Tatiana Gomzicova
Tatiana Gomzicova
Tatiana is CMO and FinTech expert at AskWallet.

Are Wise exchange rates actually so competitive?

Wise (formerly Transferwise) is a provider for fast international peer-to-peer transfers. It convinces with easy, fair, and convenient transfers with lower fees. If you are looking to make an overseas bank transfer securely and cheaply, you can consider Wise other than banks.

7 min read 21.03.2021

What is Wise?

Wise is the UK's leading peer-to-peer online foreign currency money transfer service. The service's website supports ten site languages. Users may easily send money to over 59 countries, getting the lowest fees compared to a few major banks and PayPal. The transfer costs depend on the exchange rate, the amount, and the payment method used. You see what you receive through Wise, but other financial companies would charge for currency exchange.

 

It costs nothing to open a multi-currency account (formerly called "Transferwise Borderless account”) and supports many currencies. It differs from a regular bank account; users do not receive any interest or overdraw their accounts. You can send, receive, or exchange money - all in one account. 

You can always access your funds anywhere globally with the Wise Debit MasterCard (available for many countries). One of the key benefits is that there are no international transfer fees and significant exchange rate fees.

 

Being a transparent and cheapest currency payment solution, it is ideal for businesses and self-employed individuals who do business in multiple countries. Not only is it a service to pay or get paid by a transfer, but you can also link a bank card that lets you spend your money with ease. This service is mostly intended for travellers or individuals, and companies doing international activities. 

 

Customers mostly have a very positive review of this service. A few customers complained that there were delays in transfers depending on the country, and some highlighted that the refund process took much time. In my opinion, this is not entirely the service's fault. There are many factors involved. For instance, a refund can take longer if a credit card made the payment. If it were a bank transfer, it would hardly take 1 to 3 days.

 

How safe is Wise?

Wise follows the regulations set out by the FCA (UK), FinCen (US), and other regulatory bodies in each country it operates. Your Wise account is as secure as a conventional bank account. With its bank-level security, this service never sells its users data. Its in-house security team regularly monitors security threats and suspicious transfers round the clock. Additionally, all customer funds are treated as separate from the company accounts. In case of insolvency, the user accounts will remain separate from the assets and secure from any third-party claims. Even if the service gets into any financial trouble, users can rest assured that their capital would be protected. 


 

It is impossible to deposit money from the account of someone whose name does not match your profile. To make payments, user identification is a must. Additionally, no payment will be made without paying Wise the funds in advance. Therefore, your transfers are always safe with Wise.

 

Wise payment methods for money transfer

Depending on the sending and receiving currency, these payment methods are available to users:

 

  • Bank transfer.
  • ACH direct debit.
  • Credit and Debit card.
  • Apple Pay and Google Pay (in some countries). 

 

Why use Wise?

Among various money transfer services, Wise fees are significantly lower than traditional banks. First, I will discuss the charges. If you use your bank account for SEPA transfers, you would not have paid any additional commissions. However, when it comes to international transfers that involve a currency conversion, you must add up additional charges. Using Wise assures me that my total cost would still be lower than the traditional banks depending on the sending and recipient destinations. 

 

International transfers are costly, and often users need to pay up to 3%-6% fees on the transfer amount. But Wise would only charge a maximum of 1%. For example, if you transfer from a Euro to a USD account, the Wise cost would be around 0.51%. You would be paying only 0.45% when moving funds to an account in British Pounds. The pricing calculator offers a preview of what charges you need to pay to send money or use various functions of your multi-currency account.

 

If you use a credit card for making payment, you will pay a fee of 0.3% - 2% along with an additional fee charged by the receiving bank. Debit card payments are free in some countries, or you may be charged up to 0.15% - 2%. Overall, Wise charges are very reasonable, and you will be paying only a small portion of the transfer amount. Here, I will point out that depending on your country, transfers in some currencies (Japanese Yen, South African Rand, USD, for instance) via Wise are sent over the SWIFT network and involve receiving bank fees. I would advise checking with the recipient bank for the charges applicable to receiving SWIFT currencies. 

 

For the exchange rate, Wise does not charge any surcharge as it uses the real rate. This is the fairest rate users will get. Furthermore, it is guaranteed for a period of 2 to 72 hours and does not change even if the real exchange rate was changed between the time of the order and execution. In short, Wise assures that the payee will get the agreed transfer amount. 

 

In case of any other additional fees and delivery time, Wise is a better option than banks. Wise transactions (sending and acceptance of funds) are carried out through domestic accounts. Suppose, if you are transferring money from country “A” to “B,” there is no fee from sending and receiving banks in case of Wise. The funds from your account are received by Wise’s domestic account in the country “A” and never leaves the border. Instead, the recipient will receive the amount through another Wise domestic account in country “B.” Thus, users avoided paying an exorbitant international fee because Wise carried out the process simply and remarkably, i.e., two local transfers. So, there are no longer processing times in contrast to a typical international bank transfer. Wise has accounts all over the world to be able to guarantee these services.

