This article is part of the Spotlight series brought to you by TawiPay, the comparison site for international money transfers, and Azimo. The Spotlight series aims at helping people who send money abroad get all the information they need on key money transfer companies, and follow the latest trends of the money transfer industry. This month, we are putting the spotlight on Azimo. To find out more, you can read now our in-depth review of Azimo.

Sending money online

The demand for money transfer services has rocketed during the last few years, with millions of hard-working migrants across the globe now looking to send money home to support families and friends. But choosing the right transfer service can be complicated, with fees, exchange rates, convenience, security and speed all part of the equation. Here at Azimo, we want to make sure you know everything you need to about sending money abroad, so here’s our handy guide to some of the most common questions:

How long does a transfer take?

This depends on various things. How you want to send money, where you want to send money to, and even when you want to send money.

Transferring money via mobile wallet, which is by far the most popular way to send money to Africa, is instant, while cash pick-up can take up to 24 hours and bank transfers can take a few days. It also depends which country you’re sending money to, as different countries support different transfer methods.

Finally, bank transfers take longer over the weekend as banks in many countries don’t operate at the weekends. So payments made over the weekend might not arrive until Monday (or the next working day).

For an idea of transfer times, you can check out the individual country pages on our website. This will give you an estimated time of arrival that takes into account time differences, bank operating hours and the security checks needed in each country.

What fees are involved?

Again, this depends on several factors. Which method you’re using to send money, where you’re sending money to and whether you’re sending money online or via a high-street branch. Fees at online money transfer firms such as Azimo are much cheaper than banks or high-street money transfer operators as overheads are far lower.

A less visible ‘fee’ is tied to the exchange rate, which fluctuates constantly. This rate can sometimes go unpublished, which means it’s often referred to as a ‘hidden fee’. Some ‘fee-free’ offers can be misleading as that ‘fee’ can often be hidden away in poor exchange rates. Ask whichever company you’re using to transfer money for its exchange rate and its fees, as well as how long it takes to send money abroad.

Azimo’s fees are significantly lower than those of banks or other money transfer services – in some cases up to 80% lower. There are no hidden fees – we clearly display the exchange rate, fee and delivery time of your transfer on the home page calculator.

What documents do I need to make a transfer?

Most of the time when you’re transferring money to another country you won’t need to provide any extra documents. But sometimes, depending on the precise details of your money transfer, we will need extra information. This could mean providing proof of ID, proof of funds, or proof of address. This may take a bit of extra time, but it’s all about making sure that everything we do is safe and secure. Proof of identity could be a passport, EU ID card, or a driver’s licence. Proof of address could be a utility bill, bank statement or credit card statement. Proof of funds could be a pay-slip, bank statement, or credit card statement.

Who regulates money transfer firms?

UK-based money transfer firms are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Azimo is authorised by the FCA under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (FRN 900220) for the issuing of electronic money.

If a money transfer firm isn’t regulated by the FCA – or another equivalent EU regulator – don’t use them.

Is the website secure?

Before entering payment details on a website, you can make sure that the link is secure in three ways:

  • There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
  • The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
  • If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.

How to keep your personal information secure?

  • Check the website’s privacy policy.
  • Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
  • Keep receipts – electronic or otherwise.
  • Check credit card and bank statements carefully after payment to ensure that the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.

Are my card details secure?

There’s always the potential for card fraud when you use a payment card online. If criminals are able to get hold of your details, they can then use them to make transactions. But you can greatly reduce the risk by knowing what to look out for and staying cautious.

When you make a card transaction, you should never be asked for your PIN or online banking password. Your PIN should only be used at cash machines and physical, point-of-sale terminals, such as a supermarket check-out.

However, when you’re making a payment online, you will be asked for the three- or four-digit security number (CVV) found on the back of your card.

Unless express permission has been given by the cardholder, sites aren’t allowed to store card details after the transaction has been completed.

Azimo’s website and mobile apps use MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa systems to ensure only valid orders are processed. That’s why we give you a 100% Money Back Guarantee on all the money that you send.

Why has the bank blocked my transaction?

Sometimes banks block transactions for security reasons, particularly if it’s an unexpected payment, as they may suspect the card has been stolen and is being used fraudulently. If your transaction has been blocked, you should contact your bank to authorise the payment. You’ll need to provide details of your transaction: date, time and the amount of money sent.

Can I get my money back if the firm goes bust?

A large firm trading more than €3 million (£2.4 million) a month needs to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Each day, at the close of business, these firms separate your money from the firm’s own accounts (known as ringfencing). This protects your cash, so you should get it back if the firm gets into difficulty.

Keeping your money safe is our number one priority. We’re regulated as an electronic money provider by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). As part of this regulation, we’re required to hold all of our customers’ funds in fully segregated client accounts with trusted global institutions. Azimo’s own operating accounts are stored completely separately. In other words, your funds could never be used to settle our business affairs.

We’re also registered by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). And in Germany we’ve been certified by TÜV for data protection – the highly respected, independent inspection organisation that only gives approval to products and services that meet the highest of standards.

To protect your payments we use a state-of-the-art secure debit system. We also carry out bank level security procedures. And we constantly monitor our system for anything that’s unusual or suspicious.

We know that if you’re going to use Azimo to send money around the world, you need to trust us. And your trust is not something we take lightly.
That’s why millions of pounds get sent with us worldwide every year. And why, once people have used us to transfer money for the first time, they tend to use us again. Now they wouldn’t do that if they didn’t feel their money was safe.

Send money abroad with Azimo by going to their site.