Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is a financial technology company offering international money transfers, multi-currency accounts, and other financial services at lower costs than traditional banks.
If you're reading this, it's probably because you want to know more about Wise.
Chances are, you want to use the service to make an international money transfer but aren't sure what to expect.
This Wise review will answer every question you need to know about the service. The information in this post is based on my first-hand experience with the company's money transfer services.
A Brief Wise History
Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, graced the money transfer market in 2010. The founders marketed it as a fast, user-friendly, and cheap way to send money abroad.
More than a decade later, the company cemented its position as one of the biggest international money transfer providers globally.
At the time of writing this, the company boasted a customer base of over 12 million people and businesses.
Wise thrives on speed, ease of use, and transparency. Setting up an account shouldn't take more than 30 minutes.
Speaking of speed, recipients can receive money in minutes to a few days. And the beauty of it is that the service offers some of the best exchange rates.
Besides, the Wise customer service desk is always at hand to sort you out if you run into a problem transferring money. They even have a fully-fledged app on iOS and Android devices. That way, you can complete a money transfer transaction on the go.
When I say Wise is cheap, I mean it in every sense of the word. The company's rates are cheaper than your local bank transfer, PayPal or Western Union — which begs the question.
How Much Does Wise Cost?
The service is transparent regarding its fees, with no hidden fees. The fees are broken down into two as follows:
1. Card Payment Fees
Wise will charge you to pay for a USD transfer card. The charges are as follows:
- 1.25% for debit cards
- 3.8% for credit cards
Business Card Payment Fees
- 1.1% for debit cards
- 4.33% for credit cards
Wise has different feeds for non-American cards sending USD as follows:
- 0.8% for cards issued in the European Economic Area (EEA).
- 4.55% for cards issued outside the EEA
You can, however, bypass these fees by paying through a bank transfer.
2. Service Fees
These fees comprise a fixed fee and a percentage of the money you want to send. The fees vary based on where you're transferring money and the currency you're converting to.
You can use the Wise Calculator to determine the fees applying to your specific transaction.
No matter your transaction type, these fees are cheaper than most money transfer services.
How Much Can You Save With Wise?
As I stated, Wise stands out when it comes to money transfer fees. But how much can you save by choosing this provider?
First, the company's specialist services are almost always cheaper than a standard bank for international transfers.
To give you an idea of how much you can save, let's look at how much Wise charges for sending money online from my Euro account to friends in three different nations around the world.
Sending 100 Euros to the United States - I will save 22.34 Euros
Sending 100 Euros to Australia - I will save 18.67 Euros
Sending 100 Euros to Brazil - I will save 6.91 Euros
Wise Money Transfer — How It Works?
For starters, Wise customers can send money to over 80 countries worldwide.
You can send money online from your laptop or via the Wise app. Once you complete the payment, the money is deposited into the receiver's bank.
And, the receiver doesn't have to create a Wise account to receive their money. That's a significant shift from how most money transfer companies conduct business.
How does Wise manage to keep the transfer fees so low?
…because the provider runs its dedicated payment network. That way, moving money internationally doesn't have to involve a bank.
Let's say you want to send money from the UK to Singapore, for instance. Wise has a payment network in Singapore that allows it to deposit the funds to the recipient's bank account without relying on a local bank to facilitate the transfer.
The Wise money transfer process goes like this:
- The sender deposits money into Wise's local account (in the sender's country) using the sender's currency. Note that Wise's account is not technically a regular bank account.
- Wise deposits the money from the local Wise account (in the recipient's country) to the recipient's bank account using the recipient's currency.
With the Wise transfer, the money actually doesn't move between countries, and therefore the fees are low.
Think of it as a strategy to eliminate go-betweens.
The provider passes on these savings to its customers through low fees. Of course, the money hit the receiver's account quickly, with the intermediaries out of the picture.
Who is Wise For?
