Sending money abroad online is now easier than ever, but how simple is it really?
CurrencyFair is the fifth online money transfer provider in our 10-blog-post series to be tested and reviewed by randomly selected users who never heard of their service before.
Our goal is to find out how easy it is to send money online with ten selected companies and summarize all of our findings in a report to be published in June, and which you can pre-order using the link below:
Throughout this article, you will discover the thoughts, feelings, and questions of our panel of users which we tasked with sending £250 to a bank account in France. We used the remote user-testing tool Userbrain to record the users’ screens and oral commentary.
A homepage proactively answering all our users’ questions
The homepage of any online service plays a key role in convincing users to stay on the website and try out the service offered. For money transfers, convincing users of one’s trustworthiness and transparency are also paramount.
With their homepage, CurrencyFair makes a great first impression, conveying their value proposition very efficiently while providing concise but clear information about what it means to send money with CurrencyFair.
“It is basically saving you money and making sure the people you send money to get the most of it.”
“It says that it’s gonna be cheaper than my bank, they basically give you a fairer rate to convert your money, there is definitely a sore need for a service like that.”
A few users who wanted to learn more about exactly how it worked clicked on the corresponding page in the top navigation menu and found the information they were looking for: “it sounds very simple” said one user, “this is very explicative about the services offered” shared another.
Another element our testers appreciated is how upfront CurrencyFair is with their pricing, clearly displaying on their homepage their flat transfer fee of €3 and the average margin of 0.35% taken on the exchange rate.
“This is definitely one of the big problems when sending money abroad in different currencies […], you never really sure how much it’s gonna cost you, what you’re paying for, etc…”
CurrencyFair insists on the fact that their service is better (cheaper, faster, more convenient, etc.) than using a bank to send money abroad, a message which seems to resonate a lot with our users. However, it is less clear at first sight how exactly they distinguish themselves from other online money transfer services.
Yet, CurrencyFair have a truly unique value proposition to offer: thanks to their online peer-to-peer marketplace, users can get a better exchange rate than the mid-market rate, if they’re willing to wait a bit and if another user is willing to exchange in the other direction. Only one of our users seemed to understand this feature:
“You’re in complete control, you get to select an exchange rate and it’s just a matter of whether or not CurrencyFair will ever offer that exchange rate.”
Signing up with CurrencyFair is a smooth ride
From the homepage, users have two ways to sign up: either through the “Sign Up” button on the top-right corner of the page, or by clicking on “Get Started Now” in the currency calculator. Either way, if users have already selected their currencies and amount on the homepage, they will find the same values in the calculator inside their newly created account, a detail which our users seemed to appreciate.
The sign-up form itself is without any surprises: ”it’s all very straightforward”, “it was very easy to sign up”. After entering their email and password of choice, users are welcomed with three options: (1) Explore CurrencyFair, (2) Send Money and (3), Top Up.
All of our users quickly made their choice and selected the “Send money” option, which is CurrencyFair’s new and simplified process to make a transaction (the “Auto-Transaction”). The other options allow users to access their CurrencyFair dashboard, giving them more options to manage their money in different currencies and optimize their currency exchange operations.
It is clear that CurrencyFair pay attention to detail to offer a great user experience to first time users. The error feedbacks on every field help identify issues very quickly, and while CurrencyFair asks for quite a lot of personal information (such as one’s phone number, occupation, and purpose of their specific transfer), they always inform users of why they need it.
“I really like the contextual information, it’s clear why the information is necessary.”
We noted two complaints of our testers during the sign-up process: the first is that optional fields are not easy to tell apart from required fields; the second is that if you use the back button on your browser rather than the navigation buttons within the sign-up process, you have to start again and lose at least part of the data you entered.
How much does a transfer with CurrencyFair cost?
CurrencyFair’s simple fee structure (€3 or equivalent flat fee) combined with their transparency about the average exchange rate margin of 0.35% made it easy for our users to understand the cost of their transfer.
