Facts & Figures
What is XE Money Transfer?
XE is an online and mobile money transfer app and currency converter tool.
They were founded in 1993 out of a basement in Ontario, Canada, by two friends.
XE allows you to convert and transfer money internationally for cheaper than a bank.
Initially, XE was a collection of different tools and data feeds before launching their transfer service in 2002.
Euronet, one of the world's biggest transfer providers, acquired XE in 2015 for $380million.
As of 2020, XE, Euronet and Ria (a sister company) were serving over 112,000 customers.
Transferring with XE is simple:
- Open an account
- Verify yourself
- Select your currencies, amounts and destination
- Click transfer
XE are known for their transparency by displaying mid-market rates on their conversion tool.
However, you might get a slightly worse rate when performing a transfer.
Is XE a Bank?
No, XE is not a bank.
Unlike Wise, they can’t hold funds.
You have to provide beneficiary details before you make the conversion.
In the UK, XE is classed as a ‘payment services provider’.
However, they’re still required to protect your money.
While the banks use the FSCS (protection up to £85k), XE ‘safeguard’ your money.
This means you have protection up to the full amount.
In other words, if you sent XE money for a conversion and they went bust, you’d get all of it back.
I talk about what safeguarding means in more detail here.
As previously mentioned, XE started off providing simple currency tools.
To this day, they still provide these tools alongside their transfer service.
XE Money Transfers
This is their primary product and money maker.
XE provides transfers to over 130 countries in 98 different currencies.
Wise, the largest transfer provider right now, can only send in 50 currencies.
That puts the availability of XE into perspective.
If you’re looking for an exotic currency, XE can probably help.
You can perform transfers either on their online platform or mobile app.
XE Business Account
You can also open a business account with XE.
They provide the same money transfers, with risk management solutions too.
These accounts are available to businesses of any size.
Sole traders, small-medium businesses or even massive enterprises.
XE provides forward contracts, limit orders and stop losses for business customers.
This allows you to hedge your risk against currency fluctuations.
Ultimately, protecting your bottom line.
XE Currency Converter
Their currency conversion tool drives tens of thousands of website visitors every day.
It’s one of the best out there.
You can quickly and easily check exotic currency pair rates and trends.
Alongside the major pairs too, obviously.
Check out the TRY/SAR chart above.
A pretty random pair, but XE provides a great little graph to show the historical trends.
You can also sign up and get rate alerts for any currency pair, too.
Is XE Safe?
The short answer is yes.
As previously mentioned, XE is owned by Euronet.
Euronet is an American provider of global payments and automated teller machines.
You may have seen one of their many thousands of ATMs across the world.
They’re also publicly traded on the NASDAQ.
XE on its own is heavily regulated across the world:
- Financial Conduct Authority (UK), #46244
- Dutch Central Bank (EU), #R149006
- ASIC (AU & NZ), #240917 & #240914
- FinTRAC (Canada), #M16372531
They’re also regulated and authorised to conduct business in 4 US states:
- New York
What does this regulation mean for you?
It means that XE is heavily monitored and frequently reviewed for their safety.
Not only that, but it means that any funds you send to them are held in segregated accounts.
These accounts are protected and kept separate from company funds.
If XE ever goes into administration, those funds cannot be used to tie up the business.
How Does XE Make Money?
XE provides one of the most popular currency converter tools in the world.
The rates they display on the converter are what’s called “interbank rates”.
They even show a little disclaimer so that you are aware.
That little blue box explains that the rates they display aren’t transactional rates.
Basically, you’ll get a worse rate when you actually transfer some money.
The difference between the interbank rate and the transactional rate is the profit for the provider.
They will buy your currency at the interbank rate (or slightly higher), and sell it back to you at a higher price.
It’s the same as how supermarkets work.
They might buy some baked beans at 80p a tin and sell it for £1.
20p profit in the pocket.
If you scale it up to hundreds and thousands of £s, you can see where the money is made.
The markup a company provides determines their competitiveness.