Indeed, Wise is an excellent option for sending money abroad. But how can you determine it's the right choice for you?
It would be best to use Wise money transfer if:
- You can want your recipient to receive their money quickly
- You're looking for a service provider with low fees. Wise, in most cases, ranks among the top providers with low transfer fees and a reasonable rate.
- You want to ensure your money is safe.
- You're looking for an easy-to-set-up international money transfer account.
- You're looking for a service that allows you to make quick transfers while offering multiple ways to pay.
- You're scouting for a service that allows you to fund international transfers via bank transfer, wire, and debit card payments.
- You're looking for a provider that doesn't charge markups at a mid-market exchange rate.
How to Complete a Wise Money Transfer?
Below is a breakdown of how to send money overseas with your account:
- Start by creating a free account online.
- Then, enter the amount you want to send. You'll see how much your recipient will receive in their bank account.
- Submit digital copies of your identification for verification.
- Give the recipient's details.
- Check if the details of the transactions are correct. Hit confirm.
- Pay for the money transfer. Track the funds to know when they'll arrive in the recipient's account
Wise transfer services are supervised by global regulatory bodies to ensure they're safe.
How to Set Up a Wise Account?
Creating a Wise account is pretty straightforward. Below is a step-by-step breakdown of the procedure:
- Visit Wise Sign-up Page
- Create your account by providing the details requested. You will sign up using your email. Create a solid, unique, and secure password. You can also sign up using your Google, Facebook, or Apple account.
- You'll receive an email notification once you've created your account.
- Follow the instructions in the email to complete the sign-up process. You need to verify your identity tto complete the process.
- You're now good to go.
How Does Wise Prove Your Identity?
Wise verifies every applicant's identity to keep its customer's money safe. They'll, therefore, request your identity documents. This typically happens when you create your account or make a transfer.
- You may also need to provide an identification document or proof of address, depending on how much money you're transferring.
- Identification documents include a U.S. military I.D., residence permit, immigration I.D., state I.D., driver's license with your photo, and a passport photo.
- Address documents include U.S. government documents, gas or electricity bills, credit card or bank statements, State ID, and driver's license.
- When signing up for a Wise account, ensure the following:
- Your identification documents are valid. Never submit an expired document.
- Your address documents clearly show your name, date of birth, and current address.
Once you've uploaded your documents, wait for the company to complete the verification process for two to three days.
What Information Do You Need When Sending Money with Wise?
When sending money, you must give Wise the fund's destination information. You'll get this info from the receiver.
Also, the receiver can make a payment request from their Wise account and share a link containing the transaction details. You'll then click on the link to complete the payment.
You can also use the Money to Email, allowing Wise to contact the receiver and request the relevant details.
Below are the details you need to provide:
- The amount of money you want to transfer
- The country you're sending the funds from and to
- The currency you're sending the money between. Wise allows you to send the same currency
- The receiver's name and address
- The recipient's bank details. Or, in some countries, their mobile wallet details.
The account details may vary from country to country. Generally, you must provide the routing number, the sort code, and the account number. Wise may also ask for the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) or the SWIFT code.
How to Pay for Money Transfers with Wise?
Wise offers multiple options to enable you to send money abroad. These are:
- A bank transfer to the recipient's Wise account. This is typically done with your online banking system.
- Via a debit card linked to your bank account.
- Through your credit card.
The service supports most credit and debit cards, including Visa and Mastercard.
The company recommends not making a transfer until you're ready to send the money if you're doing a wire or bank transfer.
Note: Your provider may charge a credit card fee as a "cash in advance" if you're paying through your credit card. This may translate to higher interest rates in most cases, so it'd be best to consult your card provider before paying.
Wise charges variable fees based on the method you use to pay for your transfer.
Transfers from your bank account have lower fees, while credit cards charge a little more.
How Long Does Wise Money Transfer Take?
First, you can track your transfer as it moves to the receiver's account in the app and online.
