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Unistream International Money Transfers Review

Unistream is a Russian money transfer provider. The company started out as a department of Uniastrum Bank, but became a separate entity in 2006. Now the company provides international money transfer services and operates under its own banking license.

Send Money with Unistream

About Unistream

Unistream has over 150,000 locations in more than 100 countries. They boast of providing instant transfers to 90 countries. They even have a comprehensive map of all their global locations.

So, let’s go ahead and look at exactly what Unistream offers its customers, starting with their rates.


Unistream Exchange rates and fees

Money transfers from Unistream are all charged in Russian Rubles (RUB), but transfer balances are paid out in several different currencies, including USD, EUR, and GBP. For many countries, the recipient will receive USD, which will then be converted into their local currency.

Like most money transfer providers, Unistream makes money in two ways:

  1. Exchange rates below the mid-market rate, so they profit on selling currency at less than the rate they bought at.
  2. Sometimes, transfer fees.

Exchange rate

All transactions that require currency exchange will cost a bit more. Unistream has an exchange rate margin slightly higher than the mid-market rate.

As an example, let’s look at transfers to the UK.

At the time of writing, the mid-market rate for RUB to GBP was GBP 500 to RUB 50158. So, if you wanted to send a recipient in the UK GBP 500, you would need RUB 50,158. With Unistream, you would be charged RUB 52,337. Because there are no transparent, stated fees charged for this transfer, you can see that the rate Unistream offers you is 4.34% above the mid-market rate.

At the time of writing, the mid-market rate for EUR to RUB was EUR 1,000 to RUB 86156. So, if you wanted to send a recipient in Greece 1,000 Euros, you would need RUB 86,156. With Unistream, you would be charged RUB 91,584. Because there are no transparent, stated fees charged for this transfer, you can see that the rate Unistream offers you is 6.30% above the mid-market rate.

These are high currency conversion rates. They are higher than the rates offered by most alternative money transfer providers. However, it’s important to note that if you account for the absence of transfer fees, the total cost is about average in the money transfer industry.

Transfer fees

For some transfers, you will be charged a transparent transfer fee. This seems to only be the case for RUB transactions. That makes sense, because without converting foreign currencies into Russian Rubles, they would not make a profit on the transaction.

Exact fees depend on the country you’re transferring to. Here are a few examples:

  • Sending RUB to Russia costs RUB 300
  • Sending RUB to Mongolia costs RUB 50
  • Sending RUB to Moldova costs RUB 50

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for sending money.


How do Unistream transfer fees compare to using a money transfer provider?

This really depends on which country you’re sending money to. International transfers sent with RUB are extremely affordable, as you’ll only be charged a flat RUB fee, and you’ll be charged in RUB. That means that your currency exchange fees will be charged by the bank you use to pay for the transfer. Bank currency exchange rates normally range from 1.5% to 2.5%, which are below the rates Unistream charges.

The total costs of Unistream make one thing clear: They offer great rates if you’re sending money from Russia in Russian Rubles. Their flat fees to countries where you can send RUB are quite low. You also don’t pay any currency conversion fees. This keeps the cost far lower than what many other money transfer providers cost.

In the end, you end up paying lower than average rates with Unistream. But you have to consider their high exchange rates. If Unistream has to exchange currencies for you, they will charge you a high margin.


Unistream pros and cons

Pros
Transparent exchange rates are easy to compare. You can find out how much Unistream charges from their website’s home page. You don’t need to create an account. This makes it very easy to compare their rates to other providers. They also list their transfer fees on the same interface.
Low costs for Russin Ruble transfers. If you just want to make domestic transfers within Russia, you pay one flat fee. This fee is small, but it can be expensive if you send small transfers. RUB transfers from Russia to nearby countries are the cheapest option, and no transaction costs more than 50 Rubles. This is an extremely low cost for international transfers.
Wide global network for transfers. You can send money to over 150,000 locations in 90 countries.
Cons
High exchange rate margins. Exact exchange rates vary widely from currency to currency. This means that their exchange rates alone can make their transfers cost a lot. The total amount taken in their exchange rate margins is equal to average to far-above-average costs.
Limited currency options. All transactions are paid for and sent in RUB. Then, the recipient can usually only receive a select few currencies. This is fine for many transfers from Russia to CIS countries. But if you want to send money to Vietnam from anywhere outside Russia, you will need to have your funds converted into RUB, then the recipient must convert either USD or EUR into Vietnamese Dong.


Answers to key questions about Unistream


Can I open an Unistream account in any country?

You cannot send money from every country, but service is available in many countries. An account is created after you make your first transfer.

Try looking at the Unistream login page and see if your area code is an option. If your phone number’s area code is in the dropdown menu, you can certainly use Unistream.


Does Unistream have an app?

Unistream has its own app. You can download it from Google Play, the App Store, or App Gallery. Links to all three can be found on the Unistream home page


Are there transfer limits?

Transfer limits vary by currency.

  • 1,000 EUR
  • 300,000 RUB (equivalent for other currencies)


How long do transfers take with Unistream?

Most RUB transfers to CIS countries should take under 15 minutes to be completed. Other locations and currencies will greatly extend this time period to 1 to 5 business days.


What customer support options are available?

  • Support ticket (email)
  • Phone
  • WhatsApp (Press only)


Can I use a Unistream debit card when travelling abroad?

The Unistream debit card can be used for mobile money transfers and some payments.


How to open an account and transfer money with Unistream


Opening an account

You don’t normally open a Unistream account directly. But Unistream recently opened a way for online users to register an account.

  1. Go to http://unistream.ru/
  2. Click “ACCOUNT” at the top right side of the screen
  3. Sign up using your phone number


Transferring money

  1. Sign into Unistream online or in one of the apps
  2. Use the relevant transfer feature (“SEND MONEY” if you’re using their website)
  3. Choose your destination country, the amount of money you want to send, and the currency
  4. Provide the recipient’s details
  5. Review the transaction information, including the exchange rate or any applicable fees
  6. Confirm and Pay Unistream
  7. Click or tap “TRACK” to track the transfer

Customer service details for users of Unistream

Phone: +7 (495) 744 5555

Email support ticket: click here

Can I use Unistream for international bank transfers?

Yes, Unistream can be used for international bank transfers.

Summary

Unistream has won awards for its money transfer services. Indeed, if you’re trying to send money in Russian Rubles, it’s a very cheap and fairly fast option. But you can send money to a long list of countries as well. However, it’s a more competitive choice if you only look at it as an option for RUB transactions.

Unistream offers bad exchange rates for most currency conversions. But if you are fine with that, and primarily send RUB, it’s worth your consideration.

Mark
Written by
Mark

Mark is a journalist with more than 20 years experience in news, features, entertainment, lifestyle and sport. Away from work, he’s a devoted husband and father.

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