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Ria Money Transfer Review

Ria is a US-based global leader in international money transfer services, with a worldwide network that currently stands at 397,000 cash transfer and payout agent locations spread in 167 countries. Some of the agents are bank branches, retail stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and post offices – meaning Ria’s services are easily accessible to most people wishing to transfer funds to their recipient’s overseas.

In this review we take a closer look at the various features offered by Ria and how to get the most out of your international money transfer.

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According to the United Nations International Migration Report 2017, there are an estimated 258 million people living abroad. Ria helps many of these people shorten the distance and minimise the cost of sending money to their loved ones. Whether you are making your transfer in euros,  pounds, dollars, or another currency, Ria gives you real value and peace of mind: you can transfer your funds fast, securely and reliably in more than 100 currencies. 

Ria also offers the convenience of a variety of payment and withdrawal options. It allows beneficiaries to receive money directly into their bank accounts, pick up cash from the various collections points near them, or have it delivered right into their homes. In partnership with Walmart, Ria launched the innovative Walmart-2-Walmart money transfer service, using Walmart’s retail network to allow customers to access cheap money transfer services across more than 4,000 Walmart stores.

Apart from money transfer services, Ria also offers bill payments, cheque cashing, prepaid debit cards, money orders, and mobile top-ups. This review will take you through how Ria has made itself a key part of the international payment market over the past three decades.

Ria Money Transfer exchange rates and fees

When you send money with Ria, much like with most international money transfer companies, you’ll be charged a transaction fee and an exchange rate margin on top of the mid-market rate for your currency pair. Ria provides a price calculator on their website where you can punch in your transfer amount and see both the exchange rate and the fees it charges, but here’s a summary of what to expect.

Exchange rates

You can use the online platform when sending money from the United States, Spain, Canada, the United Kingdom, or Australia. For the rest of the countries, you can make your transfers through physical agents. To find a Ria agent or representative near you, visit the provider’s website and click on ‘Find Locations’. For accurate results, enter your city, state, or postal code. Their details will load including their physical address, phone numbers, and the services they offer.

When using the online platform, the price calculator will help you to work out what the exchange rate margin for your currency pair is. Let’s look at the following three scenarios:

  • Sending $2000 to India: The recipient will get 143,540.20 Indian rupees at an exchange rate of 1USD =71.7701 INR. This translates to a margin of 0.56%.
  • Sending A$2000 to the Bahamas: The recipient will get 1,280 Bahamian dollars at a rate of 1 AUD = 0.64 BHD. The margin the provider charges here is 1.07%
  • Sending $2000 to Cyprus: The beneficiary will receive 1749.60 Euros. The rate of the US dollar to the Euro that Ria uses is 1 USD = 0.8748 EUR. The margin translates to 1.12%

What is clear is that the rate varies depending on the currency pairs involved, but the margin range of between 0.5% and 1.2% is competitive against other providers. Some routes are more expensive than others with margins that can go up to 2.5% in extreme cases. 

Fees

Ria charges fees that vary depending on the destination, the method of payment, and how the beneficiary receives money. For instance, when sending $1000 to Egypt, you’ll be charged $5 if you pay via bank transfer, $35 if you pay via credit card, $15 if you pay using a debit card, and $9 if you pay using cash.

Credit cards are the most expensive method of paying for a transfer, while cash pickup is slightly pricier than using a bank to receive transfers.

Additional Costs

Apart from the fees that Ria charges, your bank may charge you additional fees in the form of transfer processing fees or cash advance fees when using a credit card. The beneficiary bank may also charge the recipient other fees such as inward SWIFT charges, intermediary fees and other costs. 

It is therefore important to check with both the sending and receiving banks for any applicable charges before making your transfer.

Ria pros and cons

Before you choose Ria, you must consider its strengths and weaknesses to ensure it’s the right provider for your international money transfers. Here’s a quick breakdown.

