Currencies Direct Review

Looking for a safe, easy and low cost way to send international payments? Maybe you've come across Currencies Direct.

Specialist broker Currencies Direct offers international payments, business accounts, and risk management solutions. And they may be able to offer you a better exchange rate compared with using your bank.

Learn more in this comprehensive Currencies Direct review, including fees, whether it's safe to use, how fast it is, how to get set up, and more.

Currencies Direct: Key points

Key features:

  • Send international payments online, in-app, by phone, or in person at the UK Currencies Direct office, in 40 currencies
  • Set up risk management solutions like forward exchange contracts and limit orders
  • Businesses and online sellers can open international accounts to receive payments in GBP, USD, EUR and JPY
  • Fast payments - EUR payments may arrive on the same day, other transfers can arrive within 48 hours
  • Currencies Direct has 22 offices in different global regions - having specialists around the world means they can tailor their services and keep on top of local regulations and policies

Key stats:

  • Founded in 1996, Currencies Direct has served over 325,000 people and businesses
  • Payments in over 40 currencies, to 120+ countries
  • 7.5 billion GBP of payments are arranged annually - over 500,000 individual transfers
  • 500+ employees at over 20 branches around the world

Pros:

  • Multiple ways to set up your payment, and a range of currency risk management solutions
  • Exchange rates on offer may be better than bank rates - and there's no additional transfer fee
  • In person help when you need it - either on the phone or in branch if you're able to visit the London office
  • Payments are delivered quickly
  • FCA regulated in the UK, making this a safe provider

Cons:

  • Exchange rates may not be the very best available
  • Transfers are made to bank accounts only - other services like cash collection or mobile money account payments not available
  • International accounts are for business customers only

Overall:

For individuals, the main draw of Currencies Direct may be that payments can be settled pretty quickly, so your money gets where it needs to be fast. Additionally, having help available by phone and in person can be reassuring if you're sending large payments or setting up risk management solutions. The fact that there's no transfer fee may be attractive, depending on how the exchange rate you're offered compares to other providers.

Business customers and online sellers can benefit from all the services available to individuals, plus handy international accounts. Use an account to get paid in GBP, EUR, USD or JPY and set currencies to convert automatically so you'll always have the funds you need available. That can help manage cash flow and give you more time to focus on running your business.

Send Money With Currencies Direct

About Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct has been in business since 1996 and now has offices in the UK and Europe, the US, South Africa and India. One of the key differentiators with Currencies Direct is that you can arrange international payments and other currency services through a range of channels - online, in-app, by phone, and by person in their 22 offices around the world.

Services are available for both individuals and businesses, including international accounts which are aimed at online sellers receiving marketplace payments in foreign currencies. Let's look at what's on offer in more detail.

International transfers

Currencies Direct's core service is international transfers for both personal and business customers. Once you've registered an account with Currencies Direct you can log in online to get a quote for the exchange rate offered for your specific payment - or you can phone or call into one of their 22 branches if you'd prefer. In the UK, the Currencies Direct office is in central London, and is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.

Once you've agreed a rate for your payment you just fund it by card or a bank transfer to Currencies Direct and the rest is taken care of. Your money will arrive in your recipient's account automatically.

Great for: people and businesses making international transfers.

Try Currencies Direct

Forward exchange contracts

Under a forward exchange contract you'll be able to set an exchange rate for up to 12 months by paying a small deposit. This service is available to individuals and business customers and can be handy if you know a foreign currency payment needs to be made in future, and want to lock in a specific exchange rate.

Once the rate is agreed you don't have to worry about fluctuations in the exchange markets increasing the price you need to pay. However, you also can't benefit from any changes in the rate in your favour over the period.

Great for: people and businesses who want to protect themselves against increases in exchange prices for future international transfers.

Limit orders

To create a limit order you'll start by agreeing a target exchange rate to sell a currency you hold. Currencies Direct can then monitor exchange rates in the background, and automatically trigger the sale if the exchange rate you've selected is reached.

This is great for people and businesses who are not in such a hurry to sell or convert funds, and would rather wait until shifts in the market mean they'd get a better rate. Because the sale is automatic there's no chance you'll miss the opportunity simply due to poor timing.

Great for: people and businesses looking to sell currency at a target rate.

International currency management for businesses

Currencies Direct services for businesses include international accounts to receive and hold foreign currencies, cross border payments, and risk management solutions.

If you need to receive international payments you can open a multi-currency business account for incoming payments in GBP, EUR, USD and JPY. You'll then be able to automate currency conversion between the currencies you hold to make sure you always have cash available in the currencies you need.

The cross border payment and risk management solutions available for businesses are similar to those listed above for personal customers, with the addition of batch payment options. Batch payments are useful for businesses making large volumes of international payments at once - managing supplier invoice payments or employee payroll for example. To save time you can upload payment details from your accounting system, set user management permissions for verification, and have all transfers made automatically using the cheapest possible routing option.

