XE Money Transfer leans on its sister company, HiFX, to deliver a very good currency exchange experience in spite of the inconsistencies that come along with delivering funds via Swift.
- Large selection of currencies
- Excellent exchange rates
- Advanced foreign exchange tools
- Online platform can handle large values
- Unexpected charges from the SWIFT network
XE Money Transfer is not like other companies, in so far as that its original purpose was not to transfer money. XE.com for a long time has been one of the largest developers of foreign exchange tools on the internet. Perhaps it was just a matter of time before they leveraged this position into actual currency exchange?
With XE’s acquisition by Euronet in 2015, XE became part of its parent organisation’s stable of foreign exchange companies, which currently include Ria Money Transfer and HiFX. Since then, XE has begun offering its own currency exchange services, thus far piggybacking on the existing payment infrastructure of HiFX.
XE is clearly looking to offer the users of its internet applications a one-stop-shop for all things foreign exchange. To learn more about their capability and to see if their service is right for you, read on for my in-depth review of XE Money Transfer.
Company history and founding story
XE.com was founded in 1993 by two high school friends, Steven Dengler and Beric Farmer. Originally named Xenon Laboratories, the company’s primary focus was developing internet-based currency and foreign exchange tools. Within a few years, XE becomes the world’s most popular currency website, and the company was eventually renamed to its present title in 2001.
Throughout the company’s development, it has operated from various offices in Canada. In 2015 XE was acquired by Euronet, a global provider of electronic payment and transaction processing solutions. Euronet, who also owns Ria Money Transfer and HiFX, continues to build its market presence and it appears that these brands will be consolidated to some extent in the near future.
XE’s money transfer division is currently headed up by Simon Griffin as CEO, with Richard Hodgson in the role of Chief Financial Officer. Both gentleman also oversees HiFX’s money transfer business from their UK office. The broader XE website is influenced by the leadership of Ken Taylor and Darren Bruce. While Cecilia Tamez and Jason Judge play important roles as Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Technology respectively.
XE supports the transfer of 60 currencies, leading to a total servicing of approximately 170 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 all corners of the globe. The downside to this network is that there are often charges incurred by the recipient, of which XE has no control of.
XE does not have a 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 £300,000. For any values larger than this, the customer service staff of XE 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 XE Money Transfer 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 XE against traditional banks, the company fares very well. Banks typically charge a large transaction fee and a 5% margin on the total value of the transfer. XE, on the other hand, does not charge a transaction fee, and the exchange rates are much more competitive; amounting to 0.54% of the total amount transferred for both small ($1,000) and larger values ($100,000).
When comparing XE to other specialised currency transfer services, it preforms very well. While currency services 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 0.50% of the transfer value. XE aligns quite similarly to these services, and its overall rate of 0.54% places it in the same league as those considered best in class.
As an example, let’s compare XE against its competitors when transferring Australian Dollars (AUD) into Euro (EUR):
wdt_ID Service $ 1,000 $ 10,000 $ 100,000 Ave. cost Review 1
XE Money Transfer
As you can see, XE stands out as an excellent performer in terms of the exchange rates offered. Although, it should be noted that any transfer conducted via Swift will likely incur additional hidden charges by correspondent banks; the exact cost depending on the amount of the transfer and the recipient’s bank.
The transfer speed of an average transfer with XE depends on a couple of things, 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 2 – 4 days for the transferred funds to reach the recipient’s account.
What are the key features of XE’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 log in to the XE website, and with a couple of clicks, a transfer can be arranged.
Recurring payment. If you need to transfer funds on a regular basis, a single payment can be scheduled as a regular recurring transaction. This allows any future payments to be direct debited automatically, providing a convenient solution to make better use of your time.
Currency forward contract. If you would like to lock in an exchange rate but aren’t quite ready to transfer, you can use a forward exchange contract. This allows you to confirm a specific rate for up to 12 months in the future, protecting you from unfavorable rate movements.
Market order. Limit orders allow 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, XE will initiate the transfer of funds immediately.
In addition to the XE’s headquarters in the United Kingdom, the company also has regional offices in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. This global footprint allows XE to provide local customer service during standard business hours during the week. XE can be contacted by phone or email.
In my experience, I found the XE customer service staff to be friendly and helpful, and my queries by email have been answered in a prompt and professional manner.
Security and regulation
Is XE Money Transfer safe? Let’s take a look at the various initiatives adopted by the company to ensure the security of its customers.
Government regulation. As HiFX’s sister company, XE, 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 462444. The subsidiaries of HiFX are also regulated by the relevant authorities in the jurisdiction of their international operations, such as ASIC in Australia and FinTRAC in Canada.
