PagoFX is an international money transfer service backed by Santander, one of the 4 biggest banking institutions in the UK. As a by-product of a multinational bank, PagoFX is held to bank-level regulation, unlike most its competitors. However, due to its recent incorporation, we want to find out if PagoFX is too late to the party, or whether it has arrived just in time?
In this review we will look at the platform, providing a detailed guide for anyone interested in using the service to make an international money transfer.
This international money transfer platform was incorporated almost one year ago, in July 2020, 12 years after Santander was established in the UK. The brainchild of CEO Cedric Menager, PagoFX has been designed as a way of merging the two worlds of banking and fintech. Although it is a standalone enterprise, “Pago” translates to “Pay” in Spanish, a nod to Banco Santander, their holding company which is based in Madrid.
As a start-up within a larger banking enterprise, PagoFX offers customers a unique service: the same bank-level security you’d expect to receive from a long-standing global banking group, but with better rates and more transparency than ordinary international bank transfers.
PagoFX is available to all UK, Belgian and Spanish customers, regardless of their status as a Santander customer. Currently available in these three countries only, the service is due to be rolled out in more countries, expanding the available currencies in the process.
It would appear this bank-affiliated payment service is doing everything it can to become a major disruptor in the financial services sector, but how do the PagoFX product measure up to its competitors?
In a bid to shake up the status quo and stand out from the crowd, PagoFX strives to ensure total transparency when it comes to costs; intended to result in less customers facing unexpected costs therefore avoiding any customer dissatisfaction.
Transfer fees are determined by the destination country. Unlike some companies, who add a fixed flat-fee onto all transfers, PagoFX charges a percentage of the amount, depending on territory. Standard transfer fees start at 0.7% for transfers sent within the Eurozone, and range to 3.3% for transfers sent to the Dominican Republic.
For example: Sending money to the US would incur an 0.8% transfer fee. So, if you were to transfer £100 to USD, the fees would amount to £0.80. The remaining £99.20 would then be converted to USD and transferred to your recipient.
As an international money transfer service backed by a global bank, PagoFX wants to be clear about offering real-time mid-market rates, because most international bank transfers add substantial markups to their currency conversions. A PagoFX quote is held for a total of 15 minutes before it expires and need to be re-calculated.
To provide a clear picture of the exchange rate markups employed by PagoFX, consider the following transfer scenarios:
|100 GBP to:||Live rate (XE)||PagoFX rate||Difference||Markup %|
As you can see from the above examples, the PagoFX rate does not exactly match the mid-market rate, with small markups added to each currency conversion. However, the margin is smaller than some other bank transfer services, so if bank-level security is what you are looking for, PagoFX offers great value for money.
Be sure to take advantage of the PagoFX calculator and get a quote on your currency pairing before initiating your transfer. The calculator can be found on the homepage of the PagoFX website and home screen of the mobile app.
Additional fees such as bank charges on the recipient’s end – known in some cases as a wire transfer fee – may emerge, but this type of fee is typically only charged by banks within the US and Canada, and certain banks within the Eurozone.
PagoFX headquarters are in London, where Santander UK is based, but customers in Belgium and Spain can also use the platform to send money. As an aspiring global service, the website and app can be translated into several European languages including English, Spanish and Belgian Dutch, French and English.
PagoFX currently supports international money transfers sent from the UK (GBP) to bank accounts in the following 50 countries:
|Argentina (ARS)||Czech Republic (CZK)||Kuwait (KWD)||Romania (RON)|
|Australia (AUD)||Denmark (DKK)||Mexico (MXN)||Saudi Arabia (SAR)|
|Bahrain (BHD)||Dominican Republic (DOP)||Morocco (MAD)||Singapore (SGD)|
|Brazil (BRL)||Eurozone countries (EUR)||New Zealand (NZD)||South Africa (ZAR)|
|Bulgaria (BGN)||Hong Kong (HKD)||Norway (NOK)||Sweden (SEK)|
|Canada (CAD)||Hungary (HUF)||Peru (PEN)||Switzerland (CHF)|
|Colombia (COP)||India (INR)||Poland (PLN)||Turkey (TRY)|
|Croatia (HRK )||Israel (ILS)||Qatar (QAR)||United States of America (USD)|
Eurozone countries include Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
As it stands, customers can only send funds in Pound sterling (GBP) to 32 currencies, but the company has confirmed their plans to expand these offerings, with 6 exotic currencies (AED, DOP, JPY, MAD, THB and Ecuadorian USD) coming soon.
Below is a list of the main pros and cons associated with PagoFX international money transfer services:
PagoFX currently only supports bank transfers made via UK debit card. Customers can log into the website or the mobile app to arrange a money transfer.
An international money transfer sent within the Eurozone can be deposited into the recipient’s bank within 24 hours, if submitted during the corresponding country’s working hours. However, the expected timeframe for a PagoFX money transfer sent to a more remote country – for example, Colombia – can be anything between 1 to 2 weeks. This is because payments made to these countries are more likely to experience heightened security processes, delaying the payment.
While transfers within the Eurozone may be quick and efficient, the same speedy service cannot be guaranteed for every country, making PagoFX international payments notably slower than other global providers that offer instant payments, such as Wise.
We would suggest initiating an online chat, speaking to a customer service representative, to receive a reliable and educated estimate when it comes to the expected transfer speed for your destination country.
The sole payment method currently supported by PagoFX is UK debit card. The company has revealed their plans to expand these options with a view to supporting other payment methods soon.
PagoFX stands out for the following reasons:
Due to their affiliation with global bank Santander, PagoFX is wholly safe to use. One of the leading USPs of PagoFX is that they are backed by a major banking institution, making them incredibly secure and protected.
The company is fully licensed and registered as an authorised payment institution with the FCA (the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority). PagoFX is held to the same standards as Santander UK and is therefore considered watertight. In a bid to flatten the curve, motivating customers and revitalising trust in international bank transfers, PagoFX are working hard to provide the most competitive rates for foreign exchange.
When it comes to customer support, options include in-app customer service, live web chat and a customer support email address. Unfortunately, customers who prefer chatting with a representative in-person or over the phone, do not have the option to do so and will have to settle for an online exchange instead. Having said this, the response rate is prompt and good communication is maintained.
On their TrustPilot page, PagoFX has been awarded 4.1 out of a possible 5 stars, with around 40 customer reviews. Being new to the money transfer scene, this number of reviews is to be expected, as the service is yet to make a huge impact.
Elsewhere, PagoFX has gained a good reputation as a new-age, bank-affiliated transfer services which are better than what the average bank offers.
You cannot receive money with PagoFX, users are only able to send money to a recipient within the supported countries list.
When it comes to PagoFX, the company encourages users to initiate money transfers via the app, which is available to those in the UK, Belgium and Spain. It is free to download from the Google Play or App Store. The user interface is clean cut and clear, making it easy to navigate for all customers. At the time of writing, the PagoFX had a rating of 4.3 (with 107 ratings) on the App Store and 4.1 (with 236 ratings) on the Google Play Store.
According to PagoFX customer services, once a payment has been sent it cannot be cancelled. Users can view the status of every payment via the app, but the only way to recall a payment is if an issue is flagged with a customer service representative. If the payment has not been completed, the request to cancel can be made, but is not guaranteed. When the payment is sent it can t be cancelled.
If, when reviewing the status of your money transfer, the payment is shown as complete, it cannot be cancelled as it is now being processed with the recipient’s bank.
No, PagoFX currently only accepts valid UK debit cards.