TransferGo provides a simple, convenient, and cost-effective platform for citizens of the UK and greater Europe, but lacks the advanced features of a full-service currency provider.
- Simple user interface
- Small payments can be completed without full identity verification
- Rates are generally competitive
- Effective customer service processes
- Spot transfers only
- Service only available for residents of the UK and greater EU
- Management is relatively inexperienced
With more and more people moving throughout Europe to take advantage of economic opportunity, transferring currency across borders has never been more important. Focusing solely on those living in the United Kingdom and the greater European region, the company is trying to reduce the costs for its customers working hard to send money to their friends and family abroad.
TransferGo was initially created to solve the founder’s own problems. They asked, why do international transfers need to be attached to a clunky onboarding process and be tangled up bureaucratic red tape? The answer: it doesn’t. The company is doing the hard lifting up-front so its customers can reap the rewards of an effortless payment service.
With this go-getter attitude and thousands of satisfied customers, TransferGo is beginning to find traction in the marketplace. To learn more about their capability and to see if their service is right for you, read on for my in-depth review of TransferGo.
Company history and founding story
TransferGo was established in 2012 by four co-founders; Daumantas Dvilinskas, Justinas Lasevicius, Edvinas Sersniovas and Arnas Lukosevicius. Almost a decade ago, these young entrepreneurial Lithuanians found themselves living and working in the United Kingdom. And like many migrants from Europe, they all ran into the inefficiencies of the banking system when transferring funds abroad.
In response, they shifted their attention to creating a simple online platform for sending payments throughout the United Kingdom and greater Europe, as well as other key international markets. Over the past 5 years, they have grown their business to handle over £500 million worth of foreign exchange deals annually, comprising of nearly a million individual transactions. They have also found support from a variety of backers, having raised over $10 million in venture funding to date.
Today TransferGo continues to be led by its founding team, with Daumantas acting as CEO and Justinas acting as Chief Financial Officer. Arnas has been appointed Chief Technology Officer, while Edvinas assists in a marketing capacity. To help guide the strategic vision of the company, Renier Lemmens was bought on as Chairman in 2017. He brings with him some essential corporate governance experience, having previously held senior roles at GE Capital, PayPal, and Barclays Bank.
TransferGo supports the transfer of 23 currencies, leading to a total servicing of approximately 47 countries. For the most part, the company facilitates its transfers using the SWIFT banking network, which provides it with the ability to deliver funds to a selection of key destinations. The downside to this network is there are often charges incurred by the recipient, of which TransferGo has little control of.
TransferGo does not have minimum transfer value. While the company is equipped to complete transfers of almost any size, its online platform is limited to a maximum transfer amount of £25,000. For any values larger than this, the customer service staff of TransferGo are more than happy to assist you with getting you what you need.
Exchange rates and fees
Before committing to using a currency transfer service, it’s important to understand its business model. Put simply, a company like TransferGo typically generates revenue in two ways. Firstly, it may charge a transaction fee for executing each transfer. Secondly, it may also take a margin on the exchange rate provided to its customers, also known as the “spread”; which is the difference between the exchange rate of the wholesale market (i.e. the interbank rate), and the exchange rate offered to the customer.
When comparing the pricing of TransferGo against traditional banks, the company fares pretty well. Banks typically charge a large transaction fee and a 5% margin on the total value of the transfer. TransferGo, on the other hand, charges a small flat fee of only £0.99. The exchange rates are also much more competitive than traditional banks; averaging between 1.30% of the total amount transferred for small values ($1,000), and 0.60% for larger values ($100,000).
When comparing TransferGo to other specialised currency transfer services, it stacks up pretty well. While companies such as TransferWise and CurrencyFair don’t take a margin on the value of the transfer, and rather they provide their customers with the mid-market rate, they do charge a larger fee to compensate; amounting to approximately 0.60% of the transfer value for TransferWise, and even less for CurrencyFair. Even though TransferGo doesn’t provide the mid-market rate, its rates are not too far away, especially for larger values.
