CurrencyFair allows individuals and businesses to exchange currencies and send funds to bank accounts worldwide. It uses a unique person-to-person online marketplace to facilitate currency exchange between users, in a simple and anonymous fashion.
CurrencyFair's customers can exchange currency using a three step process.
1) Funds in the currency to be sold are sent by the customer to the corresponding CurrencyFair bank account. When received by CurrencyFair, they are credited to the users individual CurrencyFair account and made available for exchanging.
2) Available funds in a users account can at any time be exchanged by the user into another currency using the corresponding marketplace (for example GBP to EUR).
3) Funds received from marketplace exchanges are available to be sent out to a bank account as instructed online by the customer.
Each currency exchange marketplace (for example GBP to EUR) gives the customer a choice: exchange immediately at the best rate available (usually no worse than 0.5% from the interbank rate, and sometimes better than the interbank rate), or place an order at a better exchange rate and wait to be matched off by another customer exchanging on the opposite market (for example EUR to GBP). Funds that are placed unmatched on the marketplace are aggregated by rate, and may be matched in part or in full at any time. Unmatched orders can be cancelled or amended at any time. All exchanges are anonymous - the customer only deals with CurrencyFair.
CurrencyFair is regulated by the Irish Financial Regulator as an Authorised Payments Institution under the European Payment Services Regulations 2009. Authorised Payment Institutions (as opposed to Small Payments Institutions) are required to provide safeguards around client funds during the exchange and transfer process. CurrencyFair maintains segregated client accounts, and client funds are never commingled with CurrencyFair's own money. This means that in the unlikely event of CurrencyFair encountering difficulties in operation, all client funds remain ring-fenced and would be returned to customers, not used to settle CurrencyFair's obligations.