Allark review and criticism

Allark review and criticism
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Summary: Allark discloses wrong fees due to an additional spread of 4,3% set in BTCPay. SEPA transfer shouldn't be used with third party accounts. Cash by mail is fast and reliable.

I tried two different services from Allark: SEPA transfer and cash by mail and I'll give my conclusion here so that others know what it's all about. I considered these two options the most valueable for people who want to live off Monero and avoid other currencies as much as possible.

A few things can't be paid with Monero in most cases, especially rent, water, gas and electricity bills. I was hoping that this problem can be solved using the SEPA transfer Allark offers in Europe but right now it can't. Here are the issues: The SEPA transfer product is denoted in US-Dollar, while a SEPA transfer itself is always denoted in Euro. I regard this to be one unnecessary barrier.

Also: Allark obviously uses an additional spread on top of the current Monero market price (currently +4,3% via BTCPay). These two points make it a lot harder two calculate the correct amount so that Allark will transfer the exact amount of money which is given by the bill. When I tried the end result was off about seven Euros which clearly isn't close enough.

For some reason I also faced another problem. The person I had the money transfered to asked me to pay the bill after the Allark SEPA was already finished. Allegedly no money arrived and therefore I had to pay the bill a second time. The money from the SEPA transfer was completely lost. I do not know who has the money and who fooled me. Allark provided a screenshot of a Wise transaction quickly after my order. My request for a chargeback was denied "as a matter of principle."

Calculations: I paid ~150 EUR to transfer 144 EUR. Allark transfered 137 EUR (-4,9%). I don't recommend using it to transfer money to banking accounts you don't control. This offer can still be useful but not in the way I was hoping. The current settings don't allow proper transfers of even cent amounts. Maybe it would work better if Allark could allow the user to enter an exact amount and calculate the fees (which are officially, but not truly at 2,9%) on top. Allark set the lowest possible amount to 200 USD since.

Secondly: The cash by mail. I ordered for 300 USD (at the time ~285 EUR). Allark charged an additional 15 EUR for shipping with insurance - maybe because I asked about insurance beforehand. I don't know. This shipping cost isn't disclosed before the order though.

I received 245 EUR the next day. With shipping and insurance the fees would therefore be at 14%. Without this the fees are at almost 9% but Allark claims that the fees are at 3,9%. The lowest possible order is now at 1000 USD.

The cash by mail worked therefore very reliably but the fees aren't disclosed correctly. From my perspective this seems like an intentional way to make the service seem cheaper than it really is. I very much dislike that. Also in the specific country I tried this in, the insurance for cash by mail only works up to 100 EUR. Anything above that would be lost anyway if the letter went missing, so you should forget about the insurance in this case. Ordering large amounts is very risky hence. Try to keep it low.

Also noteworthy: You don't have to disclose an accurate email address. After you paid, make a screenshot of the receipt where your order id is on. With this information you can contact Allark over Session and deliver sensitive information there. The receipt is not delivered via email.

Thanks to Allark for providing many services for Monero users.