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Smart Currency Exchange Review

Smart Currency Exchange is a UK-incorporated foreign exchange and payment solutions provider that began operating in 2004. Smart Currency Exchange broke into the business by offering the cheapest and fastest money transfers.

This review will tell you all you need to know about Smart Currency Exchange, so you can decide whether this is the right money transfer service for you.

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When sending money abroad, Smart Currency Exchange assigns you a dedicated trader to guide you through the process and ensure that you get the best possible risk-minimising transfer solution. Over Smart Currency Exchange’s lifetime, the provider has transferred more than £5 billion in over 35 currencies to different parts of the world.

The company has a team of about 90 employees, some of whom are located at its UK headquarters on 26-28 Hammersmith Grove London, W6 7BA and others in its international offices in Spain and Portugal. On Trustpilot, Smart Currency Exchange has been predominantly receiving 5-star client ratings giving it a 98% TrustScore.

Smart Currency Exchange rates and fees

Much like other money transfer companies, Smart Currency Exchange’s revenue comes from the fees and the exchange rate margins it charges its clients. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect when transferring your money.

Exchange rates

Smart Currency Exchange adds a margin above the mid-market rate, but unlike some other money transfer companies, they don’t display or openly state the size of the margin charged on each transfer. From information obtained from the dealers, we discovered that margins on Smart Currency Exchange usually fluctuate around 1%. There are two types of foreign exchange contracts you can choose from:

  • Spot contract: This arrangement is for clients who want to make their transfers immediately. Your dedicated dealer will help you get the best rate that won’t change for the duration of the transfer.
  • Forward contract: This agreement allows clients to lock in an exchange rate for up to 12 months. Once the contract is set up, the client is required to make a 10% down payment and the rest paid within the contract period.

Fees

Smart Currency Exchange charges a flat £5 fee for transfers under £3000. However, transfers above £3000 are processed at zero fees.

Additional costs

When you enter into a contract with Smart Currency Exchange, you are supposed to state the number of transfers you want to make. When you exceed the number of transfers, you may be charged up to £15 for every additional transfer. 

Additionally, as with any money transfer service, Smart Currency Exchange isn’t able to control any additional fees charged by the banks you’re transferring to/from, or landing charges your recipient may have to pay in their country, so always be sure to check this beforehand.

Smart Currency Exchange pros and cons

Navigating the currency market for that best rate can be time-consuming because of the fluctuating nature of currency prices and the number of providers operating in the space. When making regular international money transfers, timing is important. Before choosing Smart Currency Exchange, it is worth evaluating its pros and cons. 

Pros
Supports a wide range of currencies: Other than the pound, euro and the United States dollar, the provider supports over 30 more currencies. This makes it easier when making payments to beneficiaries in their local currencies.
Forward contracts for currency planning: Forwards contracts are agreements you enter into with the provider to transfer money in the future at a specified exchange rate. This helps you to avoid currency fluctuation risks and enhances cash flow planning because you book your transfer now and pay later.
Dedicated currency traders: Once you sign up for an account, you'll be assigned a currency expert to assist you with organising your transfer, including timing and the best options available.
Regular and automated payments solution: Smart Currency Exchange offers a special packaged solution for clients who want to transfer money regularly. Through the plan, clients can schedule payments using spot exchange rates or locked-in rates.
Low fixed fee: The nominal fees the provider charges (£5 for transfers below £3000) are among the lowest in the industry. Amounts larger than £3000 attract no fees. This is a huge advantage if you are buying properties or assets in other countries.
Cons
Limited functionality mobile app: If you are used to making transfers via mobile apps, Smart Currency Exchange may come as a disappointment in this regard. Its app only tracks exchange rates. It doesn't allow you to make transfers. However, its website is designed with Viewport Meta technology which optimises the content for mobile viewing.
Low Transparency: The website doesn't readily disclose the fees customers will be charged and the exchange rates they will get. It is all a negotiated arrangement which makes it a little difficult for people who are just shopping around for a transfer provider.
Limited payment and payout methods: Smart Currency Exchange supports bank to bank transfers only. There are no card payment or cash pickup options. This means you'll have to look elsewhere if you have no access to formal banking services.

What kind of payments can I make with Smart Currency Exchange?

