HiFX Fees: What’s the price of a money transfer?

Wise

Choosing the right provider for your international payment can mean getting a much better deal, and ensure your transfer is made safely and conveniently. However, with so much choice out there, it can be tricky to decide which is the best international transfer service for your needs.

If you’re researching your options, you might have heard of HiFX as a cross border payment provider. Since January 2019, HiFX have been trading under the name XE, as they became part of the Euronet group of payment service providers. If you look online for HiFX payments, you’ll be redirected to XE, where you can get exchange rate information, estimate fees, and see how much it’ll cost to arrange your payment.

This article covers how the process works, and the rates and fees you need to know about. We’ll also look at an alternative as a comparison, the Wise borderless account, which allows customers to make low cost international payments via a helpful app. Let’s get started.

Who are HiFX?

Until January 2019, HiFX traded as an independent provider of international transfers and currency services. In January 2019, the company became part of the Euronet group, which is the parent company of international transfer services such as XE and Ria. HiFX now operates under the XE name so if you visit the HiFX webpage you’ll be redirected to XE. You can still use your old HiFX log in details if you were an existing HiFX customer, or sign up as a new client with XE if you prefer.

XE has been established for over 25 years, offering currency tools and conversion information, as well as international payment services for individuals and businesses.

What are the fees for sending money internationally?

To see the costs of a transfer with XE, you need to first register an account, and use the cost estimator tool to get a quote for your specific currency.

The price of your international payment will include a few different types of fees, including an exchange rate markup, and possible transfer costs depending on the value. Here’s what you need to know¹.

Fee typeXE/HiFX cost
Transfer costsTransfer fees are added to international payments which fall below the transfer threshold published on the XE website. This threshold varies according to currency - you’ll be notified of how it applies to your transfer when you estimate the fees online You’ll pay AUD15 for transactions arranged using the online transfer service, and AUD20 for transfers set up by email or phone.
Exchange rate markupXE add a markup to the mid-market exchange rate to calculate the exchange rate offered to customers. The amount of the markup added depends on the currency you’re sending. This is covered in more detail, in the section below.
Possible third party chargesYou may find that there are additional costs which are beyond the control of XE, related to the SWIFT network. These can be applied by correspondent banks or the recipient’s own bank.
InterestInterest is charged on any overdue payment, at 5% per annum above the base lending rate.

If you’ve never heard of the SWIFT network, you may be surprised to know that up to 3 banks may handle your international payment, and can deduct a fee for the service. The SWIFT network works a bit like connecting flights, with your money moving from one account to another via several different banks, until it reaches your beneficiary. This is an established practise, but can mean that there are costs you’re not expecting. Here’s what XE say about this in their Product Disclosure Statement¹:

“In some cases, we may not be able to send a payment directly to the beneficiary bank and will use a correspondent bank to make the payment. The correspondent bank may charge a fee for making the payment to the beneficiary bank and those fees may be deducted from the amount remitted to the beneficiary bank. The beneficiary bank may also deduct or charge a fee upon receiving a payment sent by us.”

Unfortunately, if SWIFT fees are applied to your payment, you may not know about it until after the event. This can mean your recipient gets less than you had expected, as SWIFT costs were deducted from the transfer as it moved through the network.

Not all international transfers use the SWIFT network. You can check with XE if your payment will be processed using SWIFT, or look for an alternative such as Wise, which uses a different approach to avoid SWIFT costs for most transfers. You can also apply online for a Wise borderless account, which allows you to hold your money in dozens of different currencies, and switch between them for a low fee. All currency exchange is done using the mid-market rate - which you can find on google. This rate coupled with low, transparent fees, can make this a cheaper option than many other providers.

What exchange rate is used by HiFX/XE when converting your funds?

Exchange rates make a big difference to the overall costs of your currency conversion and transfer. A good rate can mean your transaction is much better value, while a poor rate can leave you out of pocket.

When you get an exchange rate quote from HiFX, you’ll need to double check to see if you’re happy with it. The best way to do this is to compare it with the rate you get for your currency pair if you simply google them, which is known as the mid-market exchange rate. The mid-market rate is the one that banks and other currency services use when selling currency on international markets, so it’s a good benchmark no matter what currency pair you need.

Many services do not pass the mid-market exchange rate to their customers. Instead they add a markup or margin, which may be known as a spread, when calculating the rate they offer clients. They can then keep this markup for their profit. Here’s what the HiFX terms and conditions say about it¹:

“HiFX earns its revenue from the spread between the price HiFX achieves on its Hedge Contracts and your FX Transaction price. This spread will vary in accordance with the size of the FX Transaction, the type of product transacted, and the currencies involved.”

Adding an exchange rate markup is a fairly common practise for banks and exchange services, but it can make it hard to see what you’re really paying for your transfer. Compare the costs of your payment with HiFX, with another service like Wise, to see which is cheaper.

Wise don’t add a markup to the exchange rate used, instead they charge a transparent fee for each transaction, which means you can see - and compare - the costs easily.

What is the real cost of transferring money with HiFX?

If you were previously a HiFX customer, you can still use your log in details to get into your account on the XE website. Alternatively, you’re able to sign up to XE as a new customer, decide how much to send, and estimate the costs of making the transfer you need. Don’t forget to look at the full range of fees, including:

  • Exchange rate markup
  • Transfer fee if applicable
  • Any third party fees which may be added by correspondent banks or the recipient’s bank

Shopping around before choosing an international transfer company is the best way to get a good deal. Have a look at the great exchange rates and low fees available from Wise. You may find that getting a Wise borderless account is a simple way to manage your money across multiple currencies, all in the same place. Open an account online, and use the app to check your balance whenever you need to. You can send and receive payments, and will have your own local bank details to get fee free payments in major currencies including US dollars, pounds and euros. See if you can save time and money with Wise.

Sources:

  1. XE Product Disclosure Statement
  2. XE Money Transfer Homepage

All sources accurate as of 23 April 2019


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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