However, Wise is generally faster than wire transfer. Up to 40% of all international transfers are instant — typically less than a minute. Up to 80 hit the receiver's account within 24 hours.
By and large, the amount of time it takes for a Wise transfer to be completed varies depending on how much you're sending, the currency and countries involved, and how you pay for your transfer.
Also, the money may take slightly longer to arrive if you're making a transfer out of working hours or if it's a holiday in the country you're sending the money.
Wise is all about transparency. You'll always see the expected arrival time before transferring money.
How Many Currencies Does Wise Support?
At the time of writing this, Wise supported over 50 currencies. It also allows you to send money to over 175 countries worldwide. Besides, you can always check the list of countries where Wise supports money transfers on the provider's official website.
Wise Business Account
You can open two Wise accounts: a business and a personal account.
A wise business multi-currency account comes with many features you wouldn't find with a personal one. It offers many benefits, too, including:
- The ability to complete international fund transfers is 6x times cheaper than standard bank transfers and 19x cheaper than PayPal.
- Operate your account without paying a monthly maintenance fee and on a minimum balance. You will pay a one-time $31 fee, though.
- Receive money using your local bank account details in 10 different currencies. You can also withdraw your money through other platforms like Stripe and Amazon.
- Integrate your account with 3rd party accounting apps like QuickBooks and Xero.
- Make batch payments. You can pay up to 1,000 people in different currencies via a single file.
- API automation to automate workflow.
- Add your team members, allowing them to make payments. You can also manage what they can and cannot do.
Wise Business is ideal if trading partners, employees, and customers are overseas. You can sign up for Wise Business whether you're a startup or looking to scale your operations, are an employer, working remotely, or running a multinational corporation.
Wise Multi-Currency Account and Card
Apart from serving as a money transmitter, Wise offers other services, the most notable being its multi-currency card.
You can leverage the Wise debit card to manage your spending across the border if you're a regular traveler or an online shopper with an international retailer. The card can also come in handy if you send or receive international transfers often.
The card allows you to hold and exchange in over 40 currencies in one account. Besides, you can view all your transactions instantly via the Wise app.
In addition, you access your local account details in 10 different currencies, including CAD, AUD, GBP, USD, SGD, HUF, NZD, RON, and TRY.
You can apply for the card once you sign up for your Wise card.
The multi-currency account is great for people living, studying, or working abroad. It is a good account if you're a frequent traveler with significant international outgoings and income.
You can also open the account if you're a freelancer looking for a money transfer service that allows you to get paid by your international clients.
Further, the account is excellent if you own a holiday home and are looking to lower fees for your spending abroad.
The Wise multi-currency account has an intuitive interface, making it easy for you to spend, transfer, convert and hold funds in foreign currencies.
Wise Transfer Methods and Options
You transfer money via Wise through several options. Below is an overview of these methods and limits.
Sending Channels: These include the provider's website and the mobile app.
Payment Options: These include bank accounts (wire transfer, SWIFT, and ACH), Google Pay, credit card, Apple Pay, and debit card.
Delivery Options: You only have one option here; local bank accounts. Most money transfer providers offer cash pick-up locations abroad, which makes sending more to people who don't operate bank accounts possible.
Transfer Limits: The minimum amount of money you can send may vary based on the country. That said, it can be as little as $1. The maximum amount if you're in the United States is $15,000 per day via ACH. You also send $1.6 million per international transfer via bank wire transfer.
As mentioned earlier, Wise doesn't rely on local banks to complete money transfers. Instead, the provider operates its independent payment network. One wouldn't help but ask;
Is Wise a Bank?
No, Wise isn't a bank. Still, the company's money transfers are regulated as is with a standard bank. The regulation makes Wise safe.
On top of that, the provider is FinCEN registered. It also has a money transmitter license to operate in the United States and its territories.
In regions where the company doesn't have a license, it dispenses its money transfer services in collaboration with the Community Federal Savings Bank. The bank is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency.
