Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Friday, January 26, 2018

Cheap foreign currency transfers, 2018 update

Back in 2013 I last wrote about using peer to peer providers to transfer money from the UK to France, and in particular I looked at Transferwise and CurrencyFair in comparison to Moneybookers (now Skrill) that I had used up to then.

I concluded that the peer to peer services provided a better rate of return, and that I would be using them going forward.

Earlier in the month I needed to transfer £500 to my French bank account in order to pay the property insurance. In the last few years both Transferwise and CurrencyFair have introduced mobile apps to make it even easier to convert and send your money, and when I found that the Transferwise app on my iPad wasn't working I uninstalled it and reinstalled it to fix the problem.

Once working I thought I'd look to see what other iPad money transfer apps were available, I'd give them a spin, and see whether any of them offered me a better rate or transfer amount.

So here's my experience of this very limited test.

Remember, the requirement was to transfer £500 into Euros. I decided that if there were any fees on top to be paid then I'd reduce the amount I was transferring as needed, so in all cases I would be spending exactly £500.

First up Transferwise, their iPad app is easy to use, for my £500 I was offered a rate of 1.251 and £3.54 of fees, meaning I'd end up with €558.57 in my French account.

Next, CurrencyFair. They don't have an iPad app, only an iPhone app, so on my iPad it has to be stretched and I have to tilt the screen 90 degrees to be able to use it (I have a cover with integrated keyboard on my iPad so this is a pain to use). They offered a rate of 1.1198 inclusive of fees, resulting in €559.90.

Then I looked for some other companies to try and found 3 more:
WorldRemit. Their iPad app enabled me to check the rate before I created an account (nice, not everyone did this), and their rate was 1.1162 with £2.99 fee on top meaning my £500 gave me €555.88 into my French account.

Azimo. I couldn't do anything with their iPad app until I had firstly registered with them (boo), but they did offer me the first transfer fee-free. Their rate was 1.11307, the transfer fee would have been £1 (but first one free remember), so I'd have ended up with €556.54.

And finally, Small World. They have a proper iPad app (hurrah), but it's stuck in portrait mode. As my iPad in its cover is permanently in landscape this means a cricked neck when you use it - Grr.
Anyway, next to one side, I didn't need to register first to get a quote (good), and it was a healthy 1.12 exchange rate, the best so far, mind you there was a £5 fee on top of that which would have evened things up if they too hadn't had a first-transfer-free policy as well.
So with them I was getting €561.84, the best overall.

And so tempted by this offer I registered with Small World and made my transfer through them. Of course for money laundering requirements I had to upload a photo of my passport which was easily done through the app, and I waited. Next day they verified my documents, the transfer went ahead, and 2 days later the money was in France.

In summary for £500 to €:

Transferwise €558.90
CurrencyFair €559.90
WorldRemit €555.88
Azimo €556.54
Small World €561.84

So not a massively scientific test, but it does show that there is value in shopping around.

Two weeks later as I write this Blog post, I've just been through all the apps again to see what they now suggest I would get. Here's the second set of results, again for a £500 transfer:

Transferwise €565.62
CurrencyFair Couldn't give me a quote as the markets close at 8pm Irish time on Friday's
WorldRemit €561.45
Azimo €559.27
Small World €563.20

My conclusion is to probably remain with TransferWise and CurrencyFair as my preferred options, although I have used TransferWise the most over the last few years. I will try the others maybe one or two times more and might keep Small World as a 3rd transfer option.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home