The only currency transfer service that I recommend

I have received a few emails in the last couple of months regarding the currency transfer service that I recommend - Mostly people are looking to get an idea of how long they can expect their transfer to take, were the rates I received really better than if I had used regular wire transfer, and to tell them a little about what they can expect when using the service.

Back in 2014, when we made the decision to move to Ireland, my wife and I explored a few options for moving our savings across to our Irish account from the US. If you're at this stage in your move, I'm sure you'll know that there are plenty of options available to you. There are various electronic means, you could use a self-addressed cheque/check, bring a stash of cash (there are limits), amongst other options. The common belief is that electronic means of moving money overseas are safest. That is what I believe too, so we explored some of the various electronic options.

International wire from one bank to another is an option we could've used, and have done so at various times over the years. However, I found this to be on the expensive side. When I have used this method in the past, I have paid anywhere from $30 to about $45 per transaction. There was usually a fee on both the sending and receiving end which totaled that amount.

Another method of electronically transferring money from one country to another is by way of a 3rd party facilitator. These companies act as middle-men between 2 banks (in this case in 2 different countries), and handle all of the processing for you.

Then there's CurrencyFair, who have figured out a way to cut the banks out of the currency transfer process. They act as middlemen between regular people who are looking to exchange currency. Using this method they're able to offer extremely low fees, and offer really good rates. Everyone wins. Everyone except the banks 🙂

I do not like to throw away money, so believe me, I explored many options. CurrencyFair came out on top during my research, as being the one I thought I'd get best value for money with. And, after 5 or 6 transactions with them, I believe this to be true, and am very happy with the decision I made to use their service.

How it works in a little more detail
After creating your CurrencyFair account, you add your bank information to your profile. You will then use their system to inform them of an incoming transaction. At that point you will be given transfer details, including a unique reference number, and you can go off and set up the transfer from your bank (you should be able to do this using your online banking system).
After setting up the transfer from your 'sending' bank account, you just sit back and wait a few days. It's really quick! The money will be transferred to your CurrencyFair account, and then immediately forwarded on to your 'receiving' bank account at the best possible rate, minus a small fee. There is an option too, to have it sit and wait in your CurrencyFair account until you are ready to move it out.
It's very easy to use, fast and secure.

Here's a couple of screenshots from my account (transfer details blanked out):

Previous CurrencyFair transactions

Previous CurrencyFair transactions

CurrencyFair transaction setup

CurrencyFair transaction setup

For US residents
For now, CurrencyFair can't accept signups from people living in the US. However if you're moving to Ireland, you can leave your money in your US bank account until you get set up in Ireland with the residency info that you will need to register for their service e.g. an Irish bank account and utility bill. That's exactly what I did, and everything worked out great.

If there are other questions, please just ask, and I'll happily try to help.

P.S. as mentioned I recommend this service, based on the fact that I have satisfactorily used it many times. If you sign up using the links above, I may receive a commission from CurrencyFair (at no additional cost to you) for referring you there.
For that, thank you! It will keep this site alive and growing. However, if you'd prefer to visit their website directly, you can do that too, and I'm sure you will still be satisfied with their service.

Looking for more?
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6 Helpful Comments

  1. Profile photo of Teresa Haughey

    Brexit has brought about fantastic exchange rates for USD to GBP; the only upside for returning residents. We also use currency fair and would highly recommend it. You can set the transfer to take place when the exchange rate hits your desired target.

    • Profile photo of Liam

      I forgot to mention that detail, Teresa. Thanks for adding it. It’s a great way to exchange money if you can afford to wait until your target price is reached.

  2. Profile photo of Kelsey

    Hi Liam,

    Is it a MUST to have a utility bill? I already have an account with AIB, just no utility bill yet to prove residence.


    • Profile photo of Liam

      They will almost certainly ask for proof of residence. Also, they won’t/can’t accept signups while you’re living in the US, but upon arrival in Ireland, you can immediately set it up. I think you should be able to provide a different form of residence that’s quicker to come by than a bill e.g. a lease or copy of some insurance docs etc.
      As soon as you sign up, it’s really quick to get your money transferred.

  3. Profile photo of Kelsey

    So I’m trying to use this service now. I’m at the point where I transfer the money from my bank to CurrencyFair. Am I Just supposed to use the routing number of the intermediary bank? Their instructions are pretty unclear and it’s a little of money to be unclear about.

    • Profile photo of Liam

      Yes, that’s how it works Kelsey. You transfer the money from the foreign account to a CF account in that same country (they provide those details to you during the transfer). The money is then made available in your CF account, and can be transferred to your Irish bank account from their Irish bank account. Let me know if you have other questions. Happy to help if I can.

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