Apart from meeting the operation requirements to operate legally, Wise leverages manual and automatic processes to ensure your money is safe. These include:
- Round-the-clock anti-fraud protection
- Regular process auditing
- 2-factor authentication
So, is Wise legit? Yes, it is. The company operates legally and complies with all international money transfer requirements, as I've explained above.
Wise vs. PayPal
This Wise review would not be complete without looking at how the provider stacks against PayPal, one of the most popular money transfer providers. I'll compare the two services based on the following parameters:
Wise allows you to send money in over 175 countries in 50+ different currencies. While PayPal is available in 200 countries, it only allows you to send money in 25 currencies.
Multiple Currency Accounts
PayPal supports currency holding and conversion of different currencies in your account. Wise, on the other hand, supports multiple accounts in over 50 currencies.
PayPal has a sneaky markup on a mid-market exchange rate, while the Wise currency exchange rate is basically the same as the mid-market exchange rate.
PayPal offers credit, while Wise doesn't.
Both services issue a debit card, are fully licensed and regulated, and allow you to open a business account.
Below is a breakdown of Wise and PayPal's upsides and downsides based on the comparison above to help you decide which one works best for your needs.
- Allows you to send money almost anywhere globally
- Enables you to send funds to international PayPal accounts instantly
On the flip side,
- PayPal has hefty fees
- You have to deal with exchange rate markups
- Recipients must have a PayPal account to receive money
- Offers a mid-market rate with a transparent fee structure
- Allows you to hold 54 different currents and send money to over 80 countries
- Enables customers to open international personal and business accounts
- The transfer fees differ depending on where you're sending the money
- A multi-currency account doesn't earn interest.
Wise Trust and Safety
As I mentioned, you have no reason not to trust Wise.
I'll expound on this topic further because safety and trust are crucial when running a borderless account.
First, the company has millions of customers around the world. In addition, it handles billions in international money transfer transactions every year.
Further, the provider has submitted its operations for regulation by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in other global agencies, including the UK Financial Conduct Authority.
Regarding customer information, the company uses revolutionary security apparatuses to secure clients' financial data. Moreover, they offer top-notch customer service, including phone support.
Can You Trust Wise for Large Transfers?
Of course. The provider allows you to send up to $1,000,000 in a single transfer. The company even explains how it safeguards customers' money. Besides, the provider is categorical that theirs isn't a protection scheme like the FDIC deposit insurance.
Are Your Wise Account Login Details Safe?
Yes, they are.
The company has implemented a robust encryption and security system to protect your details. They also use 2-factor authentication for added security. That, however, doesn't mean you shouldn't use a strong password for your Wise account.
Money Transfer Rates Definitions You Should Know
When transferring money with Wise, getting acquainted with the following three rates definitions is essential. These rates will determine the cost of your transfer and how much the recipient will receive.
Exchange Rate: This refers to the price of one currency to another. For instance, if you're converting Euros into USD, you'll want to check if one Euro is worth in USD.
Mid-market Rate: Also referred to as interbank exchange rate or simply the interbank rate, this is the exchange rate big banks use to swap currencies among themselves. Google currency conversion uses the mid-market rate also.
Exchange Rate Markup: More moment transfer providers use an exchange rate markup to price your transfer. They give clients an exchange rate equivalent to the mid-market rate plus an extra percentage, also known as a markup. That way, they can make a profit from your transfer.
Let's say the rate for the United States dollars to Mexican pesos is 20 pesos per dollar. If the provider charges a 2% exchange rate markup, you get 19.6 pesos per dollar.
A $500 market rate means you'll transfer 10,000 pesos. But because of the 2% markup, you'll transfer 9,800 pesos.
The higher the markup, the less money your recipient will receive in their currency.
General Tips for International Money Transfers
As we come to the near end of this Wise review, let's look at some helpful tips when sending money abroad.
