Tired of dealing with high bank transfer fees and unpredictable exchange rates when sending money overseas?
Let’s explore a possible solution: Currencies Direct.
As a UK-based foreign exchange and money transfer company, Currencies Direct offers a range of services designed to make international payments easier, more affordable, and more convenient.
In this comprehensive Currencies Direct review, I’ll share my recent personal experience using Currencies Direct for my own mortgage process in Portugal.
I’ll walk you through everything about the service, including the pros, cons, fees, and safety features.
My Currencies Direct Review in Brief
With a 4.9-star rating on Trustpilot, it’s clear that Currencies Direct offers a positive experience for the majority of customers with its foreign exchange and money transfer services. A whopping 91% of reviewers rated Currencies Direct as a perfect 5 stars, while less than 3% rated it as one or two stars.
In my own experience as an immigrant in Europe, Currencies Direct has never let me down. The range of services, including forward contracts and limit orders, have helped me save money on international transfers – such as my recent property purchase in Lisbon.
What’s more, the customer support team – particularly my dedicated account manager – were knowledgeable, responsive, and always available throughout the process. Overall, I’d highly recommend Currencies Direct to anyone looking for a reliable and affordable way to transfer money overseas.
Currencies Direct is a UK-based foreign exchange and money transfer company founded in 1996, as the first FX company in Europe. It provides currency exchange and international payment services to individuals and businesses in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Currencies Direct offers a range of services such as spot contracts, forward contracts, limit orders, and regular payments to help clients manage their currency risk and save money on international transfers.
Operating on a low-margin, high-volume business model allows Currencies Direct to offer competitive exchange rates and low transfer fees.
The company also provides excellent customer support, with a dedicated team of currency experts available to assist clients with their queries and provide market insights.
Currencies Direct has received several awards for its services, including the Best Currency Broker award from the Good Money Guides Awards in 2023.
It also has a Level 1 credit rating with Dun & Bradstreet – the highest possible level.
With 25 branches around the world, located in 7 countries, Currencies Direct has a truly global reach.
Digital Émigré was created to provide information and resources to help people build new lives in Europe, while seeking second citizenship. The author of this review, Samantha North, has emigrated to several countries and lived abroad for over a decade. This review of Currencies Direct is based on Samantha’s first-hand experience using the service with her own funds, plus the experiences of others via Trustpilot.
Currencies Direct: 6 Key Features
Let’s take a closer look at the 6 most critical features of Currencies Direct.
#1. Competitive exchange rates
Because Currencies Direct buys currency at a wholesale rates, they can pass the savings from buying in bulk onto their customers.
That’s why Currencies Direct offers more favorable exchange rates compared to traditional banks or other currency exchange providers.
You’ll get better value for money and potentially save significant amounts on international transfers.
Currencies Direct provides real-time exchange rate quotes and alerts, so you can easily keep track of market fluctuations and make informed decisions about when to make currency transfers.
You can also keep your funds sitting safely in your Currencies Direct account, then transfer them whenever you’re ready.
#2. Choice of transfer options
Best when you need to make an immediate transfer. Simply agree the exchange rate, send Currencies Direct the funds to transfer, and they’ll send your currency straight away.
Best when you need to fix the current rate for up to a year. Forward contracts are a great fit if you need to make a payment for goods or services in the future and you want to protect yourself against market volatility.
Best when you have an exchange rate in mind and don’t need to move money immediately. Just tell Currencies Direct your target exchange rate and they’ll make the transfer immediately once that rate is hit. This can be particularly useful in times of uncertainty.
#3. Fast transfer speeds
Transfers are usually completed within 24-48 hours, from your home bank account to the foreign currency bank account.
#4. Wide range of global currencies
Currencies Direct offers foreign exchange services for a wide range of global currencies, including
It operates in over 120 currencies across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, making it a convenient option for international payments.
#5. Top-notch, personalized support
One thing that stands out about Currencies Direct is the high quality of customer support.
Not only is this widely praised among the Trustpilot reviews, but I’ve also experienced it personally when transferring funds for a mortgage downpayment.
My personal account manager, Arron, phoned me for an intro call shortly after I set up my account.
Plus, he’s always available by phone or email if I need to discuss upcoming changes in exchange rates, planned transfers, or anything else.
This level of visibility and communication builds customer confidence, especially important when dealing with large sums of money.
Recently, I had a problem with the password on my account. I got in touch with the Currencies Direct chatbot, which quickly directed me to a human representative.
The technical support representative was able to guide me to fix my login problem promptly.
#6. Safety and security guaranteed
When transferring large sums of money by a third-party, it’s only natural to be concerned about whether your funds are safe.
Currencies Direct is authorized by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority as an Electronic Money Institution (EMI).
Among other requirements, this authorization means Currencies Direct is required to safeguard client funds by holding them in an account that’s kept entirely separate from the company’s own business accounts.