Great for: businesses selling or making payments internationally.

Services for online sellers

Currencies Direct offers international business accounts which are aimed at online sellers who need to get paid in different currencies through marketplaces sites like Amazon, Shopify and eBay.

You can connect your account to the marketplace platforms you operate on, to receive, hold and convert funds. Accounts come with local bank details for EUR, GBP, USD and JPY, and can be used to collect sales from the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan.

Accounts are free to open, with no monthly fees. Because the exchange rates offered by Currencies Direct may be better than those available directly from marketplace platforms, this service can help online sellers retain more of their profits. You can also set up rate alerts to decide when to convert funds from one currency to another at the best possible rate.

Great for: people selling online internationally through marketplace sites like Amazon.

How does Currencies Direct work?

Currencies Direct offers services online, through their app, by phone and in person at 22 offices around the world. One factor which makes them stand out against some providers is this in-person presence in major hub locations. This has a couple of advantages. Firstly you can call in to make payments in person if you're close to an office. And secondly, local teams make it easier for Currencies Direct to keep up with and adapt to changes in financial regulations, policies and markets around the world.

To use Currencies Direct you'll need to open an account online or by phone, before entering details of your transfer to get an exchange rate quote. There's no transfer fee for most payments, but there will be a cost rolled into the exchange rate used. More on that later.

Is Currencies Direct safe?

Currencies Direct is licensed and regulated by the FCA in the UK, making it a safe provider. Learn more about Currencies Direct safety here.

Currencies Direct pricing

For most payments, there's no transfer fee to send money with Currencies Direct. If there is a charge for a transaction you'll be informed.

That said, Currencies Direct is a business and needs to cover its costs and make a profit. Generally currency services and brokers do this through exchange rate margins, and any fees paid on specialist services on offer such as currency risk management products.

Currencies Direct exchange rate

You'll see the Currencies Direct exchange rate for your transfer when you start to set it up.

Currencies Direct buys foreign currencies at wholesale rates - also known as the mid-market rate - and may then add a markup to the rates offered to customers. However, because they buy in bulk on foreign exchange markets they're still able to pass on some of the savings they make to customers by using lower margins than banks and some other exchange services.

Go to Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct risk management fees

Currencies Direct offers forward contracts and limit orders which can help customers manage the risks involved in holding and spending in different currencies. These are specialist products, so to find out more you'll need to contact an expert from the Currencies Direct team. They'll talk through your requirements and explain the fees, opportunities and risks involved in using specialist risk management products.

How long does Currencies Direct take?

How long your payments will take to arrive will depend on where you're sending to, and how quickly you're able to get the money to fund the transfer to Currencies Direct. Payments in Europe could be settled on the same day they're received by Currencies Direct, but transfers elsewhere can take up to 48 hours.

Currencies Direct Pros

  • Online, in-app, phone and in person services available
  • Range of currency management solutions
  • No transfer fee
  • Fast payments
    • especially in EUR
  • FCA regulated in the UK

Currencies Direct Cons

  • Exchange rates typically beat banks, but may not be the very best available
  • No cash collection or mobile money account payments
  • No international accounts for personal customers

How to use Currencies Direct

Once you have a Currencies Direct account you'll be able to set up payments in a range of ways. Sending an international transfer online or in the app is probably the fastest and easiest option. Here's how:

  1. Log into Currencies Direct on the desktop site, or open the app
  2. Enter the country you're sending money to, and the payment value
  3. Get a quote for the exchange rate available
  4. Confirm once you're happy with the details
  5. Make your payment by debit card or bank transfer
  6. Your transfer will be processed once Currencies Direct receive your funds

If you're making a more complex transaction like a forward exchange contract or limit order you'll need to complete an online form and get a call back from an expert to discuss the options available to you.

Funding methods

Pay for your Currencies Direct transfer by:

  • Debit card
  • Bank transfer

Payout methods

Currencies Direct payments are sent direct to the recipient' bank account.

How to create an account

Registering an account with Currencies Direct could be as quick and simple as boiling the kettle. Here's what to do:

  1. Open the desktop site or download the Currencies Direct app
  2. Select Register
  3. Enter your email address and set a password
  4. Follow the onscreen prompts to add your personal details
  5. You may be asked for verification documents depending on the transfer type you want to make
Open a Currencies Direct Account

What documents you'll need

To comply with UK and international financial service regulations you'll usually need to verify your account before you can make any payments.

For a personal account you'll be guided through this process as you register. You'll normally be required to prove your identity and address, but the exact documents required do vary. It's typical to be asked to upload an image of:

  • Government issued ID document like a passport or driving license
  • A recent utility bill or bank statement in your name

Business accounts will also have to be verified. Exactly what's required will depend on where your business is registered and where the owners and shareholders live.

