RIAMoneyTransfer.com: Not quite there yet
I live in NY and my wife and I were trying to send money to the Dominican Republic which we already do monthly via Xoom.com but lately their fees (as well as USD to DOP exchange rate) are just not competitive. Like any company that's grown enough and captured ample marketshare, service and value go down. So we figured we'd give Riamoneytransfer.com a try. In short, you get what you pay for (or don't pay for in the case of these smaller players like Ria) and in our case we were never able to complete even our first transfer.
Here's a summary;
1. The whole signup, initial bank verification process took four days. Waaaayyy too long.
2. Once we had verified our bank account using Ria's verification process (two micro deposits to our bank account), our first transfer failed. We received an email from their security dept. asking we call them.
3. OK, we called and the young man in Ria's security department asked all the usual questions to identify us. Then started asking what we were going to use the money for and when was the last time we traveled etc. Another poster mentioned it seemed really invasive and personal and I agree. Especially, "What are you going to use the money for?" HELLO? Of course there's all the US anti-money laundering laws now in effect but with other transfer services it was always about verifying the sender and recipients are legitimate (e.g., the Identity of person, whether they were a US Citizen/legal resident, whether they were the owners of the bank accounts etc.), not what you were going to spend your money on. The conversation had the feel of the guy we were talking to making it up as he went along.
4. The representative wasn't even aware of their own bank verification process using the two micro deposits. I tried to explain that they already verified my bank account but it was no use, he just didn't get it. Maybe a trainee or someone new but if so, that alone is telling about their internal processes that they would let loose someone who wasn't fully versed on their own internal processed.
5. In the end, he said I could send him a copy of my photo ID, passport with stamp of the last time I traveled to the Dominican Republic (not sure how this verifies a bank account-especially for people who don't travel), picture of my first-born, a bunch of other stuff etc! At this point I had serious concerns about Ria from this conversation as well as from other reviews on the internet that essentially said the same thing. Alternately, he said I could try to find a Ria storefront and bring in cash. He said if I brought cash into one of their physical locations he said it wouldn't be a problem. While I think that's a nice convenience, I'm not going to travel to Washington Heights, NY NY to visit one of their storefronts and then go walking with a bunch of cash etc. so I declined and will probably just stay with Xoom.com for now.
***The takeaways....? **** While Ria may offer slightly lower rate than Xoom there's a reason for it. They're not on the same playing field yet. Service-wise and sophistication of their transfer process seems to lag the other players such as Xoom or Western Union by a considerable margin. Everything I experience indicated the transfer would take [at best], days. Xoom (and I assume, WU) does it in minutes. There's clearly a big difference in the infrastructure Ria has in place vs.the other guys which probably accounts for the lower rates (it makes sense, lower infrastructure/overhead costs = lower rates). In the end, I don't have enough trust in Ria from the experience to make the switch. They're still trying to find their footing and the whole experience made me feel like so many decisions are done ad hoc and the processes still manual. Once they get themselves established and their processes smoother, maybe, but not today. BTW, while I mentioned Western Union in this post, I can't really vouch for their service as I've never used them. Their rates are WAY higher however as they've been around forever I assume they've got things down too. Hope this review helps.