6 Things You Should Know Before You Sign Up
Today, I will show you if XE is the right choice for you.
On the surface, XE (formerly HiFX) is a reputable and trusted international foreign exchange business.
But that does not mean it is the best for everyone.
This is not your average “these guys are great” type review – we dig a lot deeper (including looking into the scores of negative reviews).
In general, we found XE to be a cost effective alternative to banks and a leading service amongst its peers.
But no money transfer company is the perfect solution.
And if not for you, who could be a better alternative?
Full Disclosure: While we aim to show you the good and the bad in each review so you can make the best choice, there are links contained in this page which are affiliate links (and while not costing you anything) do earn us a commission. We often also get the opportunity to provide you with discounts and offers as part of using the link. If you use these links thank you for supporting our mission to making money transfers simple (and cheaper 🙂 )!
- Strong services and support especially USA, Canada, UK and Australia
- Leading exchange rate tools
- Transfer in 60 currencies to over 170 countries
- Online transaction focus
- Exchange rate offered only when you transact
- Unable to find a list of local bank accounts they manage (which can save in fees)
Is XE Right for You?
XE is an efficient, secure and inexpensive way to transfer funds abroad. There is no transfer fee, but like their competitors, the company charges a small margin on the exchange rate. XE trades in 65 currencies so you can transfer money to over 170 countries.
The 6 Things You Need to Know
- Rates, Fees and (Hidden) Costs?
- What the Reviews Really Say
- How XE Works (and when it doesn’t)
- How to Sign Up
- Safety and Security
Top tips can be found at the bottom of each section in red!
Before you decide to use a currency transfer service, you must understand what the real costs involved are.
1.1 Rates and Fees
Money transfer companies earn their profits in two ways: either through transfer fees or by charging a margin on the exchange rate.
To start with as you can see here – XE charges no transfer fee (opens tab, so you can keep reading).
They do however charge a small margin on the interbank rate.
Like most money transfer companies, you won’t know this margin until you sign up and are ready to transact.
And, XE operates similar to other money transfer companies focused on larger transfers ($7000 USD and above) in terms of reducing the margin on exchange rates as the amount increases.
XE.com has live exchange rates and a currency convertor widget on their site, but these widgets show mid-market rates.
Also known as interbank rates, these are the wholesale currency rates or rates at which banks buy currency. But this is not the rate you will get for your money transfer with XE.
Here is what XE says about their exchange rates:
“Our exchange rates are linked to the live foreign exchange markets. When the markets are open, the exchange rate you are offered will often fluctuate right up until the moment you confirm your transaction. Your exchange rate is only fixed once you’ve confirmed your transaction. The rate you are offered is not the mid-market rate which is shown in the free information services on our main XE.com website.”
However, when comparing their rates against banks in our testing, XE fares pretty well for major currencies. Compared to banks, who may charge up to 2, 3 or 4% on the exchange + fixed fees, they are way ahead and thus less expensive, especially for larger transfers.
They are also very competitive compared to other similar services.
% Costs including Fixed Fees
|Banks||3 – 7%|
|PayPal||6 – 8%|
|XE||0.5 – 2%|
|Other Similar Services||0.4 – 3.5%|
To find out the percentage they are charging you simply see the rate they are offering and compare it to the interbank rate which can be found on XE itself.
The formula is
% Fee = (Interbank Rate – Rate Offered) x 100 / Interbank Rate
Sending CAD to AUD with CAD/AUD interbank rate at 1.06. If the rate offered is 1.045, here are the calculations.
% Fee = (1.06 – 1.045) x 100 / 1.06
% Fee = 1.4%
1.2 Hidden Fees
Although XE does not charge any transfer fee, the banks at either end may still charge some fees.
The company facilitates all its currency transfers through SWIFT banking network, which gives them the ability to transfer funds across the world.
However, the flipside is that the recipient often has to pay charges, which the company has no control over.
The good news is this is only an issue for amounts less than a few thousand USD. Above this, the fees charged by the receiving bank is relatively small.
Top tip 1: To minimize fees check if XE has local bank accounts at both ends and check the % fees charged are less than
The best way you can learn about a service is from real reviews, particularly the negative ones. 🙂
Of course they need to be looked at justly, but we believe they do show you the real picture and help you make a better decision.
In general, XE enjoys excellent reviews – on TrustPilot, they are rated 4.7/5 with over 42,000 reviews.
82 % of the reviewers found the service excellent and another 12% thought it was great.
And most of the customers have appreciated the ease of setting up their transfer, XE’s competitive exchange rates and great service.
However, we cannot ignore the 4% who had an average or downright negative experience.
Of the 4% of negative reviews, we found three types of complaints represent about 1% of the total number of reviews each.
2.1 Confusion over HiFX merger: Many customers who have been using HiFX in the past now find things a little confusing after the merger.
The company in their responses says that they are still HiFX and they’re just using the name rebranded XE, so everything remains the same.
But for new customers, this should not be an issue – HiFX who?
2.2 Lost/Money delays: Some reviewers have complained about not receiving their funds in time.
In fact, many complaints seem to stem from the simple misunderstanding of how long the whole process takes (including banks at either ends – see Speed below)
However, a small percentage of users did receive their funds late. The good news is XE they takes these cases seriously and have taken time out to respond to customer clients on TrustPilot.
After going through both the complaints and XE’s responses, we noted that some are related to the banks at the receiving end. In general, XE has pretty solid transparency on the timing of transfers and is proactive at resolving any issues. We actually rate them pretty highly on this, in what can easily be a much bigger issue for many of their competitors.
