- Easy online account signup
- Low minimum transfer amount ($100)
- No transfer fees
- Funds usually delivered within 24 hours
- Excellent customer service
- Above-average exchange markup fees
- No local cash pickups
- No mobile app
- Not available in Arizona, Hawaii, or Nevada
HiFX is an international money transfer service based in Bracknell, United Kingdom. The company, which was established in 1998, also has several international offices, including an American office in Buena Park, California. The name HiFX is an acronym for Halewood International Foreign Exchange, Ltd., although you’ll rarely hear the company being referred to by that name.
In 2014, HiFX was acquired by Euronet Worldwide, Inc., bringing it into the Euronet family of companies that also includes Ria and XE.com. The company currently serves over 100,000 individuals and over 6000 businesses around the world. HiFX supports over 120 different currencies and can process transfers to over 170 countries around the globe.
The company’s most appealing feature is that they no longer charge any transfer fees, regardless of the amount being exchanged (note that a minimum transfer requirement must still be met). This is in marked contrast to exchanging currencies through traditional banks, some of whom charge as much as $35 per transfer. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it won’t cost you anything to transfer funds with HiFX. They have to make a profit, just like any other business. In addition to retaining the difference between the “buy” and “sell” exchange rates (called the “spread”), they also charge a small exchange markup fee. These fees typically range from 0.4% to 1.2%. Again, this is significantly lower than you’d pay with the banks. However, HiFX’s exchange markup rates, while still competitive, aren’t quite as low as some of their competitors, such as WorldFirst.
HiFX’s money transfer services are available in all US states except Arizona, Hawaii, and Nevada. Transfers can be initiated 24/7 through their website, although their telephone customer service isn’t available around the clock. They also currently don’t have a mobile app, although you can use the mobile browser on your smartphone or tablet to get around this limitation. Also, note that HiFX processes bank account-to-bank account transfers only. There’s no option for a local cash pickup.
HiFX compares very favorably to most of its competitors in the international money transfer industry and rates 4.5 out of 5 stars. Their low costs and reputation for reliable customer service are their strongest selling points. At the same time, we’d like to see them introduce a mobile app for making transfers. It would also be nice to be able to access more detailed currency exchange rate data without having to sign up for an account. Read on for more details!
Table of Contents
Products & Services
Because HiFX focuses the core of its business on international money transfers, they don’t offer the kinds of bells and whistles you might find with a merchant services provider. Their services aim to get your money where it needs to go and exchanged into the proper currency – and that’s about it. Here’s what they offer:
- HiFX accounts: Before you can make a transfer, you’ll need to sign up for an account with HiFX. The company offers both individual and business accounts, and they both come with no fees or long-term contracts. You can sign up for an account online or via telephone, and the process only takes a few minutes. You’ll just need to provide some documentation confirming your identity and your bank account information.
- Mobile app: Currently, HiFX does not offer a mobile app that allows you to initiate a transfer. However, they do offer the XE Currency app through their sister company, XE.com. It’s available for iOS and Android, and provides in-depth live currency exchange rate data. It also calculates conversions, so you’ll know exactly how much a transfer will cost. Unfortunately, you cannot initiate a transfer through the app. You’ll have to do that through the HiFX website or over the phone.
- Telephone transfers: While most customers will usually use the HiFX website to initiate a transfer, you can also accomplish them over the telephone. This feature can come in handy if you have questions about a transfer that only a HiFX representative can answer. It’s also useful as a backup transfer method if you need to make an immediate transfer and don’t have access to the internet.
- Text/email notifications: When you initiate a transfer with HiFX, they will automatically notify you by either email or SMS when each step of the transfer process is complete. This includes wire transfers from your bank, currency exchanges, and final delivery to your intended recipient. This is a handy feature and can give you a heads up if something in the process is being delayed.
- Spot contracts: This is the most common type of money transfer. It’s an immediate transfer of funds with the conversion being based on the exchange rate for that day. Spot contracts can allow your intended recipient to receive their funds within 24 hours.
- Forward contracts: For transfers that are intended to take place at a future date, forward contracts allow you to lock in the current exchange rate now for a transfer that can be scheduled for up to two years in the future. A small fee is charged for this service, and may increase before your transfer goes through if the exchange rate changes significantly.
- Market orders: With a market order, your transfer will go through when the exchange rate reaches a point you specify in advance. No fee is required for this service, although there’s always the possibility that the transfer will be canceled if the exchange rate never becomes as favorable as you specified when setting it up.
