Save money and enjoy fast and secure transactions when you send funds overseas with a peer-to-peer transfer service.
Peer-to-peer technology offers a safe and affordable money transfer option and an attractive alternative to sending money overseas via your bank. Peer-to-peer transfers, also referred to as P2P transfers, allow people to effectively trade currencies with one another, leading to better exchange rates and lower fees when you need to send money overseas.
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How do peer-to-peer money transfers work?
Once you’ve decided how much money you want to transfer overseas and where you would like the funds to go, you can transfer the funds to a peer-to-peer money transfer company such as CurrencyFair or Transferwise. The transfer provider will then look to match you up with someone sending money in the opposite direction — for example, if you’re sending £1,000 to France, you’ll be matched with someone looking to send an equivalent amount of Euros to the UK. This usually results in better exchange rates for consumers by cutting out the middle man.
Case study: Peer-to-peer money transfers vs banks
Caroline wants to send £1,000 to her boyfriend in Germany to help him get through a rough patch financially. But when she approaches her bank about sending the transfer, she’s disappointed to learn that their exchange rate is well below the current mid-market rate and their fee is surprisingly high for a simple overseas transfer. She decides to compare her bank’s prices with those offered by a specialist peer-to-peer money transfer company to see whether she can find a more affordable way to help out her boyfriend.
|Bank (NatWest)||Peer-to-peer transfer company (Transferwise)|
|Exchange rate||1 GBP = 1.09 EUR||1 GBP = 1.149|
|Transfer method||International wire transfer||Online peer-to-peer transfer|
|Processing time||1 working day||1 working day|
|Amount received (in EUR)||1,085 EUR||1,143 EUR|
As you can see, Caroline can send an extra €58 to her boyfriend using the P2P transfer service instead of her bank, while she can also save £0.50 in transfer fees.
How do I compare peer-to-peer money transfer services?
You’ll need to take the following features and questions into consideration when shopping around to find a trusted and reputable peer-to-peer transfer provider:
- Security. Ensure that the service is affiliated with trusted brand, or offers a guarantee.
- Exchange rates. Which peer-to-peer transfer company regularly offers the best exchange rates? Look at the average rate customers receive and how that compares to the rates of a company’s competitors and the mid-market rate.
- Fees. How much will you need to pay in order to send money overseas? Is there a flat fee, a fee charged as a percentage of your total transaction value, or both?
- Minimum and maximum limits. Some companies impose minimum and maximum limits on the amount of funds you can transfer, so make sure these limits aren’t going to restrict your transfer choices.
- Transfer methods. Many transfer providers only allow you to send money online, but some also offer the option of placing transfers over the phone or by using a mobile app.
- Transfer options. Are options such as limit orders and forward contracts available?
- Currencies available. Consider how many currencies a company allows you to transfer and the countries around the world to which you can send funds.
- Length of transfer. How quickly will your beneficiary receive the money you send? Is there an option to send an express transfer by paying an extra fee?
- Customer support. If you ever experience difficulties with a transfer or simply have a question about how the peer-to-peer system works, check to see whether you will be able to quickly and easily get the assistance you need.
- Reputation. Finally, read online reviews and testimonials about a transfer provider from other users to get a feel for whether or not it is a trusted and reputable company. Also make sure that it is properly regulated and has a safe strategy for storing client funds.
What are the pros and cons to using a peer-to-peer service?
- Better exchange rates. Compare the exchange rates available from peer-to-peer transfer services with those offered by major banks to see how much money you can save using this option.
- Minimal fees. The fees charged by peer-to-peer transfer providers are regularly lower than the transaction charges imposed by banks.
- Fast transfers. Peer-to-peer services also offer fast and efficient transfers around the world, with same-day processing available in many cases.
- Not as many currencies available. Peer-to-peer transfer services are still a relatively new phenomenon on the global money transfer market and as such, they don’t offer support for as many currencies as more traditional transfer methods do.
What are things to avoid?
Opt for a service that is trustworthy. For example, Transferwise is fully authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. It’s investors also include Sir Richard Branson. Since you’re exchange money with a community, you need to ensure your funds are guaranteed and that you’ll get your converted currency back.