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Currencies Direct Review: Is it safe? How does it work? What are the rates?

How can you use Currencies Direct to send money abroad? Is their service reliable? Can you trust Currencies Direct with your money? How good are their fees and exchange rates?

    Our independent review of Currencies Direct

    Currencies Direct is a UK-based currency exchange and money transfer provider offering services to individual, businesses, and online sellers. They pride themselves on local expertise — with 21 offices around the world they are able to provide expert local help on currency markets, local regulations, and compliance. They have specialized expertise for transferring to Spain, France, the USA, the UK, Portugal, and South Africa.

    Currencies Direct offers tailored solutions depending on your individual money transfer needs, frequency and value of transfers, and several other factors. They provide a wide range of currency exchange and money transfer services, many of which aren’t easily available from other providers.

    They do not typically charge transfer fees and have competitive exchange rates. Currency exchange can be carried out over the phone, online, or via their dedicated mobile app. Most transfers between “major” currencies are carried out the same day or the next working day.

    They have a comprehensive online platform that provides fast and secure transfers 24x7. You can use the platform to send up to £25,000, get live quotes, pay for transfers, buy currency now and transfer it later, pay for offline transfers, add and manage payees, and send money to more than one payee at a time. They provide competitive exchange rates on higher amounts.

    Currencies Direct

    What we like about Currencies Direct

    • Access to a dedicated account manager to make transferring money easier.

    • Specialized expertise in multiple locales and countries.

    • Comprehensive online platform offering a wide variety of services.

    • Multiple, specialized money transfer services.

    What we dislike about Currencies Direct

    • No local options for recipients to pick up money in cash.

    • Exchange rates on lower amounts are not competitive.

    Fees & Exchange Rates

    Currencies Direct fees

    • Currencies Direct does not typically charge transfer fees. If they do charge a fee, they will notify you ahead of time.
    • The bank receiving your funds, or an intermediary bank, may deduct fees when crediting the payment. You should always check with the receiving bank to understand any fees that may be charged.


    Currencies Direct Exchange Rates

    Currencies Direct’s international payment exchange rates do vary based on a few factors:

    • The currency you are converting to.
    • The amount you are sending (larger amounts have better exchange rates).

    Here’s a comparison of converting British pounds sterling to South African rands.

    Converting £1,000 to South African rands

    • Mid-market exchange rate (baseline) — 16.9826 ZAR per GBP — 16,982.67 ZAR.
    • Exchange rate offered by Currencies Direct — 16.7482 ZAR per GBP — 16,748.20 ZAR.
    • Difference between baseline and Currencies Direct rate for £1,000 — 234.47 ZAR
    • Percentage in extra costs for using Currencies Direct compared to baseline — 1.4%.
    • There is no additional fee levied by Currencies Direct.

    Converting £10,000 to US dollars

    • Mid-market exchange rate (baseline) — 16.9814 ZAR per GBP — 169,814 ZAR.
    • Exchange rate offered by Currencies Direct — 16.9154 ZAR per GBP — 169,154 ZAR.
    • Difference between baseline and Currencies Direct rate for £10,000 — 660 ZAR
    • Percentage in extra costs for using Currencies Direct compared to baseline — 0.39%.
    • There is no additional fee levied by Currencies Direct.
    Country from
    United Kingdom
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    Credibility & Security

    Yes. Currencies Direct has been in business since 1996 and since then has helped over 150,000 customers transfer over £4.5 billion worth of funds. They are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority as an Electronic Money Institution. Their FCA Firm Reference number is 900669. They also have the highest possible rating with Dun & Bradstreet (a renowned credit agency) meaning they are considered a low-risk organization.

    They have undergone the highest level of regulation to ensure their practises are to the best standards in terms of safety and security. They are registered with HM Revenue & Customs as a money service business and process customer funds through a segregated bank account to keep it 100% safe.

    They trade in more than 60 currencies and employ 450 people around the world.

    As per FCA regulations, clients’ funds are held completely separate from Currencies Direct own business accounts, in so-called segregated accounts. Should the company have any financial difficulties, your money will therefore be safe. In addition, they subscribe to the Non-Investment Products Code which regulates companies involved in foreign exchange transactions such as sports and forward contracts.