“The transfer fee is 3 euros, the average transaction time is 24-48 hour, and then apart from the transfer fee, there is an average commission of 0.35%”
“It will cost me 3 euros + 0.35% percent”
Some users noted that the margin taken on the exchange rate was only displayed as an average value on the homepage, but that there was no way to know the exact margin applied to their transaction in the summary of the transfer.
“The only thing is that the 0.35% rate they mention on the homepage is not displayed in the summary, but otherwise everything is very clear.”
Overall, our testers had a very good understanding of how much the approximate total cost of their transfer would be, but this is only approximate due to the fact that the rate indicated by CurrencyFair in the transaction summary is not guaranteed. CurrencyFair indicate that they will exchange the money at the best available rate when the money arrives (if the rate drop by more than 3%, users have the possibility of cancelling the transfer or waiting for a better rate).
None of our users spotted the “Approx.” indication next to the amount received by the recipient, and might have been surprised to see a different amount actually reaching their recipient’s account (note that this might be a good surprise as the rate might have gone up).
Several users did notice how much they were saving with CurrencyFair in comparison with their bank, as this information was presented in orange at almost every step of the process. The “€26.73 savings compared to your bank” on a €250 transaction can be a great motivation to continue to the next step and finalize the transfer, but some of our testers doubted CurrencyFair’s ability to calculate such an accurate number without knowing which bank they would have otherwise used.
A professional look and design that inspire trust
None of our testers had ever heard of CurrencyFair before taking our test. Nonetheless, they were all quite convinced with what they saw and all said that they would trust CurrencyFair with their own money.
The fact that CurrencyFair have been featured in famous newspapers, have a large number of excellent customer reviews from real people, a clear focus on security throughout the sign-up and transfer process, and a very professional and clean design, are probably the main factors that made CurrencyFair trustworthy in the eyes of our first-time users:
“So far so good, everything seems legit! It looks very professional”
“It says that it is featured in The Economist, BBC News, it’s been in operation 8 years, I see the review from reputable sites. After seeing all of this I feel very comfortable sending money with CurrencyFair, I would trust them with my money”
“It seems like it’s like a Western Union or MoneyGram, but CurrencyFair seems to be for a limited range of currencies, but it does seem more legitimate.”
“The 2-step authentication with my phone number makes it more secure.”
Online money transfer providers are required by law to know their customers and validate their identities. What can often constitute an obstacle to convincing potential customers to validate an account, CurrencyFair turns it into an asset:
“The fact that they need to validate my ID makes me trust it more”
“I absolutely love the ID verification, kudos to CurrencyFair.”
An excellent user experience overall
There was a general consensus amongst our panel of testers to say that CurrencyFair was very easy to use:
“It was very easy, I would give CurrencyFair 10/10”
“It was pretty easy to understand how it worked”
“I definitely think it would be easy to send money with CurrencyFair.”
“I’d probably give it a 9/10, it was pretty easy … mhmm, to be honest, I’d give it a 10, there was nothing complicated.”
Users liked small design details like the “pretty cool” loading animation and the straightforward and well laid-out steps of the transfer process, but more importantly, they were convinced that sending money with CurrencyFair would be easy and would save them money:
“The recipient getting a larger chunk of the transfer is a good reason to use CurrencyFair”
CurrencyFair first branded itself as a peer-to-peer currency exchange marketplace, allowing users to match their currency exchange needs with each other to get the best possible rate with more control over their currency exchange. While this is a truly unique value proposition among money transfer providers on the market today, it was probably more difficult to explain to first-time users.
On the other hand, the simpler “Auto-Transaction” process makes for an easy and compelling first experience with CurrencyFair, while hopefully encouraging them to take advantage of CurrencyFair’s other features for their subsequent transactions.
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Get the tear-down of the user experience of CurrencyFair and 9 other leading online money transfer companies in our full report, to be published in the coming weeks:
We would like to thank Userbrain for providing us with the panel of testers for this analysis. If you want to start testing your website and get a constant stream of feedback, give UserBrain a try!
We already reviewed 4 other money transfer providers: