XE money transfer review — Your practical guide

TransferWise
06.09.19
7 minute read

XE is one of the longest established and best known online sources of currency information. If you’ve looked up exchange rates before, you might have come across XE already, as a simple and comprehensive way to find out what currencies are trading for on global markets. XE was acquired by American financial services company Euronet in 2015 and these days offers international transfers for individuals and businesses, all around the world. ¹

If you’re thinking of making a transfer with XE, you’ll want to check out the costs and service on offer. This handy article gives you all you need to know about XE Money Transfer — and also covers an alternative service, from TransferWise, to help you compare and find the right international payment provider for you.

XE money transfer basics

XE allows customers to make international payments direct to their recipient’s bank account, right across the world. There are no upfront fees to make a transfer. However, like every business, XE have to make a profit somewhere, and you can usually find their margin rolled into the exchange rate they offer customers. We will cover more on that later, so you can see what a transfer with XE will really cost you compared to other providers out there.

XE is a well established and trusted source of information for currency exchange rates, and also offers online foreign exchange and transfer services to customers. To check if this is the right service for you, you’ll need to learn a bit about how XE works, and compare the service with other alternative providers. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision.

What is sending money with XE like?

  • All transfers are arranged online for convenience, and can be made to an impressive 170 countries
  • XE is a long established and respected provider of currency services, backed by Euronet — a large financial services group
  • XE do not offer customers the opportunity to have their recipient collect their payment in cash
  • Although XE offer information about the real exchange rates, this is not the exchange rate used for international money transfers. Instead, a markup is added to the real rate to protect XE’s profit — more on that later
  • Like many other financial institutions, XE is fully licensed, which means your money is safe throughout the transfer

How does it work?

To get started with XE Money Transfer, you’ll need to set up an account. This can usually be done quite simply, online. However, you may be asked to provide a scan or image of your identity documents before you can begin making transfers.² Once you have an account, you’ll need to take the following steps to initiate a transfer:³

  • Log into your account
  • Model the payment by confirming how much you want to send, which currency, and where the recipient’s bank account is located
  • Confirm how you’ll pay, and check you think the exchange rate and overall cost is fair
  • Make the payment to XE
  • You’ll receive notifications from XE when your money is received, and when the international transfer has been completed

XE currency exchange rates and fees

To decide if XE is the right international money transfer service for you, you’ll need to understand the fees charged — and how to calculate the cost of your payment.

XE states that there are no fees to arrange an international transfer. However, there are a couple of things you need to know about this, to help you check the service is right for you.

Firstly, while there is no upfront fee, XE is a business and needs to cover costs, and make a profit from each transfer processed. Usually when international transfer and foreign exchange services claim that there is no fee to pay, they simply include their costs in the exchange rate they offer customers. This can mean that it’s hard to evaluate the total cost of the transaction and you might pay more than you need to. We will cover that in a moment in more detail.

Secondly, XE make it clear that some banks might charge fees to process your transaction, which you will be responsible for paying. Here’s how XE explain it, in their FAQ section:

“Whilst we always send the exact amount of money you specify in the transaction, the bank receiving your funds, or an intermediary bank, may deduct fees when crediting the payment. Unfortunately we have no control over these charges and therefore we won't reimburse you, should you be charged.”⁴

It is possible that your own bank, your recipient’s bank, or a third party involved in the payment processing, could deduct costs from the transfer as it passes through the system. You may not know in advance that this will happen, so this could result in your recipient getting less than you expect them to.


The exchange rate used in your international payment is also very important in determining whether the overall cost is fair.

As we mentioned above, financial institutions offering exchange services, such as banks, international transfer services and currency exchange kiosks, often roll their profit up into the exchange rate they offer customers, rather than charging an upfront and transparent fee. This means that they take the mid-market rate - the exchange rate, it’s the one you’ll find if you google your currency pairing or use an online currency converter — and add a markup which they keep for themselves.

