Home > Currencies Direct Review: Are they a safe way to transfer money abroad?

Expert Review

Currencies Direct was the first money transfer provider in Europe and was launched in 1996 by Mayank Patel and Peter Ellis.

It allows customers to transfer money online, through the company’s app, in one of its branches or over the phone with the help of an account manager.

New customers need to register by filling out an online form, then they agree a currency amount and exchange rate. Customers send their money to Currencies Direct via card or bank transfer, and it can then be sent to more than 200 countries in over 40 currencies.

Currencies Direct has a network of 22 offices around the world and serves more than 325,000 personal, business and online selling clients.

Currencies Direct Expert Review

Currencies Direct provides both personal and business transfers and its service for individuals includes 24/7 transfers with no fees, rate alerts and the option to buy currency in advance. Products include spot contracts, forward contracts, and limit orders. Business clients can access batch payments, local collection accounts and a range of risk management tools.

The company made more than 550,000 payments last year, trading £7.5bn in currency. It has the highest level 1 credit rating with Dun & Bradstreet.

Currencies Direct Currency Transfers

Transferring money with Currencies Direct is straightforward. You set up an account, send your money to them using bank transfer or debit card in USD, EUR or GBP.

You then choose the currency that you want to send money in, book a rate through their website, through the app or by calling an account manager. Once you have provided your details and those of the receiver, Currencies Direct converts it and deposits it in the recipient’s bank account.

Where Currencies Direct compares favourably to competitors is in its global reach, with offices on five continents in countries such as France, UK, India, China and South Africa. It also has more than 500 staff, with many account managers who are multilingual.

With bespoke services for both personal and business clients, it is an all-rounder which is especially well-equipped for use by online sellers, or anyone involved in the import/export trade, buying property overseas, emigrating or sending money to loved ones.

However, you can only send up to £25,000 24/7 online via desktop, smartphone or through the app with higher amounts having to be arranged over the phone.

Currencies Direct Exchange Rates, Charges & Fees

There are no transfer fees and no charges for most Currencies Direct transactions, no hidden fees or commissions, with 90% of its transactions being free. If there is a fee, the company said it will contact you first.

No transfer fees provides scope for significant savings, given that some banks can charge up to £25.

Live exchange rates are updated around the clock. Once you join you can log in and check live exchange rates instantly online. You can also set up rate alerts.

New online seller customers can open an account for free and there are no monthly charges or payment fees. There is a 0.1% receiving fee applied to all funds collected on an account.

Same currency transfers are also available at a competitive rate, with customers being asked to contact the company for the latest details.

Currencies Direct do not display fees, but offer the below rates in our quote comparison tool:

0 – 1,000 1.20%
1,000 to 10,000 1%
10,000 to 100k 1%
100k to 500k 1%
500k to 1m 1%
Over 1m 1%

Currencies Direct Money Transfers

Currencies Direct lets you transfer funds in 60 different currencies, ranging from the Swiss Franc to the Fijian Dollar, but the company adds that if you cannot find the currency of your choice to contact them and discuss your requirements.

It generally does not cost anything to transfer money but if there are charges, Currencies Direct said it will contact you beforehand.

Currencies Direct compares favourably to other providers in terms of cost – the lack of transfer fees is a major potential money-saver. Likewise, the range of currencies you are able to transfer money to is impressive, although smaller than some rivals. The company prides itself on local knowledge, with offices all over the world and multilingual account managers.

Currencies Direct Customer Support

Currencies Direct has dedicated account managers which provide support over the phone on 020 7847 9400. Customers can call them to transfer funds as well as access general support and advice.

Once registered with Currencies Direct you can also access the online system 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and obtain expert guidance on the markets from the company’s team of specialists.

Their team can also provide live market quotes and assist you in the choice of the transfer services that best suit your needs.

Customer services is something the company says it prides itself on and it has a five-star Trustpilot rating.

Currencies Direct Live Exchange Rates

Live exchange rates are currency exchange rates which are updated in real time.  Currencies Direct provides live exchange rates 24/7 which can be accessed by simply logging on to your account.

Exchange rates are important because if you are transferring money into another currency, the rate will determine how much of the new currency your existing currency is worth.

At any given time this figure can go up or down, which is why it is vital to be able to view the latest live rates. You can follow exchange rates on its currency charts page.

You can also tell Currencies Direct what your target exchange rate is and they will buy the currency on your behalf when the target is hit.

You pay a small markup on existing interbank/mid-market exchange rates which is typically less than 1%. The higher the transfer amount, the lower the margin is. This is similar to rivals such as TorFX. Currencies Direct also compare their rates against the banks every month using the International Money Transfer Index (IMTI).

Currencies Direct currently advertises its rate at 1.1441 compared to rival TorFX at 1.1418. These compare to high street banks such as Bank of Scotland (1.1159), Barclays (1.1266) and HSBC (1.1213) – which translates as a saving of £194 when you transfer £10,000 into Euros with Currencies Direct.

Currencies Direct Available Currencies

There is a large range of more than 60 currencies, this is the same as rival TorFX, but less than Moneycorp at 120.

The currencies available at Currencies Direct include AUD, CAD, DKK, EUR, HUF, INR, JPY, MUR, MAD, NZD, NOK, PLN, RON, SGD, ZAR, SEK, CHF, THB, AED, USD, HKD, and RMB. Customers can contact the company if they require currency that is not on the list.

You can send money to more than 200 countries including the whole of Europe, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

Its most popular currencies are the Australian Dollar, American Dollar, Canadian Dollar and the Euro.

Currencies Direct App & Mobile Transfers

Currencies Direct has several ways of transferring money including via its app, the website, in branches and over the phone with a specialist member of staff.

