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Cornerstone Review

Cornerstone set themselves apart from the rest by utilising the same secure, high-speed payment technology as cutting-edge challenger banks and FinTech companies. The main difference here, however, is Cornerstone claim to offer bank-beating rates on foreign exchange, as well as a more personalised client experience. In this review we will verify the validity of these services, assessing the cross-border payment solutions provided by this London-based company.

Cornerstone FS Icon Send Money with Cornerstone FS

About Cornerstone

As a cloud-based provider of international payments, currency risk management and digital account services, Cornerstone Group are distinctly different from other competitors in the money transfer market. Founded in London’s financial district in 2010, Cornerstone created an online cloud-based technology, designed to facilitate foreign exchange and cross-border payments. By harnessing the processes of banks, brokers and fintech providers Cornerstone is positioned as an “agile and responsive financial technology company” within the global remittances market. As a foreign exchange specialist company, each client is assigned their own attentive and knowledgeable Relationship Managers, who will cater to the unique personal and business requirements of every individual customer. 

Cornerstone have not only made progressive strides in terms of innovative technology and personalised customer services, but also in areas related to social and environmental issues. As a Certified B Corporation the company has legally committed to operating in the interest of their stakeholders; this includes their customers, staff, suppliers and the environment, as well as society as a whole. Further to this, as a Climate Positive Product, Cornerstone pledges to plant a tree every time a customer sets up a money transfer through them. 

Overall, Cornerstone appears to be a highly reputable and trustworthy company: we will now take a closer look at the finer details of their money transfer services.

Cornerstone exchange rates, fees & costs

Due to the growing number of global remittance companies competing for your business, the first step to ensuring guaranteed value for money is to assess the exchange rates, transfer fees and other additional costs, ahead of paying for a cross-border transfer.

Exchange rates

Cornerstone offers 53 currency pairings, facilitating payments from the UK and Canada, as well as countries in Europe and Asia. When arranging an international money transfer with Cornerstone the average spread applied to the mid-market rate is determined by the amount being transferred.

The minimum transfer amount is £1,500 GBP (or equivalent), see below for a review of the exchange rate mark-ups applied to the following transfer amounts in Pound sterling (GBP):

  • £0.00 to £10,000: 0.60% 
  • £10,000 to £25,000: 0.45%
  • £25,000 to £50,000: 0.40%
  • £50,000 to £100,000: 0.35%
  • £100,000 or above: 0.30%

Although Cornerstone ensure transparency throughout the money transfer process, by displaying the live interbank rates online via their website, these display rates are not exact or guaranteed. To find out the precise rate of exchange for your unique currency transfer, customers must reach out to their Relationship Manager via phone or email.

Fees

As previously mentioned, the cost of a Cornerstone is determined by the amount of money being sent or received. The following transfer fees apply:

  • Transfers of less than £5,000 GBP (or equivalent): £20 fee
  • Transfers exceeding £5,000 GBP (or equivalent): £0 fee

Top countries to send money to with Cornerstone

Cornerstone supports international money transfers to most countries but cannot facilitate payments to restricted regions such as Crimea, Myanmar, Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, South Sudan, Libya and Sudan. Popular money transfer corridors include:

Pros and cons of using Cornerstone

We have put together a list of the main pros and cons of using Cornerstone for international money transfers, so our customers can easily compare these services to other providers: 

Pros
Send and receive 53 currencies to 200 countries globally
Multiple customer service options: phone (7am – 7pm) email, live chat
Relationship Managers assigned to help customers through the process and offer specialist expertise
Currency transfers available 24/7 using any device
Exchange rate spread for most currencies does not exceed 0.6%
Ethical business model
Cons
No mobile app: unlike most its competitors, Cornerstone has not yet developed a their own application
Lack of transparency: customers can only review specific exchange rates after completing the sign-up process and being assigned a Relationship Manager; this is less transparent than companies such as Wise and XE who display all rates upfront
Substantial fees for smaller transfers: this is not the ideal service provider for anyone sending less than £1,500 (or equivalent)

What type of transfers can you make with Cornerstone?

Regular or priority transactions are available; to learn about the full list of transfer options to suit your remittance needs, Cornerstone recommends contacting your Relationship Manager.

How long will it take to receive money using Cornerstone?

Priority transfers will reach the recipient the same day, typically within 1 to 2 hours. Regular transfers may take 1 – 3 working days.  

What payment methods can I use when sending money with Cornerstone?

Bank transfers are the only accepted method of payment for settling transfers or adding funds to your Cornerstone account.

What are the best reasons to use Cornerstone?

  • Personalised and informative services provided by a dedicated Relationship Manager
  • Partnership with Currencycloud guarantees secure and trustworthy international transfers covered by Barclays Bank
  • Money transfers can be arranged 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, using your desktop or mobile browser

Can I trust Cornerstone?

