fbpx

Wise Review 2023 (Transferwise) – Is Wise Safe? Is Wise Legit?

By 
Alon Rajic
Last Edited Jan 01, 2022

Should I use Wise?

Cons:

  • There are better rated alternatives on MoneyTransferComparison
  • Not optimal for large transfers - no dedicated currency dealer, no flexibility in margins, no hedging and no guidance
  • We have doubts about the long term business model - prices increased 2020 -> 2021 -> 2022 and we believe will continue rising
  • Wise CEO Kristo Kaarmann is currently being investigated by the FCA for tax default
  • Currently only guarantees exchange rates for 2 hours
  • It costs money to hold Euros in your Wise account (2022 update)

Pros:

  • Really good online system with a strong UI
  • Very usable money transfer app (rated 4.1 / 5 on Google Play, 4.6 / 5 on Apple Store)
  • A strong multi-currency account and multi-currency card for travel offering
  • Transparent exchange rates / fees, clear to know what you are paying

What is Wise (ex-TransferWise)

Transfer Money to a Bank Account Abroad (Or Another Wise Account)  + 5

Official Website:

Wise Review: Executive Summary

Wise, formerly TransferWise, is currently the largest money transfer company in the UK boasting £6bn in monthly turnover. Wise.com pride themselves on a transparent fee structure which overs around 0.5% in fees as the fixed rate for all transfers. The online system is easy to use and users are almost unanimously satisfied, with more than 150,000 customer reviews collated across the internet. The Wise app is also highly rated with ratings of 4.1 / 5 on Google Play and 4.6 / 5 on Apple Store. Wise downsides include a platform that is less geared towards high-sum transfers, as it does not offer a bespoke currency brokerage services as do competitors like Currencies Direct, TorFX, or moneycorp.

Wise is completely safe to use, and Wise, traded on the stock exchange as LSE:WISE, is indeed a legit company. Millions of other Brits, Europeans, Australians and Americans use its services on a constant basis.

Click here to visit Wise (TransferWise).

Overall rating86.6%
  • star-100
  • star-100
  • star-100
  • star-100
  • star-0
Updated on Jan 01, 2022

Current Rates?

🏆 5 Industry Awards (2013-2019)

Where is Wise Available?

Is a Wise account the best choice for sending money abroad?

We believe that Wise is one of the best, and safest, options for

  • Transferring smaller amounts of money abroad online.
  • Multi-currency bank accounts to receive and hold money (other than Euros which incur a holding fee).
  • Multi-currency bank account with a multi-currency debit for travel.
Minimum transfer:
£1
€1
$1
CA$1
AU$1

At the same time, we believe Wise (Transferwise) may not be the optimal choice for transferring large amounts of money, and the reason is that its pure “online” journey is lacking in comparison to currency broker who provide a far better guidance along the way. As per our industry knowledge and speaking to prospective and current customers in this space, clients feel SAFER when using a broker and speaking to a currency dealer than using Wise which is all online service, with no dedicated dealer function.

We have listed the top Wise alternatives below.

Which Are the Top 3 Wise Alternatives & Competitors?

Below you can find Wise alternatives that we rated with a higher score than Wise, a subset of our selection of best international money transfer services. These Wise competitors have a more close-up-and-personal type of touch for customers moving larger volumes of money, business clients, financial professionals and those wanting to hedge fx risks (use a Forward Contract for example).

moneycorp
  • Min Transfer: £/€/$ 250
  • Currencies Supported: 120
  • Offices : UK, EU, USA, HK, and UAE.
  • Our Rating : 92.8% 🌟Best for Large Transfers🌟
  • Business Oriented, Many High Profile Business Customers

    Industry Veteran since 1979

    Safest and Most Geared Towards Large Amounts

    Up Close and Personal Service by Professionals

    Fix Today's Rates for Up to 2 Years with a Forward Contract
OFX
globalreachsmalltable
  • Min Transfer: £/€ 1,000
  • Currencies Supported: 138
  • Offices : UK, Europe.
  • Our Rating : 90.6%
    TrustPilot Rating : 4.3 / 5
  • Very Quick to Respond in a Friendly Manner

    Competitive Rates and No Wire Fees

    Very High Customer Satisfaction

    Operating from Cornwall, Less Operating Costs Rolled Over to Customers

    Directors Have Dozens of Years of Industry Experience

… does the fact we have higher rated providers mean that Wise is unsafe or a scam? of course not. Money Transfer Comparison has determined that Wise is safe to use, and there’s a legit company behind it – read below.

Is Wise.com Safe? Is Wise Legit?

