If you need to send money from one currency to another, you will soon realize how expensive certain international money transfer services can be. In this Wise review (formerly known as TransferWise), I want to introduce to you a service that claims to be much cheaper, faster, and easier than the others.
But is Wise safe? How does Wise work? What are the pros & cons and what are other Wise reviews saying about the Wise account? Check out the following review before you transfer money internationally with Wise.
Spoiler: I’ve been using Wise / TransferWise for years now and absolutely love it! It became one of my two favorite business accounts (the other one being N26).
Table of Contents
What is Wise, formerly TransferWise?
Wise is a global technology company that makes moving money around the world easier, cheaper, and much more transparent. It is without a doubt that Wise is one of the cheapest ways to send money abroad and to transfer money internationally.
You may know Wise under the name of TransferWise, which was (and still is) popular for its revolutionary international money transfer system. In March 2021 the company underwent a rebranding to be able to represent the increased service portfolio even better.
Who Is the Wise Account for?
Wise is perfect for anyone who needs to spend, receive or send money internationally. That could be digital nomads, expats, long-term travelers, international students, online businesses, or freelancers. If you have to deal with more than one currency, the Wise account works for you.
How Did Wise Start?
It all started in the UK in 2011 when two Estonian guys, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, were tired of extremely high exchange rates when sending money abroad. With their incredibly smart idea of how to transfer money across countries their fairytale success story began.
Today, Wise is based in London but they have offices around the world and employs more than 2,200 people. More than 10 million people and businesses are using Wise today to process over £4.5bn in cross-border transactions every month, which results in customers saving over £1bn a year with the help of Wise!
The concept is so great that even Sir Richard Branson (yes, the famous entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder Branson himself) invested 25 million USD in the company! If that doesn’t scream “Your business is freaking awesome!” then I don’t know what does.
Richard Branson with the two TransferWise founders.
What Are the Wise Account Features?
As said before, Wise cannot only transfer money internationally anymore but they are a broad portfolio of services you can use. Let’s have a look at the main Wise features:
- Bank details: You can get local bank details in 10 currencies (US dollars, British pounds, Euro, Canadian-, Australian-, New Zealand-, Singapore dollars, Hungarian forint, Romanian leu, and Turkish lira). With these, you can receive money in those currencies for free, hold the money there, or convert it.
- Balances: You can hold and convert money between 50+ currencies.
- Business account: You cannot only use Wise for your personal money transactions but also for any business-related money transfers.
- Direct debits: You can set up direct debits, e.g. to pay for rent, subscriptions, or utilities.
- Debit card: You get a visa debit card that you can use in over 200 countries without hidden fees.
- Money transfers: The original feature. You can send money to over 170 countries at the real exchange rate and up to 9 times cheaper than traditional banks.
- Jars: The Jars feature allows you to keep money separately from your balances. If you want to save money this is a great way to stick to your budget without accidentally spending too much money.
What is the Wise Multi-Currency Account?
Short version: The Wise multi-currency account is an online account for international people.
All you need to do is to register an account on Wise and verify it. After that, you can get bank details in up to 10 currencies (for FREE!). These bank details allow you to receive, spend and send money abroad.
Let’s look at an example:
You are a US-American, currently live in Germany, and work online as a freelancer for a company in Great Britain. With Wise, you can receive your salary in GBP, convert it to EUR to pay for your rent, or send it to your mother in the USA to support her. You could also use your Wise debit card to pay at a restaurant while traveling to Turkey.
There are literally no borders, with Wise you have the all-in-one solution.
How Does Wise Transfer Money Internationally?
Curious about how Wise, formerly TransferWise, transfers money internationally so quickly and cheaply? The company is using a network of people who all want to do the same as you: transfer money internationally.
This approach allows them to use a genius technique. Instead of actually physically exchanging money, Wise uses its own bank accounts in many different countries to simply trade the currencies with peer-to-peer technology.
Let’s look at another example:
- Paul wants to send USD 500 from the USA to Anna in France. A normal bank would take Paul’s money and send it to France. Wise doesn’t.
- Wise keeps Paul’s USD 500 in their bank account in the USA and takes the equivalent in EUR out of their bank account in France to give it to Anna.
- That means Paul’s money never leaves the USA. It simply gets redirected if someone else is doing a transaction the other way around.