You can see this in action if you look at the exchange rate for your transfer on XE’s money transfer site, and then switch over to their currency information pages. The currency information will show the mid-market rate. The difference between this and the rate they offer for international payments represents their markup, or profit.

| The mid-market rate is the average of the global buy and sell rates of a currency. It’s the rate that money transfer providers and banks use to trade currencies among themselves. It’s also the rate you will find on sources such as Google, XE and Yahoo Finance. When you buy or exchange currency as a customer, a markup is usually added by the provider. This can be considered an additional fee, as that is the effect it will have on the customer. To get an understanding of the true cost of your transfer or exchange - make sure you compare how much money ends up on the other side, for the amount that you are paying. |

If you’d rather clearly see the costs of your international payment — or if you just want to compare the deal on offer with XE, against other international payment options, it’s worth checking out TransferWise. Instead of a charge in the exchange rate, TransferWise always uses the mid-market rate for international transfers, and then charges a small upfront fee. This makes it easy to see exactly what your transaction will cost you, and can often work out much cheaper than getting stuck with a poor exchange rate.

Another handy tool for people who send or receive payments internationally often, is the multi-currency borderless account from Transferwise. This is a new type of account which lets you keep your money in any of dozens of different currencies all in the same account. You can make and receive payments easily — including receiving fee free payments in euros, Australian dollars and pounds. And if you need to switch between currencies, it’s easy to do, using the mid-market exchange rate, and for just a small fee. You can also get the TransferWise multi-currency debit card, which you can use to pay for goods and services all over the world.

Which countries can I send money to with XE?

XE allows customers to send money in over 60 currencies, to some 170 countries around the world.⁵ A full list of currencies is available on the XE Money Transfer website — some of the more popular routes include payments in the following currencies:

  • UAE dirham

  • Hong Kong dollar

  • Japanese yen

  • Philippine peso

  • Thai baht

  • Swiss franc

  • Danish kroner

  • Eurozone euro

  • Pound sterling

  • Israeli shekel

  • Swedish krona

  • Canadian dollar

  • Mexican peso

  • US dollar

  • Brazilian real

  • Chilean peso

  • Colombian peso

  • Australian dollar

  • New Zealand dollar

  • Kenyan shilling

  • South African rand

Money transfer speed

XE will confirm the transfer payment day, when your transaction is confirmed.

Most payments are completed on the same day that XE receive the money from your bank — but this can mean that the overall time from initiating your transfer, to it being received is between 1 and 4 business days. That’s because the exact transfer time will depend on the processes used by your bank and your recipient’s bank, and may take longer if you’re arranging a transfer outside of working hours, at the weekend or during public holidays.³ ⁶ ⁷

Ways to transfer your money

International transfers with XE are all done as direct deposits to your recipient’s bank account. To arrange a transfer, you’ll need to send your payment to XE as a wire transfer, and XE will then pass the money on, in local currency, to your recipient.

Customer experience

XE has customer support on offer, in English, French and Spanish, and you can call toll free from within the US. You can also email the customer support team, and get in touch via social media if you’d rather. The website is pretty easy to navigate, with a comprehensive FAQ section, written in plain English. ⁸

Trustpilot — which collates real customer reviews — gives XE Money Transfer 5 stars out of 5 for service. You can read real customer reviews and testimonials over at the Trustpilot website, which is available in the sources section below.⁹

If you’re planning on making an international payment, the service you choose can make a big different to the costs and fees you need to pay. To find the right provider for your needs, you’ll want to look at the upfront charges, but also the exchange rate to make sure it’s fair. If you’re not impressed with the rates on offer at XE, and want to find a provider offering the real exchange rate for transfers, check out Transferwise, to see if you can save.


Sources:

  1. XE About page 29 May 2019
  2. XE Money Transfer FAQ question 0 31 May 2019
  3. XE Money Transfer FAQ question 8 31 May 2019
  4. XE Money Transfer FAQ question 17 2 June 2019
  5. XE Money Transfer currencies page 9 June 2019
  6. XE Money Transfer FAQ question 11 9 June 2019
  7. XE Money transfer FAQ question 10 9 June 2019
  8. XE Money Transfer contact page 9 June 2019
  9. Trustpilot reviews on XE Money transfer 9 June 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.

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more