Company overview:

Wise, formerly TransferWise, has been one of the hottest startups to emerge over the last ten years and is considered a market leader in the Fintech sector, with a valuation of $11billion dollars. It has grown at a staggering pace, seeing its value soar by billions of dollars between each funding round it has completed, resulting in an $11billion valuation following Wise’s direct listing on the London Stock Exchange in July 2021. In its latest quarterly trading report, Wise reported moving £20bn in transfer volumes between Oct – Dec 2021 (an average of circa £6.6bn per month)  . There are currently more than 2200 employees working for Wise.com in numerous offices across 4 continents around the world.

Note: This Wise review for 2022 was updated to reflect the company’s new brand, Wise Money Transfers, and its new fee scheme since going public via direct listing in the London Stock Exchange in July of 2021.

Wise, previously known as TransferWise, has definitely come a long way since its inception in 2010 (launched in 2011). It was established by two Estonian Fintech innovators, Taavet Hinrikus, (Skype’s first employee) and Kristo Käärmann, both of whom were working in the UK, and experiencing the high costs of bank-powered international money transfers. Quite early on in their journey to lower the costs of cross border remittances, they received a massive shot of encouragement in the form of two mega-investors who believed in the idea, and jumped on the Wise wagon. These two investors were PayPal’s co-founder, Peter Thiel, as well as Virgin’s founder Richard Branson.

Here is a complete overview of then- TransferWise’s investment rounds, prior to going public in 2021:

Series

Amount Invested

Investors

Pre-speed



$68,400

SeedCamp (VC)

Seed



$1,300,000

Index Ventures (VC), IA Ventures (VC), The Accelerator Group (VC), Kima
Ventures (BV), Seedcamp (VC), Max Levchin

Series A



$6,000,000

SV Angel (VC), Valar Ventures (VC), Peter Thiel

Series B



$25,000,000

Valar Ventures (VC), Peter Thiel, Richard Branson, Index Ventures (VC),
IA Ventures (VC)

Series C



$58,000,000

Anderson Horowitz (VC), Index Ventures (VC), IA Ventures (VC), Seedcamp
(VC), Valar Ventures (VC)

Series D



$26,000,000

Anderson Horowitz (VC), Valar Ventures (VC), Baillie Gifford (PLC
Company)

Series E



$280,000,000

Andreessen Horowitz and Mitsui & Co.

Total to date



$396,368,400

Anderson Horowitz (VC), Index Ventures (VC), IA Ventures (VC), Seedcamp
(VC), Valar Ventures (VC), Peter Thiel, Richard Branson, The Accelerator Group (VC), Kima
Ventures (BV), Seedcamp (VC), Max Levchin, Mitsui & Co.

Information from Angel.co

Secondary Share Sales

In May 2019 Wise announced it raised an additional $292 million through a secondary share sale – at the time valuing the company at $3.5 billion.e. This took the total funding in the company to a mammoth $689 million.

In July 2020 Wise money transfers confirmed a new $319 million secondary share sale, valuing the company at $5 billion dollars. Making it the second most valuable FinTech in Europe.

Direct Listing on the LSE – July 2021

In what was perhaps an understated move for a listing of this size, Wise went public in July 2021 via a direct listing. The move means no new shares were created for the firm and only existing shares kicked off trading on the LSE. Making Wise the largest company to perform a direct listing on the LSE that isn’t already traded on another stock exchange.

The listing, which was said to be driven by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak in order to boost the UK economy, shows the increasing importance Fintechs are gaining in the market against traditional banks.

Wise shares opened at £8 a share, giving the company a market value of £8 billion ($11 billion), Twice the valuation it had received from private investors in 2020. By September2021, Wise shares were valued at £11.50, representing a 30% increase in value over its first two months being public. However, this gain was short lived and as of June 2022 the share price has slumped to £3.60. This raises an important question – will Wise continue to honour its low fee model or will users be in for a shock if the firm seeks to boost its return for investors? More on this in our fee section below.

From TransferWise to Wise

Transferwise rebranded itself to Wise (wise.com) just prior to the IPO in order to better reflect the full range of financial services it provides – much more than just Wise money transfers.. For example, they offer wise bank accounts which are used by over 10 million people to live, work, travel, and do business around the world (accompanied by the Wise debit card).

Co-founder and CEO of Wise Kristo Käärmann had this to say on the announcement, “Today our name catches up with who we’re already building for — a community of people and businesses with multi-currency lives… Wise is for all of us who live, work, travel, or support family around the world. It’s for those of us who want to cut out the middlemen that hold us back from being truly borderless.”