    Currencies Direct employs over 250 people in seven countries across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

    Service & Coverage

    Additional services from Currencies Direct

    Contracts, forward, limit, and stop-loss orders

    • Forward contracts — you can set an exchange rate now and then pay for the transfer and get that exchange rate at some point in the future. Forward contracts can be purchased up to a year ahead of then you need to make the transfer.
    • Limit orders — a limit order lets you only transfer money (and fund the transfer) when the exchange rate meets a threshold that you’ve previously defined. This lets you take advantage of changing rates without having to watch them like a hawk.
    • Stop-loss orders — a stop-loss order lets you define a threshold which is the minimum currency exchange rate you will accept. Your currency exchange will then be made if this threshold is breached. It’s a useful way to manage your exchange rate risk.
    • Combining orders — you can combine the above orders to hedge against exchange rate movements and take advantage of favorable exchange rates.

    Business currency exchange services

    • Multiple and batch payments — Currencies Direct lets you create and upload information allowing you to make multiple payments to employees and suppliers around the world.
    • Smart currency conversion — designed for online sellers, smart currency conversion lets business owners manage their international collections and payments more easily, optimizing cashflow.
    • Multiple collection accounts — you can get access to Currencies Direct collection accounts in multiple currencies and countries allowing you to take payments around the world. You can then convert money when you need to, or do it on an automatic schedule.
    • Manage outgoing payments — a service designed to help online sellers who source inventory and stock from suppliers in other countries.
    • Risk management — expertise and simple advice from currency specialists to help manage risk and reduce the impact of exchange rate fluctuations.

    Other currency exchange and money transfer services

    • Regular, fee-free transfers — Currencies Direct allows you to make regular transfers via direct debit. This is fee-free and you can choose weekly, monthly, or quarterly schedules. You can also lock-in future transfers at a guaranteed rate.
    • Travel money — Currencies Direct has partnered with a service called WeSwap to provide low-cost travel money for international travellers.
    • Daily news on market movements — Currencies Direct provides news and live exchange rates on their website.
    • Currency converter — you can easily find out how much money is worth in a different currency via their online tool.
    • Currency charts — see how currency pairings have performed historically.
    • Rate alerts — get alerts automatically when currency exchange rates hit a certain threshold.

    Customer satisfaction

    Currencies Direct does well in customer reviews. It scores a respectable 9.2 out of ten on Trustpilot, with 81% of people rating it at 5 stars and an additional 10% rating it at four stars. Only 4.6% of reviewers rated Currencies Direct at one or two stars.

    Reviews typically include positive comments around customer support and ease of use. For example, “Excellent professional clear advice from my first enquiry to the final transfer.Secure informed updates of each stage of the transaction.” and “Had a great experience with Jade my account manager. This was my first time using a service like Currencies Direct and they were helpful, upfront and available to answer all of my many questions. Once I initiated my transfers the process was smooth and efficient and my funds arrived on time. Overall a good experience that gave me peace of mind throughout, would certainly recommend to a first-timer!”

    The negative reviews were mainly due to misunderstanding the timing of transfers or transfers taking too long. There were also complaints about the need for documentation to setup accounts and the view this was an invasion of privacy. Currencies Direct replied to all negative comments either explaining the situation or offering to resolve any issues.

    Overall though, customers are extremely pleased with FairFX’s exchange rates, speed, efficiency, convenience, and customer service.

    How Currencies Direct works

    1. Setup an account with Currencies Direct—they will need your name, address, contact details, bank details, and proof of identification like a passport.
    2. Decide the currencies that you want to exchange money between.
    3. Book a rate through the Currencies Direct website, by calling a customer service center, or through a mobile app.
    4. Provide details of the sender and receiver of the funds.
    5. Send money to Currencies Direct through bank transfer or by paying with a debit card. Debit card payments are available for GBP, EUR, or USD currency cards.
    6. Currencies Direct converts the money and deposits it in the recipient’s bank account.

    Currencies Direct mobile applications

    Currencies Direct offers a complete mobile application available for Android and Apple phones. The app allows users to:

    • Transfer money quickly and easily.
    • Stay up-to-date with currency trends using rate alerts.
    • Check live exchange rates and costs.
    • View online, offline, and historic activity.

    • Why you can trust Monito's reviews

      Monito's mission is to help you (and thousands of others each day) find the best providers for your money transfers.

      We do that by providing real-time comparison of exchange rates and fees (you can use the form below to make a comparison) and by writting in-depth reviews about money transfer providers.

      We have partnerships with many money transfer providers (Currencies Direct included), which help us get access to their exchange rate and fees information (which we always check for accuracy). Those partnerships help us support our activity and offer our service for free.

      We put a lot of efforts to review money transfer providers like Currencies Direct in details and based on objective and verifiable criteria. A good example of that is the in-depth User Experience Benchmark Study we conducted in August 2018.

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    Questions you may have

    Read our guides on sending money abroad