Know How Exchange Rates Work
As stated, money transfer providers make a profit by leveraging exchange rate markups.
While these platforms will only give you the price of one currency to another, they're an excellent place to help you determine the current exchange rate.
When checking the exchange rate for a service like Wise, you'll want to focus on the exchange rate markup by determining the foreign currency amount. The higher the amount, the lower the markup, and the more funds your recipient gets.
Compare Transfer Rates
There are two types of transfer costs; markups and upfront fees. You want to find a provider with the lowest fees and the best exchange rates. Think of it as a strategy for saving money.
Typically, a nonbank provider like Wise has cheaper rates than traditional banks.
Avoid Credit Card Payments
While some providers allow you to pay using your credit card, you'll pay higher upfront fees. Besides, your card provider may charge you interest and cash advance fees.
Use a debit card if you want your transfer delivered quickly. You'll also incur lower fees with a debit card than a credit card.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does Wise money transfer work?
Wise is an international money transfer provider. The service allows you to send money to recipients in 175 countries in over 50 different currencies. You can transfer using your bank account, Apple pay, the international SWIFT network, Google Pay, and your credit or debit card.
Q: How much can I transfer with Wise?
The amount varies as follows:
- $15,000 per day for a debit (ACH) transaction
- $ 2,000 every 24 hours with a credit or debit card and $8,000 every 7 days
- $1 million for local bank transfers
- $1.6 million for an international wire transfer via a SWIFT network
Q: How Fast is Wise?
Wise strives to ensure your recipient gets their money as soon as possible.
The platform allows you to see how long it will take for the money to arrive on its homepage. Once you enter the amount you want to send, you'll immediately see the estimated arrival time.
Typically, it takes a few seconds and up to three days for the money to hit the recipient's bank account, depending on how you pay for the transfer.
Q: Is Wise better than a bank?
First, Wise doesn't replace your bank entirely. Instead, the service offers excellent and affordable money transfers, prepaid debit cards, and multi-currency accounts.
The provider seeks to solve people's challenges when sending and transferring funds overseas to customers, friends, and trading partners.
Wise Customer Reviews
One of the most critical considerations looking for a money transfer service is what customers say about the provider.
You want to deal with a service with many positive reviews and high ratings.
In this case, we'll examine what customers say about Wise on Trustpilot.
When writing this, the company has an impressive 4.5-star rating after 170,000+ reviews on Wise. It is rated "excellent" on the platform.
Here are a few reviews of what customers think about Wise on Trustpilot.
Change the way of travel!
"I have used Wise for over 6 months and tried a lot of currencies. It is one company/bank I recommended to so many people, friends and family. Because it is easy to use and transparent with reasonable fees. I don't know why it is still so unpopular, but it really changed my way of traveling because you need to change money in advance, so I have a better overview of the spending."
Date of experience: October 08, 2022
Dirt-cheap, lightning fast, super happy.
"My High Street OZ bank required a 145 Euros commission for an AUD to EUR transfer to the EU. Doing it via Wise - sending to a Wise AUD account, converting to EUR, then transferring to the EU - cost me a little less than 15 EUR altogether. And it all happened instantly (well, it took 8 seconds, to be honest). Beat that."
Date of experience: October 06, 2022
As you can see, Wise has a good reputation as a reliable way to send money overseas.
Despite being formed over ten years ago, Wise is fast becoming one of the most preferred money transfer providers.
Wise is cashing in on the need for customers to send money to friends, relatives, and business partners worldwide without paying high transfer fees.
And true to its word of providing affordable service, Wise is open about all the fees it charges depending on your transaction type.
So, if you're looking to save money for your next overseas money transfer, consider Wise as your service. In most situations, this service is the cheapest. In fact, it is correct to argue that Wise could be the market's most affordable option for international transfers.
Thank you for reading my Wise review.
Now, it's time to create a free Wise account online.