- Cost: Significantly cheaper than the banks
- Speed: Quick and seamless money transfers
- Support: Excellent customer service available 24/7
- Not all minor currencies available
- You need to register for an account
CurrencyFair Fees and Rates
No matter which currencies you’re exchanging, CurrencyFair charges only a flat fee and an exchange rate margin. This makes it a simple and affordable option without hidden fees for things like margin and conversion.
CurrencyFair charges a flat fee of £2.50 fee when transferring into GBP. The flat fee is roughly equivalent when transferring into other currencies. For example, it charges €3.00 when transferring into EUR, and US/C/A$4.00 when transferring into USD, CAD, or AUD.
The exchange rate margin varies from 0.3% to a maximum of around 1%, depending on the currencies being exchanged. The margin is lower for exchanges involving 2 major currencies and higher for exchanges involving at least 1 lower currency. For example, when the mid-market rate for GBP to EUR is 1:1.13, CurrencyFair exchanges it at around 1.126, translating to a roughly 0.35% margin. When the rate for GBP to ZAR (South African rand) is 1:18.19, CurrencyFair exchanges it at 1:18.09, or a roughly 0.55% margin.
At time of writing, CurrencyFair was offering to transfer £10,000 into €11,250. Compared to the mid-market rate, this translated to a fee of €53, incorporating the flat €3 fee plus €50 on exchange rate margin. According to CurrencyFair, this was at least €306 cheaper than a typical bank. Of course, fees differ from bank to bank, but based on our experience with banks, this is close to the mark.
How Does It Work?
Using CurrencyFair is quick and easy. It involves the following steps:
- Register for an account. You’ll be asked to provide a login, password, and proof of ID such as passport number. If CurrencyFair is unable to verify you electronically, it will ask for additional documentation, such as ID or proof of address.
- Click “Exchange”. Nominate the currency the money is coming from and the currency you wish to transfer into. Finally, enter the amount.
- Send the funds. Transfer the funds to CurrencyFair using the bank details and reference number provided. Confirm that you’ve transferred the funds, and CurrencyFair will do the rest.
If you wish to have funds ready to exchange and transfer at a later date, you don’t have to exchange automatically. CurrencyFair also lets you transfer funds into your CurrencyFair account, to exchange the funds at a time of your choosing, and to transfer all or a portion of your balance out of your account at a time of your choosing.
CurrencyFair will send you an email notification once it’s processed your exchange and transfer. You can also track your transfer status or review previous transactions on the CurrencyFair website or app.
When sending money with CurrencyFair you will have a variety of options for how the money can be deposited into your CurrencyFair account. You can go with a direct bank transfer, or what the company calls a “express deposit.”
Express deposits are available in a number of currencies, including CHF, DKK, EUR, GBP, NOK, PLN, and SEK. You will need a Visa or Mastercard in order to use Express Deposit.
In addition, the card must be from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom. You cannot make an express deposit with a prepaid credit card.
How Long Does It Take?
Every exchange consists of 2 actions: first, you send the funds to CurrencyFair; next, CurrencyFair converts the funds and sends them to your chosen recipient.
Depending on your currency, it can take anywhere from 0-5 business days for CurrencyFair to receive your funds. For example, it takes 0-1 days for it to receive GBP or 1-2 days for it to receive EUR. At the slower end of the scale, it can take 4-5 days for it to receive a minor currency like AED (Emirati dirham). Keep in mind that CurrencyFair typically receives deposits between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, UK time. Therefore, if you send the funds after business hours on Monday, it could take until as late as Wednesday for the funds to be received.
Transferring money out is generally quicker than sending it in. It typically takes 0-1 business days for CurrencyFair to convert to GBP or EUR, send the funds, and for the funds to land in the receiving bank account. Again, it takes longer to send in minor currencies. For example, it can take 3-4 business days for the funds to leave CurrencyFair’s account and arrive in a HKD (Hong Kong dollar), SGD (Singapore Dollar), or ILS (Israeli shekel) account.
CurrencyFair Top Highlights
CurrencyFair offers a number of features to make things more convenient and help you get the best exchange rate.
- Online calculator. CurrencyFair’s online calculator gives you the freedom to see how the exchange rate works and gives you transparency on the fees charged while comparing your savings vs a typical bank.
- Mobile app. You can exchange and transfer your money on the CurrencyFair website or on the CurrencyFair app, available on both iOS and Android, at any time (except on week-ends and bank holidays) and from anywhere.
- Marketplace. Likewise, you can use the unique CurrencyFair marketplace to advertise what you think is a fair rate. If someone on the other side of the market is looking for the same rate, CurrencyFair will match the 2 of you together and facilitate the exchanging of funds. . On average CurrencyFair customers exchange at 0.38% versus the average of 2% + from the Interbank.
- Rate alerts. If you have time and don’t want to exchange at the current rate, you can set up daily or weekly alerts or request an email when a currency reaches your preferred rate.
- Recurring transactions. If you live or work abroad and want to send money to the UK on a regular basis, you can set up recurring transactions. This also works if you live or work in the UK and wish to send money to your home country on a regular basis.
- Featured in: Financial Times, BBC News, CNBC, The New York Times, The Next Web, and the Economist.
CurrencyFair is rated 9.3 out of 10 by 2000+ customers on Trustpilot, the leading independent review site. Customer feedback is overwhelmingly positive, with high ratings for both the level of service and low fees. CurrencyFair’s website includes a comprehensive support section with answers to most frequently asked questions. Support staff are generally very quick to answer the phone, and are available from late Sunday nights through to Friday evening (British time).
Privacy and Security
CurrencyFair is fully licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Customer funds are ring fenced and held in Tier 1 international banks, giving customers bank-level security and privacy but without outrageously high bank-level fees.
CurrencyFair has two benefits over traditional banks: simplicity and affordability. Once you’re set up, exchanging money through CurrencyFair is quick and easy, and requires only a few minutes of your time. As for the cost, there is a gap between CurrencyFair and traditional banks that may have more fees. If you’re only transferring £100 or the equivalent in another currency, you’ll save a few quid. And if you’re transferring £10,000 or $100,000 – then your savings should run into the thousands.