Instarem Review

Instarem is a Singapore based neo-bank and money transfer app that helps you move your money across borders. The firm places emphasis on the speed and security of its international transfers. 

As an Australian searching for the best way to send money overseas, there’s a good chance you’ve already come across Instarem. But with so many alternatives, it can be difficult to effectively compare providers to know which one is right for your needs.

This Instarem review provides the guidance you’ll need to know if they’re the right fit, or if you’re better off using an alternative. It covers all the firm’s key metrics including its services, costs, safety, and how long an overseas transfer should take. By the end, you’ll be ready to take your next step to confidently sending money abroad, whether that’s with Instarem or an alternative provider.

Is Instarem’s ‘Money Simple’ offering the best money transfer service for you?

How Did We Review Instarem? 

We begin every money transfer review by signing up for a new account. This not only allows us to assess the Instarem registration process, it also positions us to make a test transfer. We made sure Instarem was not aware our transfer was for review purposes, to ensure we received a similar service that you could expect as an Instarem customer. Throughout the sign-up and fund transfer process, we considered how user friendly and efficient Instarem’s systems were. 

We also analysed: 

  • Compliance and regulation
  • FX rates and fees
  • Service quality
  • Customer reviews
  • Australia-specific features and feedback

Our rating includes an overall Instarem review score, as well as an individual grading across five key performance indicators.

Key Information

AttributeDetail
Established2014
Launched in Australia2015
HeadquartersSingapore
OfficesAustralia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Lithuania, UK, U.S.A, Canada
RegulationASIC & ASFL (AU) plus they hold licences and are regulated in all other countries listed above
No. of customers130+ million
No. of currencies29 (AUD currency pairings)
Transfer feesVaries by currency
Customer reviews (Overall)4.1/5, 8,168 reviews
Customer reviews (Australia)N/A 
Annual trading volume (Overall)AU$6 billion
Minimum transferAU$1
Maximum transferNo limits (AU$20,000 if paying via debit or credit card)
Online platformNo
Mobile appYes
Account managerNo

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent exchange rates – Instarem offers many popular currency exchanges at the mid- market rate.
  • Fast transfers - Instarem can deliver your money fast, as 70% of all transfers are completed within 15 minutes.
  • Reliable systems – Instarem runs on Nium’s global payment system, which is trusted by some of the world’s largest fintech firms.
  • Inconsistent app performance - several Instarem reviews highlight poor app performance and functionality.
  • Average fees - despite not adding much of an fx spread, Instarem’s fees leave them unable to compete with some providers.
  • Limited currencies - Australian users can only transfer funds into 29 currencies, which may be limiting for some users.

About Instarem

Instarem’s routes are in Australia, where the firm launched back in 2015. It was originally designed as a cost effective way for Australian based Indian expats to send money home to friends and family. The firm experienced rapid growth in its first few years, opening offices across Asia, North America, and Europe, increasing their head count to 100+ by 2017. 

Fast forward to 2019, and Instarem rebranded to Nium, as the firm expanded its services and focus to the B2B market, offering a global payments platform. Whilst this was technically a ‘rebrand’, to clearly separate its consumer offering, Instarem kept the same name, simply operating as a subsidiary of Nium.

Instarem updated its own brand image in 2021, with a new logo and ‘Money Simple.’ tagline, that prepared the firm for its evolution from a remittance provider to an all-in-one consumer app. This coincided with the firm expanding its services in Singapore, with the launch of the ‘amaze’ smart card. A virtual and physical multi-currency card solution backed by mastercard, that allows users to combine up to five accounts to streamline travel payment services. This evolution into a neo bank is something the firm is looking to replicate throughout the region in the near future, and Nium is now regulated in Australia to issue branded debit and prepaid cards.

Instarem is certainly well recognised as being in the upper echelon of money transfer apps. The firm has received critical acclaim as a two-time winner (2020 & 2021) of the ‘Best Value International Money Transfer Provider’ award from Mozo Experts Choice.

Instarem also has a very experienced leadership team, their Chief Business Officer being a prime example, who is now in his late 50’s, and has held multiple C-suite roles in consumer business.

Instarem updated its logo in 2021, starting its evolution into an all-in-one consumer app.

Instarem Currency Exchange Services

One-off international transfers

For Australian users, Instarem is currently a streamlined remittance provider offering spot transfers only. However, as they continue to expand their services in Singapore, we expect many of these features, such as recurring transfers, to become available to Aussies in the near future. For the time being, you’ll need to use the Instarem app each time you want to make a transfer. 