- Business features: HiFX offers several additional features such as recurring transfers to holders of its business accounts. They don’t provide much information about these features on their website.
Fees & Rates
HiFX’s fees are very simple to understand, as they don’t charge a transfer fee and any additional fees (such as wire transfer fees) charged by either your bank or your recipient’s bank will be passed onto you at cost. The only thing you pay to HiFX is the exchange markup fee, and this fee can vary tremendously due to fluctuations in the currency exchange markets. Fortunately, you can lock in your exchange markup fee before your transfer goes through. You’ll always know exactly how much you’ll have to pay HiFX for a transfer before it actually occurs, even if your transaction is scheduled for a date in the future.
As we’ve noted, HiFX’s exchange markup fees generally average between 0.4% and 1.2%. These fees are slightly higher than what some of their competitors charge, but most other companies also charge a transfer fee. In most cases, your total cost for a transfer will be about the same or lower than what you’d paid with a competitor.
HiFX requires a minimum transfer of $100 for transfers initiating in the United States. A maximum amount of $500,000 can be transferred in a single transaction. Note that these amounts only apply in the US. For transfers from other countries, consult the HiFX website for your location.
Contract Length & Early Termination Fee
HiFX does not impose a long-term contract or require an early termination fee for closing your account. Month-to-month billing does not apply, either, as there are no monthly or annual fees for maintaining an account. The only contract you’ll need to be concerned with are the Terms and Conditions that apply to your account. These are available from the HiFX website, and we highly encourage you to download them and read them very carefully to prevent any unexpected surprises.
One provision you should be aware of is section 6.3, which states “You must not use any of Our Services for any speculative purpose. You will not use any of Our Services to try to profit from exchange rate fluctuations.” While this clearly means that you’re not allowed to use HiFX’s services for FOREX trading, it doesn’t appear to be very strictly enforced.
Unlike some of its competitors, HiFX doesn’t appear to be overly concerned with shutting down inactive accounts. If you only need to make a one-time transfer, you should still be able to keep your account open indefinitely afterward in case you need it again someday.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
HiFX’s website includes all the basic information you’ll need to decide whether you want to sign up for an account. The US site isn’t as helpful as other sites we’ve seen, but it includes all the essential information and doesn’t rely on any misleading sales gimmicks. Of course, you’ll want to see some live exchange rate data before you make a transfer, and you won’t be able to do this until after you sign up for an account. While this appears to be a common practice in the international money transfer industry, it can be frustrating for individual users who just need to make a one-time transfer and would like to know how much it’s going to cost before they have to provide the details of their bank account.
Fortunately, HiFX doesn’t appear to use either in-house or independent sales agents to market its services. The company’s website is their primary marketing vehicle, and anyone you talk to at the company is functioning in a customer service role. You shouldn’t have any of the kind of problems with sales agents that we routinely see with merchant account providers.
One nice feature that HiFX offers is a personal account manager for large or frequent transfers. If you anticipate using your account regularly to make transfers, you’ll want to insist on having an account manager assigned to help you as needed. Just be aware that they probably won’t be available outside of normal business hours.
HiFX has a strong presence on social media, although there are multiple accounts for the company’s UK and US offices. You’ll find accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as a YouTube channel. Content on these sites is helpful, but only infrequently updated. The YouTube channel provides financial news and a few educational videos, but no testimonials from the company’s customers.
Customer Service & Technical Support
HiFX gets high marks from customers for its helpful, responsive customer support. You can reach their US office by telephone from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM Pacific Time, Monday – Friday. You can also contact them via email at any time of the day or week. Naturally, you can expect a quicker response during regular business hours. Note that although the company doesn’t provide true 24/7 support, you can initiate a transfer from your online account at any time. Transfers initiated over the weekend will probably take longer to go through, but they should still be within the advertised 1-4-day time frame.
If you’ve been assigned a personal account manager, you’ll want to contact them first before rolling the dice with HiFX’s customer service department. They’ll be more familiar with your needs and can usually resolve any issues quickly and efficiently.