- The money never crosses borders, which makes the process easier and so much cheaper.
What Are The Wise Fees?
Like most international money transfer services, Wise charges a fee for sending money abroad. This fee depends on three things:
- the amount you’re sending,
- how you pay, and
- the exchange rate.
If you want to check how much exactly you would pay for your individual inquiry, have a look at the Wise page and use their calculator for free. Here you will see EXACTLY the Wise fees. There are no hidden costs and no additional fees during the transactions. What you see in the calculator, is what you get (unless you wait a couple of days and the exchange rate changes).
What’s Special about the Wise Exchange Rate?
Wise uses an exchange rate called the mid-market rate, which is the exact same rate that banks use to trade money between themselves and the only real exchange rate out there.
The reason why other international money transfer service companies have different exchange rates is simply that they mark this rate up, i.e. add a hidden percentage to make a profit.
You might find other money exchange companies that don’t charge a fee but I can almost guarantee you that they will use higher exchange rates. After all, they need to make a profit, too. In most cases, you are better up paying a fee and the real exchange rate instead of no fee and a markup rate.
Is Wise the Cheapest Way to Send Money Abroad?
Wise is definitely one of the cheapest ways to send money abroad. If you compare it to a money transfer at a traditional bank, e.g. Deutsche Bank, Lloyds, Santander, or HSBC Standard, it is up to 8 times cheaper!
Even if you compare the Wise fees with other online money transfer services, e.g. PayPal, Wise is still a lot cheaper. That is mainly due to the fact that they use the real-exchange market rate.
Nerd Wallet, the go-to website for all financial questions, confirms that Wise is one of the cheapest ways to send money abroad in comparison to other big-name money transfer services.
Does Wise Charge the Recipient?
No, it doesn’t. If you send money to someone via Wise, that recipient is not going to get charged by Wise. When you make the transfer, you can see exactly how much the other person will receive and what fee you have to pay.
How to Create A Wise Account and Send Money with Wise? Step-by-Step Guide
If you don’t have a Wise account yet, don’t worry, the registration process is super quick and absolutely free. This is how you create a Wise account and send money internationally:
Step 1: Sign Up with Wise
To create a Wise account, simply go to the Wise Register Page, and use your email address, Google, or Facebook account to sign up for free.
Step 2: Set the Amount
Next, you decide on how much money you want to send internationally and set the currencies. Now you automatically see the Wise fee and how much money your recipient receives.
Step 3: Fill in the Recipient
Now you fill in the details of the person or business you want to send money to. You could either use their bank details or, if they have a Wise account, too, simply use their email to send them money.
Step 4: Review and Send Money
That’s it! Now you can double-check the details and confirm the money transfer. Super quick and easy!
Head over to Wise and create your account now for free!
How Long Does It Take To Transfer Money with Wise?
Money transferals with Wise are super quick. According to their own statistics, this is what you can expect:
- Over 30% of transfers with Wise arrive instantly.
- 53% of all transfers arrive within an hour and
- 81% of all transfers within a day.
That matches my personal Wise experiences. My transfers are usually between Germany, Australia, the USA, and Great Britain and they usually don’t take longer than a day or two. Great speed!
How long it takes to transfer money with Wise depends on several factors:
- The involved countries. Some countries and currencies take a bit longer. Depending on how quickly your recipient’s bank can process the money, it can take up to 5 days. But it is very rare that it takes that long.
- Your payment method. A general rule: card payments are quicker than bank transfers.
- Time of your transfer. The quickest time to process is during normal banking hours. Weekends or national holidays in the finishing countries will slow it down.
Wise will let you know how long it’s going to take before you submit your payment. They will also send you an email to tell you the status of your payment. You will know exactly where your money is right now at any time. Transparency at its best.
Is Wise Safe and Legit?
Yes, Wise is absolutely safe and legit! Wise is regulated just like any bank by financial authorities in any country they operate in. These regulatory bodies make sure that customers get a fair deal and that financial markets are run with integrity.
They also keep their own business accounts completely separate from their clients’ funds, as per FCA regulations. In case Wise should have any difficulties, your money is safe! In addition, your personal information on the website is protected by using HTTPS security encryption.
There is no room for doubt, Wise is definitely a safe money transfer service.
