Currency Fair Review

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I was so fed-up with banks and other companies charging me a lot of money for very simple transactions and I have been very impressed with the solution that I found and thought I would write a small review about it.

The name of the company that I found is called Currency Fair. At first I used Currency Fair to bring over some UK pounds to NZ where I live now. Everybody that I talked to said something along the lines of “Bring it all over in one go, it will be far cheaper”. I did not want to bring it all over in one go mainly because I was still working for a UK company and being paid in pounds. With Currency Fair the fees are very low – $5 NZD to send money from Currency Fair to a NZ bank and free to send money from my UK bank to Currency Fair. The real bonus to me is the great exchange rate that you get, not far off what google finance shows.

I had been using Currency Fair for a while when it occurred to me that I would be able to use it when billing clients. This is what I do Digital draping. Now this is the good bit, when I have a client in Canada I can give them a Canadian bank in which to pay into. The Canadian bank account is Currency Fair’s. The client sends the payment to the Currency Fair account with my unique reference code (so that Currency Fair knows the money is mine. I also tell Currency Fair that I’m expecting $***). I can then convert the CAD into NZD and send it to my NZ bank for $5 NZD.

I guess I save about 7% on each transaction. Using an unknown company to handle your money for the first time can be a bit worrying, but from my experience I would recommend Currency Fair. Also the customer service has been top notch. I think it is great that companies like Currency Fair are popping up, which is why this blog post / review is here. I don’t have any connection to Currency Fair other than using it as stated above.

How safe is my money?

So I asked the question:

If Currency Fair goes bust what happens if I have money sitting in my CF account, is it ring fenced (I will be able to receive it)?

Yes, your funds are in a segregated client account and are ring fenced from our own.

Update 29 Oct 2012

Unfortunately Currency fair has had a bit of a problem with NZ banks. If you do not transfer money in or out of NZ this will not effect you. If you do you will have to send the money via Sydney Australia. This is more of an inconvenience than a fatal problem, for me anyway. Please note that there will probably be an extra fee involved in sending money to and from NZ from your CurrencyFair account. I was charged $15 NZD I bank with BNZ.

This is what CurrencyFair said “This situation will most likely result in your bank making a charge for depositing funds to CurrencyFair, as it will now be regarded as an international transfer. You will still save on the exchange rate with CurrencyFair, but unfortunately this will negate some or all of the savings on the transfer fee itself.”

Update 13 Nov 2012

This is the amount I was charged by PayPal

  1. In this example I have been paid $1550 USD
  2. After PayPal fees: $1489.25 USD ($60.75 USD)
  3. After withdrawing the funds from PayPal we got $1774.99 NZD in our NZ bank account
  4. This equates to an exchange rate of 0.839
  5. The rate on Google Finance was 0.8178
  6. If we had got the Google Finance rate we would have got $1821.04 NZD in our NZ bank account
  7. This is a difference of $46.05 NZD
  8. So we lost/payed $98.42 USD or $120.33 NZD or 6.35% (in todays exchange rates) on sending $1550 USD to NZD by using PayPal

Update 23 Nov 2012

This is the amount I was charged by Currency Fair

  1. In this example I have been paid $1080 CAD
  2. After converting the funds in Currency Fair we got $1321.27 NZD
  3. This equates to an exchange rate of 1.223398
  4. The rate on Google Finance was 1.2299
  5. If we had got the Google Finance rate we would have got $1328.29 NZD
  6. This is a difference of $7.02 NZD
  7. Currency Fair charges $5 to send money to our NZ Bank
  8. So we lost/payed $9.80 USD/CAD (they are at parity at the moment) or $12.02 NZD or 0.9% (in todays exchange rates) on sending $1080 CAD to NZD by using Currency Fair

Note: I converted the currency in Currency Fair by using the “Exchange by Quick Trade” This converts your money straight away. You can convert your money by using “Exchange by Market Place” In this option you set a price and wait for the market to hit that price. Also I have used the standard charges $5 nzd. At the moment there is an extra charge that just as I understand applies to NZ (please see Update 29 Oct 2012). As this just apples to NZ I have not included it in the scenario above.

Update 27 Nov 2012

This is the amount I was charged by Wire Transfer

  1. In this example I have been paid $3937.50 USD
  2. We received $4717.55 NZD
  3. This equates to an exchange rate of 0.8346
  4. The rate on Google Finance was 0.8150
  5. If we had got the Google Finance rate we would have got $4831.29 NZD
  6. This is a difference of $113.73 NZD
  7. So we lost/payed $92.69 USD or $113.73 NZD or 2.41% (in todays exchange rates)

Note: the fee of $27 NZD was rolled into the $4717.55 NZD we received

I you have any examples please leave them in the comments below. Thanks.

9 thoughts on “Currency Fair Review

  1. Re: Your Nov 13 2012 fund transfer

    Was your receiving bank still BNZ?
    Did BNZ charge/deduct a fee for receiving your funds?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Madr, I was charged $15 NZD by BNZ on the 23 Nov. I was not charge the standard $5 NZD by currency fair (you get 3 transfers to NZ free of charge). The situation has not changed yet so you will still be charge by your NZ bank. CurrencyFair has told me that they are still working on sorting this. Hopefully we will see some resolution in the new year.

  2. Thanks for your reply. I’ll go with WU Pay then (cash pick up from agent, not bank). My recipient’s bank is Westpac. If BNZ charges a receiving fee, then Westpac probably does as well. Recipient contacted Westpac and Westpac said it will probably be $25.

  3. I used CurrencyFair a few times this year to transfer Euros to my NZD account. Since they lost their NZD account in NZ they gave me 3 transfers for free (I just pay the exchange fee, not the 5$ transfer fee). My NZ bank is Kiwi Bank and they charge 25$ to receive money from Sydney, but it is still way cheaper than other ways to transfer money. I am very happy with CF, the whole process is very simple, fast and cheap. I also contacted the support and they replied super fast. Great service and value.

    • Thanks for letting us know what you were charged. I agree with you, it’s a great service and support are always very prompt when I have contacted them.

  4. FYI — I’ve been using currencyfair for the past 3 months to transfer money from USD to NZD, it’s 0.5% off the xe.com rates, which is easily the best, and there have been no transfer fees to my NZ bank (it is ASB, so that may be relevant, as they’re an Australian owned company).

  5. Try TransferWise. They quote the same rate as Currency Fair (spot less 0.5%) but no transfer-out fee (CF is $5) and no bank fee to ASB (CF is $25, presume due to BNZ arrangement). The major diff, possible negative, is TW take medium rate on the day whereas with CF you can pick the rate you want when/if it occurs, but so far (3 times) TW have given me a v good rate for the day.