If you're a UK business with non-UK shareholders and directors you'll usually need to provide proof of identity and address for anyone with management control.

Businesses which are registered outside of the UK usually have to provide director and shareholder identity documents, as well as proof of business registration and your company's annual tax return. Seller profiles and sales history may also be required, depending on the nature of your business.

How long does verification take?

The amount of time it takes to verify your account may depend on which documents are required. If you're opening a business account you can expect to hear back within about 24 hours once you submit documents.

Currencies Direct limits

The amount you'll be able to send with Currencies Direct may vary depending on destination country and your account type.

You can get a quote online for transfers of any value, including payments worth over 250,000 GBP. However, high value payments may need to be confirmed over the phone, and you may have to provide extra documents to show the source of funds, to comply with FCA regulations.

Supported currencies

Currencies Direct supports over 40 different currencies and lets you send to over 120 different countries

Currencies Direct regularly updates the countries and currencies available, and advises customers who can't find the currency pairing they need to get in touch.

Currencies Direct reviews

Currencies Direct scores an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, from a total of more than 6,000 listed reviews at the time of writing. That's an Excellent score.

Positive reviews focus on the individual customer service offered by specific account managers they've dealt with over the phone, calling out several by name after exceptional experiences. Here are a few happy customer reports:

"I find the service of Currencies Direct always quick and efficient, also the politeness of the personnel is always impeccable"

"Very helpful, efficient and quick service with very good communication. This was my 1st time of using this type of service and l am very happy with how Currencies Direct gave me a good service."

As with any service, not all reviews were good. But Currencies Direct had a very low percentage of people giving the worst possible Trustpilot review rating - only 2%, which is a pretty impressive result.

Currencies Direct accessibility

Currencies Direct services are available on their desktop site, or using the app you can download on both Apple and Android phones. You can also call to arrange payments, or visit one of the 22 branch offices around the world, including one in central London.

Currencies Direct customer service

You can get in touch with Currencies Direct by phone, by email, or in person.

Customer support channelCurrencies Direct availability
Phone support +44 (0) 20 7847 9400
Email support Use the contact form available on the desktop site

Or mail to [email protected]
UK office address One Canada Square \ Canary Wharf \ London \ E14 5AA \ United Kingdom

Currencies Direct alternatives

  • Wise - send payments which use the real exchange rate and low transparent fees. Free online international accounts to send and hold multiple currencies available to both personal and business customers
  • Western Union
    • domestic and international payment service with a network of agents as well as online and in-app services. Payouts available to bank accounts or for cash collection. Fees tend to be on the higher side.
  • PayPal or Xoom - send instant payments at home and abroad - convenient and quick, but not always the cheapest. With PayPal your recipient will also need to set up an account to get their money.
  • Revolut - open an online international account with handy features like savings vaults and budgeting features. Junior accounts can also be set up for kids - but you'll need to upgrade to a fee paid account to access some of the features on offer.

Conclusion

Currencies Direct is a well established, fully regulated currency broker with a range of services for individual and business customers. You can set up a payment online, through the app, by phone or in person if you're near one of the 22 branch offices. Your money is then delivered directly to your recipient's bank account for ease.

There's no transfer fee - and exchange rates do typically beat the banks. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're the absolute best out there, so it's still worth *italic text*shopping around.

Currencies Direct has a couple of strong selling features which not all money transfer providers can offer.

Phone based services can be handy for people who want to talk through payment options.

Currency risk management products can help individuals and businesses who need to protect themselves from changes in exchange rates.

And online international accounts can be attractive to businesses and online sellers who trade internationally.

If any of those features appeal to you, check out how Currencies Direct may be able to serve you.

Go to Currencies Direct Account

FAQs

1. How much does Currencies Direct cost?

Currencies Direct transfers do not come with transfer fees, but there will be a markup in the exchange rate applied.

2. How long does Currencies Direct take to transfer funds?

EUR payments may be delivered on the same day Currencies Direct receives your funds, other payments may take 48 hours.

3. Is Currencies Direct safe?

Currencies Direct is fully FCA regulated in the UK - making them a safe service for your international payment.

4. How does Currencies Direct apply exchange rates?

Currencies Direct uses an exchange rate calculated by adding a small margin to the mid-market rate. This can still be cheaper than using a bank.

5. Does Currencies Direct have a mobile app?

Currencies Direct has an app you can download on both Apple and Android phones.

6. How does Currencies Direct work?

Open a Currencies Direct account online, in the app or by phone and you’ll be able to access exchange rate quotes for transfers and currency risk management solutions. Set up transactions 24/7 online, or give the team a call to talk through your options.

7. How many currencies does it support?

Currencies Direct supports 40+ currencies.

General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions. We compare currency exchange and money transfer services in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. We only display reputable companies which we have researched and approved.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 19 April 2022