Currencies Direct Ltd is a UK-based foreign exchange company founded in London by Mayank Patel OBE and Peter Ellis in 1996. Currencies Direct has offices in the UK, the USA, Australia Spain, France, Portugal, India, South Africa and the UAE, plus operations in the Republic of Ireland, Scandinavia and Malta, employing more than 300 people globally. In August 2015 Currencies Direct was acquired for more than £200 million by Corsair Capital and Palamon Capital.
Currencies Direct offers foreign exchange services, forward contracts, risk solutions, affiliate partnerships and online services. Currencies Direct specialises in services for clients purchasing property abroad, emigrating or studying overseas. Business client services include assisting with importing and exporting, selling online or making other large and/or regular foreign exchange transfers. 39 currencies are available to transfer.
Whether expanding to new markets, signing new partners, or involved in corporate acquisitions, Currencies Direct promise they will understand, measure and monitor foreign exchange exposures using a variety of approaches, including:
Referring customers to Currencies Direct benefits for Partners:
Customers can be referred directly, through online currency widgets that direct traffic to Currencies Direct and by shared call to action marketing campaigns
Currencies Direct’s homepage cheerfully directs visitors to sign up and get a free quote without offering them any rates or assurances of savings. None of the tools like a mid-market rate calculator are immediately available which makes it difficult to know – especially on a mobile – what rates are on offer. Some patient digging yields currency pair rates and daily rates, but they aren’t likely to be found by a first time one-off spot transfer client.
There is very little up to date content- for instance ‘About us’ has not been updated since 2014 to reflect the company being purchased in 2015.
Instead of having an app to view daily rates or daily market analysis, Currencies Direct will provide emails for clients who sign up, offering:
The only good content Currencies Direct offers is on their knowledge hub, directed towards online sellers. Articles including advice on sourcing in China and an analysis of how George Osborne’s budget delivers to online sellers provide businesses with engaging, informative support. The daily currency news briefs offer snippets of market updates that are easy to understand, if limited in scope.
9.2 rating on TRUSTPILOT for Currencies Direct, with 1,330 reviews which are predominantly positive. Three complaints regarded poor exchange rate. One transfer of £120,000 found that his bank would have actually saved him money, proof that he was given a very poor rate of exchange. Another frustrated client waited over 3 weeks for funds to reach her beneficiary’s account – a stressful experience for a personal client or any business. Currencies Direct, the client fumed, wasn’t taking responsibility for the delay. Currencies Direct responded that they were ‘chasing up the responsible bank on a regular (not daily?) basis in order to resolve issue.’
ReviewCentre gives Currencies Direct 3.7 out of 5 stars with complaints about very poor exchange rates. On a £1,000 transfer a client noted that she wasted time setting up the account and waiting for the money only to find that she’d only saved £10 over her bank charges and noted the process wasn’t worth the additional time it took. Another also found the service much slower than his bank’s with a meagre saving to show for the hassle. A business client was upset when he used Currencies Direct twice and, after having initiated his transfer with no compliance questions, he was asked to give many compliance necessary documents. Had he been directed to do so at the start, he’d have been able to organise this, but he experienced a frenzy of calls during business hours seeking data after he thought he’d completed the process. His customer service experience cost him 4 hours of business time.
Currencies Direct is not the industry leader one expects when considering they’ve served over 150,000 clients since 1996 and handled over £2 billion. Expanding globally is a great model for increasing profit, but in order to compete with an innovative industry Currencies Direct has to keep up with the younger companies who are still fired up about providing the best rates and service. Why doesn’t Currencies Direct have an app or seem to connect to its personal customers the way other large UK foreign exchange companies do? More importantly why can’t they work harder to provide a great rate? It’s passé to say ‘we can do better than banks’ and silly to simply do a titch better for personal transfer. Bigger volume doesn’t equate to a better rate, proves Currencies Direct.
4 out of 5 stars.
Primarily focused on support for e-tailers and corporate clients, Currencies Direct makes business partnerships its priority which might make them a good match for those clients.
Partner ICE Travel Money can be accessed through Currencies Direct’s website, so in an off-hand way they do provide travel money.
Currencies Direct doesn’t even offer the best rate- they only guarantee to beat banks! There’s little website support for private clients and no feel of a concern for the individual-no photos of satisfied clients and little human connection feeling throughout the company website.