How Do I Reach the Wise Customer Service?
Wise is 100% internet-based. In case you have any questions, simply drop Wise customer service an email, call one of their offices, or webchat with one of the team members. The contact number for Wise is:
USA: +1 888 908 3833
UK: +44 203 6950 999
Australia: +61 28 0466 244
Germany: +49 5223 94730 01
Singapore: +65 3158 3259
Spain: +34 932 202 854
If you are looking for more Wise phone numbers, check out their help center > customer support contact (note: you need to be logged in).
Wise Experiences: Customer Reviews
As you may have guessed by now, I’m a total fan of Wise and love the multi-currency account and money transfer service. They are my go-to solution when I need to receive and send money abroad and they’ve never let me down.
But I’m not the only one. The review site Trustpilot collected more than 186,000 reviews. The result: Wise receives a top customer rating of 4.4/5 and is labeled as “excellent”.
The same goes for the Wise app: Both Apple and Google Play customers love the Wise app and gave great ratings:
Having that many happy customers in the financial industry really says something.
Ok, that was a lot of information about Wise. Let’s have a look at the summarized advantages of this international money transfer service:
- True Exchange Rate: Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate. Unlike other money transfer services, they don’t add any markup to the rate. That means you get the best possible rate, which results in Wise being up to 8 times cheaper than a normal bank.
- Low Fees: The fees Wise charges for their service are reasonable and fair and you always know exactly how much it is upfront. Absolutely no hidden fees.
- Transparent Process: With Wise, you will know exactly what exchange rate is used, how many fees there are (no hidden costs!), and how long the money takes to arrive. The process is very transparent at any time.
- Speed: Transactions are usually made instantly or within a day or two. That makes it a super-fast money transfer service.
- Wise Safety: Just like any other bank, Wise is regulated by the financial authorities in the countries they are operating in. That means Wise is safe and legit to use.
- Easy to Use: Both the website as well as the Wise app are super easy and intuitive to use. Their user experience is even rated with 5/5 stars on the Apple app store. Simply log in, select the amount of money and currency, type in the receivers’ details, and pick a payment method. Ordering a transaction doesn’t take more than 2 minutes.
- Payment methods: There are various payment methods you can use to send money internationally, e.g. credit card, bank transfer, or local payment methods such as SOFORT.
- Multi-currency account: Once you are registered, you get a multi-currency account with bank details of up to 10 different currencies to receive, spent, and send money internationally.
- Debit card: You get a free debit card included in the multi-currency account that allows you to get cash at ATMs or make card payments.
Like any other money transfer service, Wise, too, might not work in every situation. Here are the downsides of this service:
- Limited Currencies: At the moment, Wise can make international money transactions between 50 currencies. Although that is a lot and the most common ones are covered, such as Euro, British Pound, US Dollar, Canadian Dollar, or Chinese Yuan, there are still a few missing. However, the team is constantly working on adding new routes.
Btw: Want to learn more about international banking for frequent travelers or digital nomads? Check out my post about the best online bank accounts and learn who has the best conditions for you.
Are there any Wise Alternatives?
You may have heard of some Wise alternatives, such as PayPal, Payoneer, or Monese. And yes, a few other international money transfer services and banks might transfer your money at a similar low service fee or even for free. However, you can be sure they sneak a markup onto the true exchange rate to make a profit.
After all, why should they work for free? Of course, they need to make a profit somehow. Unfortunately, you are often unaware of these hidden fees, so you pay more without even realizing it.
So if you want to look for Wise alternatives, please make sure these are transparent and you understand the entire process and are aware of all the fees you are being charged BEFORE you make your payment.
Wise Review 2023: The Verdict
There is a reason why Wise, formerly TransferWise, is often used as an international bank account. Wise is not only very safe to use. Its multi-currency account allows us to receive, spend and send money abroad in a completely new and easy way.
They are able to give you the real mid-market exchange rate without any markup that other money transfer services would charge you.
Their fees are low and reasonable and the transfer speed is outstanding.
The easy and transparent money transfer process makes Wise a very customer-friendly alternative to traditional banks or other transfer companies. And thousands of independent customer reviews confirm this.
Click here to register with Wise today!
If you are looking for a multi-currency account or/and an international money transfer service with great conditions, Wise is a brilliant option. I’m very happy I found them years ago and wouldn’t want to use any other provider anymore.