2.3 Accounts Blocked/Verification Issues: There are certain users who claim that they were not allowed to carry out a transfer or their accounts were blocked after they sent money to XE.
Like all their competitors, XE’s regulatory and compliance requirements mean that some accounts are unapproved usually because ID requirements are not met.
We are confident that XE is a very good service (despite a small minority of complaints) and they seem to be actively moving towards resolving their customer issues.
Top tip 2: Understanding how Speed (below) works can be very helpful in preventing concerns surrounding when your money will arrive. If you have recently changed your address, name or other important personal information you may find they require extra documentation to approve your account and transfer.
There are lots to consider beyond fees and user reviews when you’re choosing a money transfer service.
And here are some important factors you need to look at to see if XE is the right service for you (or if you should consider another service).
3.1 When it works?
XE’s fee structure is set up to make large transfers (above $7000 USD / £4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/$9500 AUD) easy. That is, the margin on the exchange rate charged reduces as the amount goes up.
XE supports 65 currencies across 170 countries, which pretty much covers the entire globe. They also offer support in English, French, and Spanish.
If you are someone who is looking for convenience of transferring funds on the go using your smart phone, XE money transfer is a great choice. XE money transfer app is available on most platforms and gets high ratings.
XE also supports business transfers and make it easy for you to pay your international employees.
Other than that, XE integrates easily into your existing accounting systems, makes mass payments easier, and even lets you accept payment from clients.
3.2 When it doesn’t?
You’re not comfortable doing everything online
Not everyone is comfortable doing everything online (like uploading ID) and XE is very much geared towards transacting online although they do have customer service teams that can answer questions and troubleshoot if required.
Although setting up an XE account and making a transfer is quite simple, many people prefer talking to someone rather than doing it entirely online. For a more hands on experience, TorFX (review) is the most telephone based company we have found (even supporting you through sign up) while OFX (review) is a mix of online and telephone support. If you are in North America, OFX have a strong presence there as well as the rest of the world.
You want to send smaller amounts
If you are comfortable online and moving amounts less than $7000 USD (£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/$9500 AUD) using a company like TransferWise (review) can be slightly cheaper and you can see all their fees up front (before you sign up).
Learn more about TransferWise VS XE.
You want to shop around for rates
Like most services, you won’t know the exchange rate being offered by XE unless you are logged in and ready to transact. So, it may not be the best choice if you want to make easy comparisons.
Top tip 3: XE is a great option for many money transfer situations, but if you don’t want to do everything online, or if you have smaller amounts (less than $7000 USD) and you want the absolute most money as possible to arrive there are other services that you may want to compare.
Opening an account with XE (opens a new tab) is simple if you follow the steps below.
1. Select “Get Started”
2. Sign up for an account. You will need to select your country of residence, your name and your email address. Select continue.
3. You will be prompted to create a password and security question. Select Next go to Your Details.
4. Fill in details such as your address, date of birth, phone number, social security number and type of identification you will provide. Select Next. Go to Your requirements.
5. Upload your ID
6. Wait for account approval.
Once the account is approved, setting up your money transfer is a breeze. You just sign up and provide payment details, the amount you want to transfer, the currency you want to send it in and the recipient details. After you submit the details, you will get a chance to review the exchange rate and transaction details. If you are happy with it, you can go ahead and send the money.
Top tip 4: Setting up an account on XE is quite simple. Just check their list of documents they accept as proof of identity, and keep it handy. You can start transacting as soon as the account is approved (shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours, but can take longer). Please note that XE accepts only bank transfers.
Most fund transfers are processed by XE on the same day. They also give you a delivery date as part of the transaction flow. If they receive your payment on time, you will be given a payment date that is earliest they can process your transfer.
Typically, the transfer speed depends on a couple of factors, including the currency you are sending, the amount of fund transfer and the banks used at either end. In most cases, it may take up to 2-4 days for the funds to reach the recipient’s account.
Money sent between bank accounts is processed via the SWIFT network, a global network of banks. This network works like a series of connecting international flights and each payment may be handled by 1-3 intermediary banks before it reaches the recipient. That’s why it may take a couple of days for your transaction to be completed.
Top tip 5: Although very similar to others in this business, XE is a leader when it comes to being transparent about when you money will arrive. They also have a streamlined process if your money arrives later than expected.
The most important assurance you want from a money transfer service is that your money is safe with them.
XE money transfer is a reputed and trusted company with a great track record. The company is registered and regulated in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. XE is registered with the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and registered with The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). In the UK, the company is registered with and regulated by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They are mandated by law to safeguard your funds and appropriately segregate them from business funds.
XE money transfer holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). They also have a Derivatives Issuer Licence issued by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). XE is also a Qualifying Financial Entity (QFE) in New Zealand. Last year, the company transacted over $18.5 billion of currency on behalf of 112,000 clients from across 117 countries.
Top tip 6: If you keep your passwords safe your funds are as safe as reasonably possible with XE. In fact, they are as safe as any financial institution out there.
XE is a good choice for safe, secure international transfers to 170 countries in 65 currencies. They are known for good customer support, have a great online platform, and a user friendly app.
Moreover, there is no transfer fee, but they do charge a reasonable margin on the exchange rate.
That’s why for smaller amounts (less than $7000 USD) they may not be your best choice.
For larger amounts they are a great option particularly if you are in North America with their network to back you up.