A+ A A- Review - Is This a Joke?

As an American guy living abroad in Japan, sending money between the USA and Japan is something I'm used to dealing with.  In fact I documented the various international money transfer methods I've used over the years here: How I Send Money Between my Japan and USA Bank Accounts - Life Abroad

Always on the hunt for what's new, I came across, a site operated by Paypal that appears very similar to my current favorite money transfer service Transferwise.  What the hell...let's give it a shot.  At the very least it would be beneficial to have an alternative on hand in case Transferwise ever fails me.

Oh, that's cool.  Since Xoom is run by Paypal, you can just login with your Paypal credentials via the "Continue with Paypal" button.  Nope.  "Something went wrong."  Try again.  No go.  Ok, fine.  Let's just register a new account.  Confirm email address by clicking the link we emailed you.  Done.

Let's Setup a Transfer
How much do you want to transfer?  Let's try a transfer from the USA to Japan.  Register my recipient Japan bank account.  Done.  Register my sending USA bank account for ACH payment.  Done.  Transfer in process.  Looking good so far.

Identity Verification
Then I got an email from Xoom asking me to call them to verify my identity.  Fair enough.  Money transfer services require identity verification, so I'm used to providing any and all documents they require.  I called the number, and a friendly woman with accented English soon answered.  I mention the accented English because it did make it difficult to understand her at times.

She asked me several security-related questions, which I answered.  Then she said she'll soon send me an email requesting 2 documents to verify my identity: a copy of a valid photo ID and the most recent bank statement from my sending bank account (the USA one).  No problem.

The email arrived.  Am I supposed to send these via plain email?  That doesn't seem very secure, Paypal.  I ask about that.  Several hours later, no reply.  Against my better judgement, I send the requested documents to them.

Transfer Canceled
About an hour later I get another generic email saying they canceled my transfer because they were unable to verify my identity.  Huh!?  I gave you what you asked for!  Then another email comes asking me to call them again.  I do, but the call won't go through.  I email them asking them to call me.  No reply.  After some troubleshooting, I figure that their buggy call routing system just doesn't work at this time of day.  I decide to wait until the next morning when time zones better overlap.  I was able to call them my morning, so I'll try again at that time.

In the meantime I login to the website to check my transfer, and it asks for my mobile phone number (which I had already provided during registration) to send a login code to.  Oh, great.  It only accepts USA-format numbers, so it doesn't work.  So much for global service.  I click the "I don't have a mobile phone" link, and it just logs me in anyways.  LOL!  Top-tier security.

You Just Can't Use Xoom
I call them the following morning and again a friendly woman with accented English answers.  I explain that I was asked to call them again to verify my identity.  She puts me on hold for a short while, then comes back saying that they simply can't verify my identity.  It sounded vague and was undoubtedly recited verbatim from a script.

In short, I cannot use Xoom.  For some unknown reason I was turned away as a customer, and apparently I'm not the only one that received this generic answer (look at the reviews).  She couldn't state any reason why, saying "the specific reason may compromise our security practices."  Hmmm...the same security practices that include sending documents via plain email and a buggy two-factor authentication system?

Get Off the Internet
Paypal is brainless for putting their name on this service.  It really makes them look bad.  Dear Xoom--get your act together or get off the Internet!

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  • Guest - Arglborps

    That's pretty much inline with the mostly broken service PayPal offers though. Sending them documents is a mess. Registering wise credit cards is a mess (they transfer money through your card, and ask you to enter a code that is supposed to appear on your bank statement, which it doesn't, but when they cancel the payment, because it took you too long to find the non existing code, you will see their code showing on the cancellation – duh).

  • Guest - Marius Coroiu

    Yes man...this service is a joke, I hope more people write reviews so others will be aware of what they get into if they are interested. I had to send money to the Philipines and I wanted to use a card that had USD in it but was issued in a country in Europe, obviously based on an account in USD. I cannot send USD because the account is not an American account :)), so I have to send money and exchange currencies through different accounts to make this work and just waste money on fees and exchange rates. Ahhh...the world we live in today, I hope crypto gains more power and maybe that would easier to use.

  • Guest - Daria

    This company is a joke.

    So this company is supposed to need proof of identity before processing transactions. Yet somehow, someone managed to use my old PayPal credentials (I was under the impression that the account was deactivated) to open a fraudulent Xoom account, and process a fraudulent transaction, with a fraudulent debit card opened under my name.
    I reset my PayPal credentials and gained control of this Xoom account immediately and have been dealing with this mess since the 3rd of June. I have sent them an official affidavit, and mailed two written requests to resolve this issue and provide confirmation of all this in writing and included proof of ID, officially filed reports, etc. with these written requests.
    They said that I would not be held responsible for the transaction via email and phone but I have not received an official letter stating so. Also, not only is the Xoom account still open, but the fraudulent transaction is still listed on this account. Worst of all, they refuse to provide the name of the issuing financial institution for this mystery debit card opened under my name so I can file a dispute with them.
    They claim that I need to have local law enforcement submit a subpoena to them despite the fact that I am not asking for any personal or proprietary information. There is also the fact that according to section 609(e) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681g(e), I am entitled to be provided with copies of business records relating to the fraudulent account and transaction no later than 30 days after the receipt of the request and that the law directs them to provide me these documents at no charge, and without requiring a subpoena.

  • Guest - Joel

    The EXACT same thing happened to me. What a joke of a service.

  • Guest - Lib Nedloh

    Part of the issue is that, despite the fact that you can physically bring in the equivalent of $10,000 USD, the Japanese government has instructed banks to flag any deposit originationg overseas of more than $3000. The claim is that they are worried about funds financing terrorists - which given that this money is from foreigners and there has never been a terrorist incident in Japan perpetrated by foreigners is horse hockey. The MoF is interested in getting info on any and all funds held offshore by residents of Japan - foreign a/w/a citizens, and they have enlisted the banks as a way to do so. The banks demand your domestic and foreign taxpayer ID numbers, and proof of provenance of the funds arriving from abroad. This is to stop people who have overseas accounts on which they've earned even a pittance in interest repatriating their funds.

  • Guest - Adrian Haynes

    This was my experience with Xoom too - down to the last detail except all this happened AFTER Xoom had transferred money for me only a few days before with no problem whatsoever. Crazy. I have to say I strongly suspected that this was a scam. I tried TransferWise - so far so good.