XE Rates, Fees and Costs
Now that you know how XE (and most other companies) make money, let’s have a look at their prices and costs.
If I put £100k GBP/EUR into their converter, right now (April 2022) I’m getting €120,854.47.
If I put £100k into their “send” platform at the same time, I get around €1k less.
Going by these two quotes, XE charges around 0.85% for a £100k transfer.
If I try the above with £1000, it’s around 1.35%.
This means that the more you transfer, the better the rate you’ll get.
In terms of competitiveness, XE is better than a lot of providers.
But, there are better rates out there.
To compare, Wise charges 0.4% for all transfers.
You’ll still be getting way more than what your bank will give you.
Most banks charge between 4 and 6%!
With fees, as long as you transfer more than £500 (or equivalent of), there are none.
However, third party banks may charge transfer fees.
There’s also the usual charge if you use a credit card to pay.
XE has racked up just over 50k reviews on Trustpilot.
A 4.4/5 rating is “excellent”.
84% of their reviews are 5 stars, and 3% are 1 star.
3% is a smaller amount compared to a lot of companies, which bodes well.
Let’s take a look at some comments.
“Would recommend! Super speedy, had to move money from the UK to NZ and it took less than 24 hours from start to finish. Good exchange rate. Very happy thanks!” - Emily
The speed and ease of use are the most popular points with XE's service.
Being nearly 20 years old, XE knows how to do payments.
Customers love the security and consistency with their service.
There’s rarely any issues, and clients are kept up to date with transfers through the app.
Exchange rates are praised, too.
“My transaction is still in progress, I've been waiting for this transaction to go through for 5 days! I'm sure they already have my funds because it was deducted in my bank! I tried to reach XE support but they did nothing to help me! Very poor service!” - Chryl
Nearly every single review mentions either delayed payments or onboarding issues.
Delayed payments, or stopped payments, are nearly always out of XE's control.
There are many banks involved in one transfer.
One or more can stop the payment and request more information about it or the recipient.
XE at this point is only the middleman, and can only work with the information they are given.
In terms of onboarding, some clients mention that it can be hard work to open an account.
Whether that’s slow systems or requesting documentation, it can be annoying to have your transfer held up.
Chyrl also mentions poor customer service, which other customers have also complained about.
Most clients experience no problems, though.
How Do I Open an XE Account?
Go to the ‘send’ section of their convertor tool and put in your figures and currencies.
You’ll then be prompted to create an account or sign in before proceeding.
Simply go through the sign up process and verify yourself, and you’re good to go.
Verifying yourself means sending XE a scanned copy of your ID and an address proof.
This is usually your passport and a utility bill.
They may also ask you for a selfie to prove it’s really you.
As previously mentioned, XE can sometimes take a while to open your account.
Do I Need an XE Account to Receive Money?
You don’t need an account to receive a transfer.
However, you will need one to send money.
To receive money from an XE account, provide the sender with your bank account details.
How Do Money Transfers Work?
Sending Money to XE
For the majority of currencies, you will have to perform a manual bank transfer to send money to XE.
If you want to send GBP, EUR, SEK, NOK or DKK, you can do so via debit or credit card.
Bear in mind, the limit is £30k (or equivalent) for card payments.
Bank transfers are almost always faster and cheaper, anyway.
You can simply use your mobile or online banking to make the transfer.
Depending on the amount or your bank's limitations, you might have to go into a branch.
Receiving Money from XE
If you want to receive funds from XE, you must provide the sender with your account details.
- UK - account number and sort code
- EU - IBAN and BIC
- USA - account number and routing number
If in doubt, double check with your bank.
As part of their regulations, XE might ask the sender a few questions about the transfer.
They also might ask for documentation.
Depending on what’s provided, XE is within their right to refuse to send the funds.
This might be the case if the receiver is based in a high-risk country or the documentation provided is not adequate.
High-risk countries include (but aren’t limited to) Syria, Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Russia.
How Long Do Payments Take to Arrive?