Pros
Extensive Network: Ria has deepened its global reach through strategic partnerships. Currently, the provider has 397,000 physical cash transfer and pickup agent locations some of which are in far-flung areas with no access to formal banking services such as Quintana Roo in rural Mexico and Kainuk in northern Kenya.
Variety of payout options: In addition to banks and cash pickups, Ria delivers money directly to recipients' homes through its home delivery service. Countries such as Vietnam, Peru, Dominican Republic, and the Philippines have home delivery as a payout option.
Quick delivery times: If you pay for your transfer using either a debit or credit card, your funds take about 15 minutes to be delivered. This is an impressively quick time in an industry where some providers take up to 3 or 4 days for the beneficiary to get their money.
Online tracking: It is possible for you to track your transfer online and when it is delivered, you'll get an email notification.
No minimum transfer amount: There is no minimum amount below which Ria cannot transfer. You can send as little as a $1 to your family and friends. This makes the platform more convenient for people transferring small amounts for family upkeep.
Cons
High transaction fees: When transferring money to destinations such as Djibouti or Egypt and you pay via credit card, you are charged up to $35 per transfer. When sending $1000 to Canada, you'll pay $80 if you fund your transfer using a credit card. This is more expensive than some other transfer providers.
Variation of online rates from agent rates: Ria has put a disclaimer on its online price calculator that the exchange rates and fees you get online differ from those you'll get at a physical agent. Such inconsistencies make transfer planning a little difficult.
Online platform unavailable in most countries: If you live in any other country other than the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain and Canada, you cannot transact online. You will have to go through a physical agent.

What kind of payments can I make with Ria?

Ria offers its customers a wide range of transfer payment and payout methods. Few if any money transfer providers match the dynamism of Ria. Below is a look at how you can pay for your transfer and how your beneficiary can access the funds sent.

Payment methods available

You can pay for your Ria transfer using any of the following methods:

  • Cash: You can pay for your transfer using cash at any Ria agent near you. Cash payments are faster than other methods because the funds become immediately available for onward transfer to your recipient. This is a perfect method if you don’t have a bank account or access to a card payment facility.
  • Bank Transfer: This method is the least expensive for funding your transfer. However, your funds can take up to 4 business days to get to the recipient. For first-time bank payment customers, Ria makes two micro-deposits that you have to verify to proceed with the transfer.
  • Debit/credit card: Transfers paid for using a credit or debit card takes just 15 minutes to get to the recipient. This method is also the most expensive and may cost you additional money in fees charged by the credit card issuer.

Withdrawal options available

Ria has four ways through which beneficiaries can get their funds. Some of the withdrawal options may be restricted to certain regions:

  • Bank deposit: Ria works with major banks to deposit your funds directly into the recipient’s account. To ensure the transfer goes into the right account, you need to give the correct account information including the routing number or SWIFT code.
  • Cash pickup: Beneficiaries especially those in rural areas can utilise Ria’s network of 397,000 locations to get their funds in cash. This method is appropriate for smaller transfers because of safety issues.
  • Home delivery: If your recipient is in Armenia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Hungary, Morocco, Philippines, or Vietnam, they can have the transfer delivered in cash at their homes.
  • Mobile: In January 2020, Ria signed a partnership deal with Safaricom, the leading mobile network operator in Kenya to use its M-Pesa mobile money platform for transfers. M-Pesa subscribers in Kenya are now able to receive transfers from over 20 countries directly into their mobile phones through the Ria network.

How to send and receive money with Ria

Ria has simplified the process of sending and receiving money. In a few easy to follow steps, you can set up your account and transfer money. If you are sending through an agent, you don’t need to sign up for an account.

How to send money with Ria

Sign up

The steps involved in signing up for Ria are:

1. Login details

Input your email and password and click on ‘Continue’.

2. Security questions

Choose 3 security questions and click on ‘Continue’

3. Personal details

The information required at this step is your name, date of birth, address, phone number, preferred language of communication and the country you plan to send to most often.

Once you verify the details, click on ‘Submit’. Your account will be created and ready for a transfer. 

Making your Transfer

The online account dashboard is highly interactive, you just need to follow these steps:

1. Transfer Details

Choose your transfer destination, payout currency, the amount you want to send, how you’ll pay for your transfer, and how you want the recipient to get the money.

2. Recipient details

Fill in the recipient name, address, city, state and the country they are in.

3. Pickup location/ bank deposit details

If you choose cash as the payout method, you’ll be prompted to select a cash pickup location near the recipient. If you choose a bank, the system will ask you to enter the bank name, bank ID, bank account type, bank account number, bank branch number, and routing number where applicable.

4. Additional details

You’ll have to state the reason for the transfer. This could be buying real estate, loan repayment, education, family assistance, house construction etc.

5. Identification details

Here you provide your valid ID or passport so that your Ria account can be registered.

6. Payment details

The system gives you another chance to choose how you want to pay for your transfer. You could choose a bank, credit card, debit card, or cash. 

