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Old 04.08.2015, 10:13
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My Experience with MidPoint (Int'l Money Transfer)

This is a telling of my experience with MidPoint, a review of the service, definitely not an ad. Just thought people would be interested in some info on it.

Midpoint is a P2P money transfer service, very similar to CurrencyFair. I have seen the latter mentioned numerous times on the forum, but was surprised that MidPoint did not show up at all in a search. It is newer, sure, but not only gave me a better deal but also has different currencies available. I believe that when I checked in June 2015, that it was only these two services that would allow me to transfer CAD to CHF.

The Cost
I needed to send about 10000CHF from Canada as seed money when we moved here. There is a minimum charge of 10GBP, but above about 4000CHF, the charge is 0.50% of the transfer value. The exchange rate used is the midpoint rate (compared to XE.com rates), hence the name. Using sample values, the CurrencyFair and MidPoint prices for the same trasnfer come to within $1. With my bank, the use of a 'buy' exchange rate would have led to about a 1.4% loss in the transfer compared to the midpoint rate. This saved about 90CHF. Note that the exchange rates for a credit card can yield a loss of up to 2.5%.

How It Works
You put an order in for buying X currency A or selling X currency B. Within 24 hours, they will match you with someone (or multiple people) wanting to exchange the other way (this is all behind doors). When you submit your order, you fill in the account details for the recipient account. You get a message when you are matched with someone providing bank details where your sum must be deposited. Note that the sum is calculated from the exchange rate at matching not at ordering. You make a transfer to this bank account with the correct sum, and when your matched person also do this, your money will go to their receiving account and vice versa. You have 72 hours for the money to get to their account or there could be 'penalties' (you don't want to keep your match waiting...), although it seems they have no way of enforcing these if you never pay. This is because MidPoint themselves have very low liquidity and can normally not put up currency themselves, which is why they are a cheaper service.

Sending from North America
MidPoint has bank accounts in all of the countries they operate in for you to deposit directly into... except for US/Canada. This is also the case for CurrencyFair and is a bit of a pain. You have to deposit the money into a UK bank which has its own associated costs. A wire transfer from your bank should costs $20-50 and should have no hidden 'exchange fees' since you are transfering CAD-CAD or US-US but also [usually] requires you to do this at your bank IN PERSON.

My Experience
I (Canadian) was in Canada and my wife (EU) had just opened up an account with PostFinance. I wanted to try the service out with a small amount since there was so little information on it on the forums (yet a bit of journalism on the web). I arranged to send 1000CAD to her account. For this small amount, the fee was 10GBP which actually came out to 1.5%, more than my bank. When UK markets opened the following day (MidPoint based in UK), I was matched quickly and taken by surprise that the bank was in the UK. It IS in their FAQ, but they should really also have a warning when transfering from Canada/US. I thought, "no problem, I can send an international remittance." This would be through online banking for amounts less than $2500 and charging a $13.50 additional fee to my bank. Not so. International remittances can only be sent in GBP/USD, not CAD. I contact the MidPoint looking for some guidance. They reply within 10 minutes to say that people DO infact transfer money through my bank in Canada, but that if I was going to have trouble, given it was a small amount and my first time, they would cancel the order. I obliged since I was living on an island at the time with no branch for my bank. I phoned my bank the next day and they confirmed that indeed you do have to come into a branch to send money in that manner.

The day before going to Vancouver, I order another transfer, this time for the full 10000CHF. I am quickly matched again and go to a branch the next day for the transfer. Everything runs smoothly and I pay $35 total to send the money with next day deposit, within the 72h. Three days later I am waiting for my wife to receive money when I get an email saying the money hasn't been deposited. With a few emails back and forth, I forward them my receipt of wire transfer. The bank teller had put the mandatory receiver's reference in the sender's reference section. They HAD received the money but didnt automatically know it was from me. After another day, all was fine.

Two MORE days later, Another message comes in explaining that PostFinance had bounced the deposit back. More talking with MidPoint and we found another of my errors in the receiving bank info (confusing field named 'account name' should be 'name of account owner'). Another try and the money is finally available the next evening, about 9 days after first making the order, though this should generally be much less if everything is done correctly the first time.

While the numbers will dictate where the best 'product' is, I had a great opportunity to really put the customer service of MidPoint through its paces and was very impressed. Over a dozen emails sent with two representatives, but whom actually spoke with eachother (and had names!) They were able to easily solve all of my problems and always answered my emails within 5-10 minutes and within 30 minutes of the market opening. With all of the delays, it wasn't worth saving the 90CHF in the end, but it will be next time when I do everything correctly.

I hope someone else can chime in with their experience or comparison with other services if anyone has actually ever used MidPoint on here.
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