At MoneyTransferComparison our review will continue to focus primarily on TransferWise/Wise international money transfers. We also take a look at the Wise multi-currency account  (formerly Wise borderless account) as this plays a central role in making and receiving money transfers.

CEO Kristo Kaarmann Faces FCA Investigation After Tax Breach

In July 2022 it was announced CEO Kristo Kaarmann is being investigated by U.K. regulators after tax authorities found he failed to pay a tax bill worth over £720,000. Kristo Kaarmann has already been fined £365,651 by HMRC for defaulting on the tax bill in 2018. The FCA is now looking into whether Kaarmann failed to meet regulatory obligations and standards. The investigation could have significant ramifications for Wise and its chief executive Kaarmann who could be forced to step down and cease working in the industry if regulators deem he fails the “fit and proper” test. The investigation remains ongoing and advisory group Glass Lewis warned investors that any regulatory investigations into directors should be a cause for concern and legal proceedings could dent the valuation of Wise.

How Wise Works - TransferWise "Peer to Peer Money Exchange"
System

In its earlier days, the then Wise marketed itself by saying it was the world’s first and only Peer to Peer money transfer provider. The logic was simple – Wise would be able to beat the banks by finding two clients who need to transfer money in opposite directions (say, one client is transferring Pound to Euro, and the other one is exchanging Euros for Pounds). This way, they claimed, the savings would be immense.

What they didn’t take into consideration is how volatile the market is and the fact people normally want to trade money instantly. Similarly, if there are large payments that Wise customers wish to make or there are significant flows into certain currencies (say EUR for example), it is difficult or even impossible to match those flows in the opposite direction. Long story short, Wise dumped this way of marketing themselves, and over recent years has made no reference on their website to the terms “peer to peer money transfer” or “peer to peer currency exchange”. The sheer volume Wise transacts these days (at least £6billion a month) means it will access cheap liquidity from its banking partners.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t peer to peer money transfer companies out there! Competitors Currencyfair (appearing on this page under “Wise vs Currencyfair”) is definitely putting the idea into practice. Using the Currencyfair money transfer , clients have the choice to either make a normal transfer for a rate provided to you by Currencyfair, or try to find a match and only trade if the peer-to-peer model is successful and currency flows in the opposite direction to yours (in which you will pay as little as 0.15% of your transfer).

TransferWise advertising campaigns:
The company has advertised heavily on billboards (including in the London underground), as well as on television and
online. It is constantly covered by financial and technology journalists around the world, and has managed to get
into the mainstream quicker than any other company in the money transfer industry.

Its campaigns were so effective, and so memorable, that even large banks began noticing them. The old slogan “YOUR
BANK IS SECRETLY OVERCHARGING YOU ON INTERNATIONAL MONEY TRANSFER” was adjudicated by The Advertising Standard
Authority, following complaints from these banks.

TransferWise has suffered additional obstacles as a result of its advertising campaigns. In May 2016, the advertising watchdog commanded TransferWise to be more specific about the savings it offers in each route, in comparison to banks, rather than saying that it helps clients save 90% of transfer costs. TransferWise has also been mocked by the AmericanBanker magazine, as the company is now seeking bank funding. Our take on this? TransferWise is catching fire because it is growing at such a rapid pace. As a Branson-backed company, it appreciates any form of attention – positive or negative, and it works out perfectly.

You can’t knock Wise for their transparency either – sure they can be rather punchy with their marketing campaigns but there’s an obvious reason why Wise are happy to publicise their exchange rates and fees online but mainstream banks aren’t. Wise has nothing to hide – no wide spreads or sneaky payment fees.

Awards
Mozo Experts Choice Awards – Australia’s Best International Money Transfer Provider, 2019

WEF Tech Pioneer in 2015

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK 2015

FT’s Boldness in Business Award, 2014

Best European Startup, Europas European Tech Startup Awards, 2013

MTC-WF
REGULATION: Financial Conduct Authority Financial Transactions
and Reports Analysis Centre Australian Securities and Investments Commission Customs and Excise
Department FinCEN Reserve Bank of India Kanto Local Financial Bureau Japan Department of Internal Affairs New Zealand
Conclusion
Wise(ex-TransferWise) is probably the hottest name in the whole money transfer industry. Established by notable entrepreneurs who became aware of a significant problem and sought to fix it, the company is taking an entirely different approach from the rest of the remittances industry. Wise is safe and legit.

Its low rates, transparency, great on-boarding process and mind-blowing advertising campaigns have gained it a status as one of the largest payment providers in the world. This is a “startup” that is already moving billions across the globe and fighting with industry giants like Western Union and Moneycorp.

