Facts & Figures
About Currencies Direct
Currencies Direct was founded in 1996 out of a single London office.
They were the first non-bank money transfer provider in Europe.
As of 2021, they have 20 offices around the globe covering nearly every continent.
Their push to make their service available globally has led to their dominance of the FX market over the last 25 years.
When originally founded by Mayank Patel, they provided a simple over-the-phone service.
Now, you can book deals of up to £25k using their online platform or mobile app.
They employ more than 500 people across the world, with 300k+ clients and an annual volume of £7 billion.
After 19 years of trading, Currencies Direct was acquired in 2015 by Palamon Capital and Corsair Capital for over £200 million.
What Services Do They Offer?
As an industry leader, Currencies Direct has a better offering than most:
For personal clients:
- Spot contracts
- Forward contracts
- Limit orders
- Stop losses
- Rate alerts
- Market analysis
- Online platform
- Mobile app
For business clients (including above):
- Batch payments
- Risk management solutions
- Multi-currency accounts
While the basics are great, it’s the advanced stuff that makes them stand out.
Businesses love the idea of hedging their exposure and cutting expenses…
It’s no wonder Currencies Direct has such a large corporate portfolio.
Is Currencies Direct Safe?
Currencies Direct is authorised and regulated by:
- 🇬🇧 Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) #900669.
- 🇿🇦 South African Reserve Bank (SARB) #2011/117232/10
- 🇨🇦 Financial Transactions and Report Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) #M08690900
- 🇪🇺 Bank of Spain #6716
- 🇺🇸 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), having licenses in 11 states
As you can see, they are heavily regulated globally.
Getting regulated by one body is difficult enough, let alone five.
Most UK currency brokers are only regulated by the FCA.
Currencies Direct have had to prove that they are responsible and safe with large amounts of money.
Across 3 continents, too.
Part of the regulation is that you have to separate client funds from company funds.
These are accounts that are “ring-fenced and safeguarded”.
This basically means that Currencies Direct can’t touch your money, for any reason (other than to convert it for you).
If Currencies Direct ever goes into administration, you will receive the full amount of your funds back.
Even if they need to pay their creditors.
Currencies Direct Rates, Fees & Costs
To know how competitive Currencies Direct are, you have to know how they make money.
The ‘margin’ is the difference between the rate the broker is buying at and the rate they give to clients.
It’s usually a set percentage of the total transfer volume, and is kept as profit.
On average, Currencies Direct’s margin will be around 0.75%.
So, they will buy your currency at the interbank rate (or slightly below) and then sell it back to you at 0.75% less.
To put it into perspective, most big UK banks set their margin between 5-6%.
Basically, using the bank will cost you 5-6x more than using Currencies Direct (on average).
Don’t forget about the banks' extortionate transfer costs and fees, too.
However, Currencies Direct’s margins aren’t fixed.
While on average they will charge you 0.75%, they can, in theory, charge whatever they like.
The bigger the volume of your transaction, the better rate you might get. And vice-versa.
Currencies Direct does not charge any transfer costs, hidden fees or commissions.
The amount you are quoted is the amount you’ll receive in your account.
Currencies Direct would not be as big as they are now without being competitive.
You will get a substantially better rate compared to your bank.
However, there still might be a better rate out there for you.
Take a look at our article on the Best Currency Brokers.
Currencies Direct Reviews
Currencies Direct encourages all clients to leave feedback.
On Trustpilot, they have over 6000 reviews with a 4.9/5 rating.
Currencies Direct clients love the service.
Account managers are very helpful and patient, particularly with the clients who don’t use technology.
The process is quick and easy, with funds landing the same day.
There’s a lot of comments on the efficient platforms and apps, too.
It’s clear that they have top-notch, easy-to-use tech.
Only a few clients mention competitive rates.
Money being lost in the banking system, accounts not being opened and platform issues are the main points.
Nearly all of the time, lost funds are out of the control of the broker.
Money can get held up along the line after transfer for compliance reasons or incorrect banking messages.
Banks are finicky, slow and often unhelpful, but funds can never get fully lost.
Bear in mind, these occurrences are very rare.
If any currency broker declines your account, there is always a good reason.
Part of their regulations is obtaining specific information and documentation around the client’s activities to determine the risk level.
If documentation isn’t provided, isn’t credible or indeed determines the client is high-risk, an account cannot be opened.
But, let’s remember, only 3% of Currencies Direct’s reviews are 1 star.
The overwhelming majority enjoyed a great service and experience.
How Do Money Transfers Work?
Sending Funds to Currencies Direct
You can send money to Currencies Direct through a bank transfer or debit card.
Most currency brokers don’t offer the card option.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to make a bank transfer, Currencies Direct may be the broker for you.
However, cards usually take longer and will cost more.
If you have or plan to sell a Spanish property, you’ll probably be aware of what a Spanish draft is.
Currencies Direct can deposit drafts for you free of charge, compared to the usual 1-2% fee taken by Spanish banks.
This can save you thousands.
Receiving Funds from Currencies Direct
Currencies Direct can send payments all around the world.
Exceptions to this include ‘extremely high-risk’ countries, including but not limited to: Syria, Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Somalia.
Their banking partners will simply reject any payments to these countries.
If you are unsure on whether they can send to your country of choice, simply call and ask.
When sending funds, Currencies Direct will use the cheapest and quickest method available.
‘Faster Payments’ is used when sending GBP locally (UK), and SEPA is used for Euros sent within Europe.
For any other currency or country, a ‘Single ACH’ payment is typically used.
How Long Do These Payments Take to Arrive?
- SEPA - 0 - 2 hours
- Faster Payments - instant
- Single ACH - 24 - 48 working hours, depending on currency and country
You would usually receive your funds on the same day of the trade.
Do They Accept International Clients?
Currencies Direct can onboard clients from any country bar a few.
You may need some documentation to prove who you are and where you live.
This will likely be a proof of address and identity, such as a passport and utility bill.
If you live in a ‘high-risk’ country and don't have residence anywhere else, Currencies Direct may not open an account for you.
Unlike most other brokers, you can open an account and transfer funds if you live in a select few states in the U.S.A:
- California (CA)
- Florida (FL)
- Georgia (GA)
- Illinois (IL)
- New Jersey (NJ)
- North Carolina (NC)
- Pennsylvania (PA)
- Rhode Island (RI)
- South Carolina (SC)
- Texas (TX)
- Washington (WA)
If you are unsure, you can always ask to find out if you’re eligible for an account.
Currencies Direct Online Platform & Mobile App
Once registered, you have access to an online platform and mobile app where you can make transfers of up to £25k.
If you want to convert more, you’ll have to give them a call.
The app and platform provide the following features:
- Process transfers
- Track transfers
- Manage recipients
- Forward buying
- Rate alerts / notifications
- Market updates
You can download the Currencies Direct app for free on the App Store and Google Play store.
Currencies Direct are arguably the largest traditional currency brokerage.
With this, comes an extended set of products and features available to clients in order to make exchanges.
Clients praise their technology and level of service, which is surprising as service levels usually deteriorate as a company expands.
With Currencies Direct being heavily regulated globally, your funds are more than safe and transfers are processed quickly.
The only drawback is that while they are competitive, you can probably get slightly better rates elsewhere.
However, getting the best possible rate isn’t absolutely everyone's goal.
Some just want to have their hand held throughout the process, and feel secure.
This is where Currencies Direct hits the nail on the head.
If you're transferring less than £5k, check out our recommended Money Transfer Apps instead.