Pros & Cons

  • Wise is entirely transparent about the transaction fees
  • There are zero hidden fees
  • A free multi-currency account that supports 40+ currencies
  • Real time conversion at the real rates within your multi-currency account
  • Send money transfers to more than 59 countries
  • Business account allows access to several users
  • No minimum transfer amount
  • Track transfers in real-time via the app or the website
  • The Wise business account can only be linked to one corporate debit card
  • Some currencies and countries are still missing
  • No option for cash or check pickup (like Xoom); only bank transfers are allowed
  • Upon reaching a certain transfer threshold, the service required additional documentation—failure to comply results in freezing or suspension of the account

Conclusion

Overall, Wise is a great platform to send funds internationally. Its lower fees, streamlined registration process, excellent customer service, and higher transparency ensures that the service only gets better. Additionally, fixed costs stated upstream and real exchange rates applied, users need not worry about any unpleasant surprises. This is also evident from the high percentage of positive customer reviews. It supports all major currencies and complies with FCA rules to guarantee users that their funds are safe. Without logging in, you can use the fee calculator and quickly see the exchange rate and the amount the recipient will receive. This exchange rate is guaranteed for the next 2-72 hours. In my view, Wise is a reliable and low-cost method to send money depending on the country. It does not charge any hidden fees and only takes a smaller percentage of the transfer amount.

FAQ

How to receive money through Wise?

You can get funds in your Wise account by following these steps:

 

  1. Login to your account. 
  2. Select the currency balance from the Wise app or website.
  3. Tap on “Get bank details.” If you are clicking for the first time, there are additional requirements.
  4. Share the details with the sender.
  5. The funds will be credited directly to that currency balance of your Wise Multicurrency account.
  6. I would advise checking this link to know more or contact Wise support from your account.
How to close Wise account?

Before closing your account, you need to ensure zero balance in every currency. Then delete each currency with emptied balances. To withdraw funds from a selected currency balance:

 

  1. Choose a currency balance from your account’s home page.
  2. Tap on “Send.”
  3. Select the bank account for sending money.
  4. Select “Send it all.”
  5. Confirm the transaction.
  6.  

You can close all currency balances one by one after they are emptied. I advise checking this link to know about the cancellation of Direct Debits

How to make a transfer with Wise?

To make a transfer:

 

  • Log in to your account and click on “Send Money” from a currency balance.
  • Enter the amount.
  • Specify the transfer type (it is a personal transfer if you are using your personal account).
  • Enter the required details.
  • Enter the recipient details and add a reference.
  • Review the details and select transfer type. After you choose how to pay, Wise lets you know about the fees and the time it will take for the funds to arrive.
How to withdraw money from Wise?

You can withdraw funds only to your bank or via Wise debit card at ATMs and cash out funds. To know more about the Wise fees and limits, check this link or use the pricing page.

What is the maximum amount you can send through Wise?

The Wise limits depend on the currency you have selected to make payments and send and receive funds. To view the limits for available currencies, check this link or contact support by logging in to your account.

How to receive money through Wise?

You can get funds in your Wise account by following these steps:

 

  1. Login to your account. 
  2. Select the currency balance from the Wise app or website.
  3. Tap on “Get bank details.” If you are clicking for the first time, there are additional requirements.
  4. Share the details with the sender.
  5. The funds will be credited directly to that currency balance of your Wise Multicurrency account.
  6. I would advise checking this link to know more or contact Wise support from your account.
How to withdraw money from Wise?

You can withdraw funds only to your bank or via Wise debit card at ATMs and cash out funds. To know more about the Wise fees and limits, check this link or use the pricing page.

How to close Wise account?

Before closing your account, you need to ensure zero balance in every currency. Then delete each currency with emptied balances. To withdraw funds from a selected currency balance:

 

  1. Choose a currency balance from your account’s home page.
  2. Tap on “Send.”
  3. Select the bank account for sending money.
  4. Select “Send it all.”
  5. Confirm the transaction.
  6.  

You can close all currency balances one by one after they are emptied. I advise checking this link to know about the cancellation of Direct Debits

What is the maximum amount you can send through Wise?

The Wise limits depend on the currency you have selected to make payments and send and receive funds. To view the limits for available currencies, check this link or contact support by logging in to your account.

How to make a transfer with Wise?

To make a transfer:

 

  • Log in to your account and click on “Send Money” from a currency balance.
  • Enter the amount.
  • Specify the transfer type (it is a personal transfer if you are using your personal account).
  • Enter the required details.
  • Enter the recipient details and add a reference.
  • Review the details and select transfer type. After you choose how to pay, Wise lets you know about the fees and the time it will take for the funds to arrive.
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Tatiana Gomzicova
Tatiana Gomzicova
Tatiana has a first-class degree from the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, specializes in financial technologies and cryptocurrencies. In her spare time she enjoys long walks on the beach.