RationalFX provides a broad selection of currencies, competitive rates, and helpful customer service. However, its online platform lacks advanced features.
|Transfer speed:||2-4 days|
|Trustpilot score:||4 stars|
|Our score:||3 stars|
What we like
- Simple user interface
- Rates are generally competitive
- Helpful customer service
What we don’t
- Online platform has basic features
- Only available for residents of the UK and Europe
- Unexpected charges from the SWIFT network
RationalFX has an inspirational founding story; two young entrepreneurs in London looking for a way bring foreign exchange into the digital era. The best part of the story is that 15 years and 100,000 customers later, the company is still going strong.
From humble beginnings, the service has since expanded into three divisions to cover the diverse requirements of its customers. However, does RationalFX succeed in being a truely boutique firm for international payments?
To learn more about this service and see if it’s right for you, read on for our in-depth RationalFX review.
Affiliate disclosure: If you sign up with a money transfer service after being referred from our website, we might earn a referral fee. Learn more.
What is RationalFX all about? Let’s begin our RationalFX review with some general information about the service.
RationalFX was established in 2005 by two founders, Rjesh Agrawal and Paresh Davdra. They started out with just a laptop and a few thousand pounds in an apartment just outside of London. Despite their modest position, they both saw an opportunity for providing an internet-based foreign exchange service. They were aided by the fact that Paresh’s father had been involved in the industry for many years, and that Paresh had obtained some experience at his father’s firm.
Since the company’s founding, RationalFX has processed over £10 billion in payments on behalf of its customers. In 2014, RationalFX Premier was established to focus on providing a white-glove service for its high-net-worth private clients. Then in 2015, the company went the other way, founding Xendpay, an online platform specifically focused on low-value remittances.
It appears that both founders are still involved with the company to an extent; Rjesh as Chairman, and Paresh in an executive capacity. The responsibility for day-to-day operations has been handed to Chris Humphrey, who is CEO. Chris, who spent a decade with OFX, is supported by Kirsty Coughlan, who is Head of Compliance. The executive team is rounded out with Head of Operations, Jigar Shah, and Head of Technology, Giuseppe Naccarato.
RationalFX address (Head office)
The RationalFX address is as follows:
Rational Foreign Exchange Ltd
Level 42, One Canada Square
London E14 5AB
RationalFX has established local offices in the following countries:
Supported countries and currencies
RationalFX supports the transfer of funds to approximately 201 countries. For the most part, the service facilitates its transfers using the SWIFT network, which allows it to deliver funds to all corners of the globe. The downside to this network is that there may be additional charges incurred by the recipient, of which RationalFX has little control of.
RationalFX has a minimum transfer value of £1, which is excellent news if you only need to transfer a small amount. There is no maximum transfer value, which is an exciting feature for high-net-worth individuals and businesses of all sizes.
Exchange rates and fees
What are RationalFX exchange rates and fees? It will take a few minutes to explore the foreign exchange market, so we can properly consider this question.
How the foreign exchange market works
Let’s begin with how the foreign exchange market works. Banks and other money transfer services will buy foreign currency at a price very close to the mid-market rate. They will then sell this currency to you, the customer, for a higher rate than they bought it for, taking a margin in between – known as “the spread”.
The spread is essentially a hidden cost that is not disclosed to you during the transaction. Then, in addition to the spread, some services will charge a transaction fee on top – which is typically the fee quoted to you. In any case, the total cost of a transfer for you, the customer, is the combination of the two; the spread + transaction fee.
Q. Does the RationalFX exchange rate include a spread?
A. Yes, there is a spread.
Q. What about RationalFX fees?
A. Yes, there is a transaction fee of £4.
But for the moment, don’t pay too much attention to the details. Rather, for the purpose of our RationalFX review, let’s consider the overall cost.
Why focus on overall cost?
If you focus on the spread or transaction fee in isolation, it is easy to become lost in marketing gimmicks. Instead, it is more helpful to consider the overall cost when these factors are combined. For example, a typical bank will charge up to 5% of the overall transfer value in spread and transaction fee to complete a transfer on your behalf. Not great.