Customer funds held on trust. In accordance with the standards imposed by government regulators, the funds of XE’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 XE encounter financial difficulties.
Website security. The XE 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 XE? Let’s take a look at look at the company’s reputation.
Trustpilot. As of publication, XE has received 1,421 reviews on Trustpilot with an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars; representing a positive experience in 94 percent of interactions with its customers. Here are some of my observations on the feedback posted:
- Excellent rates
- Helpful phone support
- Quick and easy transfer process
- Strict compliance requirements
- Unexpected Swift fees incurred
- Customers have reported changes to system and procedures since the change of ownership
Social media. Upon viewing the Facebook and Twitter feeds of XE, we can see a range of varied interactions between the company’s customer service staff and its customers. As the XE website consists of a combination of currency tools as well as its money transfer service, we find a broad selection of queries. In addition to some standard questions about the money transfer process, the XE staff also deal with some pretty strange requests from the general public. All in all, it appears that they do their best to respond when required, usually doing so the same day.
Mainstream media. As for the mainstream media, XE receives a lot of coverage, although not traditionally for their money transfer service. XE currency tools are clearly some of the most popular in the market, therefore, there are hundreds of articles on the web recommending their currency conversion apps and the like. The XE founder, Stephen, has also received significant media attention on his extracurricular activities; most notably when he and his father, Bob, became the first Canadians to circumnavigate the globe in a helicopter.
Taxes From A To Z (2018): X Is For Xe.com. Forbes
XE is the go-to site for currency conversions on the web. The Guardian
Global celebrations as XE Money Transfer goes live. Ria Corporate Blog
Design. The XE website has been designed thoughtfully, with special attention being paid to user experience and functionality. The technology stack is the same as used by HiFX, so any users familiar with that system will be right at home here. The website can be viewed in 9 languages, including English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.
Registration. The signup process is relatively straightforward, taking only a couple of minutes longer than a typical consumer-grade service. You begin by selecting your country and entering your email, before providing essential contact information such as name, address and phone number. The entire process takes around 10 minutes.
Identification. Before you are able to commence transferring funds, you first need to provide proof of identification so XE can verify your account. I was required to provide my Drivers Licence or Passport number, and then later a copy of my Passport.
How does XE work?
To familiarise you with the XE Money Transfer 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 xe.com and log in. Once you have entered the XE online platform, you are greeted with an informative interface. The dashboard allows you to navigate to and view various details about your account. To begin a transfer, click New Transaction. Alternatively, you can enter some basic information into the quick quote widget and click New Transfer.
Step 2. To formalise the exchange rate for your quote, select the currencies involved and the amount you wish to transfer in either the sending or receiving currency denomination. I am not aware that the exchange rate is dynamic in any way, therefore the amount of your transfer will not have an effect on the offered rate. Once you are happy with the quote presented click Continue.
Step 3. Select the destination country and add the bank details of your intended recipient, including a reason for your transfer. Select the method in which you intend to pay your funds to XE. The company can usually accept funds by bank transfer, debit or credit card. In my example, however, only bank transfer was available.
The specific terms of your quote are clearly outlined, including the exchange rate and fees applicable. Once you are sure you want to finalise, click Confirm Transaction Now.
Step 4. Once your transaction is confirmed, you are provided with a PDF Confirmation and instructions to proceed with your part of the payment to XE’s local account.
Step 5. Once your funds have been received by XE in their local account, they will process the transfer to your recipient. You can track your transfer online, and you will also be provided with email updates as the payment moves through 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 XE online platform was simple to use and I was satisfied with the instructions provided to me along the way. The email updates were informative, and I even received additional updates via text message. The entire process took 2 working days, and the funds arrived into my recipient account as requested.
Conclusion and final thoughts
XE Money Transfer provides its currency exchange services by hitching its wagon to its well-established sister company, HiFX. By using this existing infrastructure, XE is able to offer excellent exchange rates, a host of advanced features, and helpful customer service for offline transfers. This allows XE to join HiFX as a strong performer among the other full-services brokers in the market, such as OFX, WorldFirst and Currencies Direct.
While the company uses the Swift network to increase the reach of its deliverable countries, this does have an obvious downside; in that, some transactions may incur unexpected transaction costs, and that the full amount of the transfer will not always be received by the recipient. Nevertheless, in my experience I found XE Money Transfer to be an efficient and effective service for sending funds abroad, and it is more than suitable for individual and commercial customers alike.
If you have any questions, queries or feedback, let me know in the comments below.