As a case study, let’s compare TransferGo against its competitors when transferring Euro (EUR) into Australian Dollars (AUD):
|wdt_ID||Service||€ 1,000||€ 10,000||€ 100,000||Ave. cost||Review|
|1||Mid-market rate||1,603||16,030||160,300||0.00 %|
|2||Typical bank||1,497||15,203||152,260||5.58 %|
|4||TransferWise||1,592||15,934||159,502||0.59 %||Read review|
|5||CurrencyFair||1,593||15,960||159,501||0.51 %||Read review|
As you can see, there is certainly some benefit to using TransferGo. With its ability to provide flexible payment arrangements throughout Europe and other select markets, it does provide quite good value overall. Importantly, though, it should be noted that any transfer conducted via SWIFT may incur hidden charges by correspondent banks; the amount depending on the amount of the transfer and the recipient country.
For what TransferGo lacks in diversity of originating currencies, it makes up for with the speed of its transactions; particularly for those which paid by SOFORT, debit or credit card. Also, depending on the destination of your funds, varying speeds of payment may be available, such as Express, which offers same-day delivery for £2.99, or Today, which offers next day delivery for £1.99.
For Standard transfers (£0.99), the speed of a transaction will depend on a couple of factors, including the currency you’re sending, the bank used, and the size of the transaction. For the majority of currency pairings, you should allow between 3 – 5 business days for the transferred funds to reach the recipient’s account.
What are the key features of TransferGo’s online platform? Let’s take a look at the various payment services offered by the company.
Spot contract. 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 TransferGo website or app, and with a couple of clicks, a transfer can be arranged. Unfortunately, at this stage, this is the only type of payment that TransferGo can facilitate. As a result, anything resembling the more advanced features offered by other currency transfer services, such as scheduled payments or conditional orders, is not possible.
In addition to the TransferGo headquarters in the United Kingdom, the company also has a regional office in Germany, Lithuania and Poland. Each of these offices is used to varying degrees, to service the company’s European customer base. Their customer service team can be contacted by phone or email.
In my experience, I found the TransferGo customer service staff to be friendly and helpful. I did not have to wait too long to speak with someone on the phone, and my queries by email have been answered in a prompt and professional manner. When I identified an issue with my transfer – the unexpected deduction of Swift fees – the issue was immediately rectified by the customer service representable who had this fee refunded to me.
Security and regulation
Is TransferGo safe? Let’s take a look at the various initiatives adopted by the company to ensure the security of its customers.
Government regulation. As TransferGo is headquartered in the United Kingdom, the company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and licensed as an Electronic Money Institution under reference 600886.
Customer funds held on trust. In accordance with the standards imposed by government regulators, the funds of TransferGo’s customers are held in segregated accounts and are therefore kept completely separate from the company’s own operating accounts. This ensures the security of customer funds, should TransferGo encounter financial difficulties.
Website security. The TransferGo 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.
Can you trust TransferGo? Let’s take a look at look at some of the key factors which affect the company’s reputation.
Trustpilot. As of publication, TransferGo has received 4,850 reviews on Trustpilot with an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars; representing a positive experience in 96 percent of interactions with its customers. Here are some of my observations on the feedback posted:
- Simple transfer process
- Competitive exchange rates
- Small payments can be completed without full identity verification
- Long time customers have noticed a reduction of service recently
- Account verification has caused delays for large transactions
- Delays and confusion regarding expected delivery times
Social media. Upon viewing the Twitter and Facebook feeds of TransferGo, we can see a range of varied interactions between the company’s customer service staff and its customers. It appears that any queries raised by customers are being addressed within 1-3 of posting, with some taking a touch longer. To engage with their customers, TransferGo maintains a blog and has previously sponsored a podcast focusing on the migrant experience.
Mainstream media. As for the mainstream media, their reporting on TransferGo has generally been positive and provides the company with a handful of vanity pieces, many of which highlighting the advantage of money transfer companies over traditional banking services.