Whilst not explicitly advertised on its website, Instarem claims on its Youtube channel that it locks offered rates for up to 48 hours, which is longer than many other providers in the industry. This is helpful as it provides ample time to carefully add your recipient’s full details and to double check all information before paying for and confirming your transfer. 

You can fund your transfer via PayID, debit or credit card, or bank transfer.

InstaPoints reward scheme

Each eligible international money transfer over AU$500 will earn users InstaPoints. These points can be redeemed to save money on future transfers.

You can earn between 100 and 400 InstaPoints per eligible transaction, which equates to roughly $2.50-$10. You can also earn InstaPoints by referring new users to Instarem. 

Limits

There’s no maximum send limit if you’re exchanging AUD and funding your transfer via PayID or bank transfer. 

Transfers funded by debit or credit card have a maximum send limit of AU$20,000.

Is there an Instarem App?

Yes, Instarem is an app-only service and is available on the App Store and Google Play. 

Overall, the app has received fairly positive reviews. 4.3/5 on the App Store, based on 671 reviews (AU specific). 4.4/5 on Google Play, based on 8.6K reviews (global).

Focusing on app-specific Instarem reviews, users frequently praise the app for being ‘reliable’ and ‘trouble free’. Several customers were happy to have seen new features added, that seemed to be a direct response to customer feedback. 

Some of the app’s neutral reviews provide great insight into what Instarem’s loyal users would like to see moving forward. 
These customers have complained about the following:

  • Glitches forcing users to have to login twice
  • No login via face or touch ID
  • Inability to delete or edit existing payees
  • App not responsive for all phone sizes 

Bear in mind that these points do not come from dissatisfied customers. The majority of these reviews still praise the firm for offering fast and reliable transfers.

However, it seems the development team has some work to do if they want to avoid losing some of their more loyal customers.

The Instarem app has received largely positive reviews, but still has room for improvement.

Instarem Fees & Exchange Rates

Exchange rates

For popular currency corridors, Instarem offers transfers at a near identical exchange rate to the mid-market rate. As of April 2024, they were offering AUDGBP and AUDUSD transfers at the exact mid-market rate, adding zero spread. 

Instarem adversities that exclusive rates are available for transactions of AU$20,000 or more. While this is redundant for more popular currencies, given they’re already offering trades at the mid-market rate, it may prove useful for transfers to more exotic locations. 

Users simply need to fill out a form online, and they will be contacted by the Instarem team within 24 hours.

Fees

Seeing as they often don’t add an fx spread to their exchange rates, instead, Instarem charges a small variable fee for its international transfers to make some of its profits. These fees vary based on the receiving currency and how you choose to fund your transfer.

We’ve included some example transfers of popular currency corridors in the table below:

Transfer Fees (AU$)
Transfer Total (AU$)GBPUSDSGD
bank / PayIDdebit / creditbank / PayIDdebit / creditbank / PayIDdebit / credit
$1,000101410.514.5812
$10,0001001408512580120
$50,000500700425625400600
$100,0001,0001,40085012508001200
Figures correct as of April 2024

So as a general overview, Instarem charges a fee somewhere between 0.8-1.45% of the transfer total. This makes them a far more competitive option than using one of Australia’s big four banks, but there are certainly cheaper money transfer apps available.

Is Instarem Safe?

Instarem is authorised and regulated in all 11 countries that it operates. 

In Australia, it holds an Australian Financial Services License issued by the ASIC, and is registered as a remittance dealer with AUSTRAC. 

In short, yes, we can confidently recommend Instarem as a safe money transfer provider. 

Instarem’s parent company NIUM, also helps to power some huge names in the fintech space including Currencycloud and Mastercard, which is a huge boost of confidence in the platform’s reliability and security.

safe tofx

Instarem Reviews

As of April 2024, there’s a total of 8,168 Instarem reviews on Trustpilot, where the firm has a ‘Great’ rating based on a score of 4.1 out of 5 stars. Interestingly, the firm previously held an ‘Excellent’ rating, but their score has recently dropped from 4.4 in the last 150 reviews. This is a result of a lot of 1 star reviews, which may suggest a recent dip in their quality of service or app performance. 