It depends on the currency and where the funds are being sent to.
GBP payments to the UK are mostly instant, however CHAPS payments can take a few hours.
EUR payments to Europe should arrive in under 24 hours, but can sometimes take up to 2 days.
USD payments to the USA, if wired, can arrive in a few hours.
USD payments to other countries will normally take 1-2 working days.
How Do I Cancel an XE Transfer?
Once you’ve confirmed and actioned your transfer, there’s very little chance you can cancel.
Here are the 4 transfer stages and how / if you can cancel for each stage:
At this point, nothing has been confirmed.
Therefore, you can just close the webpage or app.
You can get as many quotes as you like, without actioning a transfer.
Now, XE has purchased your currency at the agreed rate.
You cannot cancel online.
You must call them to discuss your options.
They should be able to “sell it back”, i.e. reverse the transaction in the market.
However, if the rate has moved, you might not recover the amount you sent.
Transfer In Progress
At this point, the funds should have been transferred by XE.
You do not have the option to stop the payment or cancel the transfer through the app or platform.
Call XE as soon as possible as in some cases, they may be able to stop your payment.
You’ll still be liable for the cancellation costs incurred through market movement.
The recipient should have received the funds that you transferred.
Nothing can be done at this stage to cancel the transfer.
XE suggests contacting the recipient to transfer the funds back.
If this is not possible, XE can place a “recall” on the funds.
This is when XE's bank contacts the recipient's bank, explaining that the transfer was mistakenly made.
However, the decision to return the funds lies with the recipient.
If they say no, that’s the end of the process.
Recall requests usually take between a few weeks to a few months.
How Do I Contact XE Customer Support?
If you’re on a computer, sign in on their website and click “Help Centre” at the bottom.
For the mobile app, sign in and click “More” on the bottom right, and click “Help”.
You’ll then be presented with options to contact XE.
You could face some waiting time before getting through to someone, though.
Their live chat option might be the quickest.
You can also try sending them a message on social media.
XE Mobile App
XE's mobile app is very smart.
It’s free to use, and is available on the App Store or Google Play Store.
Using the app, you can:
- Transfer money in 65 currencies to over 170 countries
- Monitor up to 10 currencies of your choice
- Historical charts for any currency pair in the world
- Customise your currency list to your priorities
- Set rate alerts and receive notifications
A large number of XE's customers use their app to make transfers.
It’s highly rated, too, achieving between 4-5 stars on the app stores.
Is XE Right For Me?
As with all money transfer apps, the lack of customer service is offset by the extraordinary tech.
Nowadays, it’s so easy to quickly make a transfer to anywhere in the world.
XE is one of the best at it, too.
However, the customer journey derails when there’s an issue with a payment.
Hold times are long, and as the company is so large, internal communication breaks down.
If you’ve got an issue, you’ll want to speak to someone quickly.
My suggestion is, consider how much you are transferring.
If it’s under £5k, go with XE or another money transfer app.
It’s so quick and easy, and you’re unlikely to have any issues with that amount anyway.
If it’s larger than £5k, I’d recommend using a dedicated currency broker.
The key difference is that their customer service is exceptional.
You’re assigned a 1-on-1 account manager.
If you’ve got any issues, they’ll get sorted.
When you’re trying to move abroad, maybe buying a house, you can’t afford to be using a company with bad customer support.
I’m sure XE could do a great job with a larger transfer…
But from personal experience, it’s not worth the risk.
XE is one of the longest serving money transfer providers.
They wouldn’t have lasted this long without providing a great service.
Their technology is next level, information is easily acquired, transfers are simple.
They’re one of the best for making quick payments.
If you’re a traveller, just repatriating funds, or making frequent transfers, XE is brilliant.
Just be aware that their customers have complained about their customer service.
I know that if I’m transferring my hard earned money, I’d want some care and diligence.
Most of the time, you won’t need to contact them anyway.
For larger transfers (£5k or above), I’d recommend reading our article on our Best Currency Brokers.