 2009, the Ireland-based business has only become more prolific and successful in its specific niche – offering cost-effective exchanges through an innovative customer-to-customer approach.
So, is CurrencyFair as great as it seems? Or do you need to know a little more to have a clear idea of whether this currency transfer service is best for you? Read our CurrencyFair review to find out more about what this service can offer, whether it’s worth your time, and what you can do with it.
But first, here’s our short verdict:
CurrencyFair is a solid and trustworthy money transferring platform that has been in business for more than 10 years. It offers very competitive fx rates and a transparent flat fee. They are a mature company that will not disappoint personal but also business users.
What is CurrencyFair?
CurrencyFair is one of many international currency transfer services, joining a host of other online companies offering alternatives to an old-fashioned and often costly exchange market.
It was founded in 2009 by co-founders Brett Meyers, Jonathan Potter, Sean Barrett, and David Christian.
The Irish fintech company has its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and has offices in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Pros and cons
- Both personal and business accounts
- Low-cost transfer
- Same-day transfers on most major currencies
- Fully licensed and regulated
- Send money to 150+ countries
- Limited depositing options
- Not available in the USA
- Mobile wallets aren’t supported
- Limited number of currencies
There are plenty of good things to say about CurrencyFair, but are there any downsides to consider? One of the things that hold the platform back is the lack of choice for funding transfers.
Only bank transfer and debit cards are supported, cutting out the hundreds of other secure payment methods people worldwide use every day. The lack of support for USA accounts may also be a problem for some potential users.
Beyond those technical downsides, CurrencyFair is generally a robust all-around contender. While there is some concern that the platform holds your cash before it’s sent on – therefore gaining interest on your money – this is generally considered a small price to pay with such low exchange rates and fees.
- No fees for bank deposit
- Small fee for Express Debit
- Transfer fee of €3 ($4)
Why is CurrencyFair so special?
The goal of CurrencyFair is to provide its customers with an automatic process at a reduced price, using a peer-to-peer exchange. By cutting out the middleman, users can avoid those costly fees and get their hands on currency at a far more attractive rate.
Why would you want to choose CurrencyFair for your currency transfer needs? There are plenty of reasons why customers rave about the business, but the primary plus is the considerable cost reduction.
Whereas banks can charge upward of 5%, CurrencyFair charges a far more attractive 0.45%, in addition to €3 for QuickTrade. So even if you’re not big on your math, you can see how that works out.
Even better, if you’re happy to do the legwork yourself and wait for a real-time exchange in the Marketplace, you’ll only be charged 0.15% for the transfer. Now that’s good value for money.
The wide range on offer is another advantage to CurrencyFair. 150+ countries and 22 currencies are great for any service, especially as many businesses diversify into specific currencies.
The platform is also highly regulated, which means your transfer is safe and sound under Irish and Australian regulatory requirements.
The advantage of coverage both in the UK and Australia also means they’re available around the clock for support and any queries you may have, which is a significant advantage for those new to the world of currency transfer.
Where is CurrencyFair available?
CurrencyFair currently allows the exchange of 20 different currencies through their platform and sending money to and from 150+ countries – a recent increase thanks to their expansion into Asian territories. Support is included to send money to what could be considered ‘big ticket’ locations, including the UK, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and more.
In terms of actually creating accounts, CurrencyFair currently allows registration from a wide range of countries, including the UK, UAE, South Africa, Italy, Greece, and many others. Unfortunately, the USA doesn’t make the list – which may be a downside for some interested parties. You can find the complete list of supported countries here.
How to open a CurrencyFair personal account?
Opening a personal CurrencyFair account is pretty straightforward. You can start the process by going to their website, filling in your email address and password, or signing up with your Facebook account.
After that, fill in your name, country of residence, the purpose for opening the account, and accept terms and conditions.
How does the verification process work?
To complete a CurrencyFair exchange, the company will need to verify your identity. In addition, you will need to send them a copy of your passport and/or driver’s license and complete a selfie check.
The good news is that you can be done with account verification ahead of time by uploading your ID and address documents. That way, your account will be ready for money transfer by the time you need it.
Acceptable proof of address documents are copies of any of the following that isn’t older than 3 months:
- Bank Statement
- Credit Card Statement
- Driver’s License
- Utility Bills such as internet, electricity, gas, water, phone bill
- Local Council Notices
- Revenue Notices (Annual Tax Certificates)
- Household Insurance or Renewal Notice
- Insurance documents
How does CurrencyFair work?
So, what does CurrencyFair do differently, and how does it all work? First, while traditional banks will act as the middleman in the transfer process, CurrencyFair does away with that extra step by connecting people that would like to exchange directly.
Are you looking for some GBP? This person would like some EUR, so CurrencyFair then sets up the exchange for a nominal fee. Essentially, the platform acts as a match-maker – pairing up people who would like to exchange with great success.
This means no long processing times, no confusing rates and fees, and no back-and-forth to get the type of cash you’d like. CurrencyFair creates a kind of account for users, where their money is stored securely until the transfer is fully completed.
The Marketplace service that CurrencyFair also offers allows you to save even more cash by getting in a queue for your exchange if you’ve got the time and patience. With billions of exchange transactions completed through the service, it must be doing something right.
How does CurrencyFair determine its exchange rates?
CurrencyFair users set exchange rates. In the event that no customers are providing a competitive rate for your exchange, CurrencyFair will step in and match you.
When customers match each other, CurrencyFair charges 0.25-0.3% of the amount exchanged. When CurrencyFair matches you, the fee will be 0.4-0.6%. That means that you’ll pay anywhere from 0.1% to 0.6%, plus a fixed transfer fee of around $4.