Focusing first on the positives, happy Instarem users, many of which are loyal customers of 5+ years, praise the firm for offering the following:

  • Very fast transfers 
  • Great support 
  • Transparent pricing 

The speed of Instarem transfers certainly appears to be one of the firm’s key strengths. 

Despite not having a direct support line, many customers have credited Instarem for successfully resolving issues they’ve faced through the live chat feature. Conversely, not all customers have been happy with Instrarem’s support service. A minority of customers have found it difficult to get through to a live agent, and even some that have, explain that issues were still not resolved. 

The most frequent theme throughout negative Instarem reviews is that transfers have taken longer than expected, far exceeding the indicated delivery date. Something we found slightly concerning, is that for transfers that couldn’t be processed and required a refund, several customers supposedly received a refund total that was less than they paid.

The Instarem app is also criticised by several unhappy users for not providing a more detailed explanation when the app freezes or cannot process a request, as it simply states ‘something went wrong’.

Overall, Instarem has received largely positive reviews, but there’s a notable number of negative themes that need to be addressed in order for the firm to regain its ‘Excellent’ rating.

How does Instarem work?

Create an account 

If you’ve settled on Instarem after comparing them with alternative providers, then it’s time to register. You can do so online, or directly in the Instarem app. 

Whilst you can open an account initially using your Google or Facebook login details, to verify your account and complete the KYC process, expect to provide the following:

  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Official ID
  • Address documents

Additional proof of address may only be required if not already included on your ID, though this may vary case to case. 

If you’re using Google or Facebook for convenience, be sure your details are accurate and up to date, to avoid it costing you time in the long run.

Confirm the details of your trade 

First, enter your transfer amount and receiving currency, then select the transfer method for how you’ll fund the transaction. Once these details are entered, you’ll have a clear outline of the offered exchange rate, plus any applicable fees.

To confirm your trade, Instarem will send a verification code to your registered phone number or email, which you’ll need to enter as a final step.


Enter your beneficiary’s details

To add a new recipient, you’ll need to accurately enter their full name, bank name, and bank address.

A form of international bank identification code will also be required, which will vary depending on the destination country. For example; a BSB (New Zealand), IBAN (UK and Europe), or routing number (USA).

Sit back

With your trade confirmed, simply relax and wait for your funds to arrive. You can track the status of your transfer within the Instarem app, where you’ll also find an expected delivery date.

How Long Does an Instarem Transfer Take?

Instarem prides itself on the speed of its transfers, and it’s easy to see why. Impressively, 70% of all transfers are completed within 15 minutes! This puts them amongst the likes of ‘Wise’ as one of the fastest providers in the industry. 

Bear in mind though that the transfer time will vary case by case, depending on the destination country and the recipient’s bank.  

Instarem makes it easy to track transfers in-app, in real time, where users are also given an expected delivery date.

When should I use Instarem for money transfers?

Whilst you could certainly do a lot worse than choosing Instarem to send money abroad, the truth is there are better alternatives available, regardless of how much you’re looking to transfer. 

For smaller transfers of AU$20,000 we’d recommend the leading money transfer app ‘Wise’. They offer all transfers at the mid-market exchange rate, but on average, Wise’s fees are roughly 50% cheaper than Instarem’s. Wise also has a fantastic track record of delivering funds extremely fast, with a reliable and user friendly app, meaning they either match or outperform Instarem in all areas. 

Need to make a large transfer overseas?  

We’d strongly recommend choosing one of Money Transfer Australia’s top rated currency brokers. Working with a leading currency broker like ‘Send Payments’ not only gives you access to a wider range of fx services, you’ll also be assigned a dedicated account manager.

Having an fx expert to guide you through the process of a large overseas transfer can prove invaluable. They can talk you through hedging options to secure a rate for a date in the future, or help you to capitalise on a favourable currency swing which can potentially save you thousands. Not to mention, you’ll secure a far better exchange rate for larger transfers by working with a leading currency broker. 

Send Payments even have a rate match scheme, essentially guaranteeing you the cheapest deal.

Our Verdict

Instarem is an established and secure option for international money transfers. 

Despite its parent company Nium largely turning its focus to the B2B market, Instarem retains a strong leadership team and is still committed to growth. This is evident from the firm’s plans to continue expanding its range of services and evolving from a remittance provider into a neo bank in several regions.

Instarem reviews are largely very positive, but do point out some flaws in the reliability and functionality of the Instarem app, which requires some attention from the development team.