CurrencyFair is a marketplace built to connect people who need to move money to and from different countries. In doing so, users who have corresponding needs can find each other. This CurrencyFair review will look at the benefits and disadvantages of CurrencyFair when compared to other money exchange and transfer services.
Fully-licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, the company aims to offer a cheap and simple alternative to using a typical bank. With eight years under its belt, CurrencyFair has saved its customers over €200 million so far.
Read this in-depth review to find out if CurrencyFair is right for you.
How much does it cost to use CurrencyFair?
The average transfer fee is €3, and the average exchange rate margin is 0.40%. If you are transferring £2,000.00, your transfer fee would be £2.50, and the exchange would cost you £6.00 for a total of £8.50.
CurrencyFair co-founder and former CEO, Brett Meyers, explains that the companies revenue comes from two sources.
First, it hosts the marketplace and charges a percentage fee for each transaction. In comparison to European banks where that fee is around 3% and Australian banks where that fee is 5%, CurrencyFair’s fee is around 0.05% when people match each other.
The company steps in for any excess that is needed if there are not enough customers, and it prices that at 0.4%. The second source of revenue is a flat €3 fee or the equivalent in another currency.
He explains that the company can keep its costs so low because it has an efficient marketplace model and because it is a tech-based company, not a bank with legacy tech systems.
Who can use the CurrencyFair marketplace?
CurrencyFair is currently not available to U.S. residents, although it can be used to send money to the United States.
Currently, residents of the following 61 countries can sign up for CurrencyFair:
Anguilla, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Helena, Saint Martin (FR), Saint Pierre and Miquelon, San Marino, Sint Maarten (NL), Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and Wallis and Futuna.
What currencies can you transfer with CurrencyFair?
At the time of this writing, you can transfer from the following 15 currencies: United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED), Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Swiss Franc (CHF), Czech Koruna (CZK), Danish Kron (DKK), Euro (EUR), Sterling Pound (GBP), Hungarian Forint (HUF), Norwegian Krone (NOK), New Zealand Dollar (NZD), PLN (Poland złoty), Swedish Krona (SEK), United States Dollar (USD), and South African Rand (ZAR).
Further, you can transfer to the above currencies plus the following three: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), Israeli New Shekel (ILS), and Singapore Dollar (SGD).
How does a CurrencyFair money transfer work?
- Create a free account in two steps. First, provide an email address and password.
Then, provide your name, country of residence, and how you will be using the account.
CurrencyFair, like a bank, has to follow anti-money laundering laws. The initial account creation is very quick. However, to fully register your account, you will also need to submit a valid government-issued id and a proof of address.
- Once registered, you will log in and click “Send Money.” Then, input the amount you want to send and to whom you want to send it. You will be able to decide between an auto transaction or exchange, which we’ll talk about next.
- Lastly, transfer money from your bank, Irish debit card, or BPAY account to CurrencyFair to be exchanged. After it clears, it will be sent to your recipient.
The entire process will take between one and five working days. Sounds easy enough, but how about security?
Auto transaction vs. The Exchange Marketplace
One key differentiating factor about CurrencyFair is that it gives you a choice between an auto transaction and an exchange.
What is an auto-transaction?
An auto transaction allows you to choose the best rate from those that are currently available. You will be matched with another user or, if no match is possible, CurrencyFair will match you. This is the fastest option and still gets you a competitive rate.
What is an exchange?
CurrencyFair also offers The Exchange Marketplace, where users select the rate at which they would like to buy or sell currency and wait for another user to match it.
While it takes longer and also carries the risk of the exchange rate moving against you, it can help you save and even possibly beat the interbank rate.
The Exchange Marketplace sets CurrencyFair apart from other money transfer services as it enables users to get the rates they request. However, there is no guarantee the request will get matched, and it also takes more time.
Users will have to decide which route is best for their situation.
Safety and security
CurrencyFair offers bank-level security without the bank, which includes:
- Two-factor authentication: Users are required to authenticate themselves in two ways, such as typing in their password and typing in a code sent to their mobile device.
- Segregated customer accounts: Customer accounts are segregated and held separate from corporate accounts within one of the world’s largest financial institutions.
- Encryption: The website uses 256-bit encryption to secure the connections of all users.
- Biometric security: Account information is stored in a secure facility guarded on servers protected by biometric security.
Customers can rest assured that their money is safe and secure with CurrencyFair.
Other CurrencyFair features
What else does CurrencyFair offer?
- Exchange rate alerts: Get exchange rate alerts sent directly to your email daily, weekly, or on a custom schedule.
- CurrencyFair for business: Set up a business account to use CurrencyFair to help you save.
- Online account management: Log in anytime to manage your account online.
- Regular transfers: Schedule future transfers through the recurring transaction feature.
Now that you know all the details about CurrencyFair let’s sum them up so you can decide if it’s the right money transfer solution for you.
Is CurrencyFair right for you?
CurrencyFair can help customers easily transfer money from one currency to another while cutting down their costs. The majority of customers claim that the service is easy to use, saves them money, and offers the security they want.
Here’s an overview of the pros and cons:
Here is a list of the benefits and the drawbacks to consider when doing business with CurrencyFair
- Transparent and competitive pricing
- Consistently positive reviews from users
- Easy and fast processing of transfers online
- Good security
- Free to sign up
- Available to individuals and businesses
- Exchange Marketplace enables you to choose your rate
- Instant exchanges available with auto-transactions
- Online and phone assistance
- Mobile app
- Limited coverage- not available to U.S. residents
- Limited ways to fund the account (only bank transfers, BPAY, and Irish debit cards)
- Time to transfer may be longer than competitors
If CurrencyFair is available in your country, it’s worth checking out, as the marketplace can help you get the lowest rates. If it’s not, don’t worry – many other services can help.
To review dozens of competitors side-by-side, head over to SuperMoney’s Money Transfer Service Review page. There, you can compare CurrencyFair and many more to find the best fit for your needs.
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.