The app is available on Android and iOS. The app lets you transfer money and also set up rate alerts, which inform you when your chosen currency hits your preferred exchange rates so you can trade at a time that suits you.

The app provides similar functionality to that of rivals such as TorFX, which has an app that allows you to check live exchange rates, set rate alerts, change your account information and track the status of transfers.

Some people have complained on the Play Store and Apple App Store about some aspects of its functionality.

Currencies Direct Online

Once you have signed up for an account, you are able to transfer money online via the Currencies Direct website.

The website is user friendly, multilingual and provides a wide range of functionality. The site is divided between Personal and Business sections, each with specific tools and relevant information.

You can make secure payments, buy currency to use at a later date, check live exchange rates, set rate alerts, view your balances, track the status of transfers as well as add and manage recipients.

In terms of functionality, the site is broadly similar to competitors such as TorFx, which also lets you use your online account to check exchange rates, add recipients, set Rate Alerts and manage your account information.

Currencies Direct Business Accounts

Currencies Direct lets you set up three types of accounts, personal, business and as an online seller. The last two are distinct from each other and would-be customers are encouraged to call for advice if they are not sure which one to go for.

Business accounts provide access to a dedicated business team who can advise you on payment solutions which are tailored to your specific needs. It also comes with specific risk management products such as forward contracts, market orders and options, which are designed to help mitigate against any market volatility.

With branches in 23 countries, Currencies Direct also makes it easy for you to access their services face-to-face. This is an option that is worth exploring if you don’t quite feel comfortable accessing money transfer online or via an app.

Currencies Direct Euro Exchange Rates

At time of writing, its Euro exchange rate was 1.1662 which means transferring £10,000 would return €11,661.97, this would be on average £249.09 more than high street banks.

There would be no transfer fee involved and transfers would take between one and three days.

OFX has an exchange rate of 1.1548, while TorFX’s is 1.1662 which would result in a saving of £246.09 compared to high street banks. Neither carry transfer fees.

Currency Solution’s exchange rate of 1.615 would return €11,614.55 from £10,000 sent. There would also be no transfer fee.

All have a turnaround time of between one and three days.

Currencies Direct US Dollar Exchange Rates

When transferring £10,000 into USD with an exchange rate of 1.3685, this would return $13,684.73, a saving of £253.32 compared to high street banks. There would be no transfer fee and it would take between one and three days to process.

Global Reach has an exchange rate of 1.363, so £10,000 would return $13,629.72, a saving of £213.32 on high street banks. Currency Solutions has an exchange rate of 1,3642, returning $13,642.10, a saving of £222.32 compared to high street banks.

TorFX offers an exchange rate of 1.3685, returning $13,684.73 on £10,000 sent, a saving on banks of £253.32 – the same to the penny as Currencies Direct.

All have a turnaround time of between one and three days.

Currencies Direct Security & Regulation

Currencies Direct is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK as an Electronic Money Institution under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011

This is important because the FCA ensures providers are suitable and responsible for handling client money and that there is some degree of protection in place.

Using an FCA regulated firm means you are using a company which has been assessed and shown to meet a certain standard of quality, reliability and suitability.

In the USA, Currencies Direct is registered as a Money Services Business at federal level with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury.

In the EU, its services are provided by Currencies Direct Spain, which is authorised by the Bank of Spain as an electronic money institution.

Currencies Direct Pros

The overriding draw of Currencies Direct is its simplicity of use, good customer service and lack of transfer fees as well as no hidden costs. What you see is invariably what you get.

  • No Transfer FeesCurrencies Direct prides itself on zero-fee transfers, regardless of which country you are transferring funds to.
  • Customer support – the company has branches around the world and dedicated telephone experts to assist with transfers.
  • Wide range of currencies – you can transfer funds in 60 currencies spanning every continent.
  • Bespoke solutionsCurrencies Direct says that if you can’t find the service or currency you’re looking for, to contact their experts to see if they can help.

Currencies Direct Cons

There are some aspects of Currencies Direct which would make it unsuitable for certain clients, especially in terms of sending money to countries with less popular currencies.

  • Some currencies not supported – there are some currencies which the service does not support which its rivals do, especially African currencies.
  • No cash pickups – You can only send money through bank transfers to the recipient’s account.
  • Lower rates on some transfersCurrencies Direct offers lower exchange rates on smaller transfer amounts.

Currencies Direct Alternatives

The money transfer market has become something of a crowded field and there are many alternatives for anyone looking to shop around.

Rivals include OFX, Global Reach, World First and Currencyfair.

Where Currencies Direct stands out from the crowd is in its maturity. It’s been around for years and has established a solid reputation in its field. It also benefits from having physical branches around the world and over 500 staff. The company prides itself on being able to provide one-to-one support over the phone or in person.

Currencies Direct’s major selling point is that it has no transfer fees. Some of its competitors have followed suit but it still remains the factor which lets it truly stand out from the crowd.

It still only lets you transfer a maximum of £25,000 online, with larger amounts having to be arranged over the phone, so a business that has regular large transactions may be better looking elsewhere.

Likewise, personal customers looking to send money to friends or family in certain African countries will find that Currencies Direct does not have their desired currency. They too would have to look for an alternative option.

 
Currencies Direct Reviews
Broker specifics
Total Currencies40
Min Transfer£100
Max Transfernone
Customers325,000
Founded1996
Transfers£7.5 billion a year
HQLondon, UK
Account Options
Personal TransfersYes
Business TransfersYes
Currency Forwards12 months
Currency OptionsNo
Personal ServiceYes
Phone DealingYes
Online PlatformYes
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