There is absolutely nothing to be concerned about when you use a Wise account to move money abroad. Wise is as safe as can be. It has a sound financial structure, a solid business model, and it is the absolute epitome of client transparency. After many years of focusing on client acquisition and growth it has turned profit for the last three years and investors are more keen than ever to get on board. The company is now available in more than 71 countries and moved £20bn in the last three months alone, with millions of clients from around the globe and an extremely high level of satisfaction.

Wise is not a scam, although some people tend to think it is because of the ultra-friendly rates, while in fact, it is one of the most credible companies in this industry.

More recently you may have spotted Wise opening an office in Belgium. The firm took the pro-active decision to gain a European licence in Belgium so even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, where UK financial services firms would lose their ‘EU passporting’ rights, they could continue to offer the same great service. In the end, whilst a deal was made the UK/EU trade deal did not cover financial services, so it was a safe and very smart move indeed.

We are concerned about CEO Kristo Kaarmann’s current investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority. Whilst we’re well aware of finance magnates managing their finances offshore, it’s not very often they fail to meet their UK tax obligations. It certainly seems an unusual case and one we’ll have to follow closely.

90% Credibility Score.

Do Clients Like Wise? Wise & Transferwise Reviews
from Across The Web

Research

There are 158,000+ Wise/ Transferwise reviews (more than any other company in the foreign currency payments industry) available on TrustPilot, netting the company a 4.5 / 5 rating as of June 2022. Slightly lower than the 4.7 / 5 rating the firm scored at the end of 2020.

Less than 6% of these reviews are complaints, and 94% of them are positive.

A small amount of the reviews seem to be placed by marketers who are promoting the service (trying to push their discount codes), but the amount is rather insignificant. Seemingly, Wise’s advertising campaigns have paid off and gained it serious recognition.

Advantages +7
  • Works “as expected” – no glitches
  • Easier to on-board with than other companies
  • Better rates than other companies and banks
  • Accurate and timely
  • Responsive and kind support
  • Polite and non-pushy approach
  • Easy to learn how to use
Disadvantages -5
  • Excessive requirements for documents in order to sign up
  • Some Debit and Credit Cards were not approved for use
  • Delayed transfers
  • Rude customer service
  • Some currencies are not available in the system
Conclusion

Clients seem to be almost unanimously satisfied with every aspect of Wise’s service. Some students, expats, and immigrants have even said that this company has made a substantial change in their lives.

It appears that the main appeal of Wise (Transferwise)  for clients, even more than the fair and transparent exchange rates it offers, is the smoothness of the entire experience. An automated online on-boarding process is a huge advantage for the younger generation, and they have become avid users. The words that keep popping up in client reviews are ‘quick’, ‘efficient’ and ‘painless’. The smaller number of complaints we have encountered do appear to contradict the very things most clients praise about the service.

For example, some are complaining about the rudeness of the customer service. There are however thousands of reviews that support how kind and respectful the support was. Given the sheer growth of the company it is possible some staff are not as well trained as others. It must also be considered that the support team are not foreign exchange specialists – they can guide you through the Wise platform but won’t discuss external factors that could impact the rate you achieve – if you’re looking for this then you should consider  Currencies Direct or WorldFirst.

The same goes for the unpopular opinion that transfers are often delayed – this seems to be related to a specific problem at a specific time for a specific client, rather than an across-the-board problem. The most common reason it looks like these payments are being delayed is for compliance purposes as more information about the payment is required. This is certainly not an issue individual to Wise and is common across both banks and other money transfer providers.

Whether it’s for proof of payment or for opening an account, those complaining about excessive documentation appear to be unaware of the strict Anti-Money Laundering regulations that these sorts of companies must comply with. If additional documents are required, it is simply because the local regulator for the required jurisdiction (such as the FCA) demands that from the firm. Similarly if you’re required to send supporting documentation for a payment (this is usually quite rare) then it is simply the firm ensuring they are not facilitating an illegal transaction.

The critics that complain of unsupported currencies are justified, as Wise doesn’t support as many currencies as some of its competitors like Currencies Direct, but we can’t downgrade Wise’s score based on that, as it’s very clearly stated on their website which currencies are handled and which ones are not. Clients who are complaining about this have simply failed to read the information that is readily available.

 Wise Review by our reader Wasim Chamma, submitted May 22, 2021

“4 years of experience, a summary review. Here’s my review of Wise (previously known as Transferwise) after 4 years of experience with them, so it’s not a shallow, neither haters nor excited person’s review.

