ECFX v competitors

After ‘going in’ on the high street banks for their dismal currency exchange services on one of our blogs, we will tread a little softer when it comes to our competitors. After all, they do offer a better overall FX package than the banks. However, some are better than others, especially when it comes to helping overseas property buyers.


Don’t get me wrong we are not perfect ourselves, but in terms of facilitating overseas property transactions, we go pretty close to being the number 1. The below explains why/how we cover almost all customer pain points and outlines the key differences within our industry.


Online only


There are a couple of companies that offer an online only experience to customers (DIY – Do It Yourself). The rates are competitive, the reviews are good, transfers are quick and the user interface is pretty cool. However, things start to unravel when you take a ‘devil is in the details’ approach. The disadvantages with online only for overseas property purchases are plentiful;

  • Almost all reviews online are from customers sending small transfers only


  • You are in control of trading and making payments. If you have a problem with account details, a payment, wrong amount or currency traded, a compliance question, funds not being there on time, charges being received the other end etc you have to communicate with either AI or someone that does not know you via online chat or email and you are likely to not receive an answer quickly. This results in lost time, fees, added stress and delayed payments.


  • When was the last time you made a large value transaction to someone without seeing, talking or meeting them? It’s daunting sending even £100 to a new company for a service, let alone a £100,000 life savings transfer. Most people want to know who they are dealing with to build trust, a relationship and just have a normal human interactive experience, we are social beings after all!


  • The biggest and one of the most volatile markets in the world requires (in our opinion) ‘a hold your hand type of service’. There is no market guidance, hedging tools, rate updates, email confirmations or personal touch whatsoever, you are just another number to an online-only company.


You may be versed in making overseas payments or even have some knowledge of the currency market. But there is a reason accountants for example exist. It’s quite simple to submit a tax return yourself, but an accountant will save you time and use their experience to cut the tax you pay. The more profit you earn, the more their expertise is required (just ask Amazon).


The same can be applied here. We are more versed in making overseas payments than you, we are more knowledgeable about the currency market than you and there is a reason/s that bank directors and large company financial directors use us instead of doing it themselves. We give them time back, we take the stress away from rate watching and making payments and we guide them on when best to exchange. This can’t be done through an online-only company.


For the record, we offer an online platform to customers if they wish to do everything themselves. Although, not even 1 out of 100 people we deal with choose to use it on overseas property transactions. It is ideal for ad-hoc payments or for corporate clients that regularly need to exchange.


Call centres


Some of our older and larger competitors have lost that personal touch with customers and are effectively operating similar to a bank. They do not offer a dedicated account manager and so you will be communicating with someone that does not know you each time you make contact. It can take time to get through to someone and that someone might not be the right person to deal with your query, they might not even be in the UK.


There will be no pro-activeness to let you know when rates are favourable or are going against you, no-game plan on what to do with your money within a deadline and just no relationship with a company that is moving your life savings.


A question we often ask if we are dealing with a customer who is already signed up or in touch with another company is; what is more important to you, price or service? Most will answer both, which is what we do provide. But, with better service comes a slightly higher price and with a lower price comes a lower service. Unfortunately, the older and larger companies fail to offer either a good service or price nowadays.


We have been in business for over 17-years and so are well established, but we have never and will never lose that personal touch. A dedicated account manager will be your point of call for all queries and can be contacted over the phone, email or SMS. They will get to know you, your requirements, risk-appetite even the name of your dog. At the end of the day, we are entering into a business deal and so we treat customers the way we would like to be treated ourselves.


Property experts


Only half of our competitors offer services to personal customers. Less than half of that again, are ‘experts’ in the overseas property market sector. What makes a company an ‘expert’ in this sector is complete knowledge of the property buyers journey (timescales, documents, fees etc), experience in regularly facilitating new customer property transactions and whether the company is being referred by other companies in the real estate industry and/or advertising within it.


The person you are dealing with should tick all three boxes and if they don’t, you should find someone who does, as the level of service will be far superior. Our sales team that handle property transactions must have 2-years’ experience within our business development team before moving up the ladder. They are experts in all thing’s property related and deal with new customers almost daily. There will be a good chance that in or around the area you are looking to purchase in, we will be working with someone in the real estate industry there. Our customer reviews on TrustPilot are all property related -


Sales techniques


This is a frustrating one to write about and unfortunately a subject that continues to be rife in our industry. Some companies will fool customers with an exchange rate that doesn’t exist to entice them into opening an account with them, to later push the profit margin out when it comes to making an exchange. An old-school sales technique that the average consumer will not understand if they are new to this market.


Basically, if a company quotes you a rate you can see somewhere online, they are lying to you. Ask them how they make their money and what rate are they currently buying at and they will come unstuck, as the rates will be the same. No-one in their right mind would enter a partnership/relationship with someone that has lied to them at the start and remember, if something sounds too good to be true people, it probably is.


Obviously, we are in business to make money and depending on the amount being exchanged, spreads are often 0.3%-2% from FX companies, as opposed to 0.5%-5% from banks. The average saving is 2% against the banks on exchange rates, but often a further 1% can be saved comparing one FX company to another so it’s always worth getting a second opinion if rates offered sound too wide or tight.



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Excel Currencies are a fully Authorised Payment Institution with the UK Financial Conduct Authority. ( Ref: 911228) and HM Revenue & Customs (MSB No: 12190705) as a Money Services Business. Excel Currencies ltd are also members of the UK Money Transfers Association (MTA) and the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP).

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