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Send money to your friend’s account in US dollars, euros or British pounds.
Circle isn’t just a payment app: It’s also a good option for international money transfers. Circle offers excellent exchange rates that can beat other money transfer services. And you also get instant transfers and no fees for sending, receiving or withdrawing money.
Kelly Waggoner is editor-in-chief of Finder US. She's worked with publishers, magazines and nonprofits throughout New York City, including ghostwriting a how-to on copyediting for the Dummies series. Between projects, she toys with words, flips through style guides and fantasizes about the serial comma's world domination.
Easy online transfers without the fees.
Cost is an important factor in any international money transfer. Sending money overseas can be expensive given high transaction fees and confusing exchange rates. The Circle app is a cheap way to send domestic payments as well as international transfers.
Finding a money transfer service without fees is rare, and on top of that Circle doesn’t mark up the exchange rate. The rate Circle gets is the rate you get.
However, there are limitations. You can only exchange USD to EUR or GBP to your friend’s Circle account, and the transfer speed can take up to four days.
Group payments. Send money in a group chat of up to 20 people.
No fees. Circle charges no markup or transfer fees.
How much will I pay to send money with Circle?
There are no fees to link a debit card or bank account. There are also no fees to send, receive or withdraw money.
Money transfer services usually make a profit by offering a slightly worse exchange rate than the mid-market rate.
For example, if the mid-market rate says that $1,000 is worth 950 euros, a money transfer service might exchange your $1,000 for 920 euros instead. Consequently, the service will effectively make a profit of 30 euros.
Banks often charge 3% to 4% above the mid-market rate, and even the best online money transfer services usually charge 1% to 2%. By comparison, Circle does not mark up the rate. The rate Circle gets is the rate you get.
Our experience transferring money with Circle
Here’s what we found when we sent a live transfer to France through the digital wallet Circle.
Circle’s exchange rates can’t be beat, offering rates near or at the mid-market rate, or the rate banks and other transfer services use when trading among themselves.
It took a speedy two days for our recipient to transfer their money from their Circle account to a French bank.
Once we downloaded the Circle app, we were able to sign up and initiate a transfer in under 4 minutes.
What types of transfers does Circle support?
You can deposit money into and withdraw money from Circle via debit card or bank transfer. Circle does not offer the flexibility of rate locks, forward contracts or recurring transfers. It only offers one-off transfers.
Minimum transfer amounts and available countries
All users can use Circle’s app to send up to $400 a week using a debit card. Once you apply and are approved, that amount increases to $3,000 a week.
To withdraw from your account, you’ll need at least $30.
You can use Circle in:
Circle supports US dollars, euros and British pounds.
Pros and cons
Strong exchange rates. The rate Circle gets is the rate you get.
No fees. You won’t pay a fee to deposit, send, receive or withdraw money.
No transfer limits. Though you will need to have at least $30 in your Circle account to cash out.
Limited service. Circle supports only three major currencies to 30 countries. And if you’re a resident of Hawaii and a few other states, you’ll need to find another service until Circle is licensed in those states.
Government-issued ID required. You’ll need to upload a license or passport to send money, which could deter those without either form of ID.
No live chat option. If you have questions, you’ll need to call or submit an online form for help.
How does Circle compare to other services?
How do I get started with Circle?
To get started with Circle, register for a free account on its website or through its mobile app. You’ll need to input your personal contact information and upload a government-issued ID — like a license or passport — to send money. Then you’ll need to link your Circle account to a debit card or bank account. Circle will notify both you and your recipient of your transfer’s progress.
Sending €10,000 to France from the United States
You live in the United States, and you want to send 10,000 euros to your friend in France. Here’s how you would complete a transfer through Circle:
Link a debit card or bank account to your Circle account (this is free).
Click the “Send” tab in your Circle app.
Select euros as the currency and enter “10,000” as the amount to send. As an example, you might see that this costs $10,545 because of the exchange rate.
Specify your friend as the recipient and send the money (this is also free). You will be charged $10,545.
Your recipient will receive the money. At this point, they can withdraw the money for free via debit card or bank account. Debit card providers and banks typically take one to four days for processing.
What is Circle?
Circle is an app and online platform for social payments. You can use it to split the electricity bill with your roommates or pay back the money your brother let you borrow. If you’ve used Venmo, you’ll find that Circle is a similar platform.
Though Circle bills itself as an everyday payments platform, it’s actually a good option for international money transfers. You can only send US dollars, euros and British pounds with Circle, but it’s one of the cheapest ways to transfer money overseas.
What do customers say about Circle?
Circle gets mixed reviews online. At Trustpilot, the reviews are about 50/50, with a TrustPilot score of 4.9 out of 10.
When considering options for money transfers, cost might be your primary concern. In that case, Circle is a great pick — it offers $0 sending fees and excellent exchange rates.
Frequently asked questions about Circle
Yes, Circle was originally a platform for buying and selling bitcoins. However, the company now positions itself as a social payments app for fiat currencies. (Fiat currency is government-issued money like US dollars, British pounds and euros.)
Yes, you can log in to your Circle account via desktop and mobile.
Circle uses a variety of back-end processes to save on money transfer costs. For example, it makes transfers through bitcoin when possible to save on banking costs.
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