But what about RationalFX? To determine its overall cost we need to compare a transfer with a benchmark, the mid-market rate, which in theory has no cost. Practically speaking, it is unlikely that you will ever receive the equivalent of the mid-market rate, however, your goal should be to get as close as possible.
If you can achieve a total cost of less than 1% of the overall transaction value then you are on the right track. However, it really depends on what your needs are and if you are willing to pay a little bit extra for additional features, advice, or research. To find out the mid-market rate of any currency pairing, use this calculator at xe.com.
What is the cost of RationalFX?
To calculate the cost of RationalFX, we received three quotes to exchange British Pounds (GBP) into Australian Dollars (AUD) – for low, medium, and high values. The overall cost of each transaction was then compared against the mid-market rate and represented as a percentage of the transfer value.
Here is the calculation:
|Transfer value||Overall cost|
An average cost of 1.16% means that for every £1,000 sent, on average £11.60 will be lost in spread + fees. By using this figure, we can make a general representation of RationalFX across a range of transfer values. Of course, it is not a perfect representation by any means, but it is helpful for comparative purposes.
Important note on SWIFT: You should be aware that any transfer conducted via the SWIFT network may incur additional hidden charges by correspondent banks; the exact cost depending on the amount of the transfer and the recipient bank. In my experience, these fees can be as high as £25 per transaction.
RationalFX review: Market comparison
So, how does RationalFX compare to other services in the market? To help you determine its relative competitiveness, we have prepared a chart. Beside the name of each service, we have listed its average cost, speed of transfer, receiving countries, and our review score – sorted from highest to lowest.
To sort this chart by column, click its respective headings. If you are reading on mobile, you may need to scroll horizontally to view all fields.
|wdt_ID||Service||Ave. cost||Speed||Countries||Our score||Review|
|1||Azimo||0.89%||1-3 days||200||2 stars||Read review|
|2||OFX||1.20%||3-5 days||226||4 stars||Read review|
|3||CurrencyFair||0.45%||2-4 days||157||5 stars||Read review|
|4||MoneyGram||3.50%||1-3 days||194||2 stars||Read review|
|5||Currencies Direct||1.79%||2-4 days||188||3 stars||Read review|
|6||OrbitRemit||0.43%||1-3 days||43||4 stars||Read review|
|8||Paysera||0.97%||3-5 days||174||3 stars||Read review|
|9||RationalFX||1.16%||1-3 days||201||3 stars|
|10||Remitly||0.77%||1-3 days||58||2 stars||Read review|
|11||Ria Money Transfer||3.06%||1-3 days||158||2 stars||Read review|
If you would like to learn more about the rationale of this RationalFX review, take a look at our review methodology.
A typical transfer with RationalFX takes 2-4 business days, from sending to receipt. The exact duration will depend on a few factors, including the currency pairings involved, the transfer value, as well as the particular systems of the sending and receiving bank.
Key payment features
How do payment features affect our RationalFX review? Let’s take a look at its capabilities.
A spot contract consists of a single payment from one currency to another at the currently available exchange rate. If you need to send money right away, simply login to the RationalFX website and with a couple of clicks a transfer can be arranged.
A recurring payment is the easiest way to transfer money to the same recipient on a regular basis. A recurring payment allows any future payments to be direct debited automatically, providing a convenient solution to make better use of your time.
A market order allows you to set a target exchange rate that you would like to transact at in the near future. If and when your target rate is reached, RationalFX will initiate the transfer of funds immediately. This is useful if your transfer is not urgent and you willing to wait for a better rate.
A currency forward contract is useful if you would like to lock in an exchange rate but aren’t quite ready to transfer. This feature allows you to confirm a specific rate for up to 12 months in the future, protecting you from unfavourable rate movements.
RationalFX customer support
RationalFX customer support can be contacted by phone or email. Here are the contact details for a few of their offices:
+33 3 59 36 04 50 (France)
+34 931 84 24 12 (Spain)
+44 20 7220 8181 (United Kingdom)
In our experience, we found RationalFX customer support to be friendly and helpful. We did not have to wait too long to speak with someone on the phone, and our queries by email have been answered in a prompt and professional manner.
Is RationalFX safe?
As a customer, is RationalFX safe to use? Let’s take a look at some of its security measures.
