XE transitioned to a new international payments provider, HiFX, on 29 October. This morning, I’ve had to place my first trade with them since the change, so decided it was time to reevaluate my earlier post on costs and providers.

I’ve found two main changes since my original post:

  1. XE Trade’s services are now provided by HiFX, a UK-based provider that also has offices in the US.1
  2. PayPal US has now integrated Xoom and will send you to Xoom automatically if you want to make an international payment through PayPal US. International payments through PayPal Canada require an email address; they cannot be done directly to a bank account.

Overall, with the change in XE Trade’s provider, TransferWise now comes out on top of the providers I looked at before.  (I continue not to include Revolut, since they do not offer bank-to-bank transfer, so are fairly difficult to use in a very bank-focused country like Germany.)

Here’s an updated table, looking at the cost of sending €1000 from the United States to Germany just after 18:50 CET on 2 December 2016.

Provider Rate (1 USD=x EUR) Fee Total Cost
Market rate 0.937144 $1067.07
TransferWise 0.93690 $10.68 $1078.20
XE Trade non-US account2 0.9254 $0 $1080.51
WorldRemit 0.9230 $2.99 $1086.45
XE Trade US account2 0.9204 $0 $1086.48
PayPal n/a n/a n/a
Xoom 0.9175 $4.993 $1094.92
Western Union 0.8834 $04 $1132.03

The good about the new XE Trade site: It’s a clean interface and it’s straightforward. They continue not to charge a fee for transfers. Payments seem to be on about the same schedule as before: If you’re sending money from a Canadian account, it could be out the door in two business days, and they are registered for online bill payment at Canadian banks. (It’s still longer from a US account because they have to debit by ACH and wait up to 5 days for the funds to clear.)

The bad:  I am really confused as to why I have two accounts — one apparently a US account, the other not.  There doesn’t seem to be a difference between them — except the rates (see above). Both show my history, recipient and bank account information that they imported from Custom House (their old provider).

TransferWise is easier to use for transferring into EUR now. It will allow me to enter that I want to buy EUR 1000, and show me how much it costs in USD, which it didn’t before. It’s still a pain for USD, though; if I’m buying USD, I can’t enter the amount of USD I need to receive.  Weird.

1 A little bit of background on HiFX:  They’re a UK-based provider, founded in 1998, and now part of Euronet Worldwide, which is US-based. (Euronet Worldwide also owns Ria, which you might have seen in convenience stores at home; I believe Ria focuses more on remittances to South America and Asia.) Practically speaking, being owned by a US company means you won’t be able to use them to transfer money to Cuba, Iran or North Korea, should you ever have needed to for some reason (this isn’t a change as Custom House, the old provider, was owned by Western Union and subject to US regulation). It may also mean that your private information is held on servers in the US, if that bothers you at all. For some reason, HiFX also offers US and non-US accounts through XE Trade; I was automatically set up for both, with no explanation. The accounts have significantly different rates (see table and footnote 2).
2 XE Trade / HiFX has set up two accounts for me, one that starts with “US” and another with the same account number but no US, so I guess one’s a US-based account and the other is not. The rates quoted in the two accounts are significantly different (not explained by minute-to-minute currency fluctuation).
3 If you choose to pay by credit or debit card, the fee is $54.99.
4 If you want your payment to be delivered within 3 days, you have to pay by credit card, for which Western Union will charge a $45.28 fee.  This goes up to $91 if you want it there next day.

Photo credit:  Wikipedia.com.