7. Review

This is the final stage where you review the transfer information you’ve entered before submitting it.

How to receive money with Ria

There are four ways your beneficiary can receive money with Ria. The funds can be deposited in their bank account, mobile money wallet, delivered at home, or collected in cash from a cash pickup point. 

Bank deposits and mobile money transfers do not require the recipient to do anything. However, for home deliveries and cash pickups, the following information is required to receive money:

Cash pickup and Home delivery

If your recipient is receiving their transfer through either of these methods, they will need:

  • The PIN provided to you when initiating the transfer
  • A valid ID (the same as that used in the transfer)

Does Ria have a mobile app?

Yes, Ria has a free downloadable mobile app available on both Google Play and App Store. The app has lots of features which enable customers to:

  • Send money instantly
  • Track all transfers on the go
  • Find Ria locations near you
  • Add recipients
  • Manage all transfers in one place, you can see all pending, complete, and cancelled transfers. 
  • Send again feature for repeat transfers
  • Share details with their recipient through WhatsApp, Messenger, Gmail, Facebook, OneDrive and many other applications
  • Log in through fingerprint and facial recognition

On Google Play, the app has 610 ratings giving an overall score of 3.4/5.0. On Apple, it has 96 ratings and an overall score of 3.1/5.0. These ratings leave a little to be desired, but the app does have more functions available than those of some of Ria’s competitors.

How fast are Ria’s transfer speeds?

The length of time it takes a transfer to be delivered depends on the destination, the payment method and the payout option you choose.

If you pay using a debit or credit card, the transfer is normally delivered within 15 minutes. On the other hand, bank transfers can take up to 4 business days to be delivered. 

Mobile deliveries are almost instant. Cash deliveries are the second-fastest method also becoming available within minutes, followed by home deliveries, and then bank deposits.

Are there maximum and minimum transfer amounts?

Ria has no minimum transfer amount but does have quite restrictive maximum limits if using the online platform rather than one of its agents.

The maximum amount of money you can send through Ria is $2,999.99 per day, and if you are in Arizona or Oklahoma, this drops to $999 per day. In a month, the maximum you can transfer is $7,999.99.

For you to send more than the allowable limits, you’ll be required to visit your nearest Ria agent with your ID and other documentation as may be required. This is in line with the Anti Money Laundering (AML) guidelines which Ria has adopted. 

Some countries have lower transfer limits. For instance, when transferring funds from the United States to Nigeria, the maximum you can send is $500.

Can I trust Ria?

Ria is a reputable and reliable company. We’ve looked into the details to help reassure you that you can trust Ria with your money transfers.

History

Ria has been in the financial services and electronic funds transfer industry since 1987 when it was founded in New York City. Over time the company has grown in numbers and geographical spread. Currently, it employs about 2000 staff.

Between 1993 and 2006, Ria expanded into new markets which include Spain, UK, Italy, France, Switzerland Austria Belgium and Germany.

 In November 2006, Ria was acquired 100% by Euronet Worldwide, Inc. for a total of $490 million. The acquisition brought Ria into a huge family of sister companies like Xe.com and epay. For instance, in 2018, the group processed $115 billion in payments and earned more than 2.5 billion in revenue. 

In 2012, Ria launched its online money transfer platform, RiaMoneyTransfer.com, to help customers send money from the comfort of their homes and offices.

Regulatory compliance

Ria is regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). As part of the compliance, the provider is required to hold funds in a segregated client account to cushion customers against loss of funds in times of financial crises.

Also, the provider adheres to all United Nations and European Union directives as well as communication from the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC). It has put in place an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) framework and a host of other procedures. 

Key industry partnerships

Ria has grown through strategic partnerships with banks, retail stores, independent outlets and post offices. This has enabled it to bring services closer to people, especially in hard-to-reach areas. The following are some of the recent partnerships it has entered into:

  • Walmart: Together with Walmart, Ria launched Walmart-2-Walmart Money Transfer Service in 2014. This service gives customers a convenient and affordable way to send and receive money through Walmart’s network of over 5,000 retail stores.
  • Emirate Post Group: In 2014, Ria partnered with Instant Cash Global Money Transfer, a business owned by the Emirate Post Group. This partnership has boosted Ria’s penetration in the Middle East and Asia. 
  • Union Bank Nigeria: This partnership gives Ria access to over 300 locations served by the bank across Nigeria.
  • BankIslami Pakistan: Ria uses the bank’s branches (over 300 of them) as cash payout locations.
  • M-Pesa mobile money service: The over 26 million M-Pesa subscribers in Kenya are able to receive money from 20 countries through the Ria network.
  • Mauritius Post: The partnership allows the postal corporation to strengthen its e-commerce strategy by using its 113 post offices as Ria cash pickup and transfer agent locations.