With merchant account providers, we really like to see the inclusion of a detailed knowledgebase on the provider’s website. This allows merchants to troubleshoot and possibly resolve common technical problems on their own without resorting to contacting customer support. However, this really isn’t an option with international money transfers. There’s no hardware to cause problems, and every transfer occurs behind the scenes between your bank, HiFX, and your recipient’s bank. Fortunately, HiFX has an automated system in place that will contact you via text or email at every stage of a transaction. If HiFX doesn’t receive the funds from your bank promptly, you’ll want to contact them first to see if there is a problem causing a delay in the wire transfer.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
HiFX is not accredited by the BBB and has not been assigned an overall rating. The company’s profile, which still refers to its old San Francisco office, has zero complaints and no reviews. There are also no complaints against HiFX on Ripoff Report.
The company encourages its customers to leave a review on TrustPilot, and so far 14,961 of them have posted their thoughts. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive, with 87% of respondents giving them a glowing 5-star recommendation. While there are comparatively few negative reviews, we’re pleased to see that HiFX has responded to all complaints and tried to either explain or remedy the situation. Common problems noted by users include the following:
- Delays in delivery of funds: HiFX advertises a delivery window of 1-4 business days. Although they’re usually able to complete a transfer within 24 hours, sometimes it just takes longer. This is usually not their fault. In many cases, transfers to certain countries will simply take longer due to excessive bureaucratic requirements, less stable financial institutions, or other issues. Transfers to Brazil or Nigeria, for example, commonly take longer to complete and users should consider this expected delay in their planning.
- Unexpected additional charges: Although the company discloses in several places on their website that there may be additional charges levied by either the sender’s or receiver’s bank which will be passed onto the customer, there are still a significant number of complaints when this happens. HiFX fully discloses all their fees on their website and doesn’t charge any “hidden” fees.
- Higher exchange markup rates than competitors: This issue was raised by customers who make a lot of transfers and have had the opportunity to try different providers. As we’ve noted above, HiFX’s rates are significantly lower than what most banks will charge you for a transfer. However, because they don’t charge a transfer fee and make their money from exchange markup fees, those fees aren’t quite as low as what some other companies will charge
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
As we’ve noted above, there is a tremendous amount of positive feedback about HiFX on TrustPilot. While the company hasn’t produced any of its own testimonials, they do include several good reviews from TrustPilot on their own website.
HiFX has earned a lot of praise from its users, with several key points standing out prominently. Most reviewers praised the speed with which the company is able to complete a transfer, with many transfers being delivered in less than 24 hours. As we’ve noted above, your destination country and their banking regulations play an important part in this, so transfers to some countries will inevitably take longer than those to other countries, regardless of which provider you use.
The company also earns a lot of praise for its excellent customer service – something we rarely see in the merchant services industry. The availability of a personal account manager for customers who make frequent or large transfers has a lot to do with this praise. Customers really like the feeling of having a “personal contact” at the company that they can call anytime for help. Well, not quite any time. Your personal account manager still goes home at the end of the day and takes the weekends off. As long as you’re comfortable with this minor limitation, you should find having a personal representative to be a great asset in managing your transfers.
We haven’t seen much feedback regarding the lack of a transfer fee. While this is a great feature, it was only implemented sometime around November 2017, so perhaps we’ll see more praise for it start to trickle in over time.
There’s little doubt that HiFX is one of the best international money transfer services in the industry, and they’re far more affordable than letting your bank make the transfer. They can transfer money to nearly any country in the world, and in almost every currency. Their well-deserved reputation for speedy, efficient transfers makes them an excellent choice whether you need to arrange a one-time transfer or will be using their service on a regular basis. Their recent decision to drop transfer fees altogether – even for small transfers – makes them even more affordable, particularly for individual users who won’t be transferring a lot of money at a time. For power users, the availability of a personal account manager should help to ensure that your transfers are completed quickly and smoothly.
While it’s not easy to find fault with HiFX, you should be aware of a few minor issues. If you live in Arizona, Hawaii, or Nevada, you won’t be able to use their services. We’d also like to see the company add an app for smartphones and tablets that would allow you to both access live exchange rate data and make transfers. Some of their competitors already offer this feature, and it would help HiFX to compete in an increasingly mobile world. Adding the option for local cash pickups would also greatly help them serve receivers who don’t have a bank account.
Overall, HiFX earns a strong 4.5 out of 5 stars rating. We’re impressed by their quick and efficient service, and their personalized customer support. Although their overall costs aren’t the lowest we’ve found, the lack of a transfer fee will still make them the most affordable option for users who aren’t planning to transfer huge sums of money on a regular basis. The glowing feedback we’ve found from their users tells us that we’re not the only ones who are very impressed by HiFX.