Choosing the right money transfer service is not an easy task. We know because we were once in the same position. This was, of course, the reason why TransferGuides was established and we started writing reviews in the first place.
If you are relying on our commentary to evaluate a transfer service, it makes sense to understand our rationale. That way, you can be confident in our ability to make sensible judgements and articulate this to you clearly.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at our review methodology.
The purpose of a review
A review is broadly defined as a critical examination. It aims to show you something and help you form an opinion. In this sense, TransferGuides hopes to assist you with understanding the following:
- How the foreign exchange market works
- Why a money transfer service can improve your experience
- What features a particular transfer service can offer
- Our general opinion on the quality of a service
Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision. Whether you are looking to send money online for the first time, or you already have some experience with business money transfer, we hope to guide you towards a service that will accomplish what you need to get done.
One of the first things you will notice is that we attach a score to each review, of between 1 and 5 stars. The process we follow to arrive at this is not exacly scientfic, but rather a subjective judgement based on our experience of using the service when compared with others in the market.
If a transfer service offers a simple product and does it well, we will probably score it favourably – after all, it was a pleasing experience. On the other hand, if a service tries to do too much and it results in an unrefined experience, we are unlikely to recommend it despite its functionality.
We know that you don’t have all day to sit around and research services. In this spirit, we aim to provide an honest review of a given service and suggest alternatives where appropriate. Our scoring system is the simplest way for us to guide you towards services that we consider to be of quality.
Below, is an outline of the criteria that we use to evaluate a money transfer service. If you would like to dive further into what to look for when doing your own research, we suggest reading our post on how to compare money transfer services.
The first thing we do when assessing a service is to look at the company, its management and employees. In our opinion, a company is only as ever as good as the people running it. And in financial services, experience matters. This is a simple part of the process, but probably the most important.
We will also list the physical address of the company’s head office and touch briefly on its international offices. If you are not located in the same country as the head office this is important. For safety reasons, you should be wary of using any service that does not have an international office in your jurisdiction.
Supported countries and currencies
The first thing to consider when deciding on a transfer service is whether it can send money to the country that you require. Sometimes services will spruik the number of its currencies. However, we keep things simple and list the receiving countries, to provide a general idea of its capability.
We will also provide a broad overview of transfer limits. Most services will have minimum and maximum transfer limits, particularly those that conduct a lot of transfers online. We will typically designate these limits in British Pounds (£) to maintain consistency across services.
Exchange rate and fees
Rather than focusing on the exchange rate offered by a service or its transaction fee, we think its more useful to consider its overall cost. That way, we are less likely to get caught up in marketing gimmicks. To calculate the overall cost of a transaction, we compare it with the mid-market rate.
To make a general representation of a service, we calculate its “average cost”. To do this, we receive three quotes across low, medium, and high values, and calculate the overall cost of each. These figures are represented as a percentage of the transfer value and then averaged.
When calculating average cost, we show our working so you can follow along at home. It is not a perfect method of determining the relative cost of a service, however, we think it is a fair way of understanding its general pricing structure. And it certainly helps with comparing different services.
Depending on the business model of a particular service, the time it takes to complete a transfer will vary. It is difficult to provide an exact answer, as the transfer speed relies on a number of factors. However, we do attempt to provide a rough indication based on our own experience.
Key payment features
Then, we take a look at the payment features of the service. Not all services are the same, and some are better than others for certain use case scenarios. Here are the types of payments you can expect to be listed, as applicable:
- Spot contract
- Recurring payment
- Market order
- Currency forward contract
- Foreign currency options
- Multi-currency account
- Cash pickup
Some transfer services are not always so forthcoming with their contact email and phone number, which can be frustrating. We still like the old methods, so we’ll do our best to locate the important details and list them for you. We’ll also provide a short summary of our customer experience.
We will explore some of the factors that indicate the reputation of a service. Typically, we will look at three elements; Trustpilot, social media and reporting in the mainstream media. These metrics aren’t perfect, but are helpful for getting an idea of what other people are saying.
Safety and regulation
Next, we take a look at security and regulation. This is not so exciting, but once again, important. For the most part, it is a quick commentary on how the service complies with government authorities, an overview of how customer funds are protected, and finally on basic website security.
If you are going to be using an online platform, your experience with navigating its interface will matter. We will make some brief comments on the design of the website, including what languages it supports. We will also briefly touch on the registration process and the identification required.
How it works
Before signing up with a service, its helpful to understand the transfer process. We will walk you through a transaction we have completed, step-by-step, so you can see how the platform functions. We will also include our comments on the experience, including any affect of the SWIFT network.
As our review reaches its conclusion, we will provide our final comments on the quality of the service, and provide you with some context about how it performs relative to other services in the market. If there are alternatives that we think you should consider, we mention these also.
An important point to consider when reading our reviews is to understand how we are remunerated. TransferGuides contains affiliate links, and we may earn a referral fee from the services we explore. This is disclosed at the beginning of each post and is addressed in our affiliate link policy.
How you can help
If you think that our reviews could be improved in any way, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.