Wise Money Transfer Review
Wise continues to head the list of money transfer platforms due to costs, convenience, and transparency. Favorable rates, simplicity, advanced features; there’s a lot to like about Wise — but it’s not the ideal solution for everyone. This Wise review discusses everything you need to know. Read on to find out more.
Established in 2011 to simplify money transfers and make them accessible to all, Wise (formerly TransferWise) has gained widespread recognition for its capable and affordable services. The company was founded by two Estonian friends residing in the UK with complex transfer needs. What they created was a product that is a testament to their genuine understanding of the struggles of moving funds across borders.
Today Wise has a major global presence with operations spread across continents and boasts revenue of over USD 670 million. Unlike other providers, its country coverage and reach are not limited to Western countries and they constantly work towards making its services even more inclusive by adding more supported languages.
Wise Review at a Glance
How Wise Works
Wise runs money transfers through its bank accounts in countries in which they operate. When senders submit the payment, they send it to a Wise local account. Then, Wise sends the transfer amount to your recipient from their bank account at your selected destination in their local currency.
Top Wise Features
Wise is a versatile platform that goes beyond basic money transfers. Here are the leading features:
Multi-Currency Debit Card
Wise users can apply for a debit card for as little as USD 6, where they can store money in 53 currencies, convert it at the mid-market rate, and use the card in 200 countries. They can also transfer money straight from their account and spend their money with Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Large Instant Transfers
You can send up to USD 1 million using Wise’s online services, and the rate goes down as much as 0.9% as the transfer amount increases. It’s a good alternative to spot contracts as you’ll be getting the mid-market rate — which at times can be enough to offset the transfer fee Wise requires. Note that there are also limits on how much can be received with certain destination currencies.
What We Like and Dislike About Wise
Wise is the optimal choice for small, quick, or one-off transfers, and with features like a low-cost multi-currency debit card and a sleek mobile app; it’s highly suitable for travelers.
Though it has a relatively high transaction cap of $1.6 million (with the limit varying by currency), it’s not the best way to send money abroad if you wish to transfer funds for higher-priced purchases like buying a property. You can find regular transfer payments like forward contracts from other providers like TorFX.
What Do Users Have to Say About Wise?
Wise boasts a high score of 4.5/5 on TrustPilot, and its users on Reddit and other forums generally have pleasant things to say about its services.
Needless to say, users preach about being able to save tons on transfers; the use of the real exchange rate is by far the most popular feature. There is also a great amount of praise for its convenience and speed.
Meanwhile, the company receives quite a few complaints about its customer service. Several reports claim that the service is unreachable at times and almost entirely non-existent for complex issues. Some users also claim that there have been serious delays in their refunds or that they had to wait for days before finding out their transfer has been canceled.
The company has since addressed the issue regarding customer service, stating that they have been recruiting more agents to solve the problem.
What are Wise Exchange Rates, Fees & Costs
Exchange Rate Markup
The exchange rate markup refers to the margin money transfer providers add on top of the mid-market rate, which is often regarded as the “real” exchange rate. Many operators; especially those running a no-fee policy, put exchange rate markups to make a profit off of transfers.
Wise famously only uses the mid-market rate, which means you’ll get the conversion rate banks use among them and there are no hidden fees.
Wise has a straightforward fee structure, which is displayed in detail before the transfer. There are both fixed and variable fees involved, which are deducted before your payment reaches the recipient.
Wise explains all of the fees involved for its different services, including transfers. You can check what the cost breakdown will be for your transfer. The variables and fixed cost both depend on the currencies involved and the pay-in methods, which can change by the originating country. The highest fees generally come from payments made via credit cards, while bank transfer fees are the lowest. Amounts below the transaction cap don’t affect either fee.
Find the cheapest ways to send money
Besides the transfer fees at Wise; there are also additional variable fees associated with different payment methods, which change with the amount. The platform conveniently displays all options and differentiates them from their fees on the quote generator. If you are to send $100, for instance, using a connected bank account is the cheapest option at USD 0.20, while paying with a credit card is the costliest with a fee of USD 4.12.
Wise Fee Transparency
Wise displays honesty and simplicity about their fee transparency that is beyond industry standards. The firm doesn’t tailor custom rates either for individual or business clients and the calculator breaks down all stages of a transfer, which include;
Depositing fees (bank transfer, credit/debit payments).
Transfer fees by Wise.
Total amount to be converted.
Amount to be received.
Top Currencies and Destinations for Sending Money with Wise
Wise users can send money to 80 countries, using 25 different currencies — which includes less popular currencies like the Croatian kuna or Indonesian rupiah. Besides a solid reach, Wise also has a grand global presence with 29 offices around the world. Note that transferring funds in and out of these countries would be easier than others for various reasons, including troubleshooting or bank connections.
Top ten destinations to send money with Wise;
What Type of Transfers Can You Make with Wise?
