TransferWise vs CurrencyFair: The One Big Difference Between Them
Peer to peer money transfer companies like TransferWise and CurrencyFair have introduced a better and cheaper way to transfer money internationally.
The big difference between them is how they work.
The Important Bits
Safety: Based in the UK, licensed and well backed
Rates: You receive the interbank exchange rate on google
Fees: Percentage based fee
Speed: 1-2 business days for most transfers
Service: Limited phone support but excellent online resources
Safety: Also based in the UK, licensed and privately owned
Rates: Depends on the currency and amount you are sending
Fees: A small flat fee of 3 Euro plus a percentage based fee
Speed: 1-2 business days for most transfers
Service: Good online and phone support
Safety: Both are well licensed in the UK ,Europe and most western countries
Rates: TransferWise gives the interbank rate and will always be better
Fees: Very similar fee structure except for the small 3 Euro charge from CurrencyFair
Speed: TransferWise is faster on most transfers
Service: Both companies offer online support first and limited phone support.
On face value, these companies appear very similar, which they are. Both are very cheap and safe ways to transfer money abroad. Both are easy to use and have a good service, particularly online.
The big difference is that with TransferWise, you don't have to pay them first. That is, you can lock in the exchange rate and fees of you transfer before you pay them. This makes it significantly easier to use.
Learn more about TransferWise
Learn more about CurrencyFair
Let's have a look at them in more detail
TransferWise is a peer to peer money transfer service that is often recognised for its fast transfers and bank-beating exchange rates and fees. The company’s headquarters is located in London and has offices in New York and Tallinn.
CurrencyFair is a foreign exchange marketplace. Its headquarters is located in Ireland and they have offices in Australia and UK. They offer currency exchange and money transfer services for individuals and businesses alike. CurrencyFair is able to offer low transfer fees and competitive exchange rates as it trades currencies on a peer to peer transfer.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the government body that ensures and regulates fair and transparent conduct of financial services. Every financial service must be granted an Australian Financial Service (AFS) licence by ASIC to carry out business in Australia.
TransferWise are regulated by ASIC & AUSTRAC (AFSL 456295)
CurrencyFair are also properly regulated in the UK and Australia
Like banks, money transfer providers make money in two main ways: Firstly, the margin from which they purchase currency at a wholesale rate and the cost of currency sold on to customers. Secondly, an additional transaction fee.
However, TransferWise is unique in that they sell currency based on the mid-market (wholesale) exchange rate and make money through fees.
Exchange rates are constantly changing. That’s why comparing your options is one of the most important factors to consider before making a transfer. Here are three ways you can compare current exchange rates:
Money transfer providers make a profit from every transaction, even when no fees are charged. So it’s just as important to compare fees as well as exchange rates. Note that a deposit fee or correspondent bank fee may be charged by the recipient’s bank.
0.7% of transfer amounting up to AUD 10,000 (minimum fee AUD 2)
Peer to peer exchange: AUD 4 flat fee + 0.15% of transfer amount
0.7% on initial AUD 10,000 plus 0.5% on anything over
Quick Trade method: AUD 4 flat fee + 0.4% to 0.5% of transfer amount
Time For Transfer To Reach Recipient
When using an online transfer provider, your transfer is made to the company account to be processed before it is cleared and transferred to the recipient.
CurrencyFair and TransferWise generally take 1-3 business days. How long it takes usually comes down to:
- How long it takes you to pay them for the transfer
- Which country you are sending the money to. Some countries take longer than others
- How long the bank on the other end takes to credit the bank account
How easy are they to use?
Both companies are fairly similar when it comes down to using them.
To transfer money overseas with either of the providers, you must register an account. We review the steps for each provider below:
Accepted Payment Methods and Minimum & Maximum Transfer Amounts
Should you have any queries, you can contact CurrencyFair over the phone at +61 (0) 282 798 642 (within Australia).
With TransferWise, it was difficult to find their contact number. We had to use their live chat feature to get in touch with a consultant and received a response within 24 hours.
Both companies excel in different areas. Depending on your needs, you may want to choose one over the other.
Generally, we found TransferWise easier to use. Their exchange rates are based on the mid-market rate and their fee structure is slightly cheaper than CurrencyFair.
Just remember to compare the exchange rates before you decide to transfer as rates change all the time.