Wise Review 2023: Fees, Features, Safety, and Customer Reviews? ›
Is Wise safe for large amounts? Yes it is. Wise is regulated around the globe, and uses encryption and 2FA for logins, passwords to transfer money, and 3DS for card payments. By law Wise has to 'safeguard' your money - plus, Wise has an in-house security team to monitor fraud and keep your money and data secure.How trustworthy is Wise? ›
Is Wise safe for large amounts? Yes it is. Wise is regulated around the globe, and uses encryption and 2FA for logins, passwords to transfer money, and 3DS for card payments. By law Wise has to 'safeguard' your money - plus, Wise has an in-house security team to monitor fraud and keep your money and data secure.Is Wise cheaper than bank transfer? ›
Wise vs international bank transfers: pros and cons
Wise international payments can usually be arranged for a lower fee compared to regular banks, and may arrive much faster too. If you'd rather make your payment in person in a branch then your bank might be right for you – otherwise, you may be able to save with Wise.
When you create a transfer with a guaranteed rate, you're subject to a rate limit of 5%. So if the rate changes by 5% or more during the time we guarantee your rate for, we reserve the right to cancel and refund your transfer. If that happens, we'll send the money back to the account it came from.Is Wise safe to keep money? ›
We're licensed to hold your money and, as part of keeping it safe, we follow strict rules set out by the regulators in the countries where we operate. As of 30 September 2022, our customers are trusting us with the equivalent of 9.2 billion GBP in their Wise accounts.Is Wise safer than PayPal? ›
Both PayPal and Wise are fully licensed and regulated, and use both smart technology and dedicated service teams to keep customer money safe. PayPal is globally regulated and one of the largest payment companies in the world. Wise is regulated by FinCEN in the US, and other global regulatory bodies around the world.Is Wise available in USA? ›
Wise is available in the US, and you can apply online in minutes.What is the disadvantage of TransferWise? ›
But its services might come at a considerable cost, as it charges higher transfer fees than some of its competitors. Two other drawbacks: There are no options for delivery of cash to a home or business, and there are fewer than 100 countries where money can be sent.How much does Wise charge per transaction? ›
Fixed fee: covering the fixed costs associated with the transaction. For major currencies this is usually $0.5 – $1. Variable fee: covering the cost of the currency exchange. For major currencies this is typically around 0.45% of the transfer value.What are the disadvantages of using TransferWise? ›
- There is a cap on maximum transfer amount.
- Sudden account deactivations.
- Occasionally low transfer speeds.
How do I avoid Wise fees? ›
The easiest way to avoid Wise fees is to pay by bank debit (ACH) for international money transfers under $1,750 or with a bank wire for money transfers over $1,750. Work out how much you will pay in fees with Wise's pricing calculator.Does Wise charge a monthly fee? ›
No subscriptions, no monthly fees. You'll always see the fee upfront, and only pay for what you use.Does Wise have withdrawal fee? ›
What fees do I have to pay to Wise? You get 2 free withdrawals per calendar month. From the third withdrawal, we'll charge you the fixed fee applicable in your region, regardless of how much money you've withdrawn that month. You also get a free withdrawal allowance each calendar month.Can I deposit cash into Wise account? ›
You cannot deposit cash to a Wise Account.
That means you can make convenient payments right from your laptop or smart device, or receive electronic transfers seamlessly to your Wise Account — but you can't add money to your account with cash, checks or other physical deposit methods.
Yes. There are stringent security measures to safeguard your personal data that passes through eGIRO scheme. Your data is encrypted. Only the bank and billing organisation (Wise) are able to decrypt the data to execute the transactions that you requested.Who owns Wise? ›
Kristo Kaarmann is the Founder and CEO at Wise . Additionally, Kristo Kaarmann has had 3 past jobs including Founder at Investor.ee .How trustworthy is TransferWise? ›
In 2021, the company rebranded from TransferWise to Wise, went public on the London Stock Exchange, added more features to its online platform and app, and expanded its operations. Today, Wise's worth is measured in billions of dollars. Obviously, all of this shows that Wise is a perfectly legitimate company.Is Wise account free? ›
Free - you'll need to add money to your account first for personal use. For business accounts - there's a one-time setup fee. Receive payments in USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, SGD, AUD, NZD, HUF, RON, and PLN. It's free to send money from one balance to another, as long as they're the same currency.Does Wise have a US bank account? ›
Does Wise give you a US bank account? You don't get a US bank account with Wise, but you can get US bank details. This allows you to get paid in USD even if someone's sending money from another country, in another currency. Wise also offers many of the same functions of an ordinary checking account.What bank does Wise partner with in the US? ›
Wise Platform has partnered with US neobank Sable, to give their customers faster, cheaper, international money payments, available directly in the Sable app. Sable's mission is to build an inclusive and effortless global financial platform for the 272M expats around the world.