Wise doesn’t have features like forward contracts or futures contracts, but these are more complex instruments targeted at businesses and more professional investors. The exchange rate depends on the market at the time of the transfer.
For certain currencies, like the British pound or Hungarian forint, transfer options are grouped as fast and easy, low-cost, or advanced transfers. These are grouped based on the payment methods with their respective speed and cost.
Fast and easy transfers are usually paid via cards and are often the costlier option.
Low-cost transfers are usually made via bank transfer and take longer.
Advanced transfers allow senders to transfer their local currency without conversion.
Does Wise Offer Business Money Transfers?
Wise has a solid business plan integrating with major accounting software like Quickbooks or Xero. With such integration, the platform turns into a very powerful tool with which businesses manage all their international financial operations. By itself, it offers robust features, the best of which are as follows;
Invoice, Batch, and Payroll Payments
Businesses can set up one-off, regular, or mass payouts with Wise while still benefiting from the mid-market exchange rate. Payments can be automated, and a maximum of 1,000 can be done at once; with 50% being completed within an hour. Unlike the personal plan, businesses get lower transfer fees for higher amounts.
Business and Expense Debit Cards
Wise provides business users with debit and expense cards tied to their respective accounts upon request. Expense cards have custom limits and can be monitored through an expense management portal on the platform.
What are Wise’s Payment and Withdrawal Options?
Though limited in options, Wise still offers different payment methods for senders prioritizing speed or cost. Note that the availability of different methods depends on the original currency and the transfer amount.
How Long Will it Take to Receive Money Using Wise?
The transfer times depend on the payment methods, with payments via credit/debit cards making the fastest option and generally taking up to three hours. The catch is that this option is generally available for popular currency routes, such as sending funds to Europe from the UK; or to India from the US. Less frequently used currency routes typically take 1-3 working days — which is on par with other money transfer providers but faster than bank transfers. But you should note the user feedback suggests inconsistency in Wise’s transfer times.
Also, Wise is a good choice when you're planning to send money from the USA to Nigeria, as it can take just a few minutes.
Is Wise Safe to Use?
Wise operates in multiple markets and is authorized by the respective governing bodies in each one of them, including FCA in the UK; ASIC in Australia; FinCEN in the US; FINTRAC in Canada; and CCE in Hong Kong. These regulators ensure Wise upholds its fiduciary duty to the client funds, which are held in a low-risk institution; Barclays.
Besides financial compliance, Wise is also regularly audited by IT inspectors and has a series of protective procedures in place, including a dedicated fraud team, regular vulnerability scans, and a bug bounty program.
Wise Support Options
As of the writing of this Wise review, the firm is struggling with its customer support and currently recruiting heavily to meet the demands. Besides representative-based options, Wise has a comprehensive help center available in multiple languages.
How to Get Started with Wise to Send and Receive Money
Wise has an uncomplicated but long registration process, with verification taking up to 2 days — which is slightly above industry standards.
How to Send Money with Wise?
Wise follows a basic process to send money abroad, and its convenient price breakdown makes it easy to compare the costs. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Check the fees and exchange rate
Step 2: Sign up for an account or sign in
Step 3: Fill in the transfer details and pay
You can cancel your transfer at certain stages. There’s a Cancel Transfer button available while the money is on the way to Wise or while it’s being processed. But if the money is sent out or received already, you should ask the recipient to ask their bank to reject the payment. If the recipient is you, simply transfer the money back.
How to Receive Money Using Wise?
Wise only supports payments made to the recipient’s bank account. That means the recipient doesn’t have to do anything to collect their money; they will receive it, withdraw if they need to, and enjoy it. Repeat the process if the recipient is you.
Wise also has a transfer to email service; if you don’t know the bank details of your recipient, you can submit their email address, and Wise will contact them asking for their banking information. If they do have a Wise account, then they will transfer the money directly.
Does Wise Have a Mobile App?
Wise has a free and fully capable mobile app available on Apple Store and Google Play, with ratings of 4.7/5 and 4.3/5, respectively. The user feedback seems to suggest that the UI of the iOS version is easier to navigate.
Users can do the following with the app,
Transfers on the go.
Check the status or cancel transfers.
Pay via Apple Pay or Google Pay.
If you want to learn more, we created the following guide on the best money transfer apps.
As good as it is, Wise doesn’t speak to everybody’s needs. There are a number of areas the firm falls short in which alternative providers can be helpful.
TorFX: With features like custom quotes or forward contract, TorFX is the ideal solution for large transfers.
Xe Money Transfers : Xe is the optimal choice for those who are not happy with Wise’s percentage markup fee. They have a fixed fee as small as $3, and it disappears for amounts over $500.
WorldRemit: Wise only allows sending money to the recipient’s bank account, which may be limiting for some. WorldRemit is a leading name in offering a variety of transfer types, from cash pickups to airtime top-ups; it can cater to more requirements.