Our Independent Review of Currencies Direct

Oct 5, 2021

Currencies Direct is a UK-based currency exchange and money transfer provider offering services to individuals, businesses, and online sellers. It prides itself on local expertise — with 21 offices around the world, it can provide expert local help on currency markets, local regulations, and compliance. In addition, it also has specialized knowledge 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. It provides a wide range of currency exchange and money transfer services, many of which aren’t readily available from other providers.

It does not typically charge transfer fees and offers 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.

Currencies Direct has 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. It provides competitive exchange rates on higher amounts.

What Monito Likes 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 Monito Dislikes About Currencies Direct

  • No local options for recipients to pick up money in cash.
  • Exchange rates on lower amounts are not competitive.

Currencies Direct Fees

  • Currencies Direct does not typically charge transfer fees. If it does charge a fee, you'll be notified 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.

Compare Currencies Direct's Fees & Exchange Rates

Is Currencies Direct Safe?

Yes, Currencies Direct is indeed a safe and secure foreign exchange broker for sending funds overseas. Not only has the company been in business since 1996 — during which time it has helped over 375 thousand customers transfer over £7.5 billion worth of funds —but it is also authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Electronic Money Institution (with the Firm Reference number 900669). Currencies Direct also has the highest possible rating with Dun & Bradstreet (a renowned credit agency), meaning it is considered a low-risk organisation.

Currencies Direct have undergone the highest level of regulation to ensure its practices are to the best standards in terms of safety and security. It is registered with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as a money service business and process customer funds through a segregated bank account to keep it completely safe.

As of 2021, Currencies Direct trades in more than 60 currencies and employs some 500 people in seven countries across Europe, North America, Asia and, Africa.

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

Additional Services From Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct offers the following additional specialised services to individual and business clients:

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 favourable 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 cash flow.
  • 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.

Currencies Direct does well in customer reviews. It scores an excellent 4.9 out of 5 stars 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 set up 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 Currencies Direct's exchange rates, speed, efficiency, convenience, and customer service.

How Currencies Direct Works

  1. Set up an account with Currencies Direct — you will need to provide your name, address, contact details, bank details, and proof of identification such as 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 centre, 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 App Review

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.
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