What bank is Wise USA? ›
When your sender enters your account details in their bank's system, they might see Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB) if the routing number starts with 026, or Evolve Bank and Trust (EVOLVE) if the routing number starts with 084. This is because Wise's USD accounts are with both CFSB, and EVOLVE.What is the TransferWise controversy? ›
Wise, formerly TransferWise, has been accused by MS BANK of using the names and financial data of customers to illegally send money abroad. MS BANK, which was Wise's former Brazilian banking partner, said that the company had “defrauded international transfers” without its knowledge.Why is TransferWise closing accounts? ›
We can choose to close an account if we think:
it's a duplicate of another (you can only have one Wise account, unless we agree otherwise) its security has been compromised. there are transactions on your account that we can't complete.
Both Wise and Western Union are fully licensed and regulated - making them safe and trustworthy providers. Western Union services may be provided by Western Union Financial Services, Inc.Does Wise charge a credit card fee? ›
There's a 2% fee on any amount you withdraw above 100 USD. Fees vary depending on the country where your card was issued and your country of residence. You can check which fees apply here.Does Wise charge annual fee? ›
Wise Visa debit cards can be used around the world for spending and withdrawals in 50+ currencies, with no foreign transaction fees and no account maintenance charges. There's no annual fee to worry about either - you just pay a low, one time charge to order your card, with no ongoing fees after that. Easy.Is Wise fee cheaper than PayPal? ›
No, PayPal is not cheaper than Wise. That is because they have higher transfer fees and charge recipients a fee for accepting funds. In contrast, Wise provides fee-free balance transfers. Also, these are processed instantly in most cases.Which is better PayPal or TransferWise? ›
TransferWise fees are lower
International transfers in foreign currencies are cheaper with TransferWise. Their currency conversion fees are tiny compared to PayPal's and most banks because TransferWise uses its own accounts in the recipient's country.
- Wise — Best for Low Fees.
- PayPal — Best for Peer-to-peer Money Transfers.
- Western Union — Best for Availability.
- MoneyGram — Best for Cash Transfers.
- OFX — Best for Large Amounts of Money.
- WorldRemit — Best Mobile Option.
- XE — Best for Business Transfers.
- Available for personal and business customers.
- Send and receive payments conveniently.
- Get a linked Wise card for in person, online and mobile spending.
- Great range of multi-currency and international options.
- No ongoing account fees — you just pay for the services you use.
Who pays the fee in Transferwise? ›
You pay for what you use. No more. No less. We believe no one should pay the cost of someone else's 'free'.Does Wise have international fees? ›
With a Wise Debit card, you can spend your own money in over 175 countries and have no foreign transaction fees on your overseas purchases.Why is Wise taking longer to pay out? ›
Once we've received your money, we convert it to the new currency and send it out. This is the quickest part. But banking hours, weekends, and public holidays are out of our control — so this might slow down the process.Does Wise report to the IRS? ›
As and when Wise is obligated to collect and report customer tax and financial information to tax authorities we will do so. In addition to tax requirements, other regulations may require Wise to collect certain data, like transactions over a certain threshold, and report it to regulatory bodies.What is the minimum balance for Wise account? ›
It's free to create a Wise account, and there are never any monthly fees or minimum balances to worry about.How do I put money in Wise? ›
- Go to the balance you'd like to add money to.
- Click Add.
- Choose how much you want to add and the currency you'd like to pay with.
- Select how you'd like to pay, and click Continue to payment.
- Depending on how you'd like to pay, you'll be guided through the payment steps.
- Log into Wise online or in the Wise app. Open the Wise desktop site, or log in on the app for convenience. ...