In terms of compliance, Cornerstone is fully licensed and regulated by the FCA, as well as having registered with HMRC as a Money Services Business (MSB): HMRC Registration No. 12588692. 

Payment services for Cornerstone are provided by The Currencycloud Limited, company registration number 06323311. The Currencycloud Limited are fully authorised and regulated in the UK, EU, US, and Canada: authorised and regulated by the FCA, in the UK, registration number 900199, and FinCEN in 44 states.

In addition to having all the required licensing and adhering to regulations, Currencycloud accounts are also fully safeguarded and held with Barclays Bank. This means any funds that sent via Currencycloud will receive protection from one of the largest multinational banking groups in the world.

How to convert and send money using Cornerstone 

The Cornerstone international payment platform has been designed to simplify the act of sending, receiving, converting and storing multiple currencies from around the world. In this section we will take a look at how easy to use and efficient this service is.

To send and receive money customers will need to create an account, then sign in using their Login ID and password; you may be prompted to answer a few security questions. Once logged in, the User Dashboard will appear, with the current balance of your account displayed at the top. All pending transactions and recent payments can be found down on the bottom half of the screen, and all quick access buttons to popular activities displayed in a menu on the left hand side. 

Converting money

Step 1. Customers will see the “Conversion” option in their account; to arrange a foreign currency transfer you will need to select “Book a Transaction” by tapping the “Convert” option in the left hand menu

Step 2. Search for the currencies you wish to Sell and Buy using the dropdown menus, then enter the amount you wish to transfer

Step 3. Click on “Select a date” when you are ready to proceed

Step 4. Choose a date from the drop-down calendar, selecting the day you wish to schedule your transaction; tap “Get a quote” to review the full details.

Step 5. On the “Quote” page you can review the Sell and Buy amount, as well as the conversion rate for the foreign exchange pairing, and the scheduled settlement date of your transfer. Customers are given 20 seconds to review this “Quote”; if happy with the details you must tick the box and submit the transfer by clicking “Convert”

Step 6. The final screen will present confirmation of the transfer and the details in full: your agreed upon exchange rate is now locked in and you will receive an email confirming this; the email will include the payment options available for your upcoming money transfer

You can review all “Conversions” by tapping the “Search” tab in the menu on the left hand side

Sending money 

Step 1. Before you can send money from your Cornerstone account, you must first add your beneficiary: click “Beneficiaries” in the left hand menu and select “Add”

Step 2. Next you will need to enter your beneficiary’s details, including their country of residence, the country of their bank account, the chosen currency and the full name on their bank account. You will also need to select from Company or Individual; then you can select “Provide bank account details”

Step 3. On this page you will be asked to select from Regular or Priority Payment, depending on the urgency of your transfer. Next, input the payment details of your Payee, double checking them before selecting “Validate beneficiary”

Step 4. The next screen will confirm whether or not your Payee’s details have passed Cornerstone checks conducted by their validation software. If all is approved, once you are happy with the transfer you can click “Create beneficiary”

Step 5. Finally, tap “Pay” at the bottom of the screen, selecting the chosen currency and transfer amount. You will then be asked to enter the payment date, your reason for payment and a reference note. “Review payment” for one final check, then submit the transfer by tapping “Create payment”

Does Cornerstone have a mobile app?

No, Cornerstone does not currently offer a mobile application, however the payments platform is simple to navigate and optimised for desktop and mobile use. 

Can I cancel my Cornerstone transfer?

Customers who need to cancel a transfer after submitting a request will be charged a cancellation fee. In these cases, customers may also be required to cover the cost of any additional charges.

If a transfer has already been delivered, Cornerstone can assist with tracing and recalling the payment, but the success of this will depend on the method of transfer and the destination country.

Cornerstone recommends contacting your assigned Relationship Manager if and when a transfer needs to be cancelled.

How does Cornerstone compare to other providers?

Cornerstone client care is second to none, with expert currency specialists on hand to advise over the phone, via email or live chat. It is a great service for any SMEs or private clients who are making large transfers and may have concerns about time delays or security, because the cloud-based technology developed by Cornerstone is innovative, iron-clad and backed by global financial institution, Barclays Bank. 

On the other hand, popular global money transfer providers such as Wise and WorldRemit are better positioned to offer a more diverse range of payment options, transfer methods for smaller, everyday overseas transactions. Despite being an excellent option for safe and secure larger money transfers, Cornerstone is not the ideal provider of regular international money transfers, due to the transfer minimum of £1,500.

Use our comparison tool to find out exactly which provider is best for you and your money transfer requirements.

April Summers

April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.

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