Very very deceitful promotion stunt with their referral bonus. Stay away from a financial institution that practises such methods!For some time, my relative had been using this bank for exchanging money and international transfers. I was sceptical, being from the old school. I change and transfer a lot as well but with my own traditional bank and I get good special exchange rates. So, I had no interest in CurrencyFair. About 7 weeks ago, I had been urged by my relative to at least try it because he would then receive 50 euro referral bonus and I as a new client as well. The minimum amount to transfer to receive that bonus was 2000 euro.We started the whole process second half of March - beginning of April. It was very slow and time consuming. Each time there were delays, I had to contact the bank each time myself to ask what was going on and then yet another proof of document was required which had not been mentioned before.At that stage, I certainly would have given up out of distrust if there had been no recommendation. I finally had an account and I transferred first a minimum of 8 euro to see if it worked. The amount was immediately on the account. I then transferred 2000 euro. I was planning to exchange larger amounts in future, but I wanted to test out the service first. So I exchanged the majority with my traditional bank and sent only €2000 to CurrencyFair. Luckily!! Because while I was waiting for the verification process to end, the exchange rate had worsened by 10% in my disadvantage.
The 2000 euro finally arrived in the new account 27th April, nearly a month after we started the whole process of sending documents (I have phoned my own Bank several times to find out if the new bank really did exist as my money had gone off my account but had not arrived in the new one).
After my enquiries, it appeared that the reference number had not been added. I could finally exchange beginning of May, but no bonus followed. After contacting customer services, they told us that 1) the promotion was only valid for the month of April (but let us not forget that they stretched the process for weeks, that was not our fault) and 2) that exchanging 2004 euro was not enough as due to changing exchange rates, that amount had slightly changed by the time it was transferred internationally (exchange and transfer was done by me in the same transaction!)They happen to calculate the amount in euro again by what the valuta is worth at that slightly delayed moment.
The delaying of the process of creating an account is a very devious way of having to pay less to the new client and the person who referred. The complicated way of calculating the minimum of 2000 euro (and many clients who want to try out the reliability of the bank will first try with a min amount), is deceitful. They could very well take your changed amount as a basis (as anybody expects) or raise the min slightly to avoid disappointed clients. A bank with such practises that refuses to rectify 'misunderstandings' deserves no confidence. I still gave them a chance by contacting customer service with all the bank proofs but 'they understand but have no power to do anything as all is automatic' . Rubbish. What I cannot understand is what this bank actually gains by such practises. They now lose two clients.The person who recommended this bank to me was happy in the past, but no longer. He says he realises things have changed there and will leave if that is how they treat clients.
I wish I had read the above comments before I started but it is precisely their promotion of referral that makes a potential client trust them and not do the necessary research. Even 3 and 4 star recent comments mention complaints about never having received this bonus, for similar reasons as my own. It is therefore common practise by this bank and they have no intention to change this. The one star reviews are very recent.
We are talking about a financial institution where often huge amounts are transferred, not a common shop. Can one trust such a bank? I also question the reliability or strength of a bank that has to stoop to such practises to gain new clients. Are they in trouble that they cannot even solve repetitive misunderstandings with customers and consent to a 'commercial gesture' (although in this case, I have my doubts about the correctness of this term as it is too positive')?
I must take this matter further as there is such a thing as deceptive advertising:
"The amount transferred out from your CurrencyFair account must be 2000 EUR minimum or the equivalent of 2000 EUR in the relevant currency at the time of transfer out".
A lot can be said about the deliberate lack of transparency in this sentence. Many new clients 'misunderstand', yet they do not change anything.
They will suggest to change again 2000 euro or find a new client yourself.