The past two decades have seen quantum leaps in computer technology. New technology meant new approaches to pre-digital problems and institutions. One institution that has changed profoundly since the introduction of computers and digital technology is banking. From the fledgling technology that allowed the innovation of ATMs, suddenly our money was available to us at any time and eventually from (almost) anywhere – no more waiting in line and bankers’ hours (but hello ATM user fees and transfer charges). Here are ten money transfer companies to watch in 2019, as they work to remove that “almost” and reduce or remove transfer fees.
Transferwise is a money-transfer business based in the United Kingdom, but developed in Estonia. The company launched 8 years ago and offers a range of 28 currencies.
The company was founded by two friends, each of whom worked in one country but had bank accounts and/or payment responsibilities in the other man’s home country. They devised a solution in wh9ich they would swap actual currencies and found they were thus able to avoid poor exchange rates and/or high transfer fees from traditional brick and mortar banks.
The transfer process at Transferwise is based on the storage of actual funds in local currencies. Funds exchanged with very low and transparent fees. Nearly all transfer processes are fee-free. Credit card payments carry very low fees – roughly 1% of the total payment.
Key Currency is a newcomer to the Forex trading scene, established only three years ago in the UK. They are quite a small firm in terms of employees, and what is probably their most appealing aspect is their “no minimum amount” and “dealer-direct” policies – there is no money amount too small for Key Currency, and that the trade will be handled directly by one of the dealers. This boutique approach to the currency exchange market has earned them a great number of members in a short time, and we hope the continuing increase in numbers will not mean a decrease in the personal touch that makes them stand out right now.
Widely considered the leader in Forex money transfer, World First is based in the UK, where the company was founded 4 years ago. Its transfer rates are very competitive and transfer fees are simply not charged. There is a minimum transfer amount of $1,000 USD, a business decision which might possibly exclude or scare away some of the smallest potential customers. Onboarding customers is very quick and simple, but new customers should be prepared to give much more information when actually making a transfer. The company only handles bank-to-bank transfers and focuses on providing the best experience for customers requiring bank-to-bank. They win points for their all-around excellent customer service. They have become a very big company but have not let their rapid growth cause any reduction in the consistently high level of personalized service and individual attention to the details of each transaction they handle.
HiFX – UK based HiFX offers 60 different currencies for forex exchange, maintaining offices in the UK as well as Spain, Australia and New Zealand. The company was founded way back in 1998, when the internet was closer to Arpnet than Facebook. They are known for and maintain a policy of no transfer fees unless the customer is transferring 50 (pounds) or less; in which case the fee is 9 pounds.
The company was purchased by RIA as a way for that parent company to expand into more and greater international markets. Business can be conducted via their web-based platform or by smartphone. Not ranked highly as technology innovators, HiFX has succeeded by keeping the core values of convenience, friendliness, timely response and dependable customer service at consistently high levels over the two decades of their existence.
One of the oldest companies in this list, Currencies Direct has been around since 1996, when it was founded by Mayank Patel and Peter Ellis. The company was sold in 2015 to Corsair Capital and Palamon Capital. This year has seen them using leading-edge blockchain technology in making international payments, putting them in the forefront of 21st century innovation in Forex transactions.
The company maintains offices in North and South America, Europe, South Africa, Asia and the UK. They offer a very wide range of services, with special attention paid to international property purchases, exchange services for immigrants and students, as well as the usual online markets and businesses. Currency transfers are fee- and commission-free, and access to currency experts is possibly a unique offering – at least for this list.
Torfx has been around for a decade and a half now and built a solid reputation based on top-of-the-line customer service that has won them numerous on and off-line awards. Other qualifications include a Level One rating from Dun Bradstreet, and being rated the International Money Transfer Provider of the year the last three years in a row. They’re based in the UK and offer amazing exchange rates that can beat almost any bank. The company prides itself on its customer service and super-low rates, as well it should.
OFX (formerly known as Ozforex) is, as you might have guessed from the original name, based in Australia. They claim savings of up to 70% over typical bank rates. Founded in 1998 as a company offering foreign exchange and payments information, they’ve grown into a company with specific focuses on expatriates and immigrants that have found themselves working in non-native countries but still dependent on their home country banks. The opening of the San Francisco, California office in 2012 opened the US market to the company, which operates in the USA under the name USForex, Inc. Other offices are located in the UK, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Canada.
XE’s website features a comprehensive and global currency exchange rates and converter, providing a handy and simple tool for private individuals and businesses to quickly and accurately view currency exchange rates between any countries, as well as borderless innovations such as bitcoin. The company was founded in Canada in 1993. In those early days of the internet the company provided computer experts and consulting services for businesses in the process of gaining a foothold in the rapidly growing internet. In some ways they have remained a consulting service, specifically for money exchange information and assistance. Online users and consumers wanting to educate themselves about international banking and money exchange turn to Xe.com more than any other similar website; the company claims 280 unique visitors to its website annually and they are ranked in the top 500 websites (by traffic) in the world.
Virgin Money is part of the Global Virgin brand founded by Richard Branson way back in 1995, making it one of the oldest forex companies doing business today. Formerly Virgin Direct, the purchase of Church House Trust in 2010 gave Virgin Money a banking license and allowed them to expand into traditional banks, and was itself purchased and is now owned by CYBG, although it has kept the Virgin name. The company has moved beyond the currency exchange business, expanding into such specialized areas as mortgages, education and even into sponsorship of the London Marathon and the Newcastle United football team.
Currency Solutions has its headquarters in London, England, and has been in business for 15 years. The management team are renowned for their expertise in the field, and the company is justifiably proud of its excellent customer service reputation. The business model is an “accounts-without-borders” approach that eliminates the need to maintain local bank accounts in different countries where online sellers do business. Any problems that may arise in a transaction are dealt with quickly, comprehensively and in a manner that instills trust in their clients that they are in the safest and most experienced hands on the planet. Their customer satisfaction ratings are off the scale; a level of perfection for other Forex companies to strive for.
We chose to mention these 10 companies based on their innovations in the area of money transfer and on their consistently world-class customer service. Obviously there are others we could have mentioned. If you think we’ve left out someone important. let us know!