- Select the balance you want to withdraw from. ...
- Enter the details of the withdrawal. ...
- Confirm the account you want to withdraw to. ...
- Click Send money.
Wise makes money via money transfer fees and ATM withdrawal fees if customers exceed a monthly limit. What's more, the company charges a holding fee for account balances that exceed €15,000 for individuals and €70,000 for businesses. Wise also charges a fixed wire payment fee to users who want to receive U.S. dollars.What is the maximum withdrawal from Wise? ›
|Limits per transaction type||Single payment||Daily|
|ATM withdrawal||Default: 250 Max: 1,000||Default: 250 Max: 1,000|
|Contactless||Default: 200 Max: 400||Default: 500 Max: 1,000|
|Magnetic stripe||Default: 1,000 Max: 1,500||Default: 1,000 Max: 1,500|
|Online purchase||Default: 1,000 Max: 2,000||Default: 1,000 Max: 2,000|
While you're overseas you can spend and withdraw with your card just like you would in the US, and keep an eye on everything with instant transaction notifications in the Wise app. You can also use your app to freeze and unfreeze your card whenever you need to.
Is Wise card free? ›
There's a lot you can do with your Wise card for free. And we charge transparent fees for spending in currencies you don't have in your account and withdrawing cash after a certain amount.Is Wise a good bank account? ›
The multi-currency account lacks some of the frills the other neo-banks already have. However, Wise has a well-established reputation for providing a cheap and reliable service. For now, it is a great choice when most of your money is in a less popular currency.Is Wise safe Social Security? ›
When making a transfer from USD, you need to enter your US Social Security number (SSN) so that we can identify you. It's a completely secure, one-time only verification process that we have to do as part of how we're regulated in the US. We don't run a credit check or share your number.Why does Wise take so long? ›
Once we've received your money, we convert it to the new currency and send it out. This is the quickest part. But banking hours, weekends, and public holidays are out of our control — so this might slow down the process. Tip: If your transfer's urgent, plan around weekends and public holidays.How long does Wise take to transfer money? ›
If you're making a normal transfer, it usually takes less than 24 hours, and at longest 2 working days, for us to convert your money. If there are any hold-ups, we'll let you know. If you're converting money between balances in your Wise account, it's instant.How much does Wise charge to transfer money? ›
What are Wise transfer fees? Wise transfer fees include a low fixed fee (often $0.50 – $1), covering the costs associated with the transaction, and a variable fee covering the cost of the currency exchange. For major currencies this is typically around 0.45% of the transfer value.Why is Wise asking for SSN? ›
When you order your card, we'll ask for your social security number (SSN) and an ID document. We use these only for identity verification purposes. We won't run a credit check or sell your information to third parties. Learn more about social security verification.Why is Wise asking for ID? ›
When you open a bank account, you usually need to take some ID into the bank branch. Wise is no different. We're a financial institution, so we need to know who's using our service. It helps us combat money laundering, and keep everyone's money safe.Does Wise have FDIC insurance? ›
If you've opted-in to earn interest on your Wise account, you are able to take advantage of FDIC passthrough insurance on your USD balance up to $250,000. If you would like to opt-in you can learn more about how your money is held here.How do I use Wise in the US? ›
Wise is easy.
Just tap in how much, and where to. Then make a local payment to Wise, whether it's with a bank transfer, swift or your debit or credit card. And that's it.
Why is Wise refunding my money? ›
The recipient details are wrong
If we don't hear from you in 2 working days, we'll cancel and refund the transfer. And if you edit the details and the payment fails again, we'll automatically cancel the transfer. Please check your recipient's details carefully every time you make a transfer.
According to its status page Wise is currently up. You can check the most recent events in the 'Recent Outages and Issues' section above.What if money is lost in transfer between banks? ›
If the bank initiated the transfer, notify the bank immediately so that it can investigate your claim. If you first contact the bank by phone, it is a good practice to follow up in writing. If you wired the funds through a third party (e.g., Western Union), contact that party to find out what their procedures are.How do I avoid fees on Wise? ›
The easiest way to avoid Wise fees is to pay by bank debit (ACH) for international money transfers under $1,750 or with a bank wire for money transfers over $1,750. Work out how much you will pay in fees with Wise's pricing calculator.