So, those client accounts are protected if either the company or the banks it uses to hold the client funds go into insolvency.
When Should You Use Currencies Direct?
Personally, I use Currencies Direct for large transfers (e.g. £5,000 or more).
For smaller transactions, I’m happy to use the Wise app on my phone.
Wise also provides excellent rates, but it can be a black hole in terms of customer support.
It’s not always easy to get in touch with a Wise customer support representative via the app.
Although I like Wise, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that possibility if a large sum of money was at stake – hence why Currencies Direct is always my choice for larger transfers.
Pros and Cons of Currencies Direct
- Competitive exchange rates.
- Range of services, including forward contracts and limit orders.
- Global coverage to 120 countries in over 40 currencies.
- Excellent customer support from a team of currency experts, via phone, email or online chat.
- Regulated and secure, with customer funds held securely and safeguarded.
- Convenient and easy-to-use online platform for making transfers.
- Full-featured mobile app for currency transfers on the go.
- Fast and reliable transfers, with same-day or next-day options available.
- Multi-currency accounts for managing multiple currencies in one place.
- Options for regular payments, making it easy to schedule recurring transfers.
As you can see, there are many advantages to using Currencies Direct for your money transfers.
But you should also keep in mind a few potential drawbacks.
- Minimum transfer amount of £100 (not suitable for those looking to transfer smaller sums of money).
- Not all currencies are available for all services (for example, not all currencies may be available for forward contracts).
- No physical branch locations, which could be a drawback for those who prefer to conduct transactions in person (though let’s be honest, that’s less and less likely these days).
My Personal Experience Using Currencies Direct
I’ve been a customer of Currencies Direct for over a year now.
In April 2023, I used the service for my largest transaction so far: moving funds from the UK to Portugal for a downpayment on an apartment in Lisbon.
This is a pretty common scenario for people living abroad who have savings in their home country.
My first step was a phone call with my personal account manager, Arron, to get his thoughts on the current state of the market.
He also filled me in on any upcoming political events in the UK that might affect the pound vs euro exchange rate.
(Of course, the pound’s value has already been greatly diminished in the wake of Brexit, but I’ll save that particular gripe for another day…).
Seeing as the pound was at the strongest level it had been for a couple of months, I decided to go ahead and book a forward transfer to lock in those rates.
I could’ve done this by phone with Arron, but I decided to set it up through the website instead.
The whole process was very straightforward. I first funded my Currencies Direct GBP wallet with money from my UK current account.
Then it was easy to exchange them into EUR via my EUR wallet, which took a matter of seconds.
I was now holding those funds in my EUR wallet, safely in the Currencies Direct dashboard (there’s no charge for doing this, the funds are safe, and you can hold them for as long as needed).
The final step was to set up a transfer of those euros from my Currencies Direct wallet to my local Portuguese bank account.
Once I’d initiated the transfer, Currencies Direct emailed me with a transfer confirmation.
The funds arrived in my Portuguese current account just a few hours later – ready to make my downpayment.
How Fast is Currencies Direct?
Most transfers arrive at their destination within 48 hours, although many will be faster than that. It normally depends on the receiving bank.
I recently transferred funds from my UK bank to my Currencies Direct GBP wallet, where they arrived almost instantly.
Is it Safe to Use Currencies Direct?
Yes, it’s extremely safe to use Currencies Direct.
The company is regulated by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority as an Electronic Money Institution (EMI).
That means Currencies Direct has to meet certain requirements to safeguard customer funds, even in the unlikely event of its own insolvency.
Regulated providers are required to report any compliance breaches, plus demonstrate that they’re adhering to compliance policies and controls on an annual basis.
What’s more, Currencies Direct also has specific processes in place to track your funds if there are any delays with the transfer (which tend to come from the receiving bank).
You can always get in touch with your personal account manager, who will help you resolve any issues.
Is Currencies Direct Better Than Wise?
The answer to this question is that Currencies Direct and Wise are both good for different purposes.
Personally, I’m an active user of Wise, holding both business and personal accounts with them.
But for transferring a large sum of money from one currency to another, I’d always choose a personalized service like Currencies Direct over Wise.
This is for two main reasons: 1) the flexibility of the Currencies Direct forward contracts and limit orders, and 2) because I can easily contact my account manager for immediate help if needed.
Wise is just too impersonal, and from time to time it blocks customer accounts without warning.
I wouldn’t feel comfortable if something like this happened during a large fund transfer.
FAQs: Currencies Direct Review
If you’re looking for a fast, friendly and straightforward way to transfer large sums of money abroad, look no further than Currencies Direct.
The reliable service has been a huge help for many expats and immigrants – myself included – for making major purchases such as buying property, making other investments, repatriating inheritance, and paying school fees – to name but a few.
That concludes my Currencies Direct review. If you’ve got a large transfer coming up soon, why not get a free no obligation quote from Currencies Direct right now?