A few days ago I reviewed TransferWise when I needed to transfer money to an Australian Bank account. When I was looking at which company to use I came across both TransferWise and CurrencyFair while I used TransferWise I’ve decided to take a look at CurrencyFair. CurrencyFair is a bit different in that it is a ‘market place’ for currency exchange. It is Peer-to-Peer meaning if you are looking to swap Euros to Australian Dollars you’re transfer will be matched with someone who is looking to swap Australian Dollars to Euros. This means you should get the fairest exchange rate. TransferWise is slightly different in that you Send Money in, Exchange it on the marketplace and then transfer the money out or you can chose to automate this process.
Signing up is straightforward, simply go to their website and click Sign Up on the top right. You will need to enter in your name, address, date of birth, email and password. I signed up just there however it wouldn’t allow me to send in any money unless I verified my account. I uploaded a copy of my passport and recent credit card bill to the website. As I type this my account is still pending verification so I am unable to upload money.
Sending money in
Just like TransferWise you have two free options to send money in. You are able to make a SEPA payment which will clear in 2-3 days or can lodge money using your Irish debit card. CurrencyFair do not accept credit cards. If you are transferring in using a SEPA bank transfer ensure you use your CurrencyFair ID as the payment reference. To initiate a transfer, when logged into your CurrencyFair account click Send in and follow the form. If you are sending in by Bank Transfer their Bank account details and your CurrencyFair ID will be displayed.
Once you have funds in your account you can exchange currencies by clicking the Exchange option in the side menu. Here you chose how much you wish to exchange and to what currency.
After clicking Continue you will be presented the exchange rates. Your request will be matched to someone’s who wants to do the opposite of your exchange. If there is no reverse of your exchange, CurrencyFair will offer an exchange rate. In this case there will be a markup of around 0.4% to 0.6% of the amount exchanged. CurrencyFair charges 0.15% of the total amount exchanged when customers match each other. This fee is included in the rate you see. If you do not want to take the offered exchange rates you can select your own exchange rate. Your request for exchange will remain active until someone matches it.
Transferring money out
You can then transfer the exchanged currency out of CurrencyFair into a bank account. The transfer time and fee depends on the currency. For example, transferring out GBP to a UK account costs £2.50 and takes 1 working day, USD to a US account costs $4 and takes 1-2 working days.
Automating the Send/Exchange/Transfer Process
It is now possible to automate the send, exchange and transfer process into one step. When sending in money to CurrencyFair select Create an Auto-Transaction. You can chose how much to send in, which currency to convert to and which bank account to transfer out to. You should be aware that the exchange rate can go up or down between the time you set up the transaction and when the money arrives into your CurrencyFair and the exchange occurs. The rate is not locked in unlike with TransferWise
CurrencyFair currently supports 18 currencies.
Overall, CurrencyFair seems like a good system which is quite similar to TransferWise. I decided to compare them both now to see which was cheapest to send $1,000AUD from Euro.
As you can see TransferWise is just under €1 cheaper but both represent a lot better value than going directly through your Bank. I will probably stick with TransferWise as I have the experience with them but wouldn’t rule out using CurrencyFair in the future.
In the interest of full-disclosure, links to CurrencyFair are affiliate links. Should you click through toCurrencyFair via my affiliate link and make a transfer I will receive a small commission payment. These affiliate payments have no impact on my reviewing of the product. If you believe I have been influenced by the potential commission when reviewing a product please call me out.