Choose your own rate
Choosing this option allows you to control your exchange rate. You can complete your Transfer out once your order is matched. To choose your own rate:
- Select Choose your own rate on the right-hand side of the screen
- Use the slide bar to select the rate you wish to obtain
- As you move the slide bar, the graph on the left-hand side will show you where the rate you are requesting is compared to where the rate has been over the last 3 months
- Your exchange has now been set up
- Wait to be matched
To cancel your open exchange:
- Select ‘Transaction Overview’ in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen
- Select ‘Exchanges’ located on the top right-hand side of the screen
- Locate the open exchange in the list and select ‘More Details’
- Select ‘Cancel Exchange’
- If you are sure you want to cancel this exchange, select ‘Cancel exchange’
How to transfer money with CurrencyFair
After you’ve completed the registration and verification process, you can send money to other people using your CurrencyFair account.
- Log in to your CurrencyFair dashboard and select ‘Send money’
- Next, enter the amount of money you want to send and the sending and receiving currency
- Add the name of the account holder and the country
- Type in the account number and the sort code
- Add an optional reference
- Select purpose of the transfer
- Enter the code sent to your phone
- Select your deposit
- Free bank transfer
- Express deposit by debit card for a fee
- Confirm deposit
- Log into your online banking app and transfer the deposit into the CurrencyFair account
- Make sure to enter CurrencyFair account number, IBAN, SWIFT/BIC, and transfer reference
How long do CurrencyFair transfers take?
The process of money transfer depends on the deposit method, currencies involved, and weekends and bank holidays in both sending and receiving countries. It should take between 1 and 5 working days to complete.
You can find estimated processing times by entering your in and out currency on their website. The best time to send money is in the morning, as most banks have a cut-off time in the early afternoon, and transfers after that are not sent until the following day.
Using the CurrencyFair app couldn’t be simpler:
- Deposit into your CurrencyFair account
- Exchange your funds via the app
- Transfer the funds out to your recipient account
CurrencyFair for business
CurrencyFair offers not only a personal account but also a business account. It allows you to pay workers, suppliers, and contractors from abroad in up to 22 currencies. The main advantage is a flat fee of only €3/$4 per transfer and competitive fx rates.
You can also avail of other features that are present in the personal account as well. Things like receiving international payments from over 150 countries, cheap fx rates, fast transfers, but also multi-user access, and the ability to use the CurrencyFair app to easily pay invoices or transfer money.
How to register for a business account?
So, how do you register for the free business account? First, visit the CurrencyFair website on your desktop and hit ‘Get started’. Then choose ‘Business Account’ and enter your business email and create a password.
Add your name and country of incorporation and agree to T&Cs. Next, you’ll have to provide detailed information about your business for regulatory reasons. The info ranges from your phone number, position in the company, and your nationality to the business name, type, number of employees, annual turnover, and other such information.
The next step is to fill in information about your directors and beneficial owners. The last step involves uploading proof of identity and proof of address for all directors.
How is CurrencyFair regulated?
CurrencyFair is authorized as a Payment Institution by the Central Bank of Ireland, as well as by the ASIC in Australia and the FCA in the UK.
Is my money safe with CurrencyFair?
Customer funds are ring-fenced to ensure maximum security and protection, meaning your money is in safe hands.
Who owns CurrencyFair?
CurrencyFair was founded in 2009 by Brett Meyers, David Christian, Jonathan Potter, Sean Barrett. Its headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland.
The company raised more than $24 million from 10 rounds of funding.
It has 5 investors that include Frontline Ventures, Enterprise Ireland, Octopus Ventures, Proxy Ventures, and Claret Capital Partners.
CurrencyFair has a 4.6-star rating out of 5 on Trustpilot, with 83% of 5k reviewers giving it an excellent mark and only 4% a bad one. With a 4.6 score, CurrencyFair placed the same as Wise (4.6), but lower than Paysend (4.7), and higher than WorldRemit (4.1), and Remitly (4.4).
CurrencyFair currently only offers customer support by email at email@example.com and via chatbot located on their website. There’s also a contact form there. Unfortunately, at the time, there’s no phone support which is a shame, but you can apparently request a callback via email.
Wise, formerly known as TransferWise got famous for transferring money quickly, cheaply, and transparently across the world. By charging thin fees compared to high street banks and other online payment providers and using the real exchange rate when converting currencies, Wise has quickly become a top choice for both personal and business international bank transfers.
First established in 2010, WorldRemit’s service aims to offer their customers cheaper money transfers, a smoother experience, and a more convenient process for all parties involved. However, depending on where you’re sending money to, the platform may not be the most cost-effective.
Paysend was established in 2017 and has quickly made a name for itself as one of the latest generations of modern money transfer services on the market. Their streamlined approach allows users to quickly and practically transfer money to other people without confusing choices or complicated processes with different transfer methods.
The bottom line
Is CurrencyFair the currency transfer solution for you? That all depends on what you’re trying to do. If your country is supported, and you’re looking for low-cost transfers, then this platform might be the right fit.
It’s always worth doing your research, but with consistently positive customer reviews and a history of exceptional security and customer service, CurrencyFair isn’t a bad place to start by any means.
Adrian Volenik is a fintech enthusiast who loves testing and reviewing digital banking apps and financial products in general. How many digital banking accounts can one man have? Not enough, if you ask Adrian. As his wallet will soon explode if he doesn’t cut back on the number of cards.