When making a transfer through Smart Currency Exchange, you first have to ‘Book a Deal’ on your online account. Thereafter, state the currency and amount you will be paying in. The following are the transfer payment and payout options the provider has.

Payment methods available

The only allowed transfer payment option is bank transfer. Once you submit the transfer details through your online account or via phone, the provider will email you a Contract Note. This document has all the payment details you need to make the transfer.

Withdrawal options available

Smart Currency Exchange transfers all the currency purchased directly to the beneficiary bank via electronic transfer.

How to send and receive money with Smart Currency Exchange

The provider has simplified the process of making international payments by bringing in currency traders who understand the nuances of every currency route. Here are the steps involved in sending and receiving payments.

How to send money with Smart Currency Exchange

Sending money involves four main steps: signing up for an account, speaking to an expert, paying for your transfer, and transferring to your beneficiary. 

1. Account signup

As part of the process of setting up your Smart Currency Exchange account, you will be required to fill in the following information:

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Country, city and postcode
  • Contact details-telephone, mobile and email
  • Originating currency, the needed currency, and the amount to be transferred
  • Reasons for transfer 
  • Currency destination and the urgency

In a separate email, the provider will require that you send documents that prove your identity and address.

2. Speak to a currency expert

Once you submit the information, your dedicated currency trader will get in touch with you to find out more about your transfer needs and timing. They will also walk you through the transfer options available, which are forward contracts, spot contracts, and the regular payments plan.

3. Pay for your transfer

You should begin by booking a deal on your account, specifying the currency you need, the amount and what currency you’ll be paying in. Once you confirm the transfer, you’ll get an email with a contract number. The Contract Note has the bank details you should pay into. Only bank transfers are allowed.

4. Transfer funds to your beneficiary

From the contracts box on your online account, choose the funds to be transferred, click on ‘Make a Transfer’ and pick your beneficiary. You can also add a new beneficiary right from the dashboard. You’ll receive two emails, one confirming the transfer and another notifying you that your transfer is complete.

How to receive money with Smart Currency Exchange

The funds are deposited in the beneficiary’s account via electronic transfer. There is no information to be provided by the beneficiary to receive the funds.

Does Smart Currency Exchange have a mobile app?

Yes, the provider has a free, downloadable mobile app available only through the App Store for Apple devices. The app allows you to check interbank exchange rates and set a rate alarm to alert you when your target rate is reached. You cannot make transfers within the Smart Currency Exchange app.

How fast are Smart Currency Exchange’s transfer speeds?

It takes between 1-3 business days to receive transfers. However, the provider states that most of its transfers are delivered within the same day with a few others taking 48 hours.

Are there maximum and minimum transfer amounts?

Smart Currency Exchange doesn’t have a minimum transfer amount. However, for any single transaction, the maximum you can send is £15,000. If you need to make transfers over £15,000, you should call and talk to your account manager for special arrangements.

Can I trust Smart Currency Exchange?

Smart Currency Exchange is one of the most highly-rated currency exchange providers in the United Kingdom. With more than 15 years of expertise, its dedicated team of currency traders offer customised solutions to both individual and corporate customers. Below is a breakdown of what makes the company a trusted brand in the financial services industry.

History

Smart Currency Exchange is registered as a private company limited by shares. John Charles Fairbairn Purdy (JCF Purdy), a chartered accountant and career engineer, co-founded the company with Kimberly Ann Brown in November 2004. 

In May 2012, Kimberly resigned to pursue other interests and was replaced by Carl Anthony Hasty. According to the financials for the year ended September 30, 2018, the provider lists JCF Purdy as both the secretary and one of the directors.

Regulatory compliance

Smart Currency Exchange was incorporated by the registrar of companies of England and Wales under company number 5282305. Effectively, the registration means that the provider’s activities are regulated as per the Companies Act 2006. 

It is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to operate as a payment institution. As part of the Payment Services Regulations 2009, Smart Currency Exchange is required to hold clients’ funds in segregated accounts. In this regard, the provider has been working with Barclays Bank plc and the Bank of Ireland, two reputable custodians of clients’ funds, for over a decade now. On the FCA’s Financial Services Register, Smart Currency Exchange reference number is 504509.

The company is also registered as a money services business – MLR 12198457- by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). To ensure high standards in the industry, the provider maintains active memberships in two key industry associations: the Association of Foreign Exchange and Payment Companies (AFEP) and the UK Money Transmitters Association (UKMTA).