The leading international money transfer service for Central and Eastern Europe migrants. The Next Web
TransferGo looks like a perfect solution if you are looking for an easy way to send money across borders. Forbes
TransferGo is considered a disrupter in the money transfer industry, aiming to break down the barriers that often stand between senders and recipients of money. pymnts.com
9. User experience
Design. The TransferGo website has been designed thoughtfully, with special attention being paid to user experience and simplicity. It is available in 8 languages; English, German, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian. In addition to its online platform, TransferGo has also developed mobile apps for both Apple and Android devices.
Registration. The registration very, very quick. All you need to do is enter an email address and password. Alternatively, you can sign up with your Facebook or Google accounts. The entire process takes a minute or so.
Identification. TransferGo is slightly different to a lot of currency transfer companies, insofar as you can begin making payments as soon as you have joined, without the need of verifying your identity. There are a few catches, though. First is that your transfer exceeds £900 you’ll need to provide photo ID. Then, if your transfer is over £3500 you’ll need to provide proof of address. Finally, for transfers over £6,500, you’ll need to provide proof of funds. Slightly clunky if you ask me, but nevertheless, you can read more about this process here.
How does TransferGo work?
To familiarise you with the TransferGo service, I’ll take you through a transaction I completed with them recently. If you need some guidance in navigating your own account, you can follow along.
Step 1. Visit transfergo.com and log in. Once you have entered the TransferGo website, you are greeted with a relatively minimal interface. To begin a transaction and add your first recipient, click Get Started.
Step 2. Select your country and the country of your recipient, as well as the value of your transfer; either in the value of the originating currency or the recipient’s denominated currency. The rate offered will depend on the size of your transfer. Larger transfers will generally be offered better rates. You will also need to select your delivery option. As you can see, in my situation, only Standard delivery is available.
You can then add the specific information of your intended recipient, including their bank details.
Step 3. The specific terms of your quote are clearly outlined, including the exchange rate and fees applicable. If you wish to pay by debit or credit card, this is the fastest method of transferring funds to TransferGo. Other payment methods can also be selected, including Sofort and bank deposit. Once you are sure that you would like to finalise and proceed, click Confirm.
Step 4. Once your transaction is confirmed, you are provided with instructions to proceed with your part of the payment. Before TransferGo can complete the transfer, you will first need to send your funds to their local bank account.
Step 5. Once your funds have been received by TransferGo in their local account, they will finalise the transfer to your recipient. You can track your transfer online or with their mobile app. Additionally, throughout the process, you will be provided with email updates as the payment moves within the system.
All done! Finally, once the transfer has been completed, its status will be updated accordingly and the payment will be reflected in your recipient’s account shortly.
In my experience, the TransferGo online platform was simple to use and I was satisfied with the instructions provided to me along the way. The entire process took 4 business days, and the funds arrived into my account, albeit with a short payment of $25. Upon querying this discrepancy with their customer service team, they were very apologetic and arranged a refund of this fee into my sending account within a few days.
Apparently Swift fees can vary and cannot be estimated in advance. While this may be the case, I think it would be reasonable to disclose the possibility on the TransferGo platform, especially if an unexpected deduction is possible. Nevertheless, I was very satisfied with their response and it is a testament to the quality of their customer service process.
10. Conclusion and final thoughts
On its face, TransferGo provides a relatively straight-forward service, allowing quick and simple payments from the United Kingdom and Europe to a modest selection of countries. The company focuses on usability and simplicity, rather than overwhelming its users with complex functionality. In this regard, its greatest strength may also be its greatest weakness. While it is certainly a clean interface and provides generally competitive rates, there is little additional functionality for the more experienced user.
It seems clear to me that TransferGo has designed their product around their; those relocating to various parts of Europe to pursue enhanced economic opportunity. In that respect, while their service is not perfect, they are contributing to providing a useful solution for sending back home without getting whacked with unnecessary fees and red tape. It’s not going to be all things to all people, so there is still a little way to go, but TransferGo is off to a good start.
If you have any questions or queries, let me know in the comments below.