Encryption and customer data

The payment services industry is extremely sensitive and the safety of customer details is at the forefront of every provider’s mind. In light of this, Ria has put in place security measures to ensure its clients’ information and funds are safeguarded.

Ria has adopted the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The standard helps in fighting credit card fraud by targeting controls around cardholder data.

Ria’s online platform also has an Extended Validation SSL Certificate. This is a newer form of SSL certificate that Ria has put in place to safeguard its website and create confidence among its users that they are accessing the right website.

Industry awards

Over time, Ria has bagged several industry awards and accolades some of which include:

  • Best Social Insertion Project of Employment in the Financial Sector awarded at the 2018 Social Business Awards in Spain 
  • Best Cash Innovation Gold Award by PYMNTS.com Innovator Awards 2015 for their Walmart-2-Walmart money transfer service

Customer satisfaction 

Ria has more than 3200 reviews on Trustpilot. Over 2200 of these reviews are rated 5-star, bringing the provider’s TrustScore to 4.2/5. Despite many comments being positive, some shared mixed customer experiences. Here’s a summary of the commonly mentioned positives and negatives:

Positives

  • Ria facilitates instant cross-border cash transfers 
  • A wide sending and disbursing network available even in remote areas
  • Lots of transfer payment and payout options 

Negatives

  • Transfer payments from bank accounts take too long especially for first-time customers

Can I cancel my transfer?

Yes, you can log in to your online account and cancel your transaction under the recent orders. Transfers that have already been paid out to the recipient cannot be cancelled. Depending on your payment method, it takes anywhere between 2-10 business days to get your refund following a successful cancellation. Cash and mobile transfers are carried out too quickly making cancellations almost impossible.

Top destinations for using Ria

Ria supports such a wide network of sending and receiving countries. However, the following are the top destinations in terms of frequency and volume of transactions:

Customer support

Ria has a detailed FAQ section that comprehensively addresses most if not all the questions. Additionally, customers may get in touch with the support team or visit a Ria physical agent for additional assistance. Support is available in English, Spanish and French by both phone and email:

  • Phone Support: You can call in Mon-Sat: 9:00-19:00 to speak to a customer representative
  • Email: From Ria’s website, you can quickly fill in the webform and submit to the support team. Alternatively, you can send an email to customerservice@riamoneytransfer.com describing your issue in detail for prompt assistance.

Summary

Ria has gained considerable ground in the over 30 years it has been facilitating cross border money transfers. Through strategic partnerships, the provider has grown both in asset size and geographical coverage. Regardless of where your recipient is, chances are Ria has them covered through its 397,000 locations worldwide.

Sending money through Ria is simple and fast. Once you open an account, you can begin the transfer process immediately without having to wait for account approval. Or you can make a transfer without an account by going directly to your nearest Ria agent – which you can find through their mobile app.

You can pay for your transfer in cash at a physical location, using a debit/credit card or through the bank. The recipient has several payout options they can choose from such as home deliveries, bank transfers, cash pickups and mobile money transfers where applicable.

As a reputable international money transfer service, Ria has partnered with banks, post offices, retail stores, and independent agents to bring payment solutions close to the people. People also seem to be happy, with the service being well-reviewed by most users on popular sites such as TrustPilot.

Before you decide to use Ria for your next transfer, however, it is always a good idea to check around for alternatives on your transfer route and make sure you’re getting the best deal. Our money transfer comparison tool can help you do a quick analysis of cost, delivery times, and exchange rates for the different providers on your currency route.

Customer reviews

Post your review:

Como puedo hacer para obtener mi record de emvios de todo el año

By Javier carrillo
6 December 2020 - 04:05am

I want to open a RIA in my small shop,I want to know the cost and procedure in Sierra Leone

By Angella Macauley Barrie
10 August 2020 - 07:24pm

Can a remittance be sent to recipient with peso account in Bank of the Philippines (BPI) or Metro Bank?

By ML Gutierrez
13 June 2020 - 06:54pm