Encryption and customer data

Smart Currency Exchange ensures that client information and funds are highly secured at all times. It uses GoDaddy SSL certificates to safeguard data and secure online transactions. Also, the provider uses SSL by Default technology, the largest SSL provider supporting 61.28% of the top 1 million websites.

As you log in, the website establishes whether the computer user is human through Google’s reCAPTCHA technology. 

Investors and Awards

Smart Currency Exchange is a 100% privately-owned subsidiary of Smart Currency Group Limited, the parent. The ultimate controlling party is JCF Purdy with 87.3% shareholding in the Group.

The provider has also earned awards and recognitions in the industry. Here is a summary of the most outstanding.

  • Recognised as an Accelerate 250 company: This is a group of companies in the UK that are enjoying the fastest growth rates and creating jobs in the economy.
  • Business Moneyfacts Awards 2015: Smart Currency Exchange made it to the Best International Solutions Provider category shortlist.
  • Wealth & Finance Awards 2015: The provider bagged the Best Bespoke Currency Exchange Services award
  • West London Business Awards 2018: Won the Finance Business of the Year 

Customer satisfaction

Customers seem to be happy with the service they receive from Smart Currency Exchange. On Trustpilot, Smart Currency Exchange has a total of 1221 reviews, close to 1,200 of these are 5-star. The customers who gave 4 and 5-star ratings shared similar experiences:

Positive

  • Knowledgeable customer support team offering fast and efficient responses to queries
  • Simple transfer process from start to finish whether by phone or through the online platform
  • Provides good rates especially for large transfers and ensured they were delivered timely

Negative

  • It’s possible to find better exchange rates if you shop around

Can I cancel my transfer?

Yes. Smart Currency Exchange allows clients to cancel their transfer by directly contacting the accounts team. The team will review the transaction and see if it is possible to withdraw the transmitted payment instructions. Once the transfer is cancelled, the accounts team will send the client a written confirmation.

Top destinations for using Smart Currency Exchange

Smart Currency Exchange works with all its clients to ensure their transfers are completed in time and with minimal risk. The following countries are the most preferred destinations on the platform:

Customer support

Smart Currency Exchange has one of the most responsive teams in the industry. If you have a question you would like to ask or a clarification to make, get in touch with the support desk in any of the following ways:

  • Phone: If you are calling from the UK, you can use the toll-free phone-08081630102. Those calling from outside the UK can use +442078980541. The support is available 24/7.
  • Email: For queries contact support through smartaccounts@smartcurrencyexchange.com. Complaints are usually handled through compliance@smartcurrencyexchange.com.

Most queries are resolved within a day. However, those requiring special investigation are usually resolved within 3-5 business days.

Summary

Smart Currency Exchange is one of the top brands to consider when looking for an international money transfer partner – especially from the UK, which is the company’s largest market. 

Since its incorporation in 2004, Smart Currency Exchange has grown both in the number of countries it serves and the staff it employs. Currently, its team comprises 90 employees some of whom are specialised currency traders.

Making a transfer is simple. You can either do it over the phone or through your online account. Whether you are a first-timer or a repeat customer, you’ll find the services of the currency traders extremely useful. They will help you get the best rates, timing and transfer option.

The main drawback is that you can only pay and receive money by bank transfer, so if you’re looking to use another payment or withdrawal option such as debit card, mobile transfer, or cash pickup, then you’ll have to look elsewhere.

In addition to the low fees, the provider has competitive exchange rates. When making large personal or corporate transfers, you’ll often save money when compared to other providers – and certainly when compared to the rates charged by banks. So for example, if you’re looking to send money to Thailand from the USA, it will be much cheaper than using a high street bank.

With that being said, it’s always wise to compare providers to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your transfer. Using our money transfer comparison tool, you can quickly see who’s cheaper and faster on any given transfer route and find the best possible service.

Artiom
Written by
Artiom

Artiom is a marketing graduate from the University of Portsmouth, Artiom’s primary experience is in SEO but he has a broad knowledge of all facets of digital marketing. He optimises the organic experience on MoneyTransfers.com with the content team, manages and creates unique marketing tactics, and generally supports the overall growth of the website.

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