RationalFX is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and is licensed as an Electronic Money Institution under reference 507958.
Customer funds held in trust
In accordance with the standards imposed by government regulators, the funds of RationalFX customers are held in segregated accounts and are kept apart from the company’s own operating accounts. This ensures the security of customer funds, should RationalFX encounter financial difficulty.
The RationalFX website is protected with TLS encryption, which prevents sensitive data from being intercepted during your visit. You can confirm that this is in place by recognising a green padlock next to the website’s URL on your browser.
What is the reputation of RationalFX?
Are there any complaints about RationalFX? Let’s take a look at its reputation.
As of publication, RationalFX has received over 1,000 reviews on Trustpilot with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars; representing a positive experience in 89 percent of interactions with its customers.
Here are our observations of the feedback posted:
- Website is quick and easy to use
- Competitive rates
- Many happy long-term customers
- Staff do not have the knowledge required to assist in all situations
- Funds received later than expected
- Unexpected SWIFT fees incurred
Upon viewing the Facebook and Twitter feeds of RationalFX, we do not see a lot of interaction between the service and its customers. It’s hard to know exactly why this is, although we suspect it’s because most customers prefer to contact RationalFX directly.
The social media accounts of RationalFX provide a regular selection of general interest news, foreign exchange related content, and useful guides on various topics.
RationalFX does not receive a lot of coverage in the mainstream media, apart from the occasional article on the success story of its two founders.
The ‘working class boy’ who built a £1bn business.BBC
Business Leader Interview: Paresh Davdra CEO, RationalFX.Enterprise Times
How a laptop and a phone changed the world: RationalFX.growthbusiness.co.uk
RationalFX user experience
How does product design affect our RationalFX review? Let’s take a look at its user experience.
The RationalFX website has been designed thoughtfully, with special attention being paid to user experience and simplicity. It is available in 5 languages; English, French, German, Polish, and Spanish.
The registration process takes around 10 minutes and is relatively straight-forward. You begin by entering your email, a password and electing the type of account that you would like, before providing essential contact information such as name, address and phone number.
Before you can commence transferring funds with RationalFX, you will first need to verify your identity. This will typically require providing two types of documents:
- Photo identification, such as a passport or drivers licence
- Proof of address, such as a bank or utility statement
How does RationalFX work?
As a part of our RationalFX review, we will take you through an example transaction. If you would like some guidance in navigating your own account, you can follow along below.
Step 1 – Sign up and login
Visit rationalfx.com, sign up and login. To begin a transfer, click Send Money.
Step 2 – Select transfer amount
To formalise your quote, enter the value of either the sending or receiving currency. Click Continue.
Step 3 – Enter recipient details
Enter the personal information of your recipient, including their bank details if that is the delivery method chosen. Click Continue.
Step 4 – Provide purpose of transfer
Provide a reason for your payment and click Continue.
Step 5 – Select payment method
Select a method of payment and click Continue.
Step 6 – Confirm transaction
The terms of the quote are presented. When you are happy to proceed, click Finalise Transaction.
Step 7 – Make payment to RationalFX
You are provided with instructions to make your part of the payment. Now is the time to transfer your funds into the local bank account of RationalFX.
Step 8 – Track payment
When your funds are received by RationalFX, it will complete the final leg of the transfer. You can track its status online. You will also receive email updates throughout the process.
Finally, once the transfer is complete its status will be updated accordingly. The funds should arrive in your recipient’s bank account shortly.
In our experience, the RationalFX platform was simple to use and we were satisfied with the instructions provided along the way. The entire process took 3 business days, and the funds arrived into our recipient’s account as requested.
RationalFX review: Final thoughts
RationalFX provides a professional money transfer experience. Its online platform is easy to use and suitable for completing single transfers of almost any amount. While the service does offer some advanced features, you will need to arrange these transactions over the phone.
Despite claiming to be a technology-first operation, RationalFX does lean on the SWIFT network for its transfers. And while its exchange rates are generally competitive, the service is not quite in the same league as market leaders, WorldFirst, CurrencyFair, or Wise.
If you have any questions or feedback about our RationalFX review, let us know in the comments below.