Placid Express money transfer: The review you need to read

TransferWise content team
7 minute read

Placid Express was established over 20 years ago¹ and offers international payment services to a range of countries in Asia and Europe. You can arrange payments to some countries online or visit a Placid Express agent location near you to make a payment. Your recipient can then either have the money deposited directly into their bank account or choose to collect the money in local cash at an agent location.

This handy guide covers all you need to know, to save you valuable time on research. There’s also a brief look at another option for safe and low cost international transfers, TransferWise for comparison.

Placid money transfer basics

Placid Express offers money transfers for collection in cash from an agent location or direct to your recipient’s bank account. Some transfers can be arranged online, but for other countries, you’ll need to visit an agent location near you to set up the transfer. More on that later.

Strengths and weaknesses

Placid Express can arrange transfers online to a small number of countries and to a broader range via their agents at the time of writing this article. Transfers made by credit or debit card can be processed very quickly — in some cases your money will be received in just a few minutes — but the fees for this service are relatively high, and the exchange rate isn’t necessarily as favorable as using a bank transfer.

Here are a few strengths and weaknesses you need to know about:

Strengths Weaknesses
Fast transfer times for established customers paying with a card - as little as 10 minutes in some cases The costs for card payments, are fairly high
The SpotCash! service allows your recipient to collect the payment in local cash from an agent Transfers made direct to a bank account can take 3 business days to arrive
Placid has been established for some 20 years and is experienced in the international transfer market The range of countries you can send money to online is limited

Placid Express transfer fees and rates

Before you decide to use Placid Express for your payment, you’ll need to know what the service will cost you. Here’s all you need to know about the fees Placid charge.

The fees Placid charge depend on where you’re sending money to and how the payment is funded. To give an example, sending $1,000 to India will cost you $14.99 in transfer fees if you fund it using your debit card. The same payment will cost $54.99 if paid for using a credit card — but there’s no upfront transfer fee at all added by Placid if you fund the payment with a bank transfer.²

If you choose to use the bank transfer option, you could find that there are other costs to pay, if your recipient’s bank deducts a fee from the payment. This happens on rare occasions, as Placid Express notes in their ‘Help’ section.³

It’s also good to know that your card issuer might add a charge in addition to the Placid fee, for example, if you use a credit card, and the issuer treats it as a cash advance. These fees are not refunded by Placid.⁴

The other equally important factor that will determine how expensive your transfer is, is the exchange rate used. A poor exchange rate can mean that you pay more than you need to.

The exchange rate Placid offers varies, depending on whether you’re funding your payment via bank transfer or with a card. Make sure you know which rate you’ll get for the transaction before you agree.
Once you know the rate that Placid will offer you, it’s time to check if it’s a good deal. This can be done quite easily by using an online currency converter to get the current exchange rate for your destination country. The exchange rate you need to look at is the mid-market exchange rate. This is the rate banks use when they trade currencies between themselves. By comparing the Placid rate against this, you’ll be able to see if it’s a good one or if it’s time to find an alternative provider. Make sure to compare rates and fees, to see where you get the most out of your money.

It’s worth knowing that Placid are upfront about the possibility that they’ll make money on the currency exchange they do for your transfer. Here’s what they say in the FAQ section of their website:

“Placid Express may make money during the conversion of currencies associated with your money transfer. For example, if you are sending 100 USD to someone in Bangladesh and the payout takes place using the local currency of Bangladesh, we have to convert the US dollars into local currency. We may convert the funds using an exchange rate higher or lower than you receive for your transfer. During this conversion process, it is possible that we incur a profit.”

This is a common practice among banks and money transfer providers and it often means, that people will not understand if the rate they are getting is a good one or a bad one. Again, here is where comparison with the mid-market rate and several providers will help.

It’s good to know that not all international payment providers choose to make a profit on currency exchange. One easy way to get the real exchange rate for your transfer is to use TransferWise. All TransferWise transfers are done using the mid-market rate and with just a small upfront fee. That means it’s easy to see exactly what your transaction will cost you and what your recipient will get in their bank account at the end.

If you’re making or receiving payments from abroad frequently, you might also benefit from a multi-currency borderless account from TransferWise. This smart new type of account is perfect for travelers, expats and people with an international lifestyle, as you can hold a balance in any of over 40 different currencies, and switch between them easily using the mid-market rate. You can receive payments fee free in major currencies including euros, British pounds and Australian dollars, as well as US dollars — and even get a linked debit card for day to day spending.

Which countries can I send money to with Placid Express?

If you’re arranging your payment online, you can use Placid Express to send money to recipients in Bangladesh, Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. You can send money to a broader range of countries by visiting a Placid agent location. Countries covered by agents include Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, Panama, and Senegal. All together Placid sends money to over 30 countries, the full list is not available on their website, as their onlines service has limited availability.⁵

Placid money transfer speed

How long it takes to process your payment depends on how you fund it, and how you’d like your recipient to get their money.

Funding payments with a credit or debit card is the quickest option — in this case, Placid estimate that the payment will be processed in under an hour. If you’re an established customer, using a payment card you’ve used before, your recipient could have the cash in their hand via spotCash™, or in their bank accounts in only a few minutes. Payments made outside of normal working hours will take longer to arrange.

If you choose to fund the payment using a bank transfer, it’ll take a little longer for the funds to clear. New customers will have to wait 3 business days, while established customers will find it takes 1 - 3 days to process their payments.⁶

Ways to transfer your money

You can pay for your transfer in a couple of different ways — and choose how your recipient gets the money at the other end.

Ways to pay for your transfer Ways to receive a transfer
Online using a credit or debit card SpotCash! - recipient collects a cash payment from an agent location⁷
Online via bank transfer Direct deposit in the recipient’s bank account
By visiting an agent location

How do I track Placid Express payments?

You can track your payment in real time by logging into your online account and checking it from there.⁸

Customer experience

Placid have a 24/7 customer contact number, or you can get in touch with them via email. There’s a helpful FAQ section on the website, which also answers many of the more common questions customers might have about their transfer.

Trustpilot which collates reviews from customers, gives Placid express a 4 star rating, from a maximum available 5 — this is a dynamic rating which is regularly updated as new reviews appear, so worth checking out if you’re considering using Placid for your transfer.⁹

Before you decide which service to use for your international payment, it’s wise to do a bit of research and compare the different options available. The fees and processing times vary widely across different providers, so you might find there’s a better deal out there for you. Don’t forget to check out the cost and speed of using TransferWise, for a convenient and safe international payment, using the real exchange rate, and for just a low fee.



All sources checked 2 January 2019

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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