To start, I joined Wise before they had their local support in my country and I had all contacts via overseas, even  had their debit cards sent to me from overseas, and I was all excited to start this neiche P2P exchange. started by adding funds to the account by directing few payments from overseas to it and I’m all happy with the exchange rate, the speed of transfers and ease of use. Soon after I was so happy to start recommending it to friends, local businesses and family.

Some of whome already joined and started exchanging and transferring through them thanking me for it. It’s all good and happy land while using the account occasionally.

And now when I started using the account seriously (when I decided to direct my BnB (Bed & Breakfast) share of private work to them) and they started blocking incoming payments till I ask my clients for their private details (D.o.B & residency details). I was uneased about it but continued working, to find out few days later (with no warning, no notice of any breach) all of the sudden when I was using the app I got the notice “your account was deactivated contact the appeals team”. which was all weird. I thought it was a mistake till I saw the same on mobile browser and on laptop too. 4 days later (after my email to appeals team trying to find out and being proactive about any details that might mistakenly triggering any AI to alert my account) they came back to me saying that they’re reserving their reasoning and will block my account. So now a week with no access to my money nor ability to trade summarises services through your network.

Summary: it’s all nice and happy till someone in the accounts team decides to deactivate your account, and they’ll do it with no hesitation nor explanation or reasoning, while breaking your access to your assets and stopping your operation.
I feel sorry to all the reffers I did previously as these people will suffer just like I did.”

95% Client Feedback Score.

Wise Fees and Wise Exchange Rates

Research

Fees:Wise regularly updates its pricing model in line with the costs it experiences. In each update, some currency corridors become cheaper whilst some corridors increase in price. In recent years, a decision was made by the firm that prices would be based purely on the costs incurred which were relevant to the particular currency/country that were involved in your payment. Rather than subsidising certain routes with income made from other currencies.

So any cost savings Wise / Transferwise can make in Australia for example can be passed onto savings for consumers purchasing AUD. Transferring money from around the world incurs variable fees with Wise but they are as low as under 1 Euro for most destinations from Europe, and less than £1 for transfers from the UK. Payments from the USA are slightly higher at a cost of $4.77, though the US is notorious for having high payment fees – whether you pay by ACH or wire transfer. Just be sure to fully understand the pricing structure for your currency corridor, particularly if you are trading any exotics.

The pricing is so carefully modelled that not only is the size and speed of payment considered, Wise also alters their payment fee depending on where your destination of payment is. So any cheaper payout method the firm can employ, Wise can then pass this saving onto the consumer too.

As of November 2022, Wise was even able to remove fees for same-currency transfers of Sterling, Euro, Hungarian Forint and Singapore Dollar. Interestingly, the reasoning provided by Wise as to why they were able to make the move was due to the higher rate of return they had been receiving on the customer deposit balances that they had been investing.

Lars Trunin, UK head of product at Wise, said: “We’re happy to be in a position to pass on the economic benefits from the balances customers are holding with us through these new prices”. In this sense, Wise very much  goes against the grain in the industry and is the only known provider to invest its customers’ deposits, as opposed to simply holding these funds in segregated accounts at major banking institutions. Wise is completely transparent with regards to the banks it holds customer deposits with and the investments it makes and Wise has invested customer deposits into what it regards as low-risk assets – UK and US Government bonds. All information is available from wise.com but it’s something for you to decide if you’re happy with it.

Exchange Rates: Here is the complete fee structure for payments sent in the currency specified below and converted to GBP (note payment fees and spreads can vary slightly depending on where money is being sent so be sure to use Wise.com’s online calculator first):

Currency Sent

Wise.com Fee October 2022 Updated


AUD

0.32% – 0.45%, depending on amount sent + $ 0.66 AUD fixed payment fee.


BRL
2.07-2.14%, depending on the amount sent + R$ 4.26 BRL fixed payment fee.

CAD

0.37% – 0.53%, depending on the amount sent + $ 3.47 CAD fixed payment fee.


CHF

0.28% – 0.42%, depending on the amount sentr + 0.75 CHF fixed payment fee.


CZK

0.34% – 0.47%, depending on the amount sent + Kč 7.39 CZK fixed payment fee.


DKK

0.36% – 0.49%, depending on the amount sent + kr 2.67 DKK


EUR
0.31% – 0.47%, depending on the amount sent + € 0.46 EUR fixed payment fee.

JPN

0.72% of the amount that’s converted + ¥ 91.00 JPY fixed payment fee.


NZD

0.35% – 0.45%, depending on the amount sent + $ 0.41 NZD fixed payment fee.


TRY

1.03% Fee + ₺ 21.78 TRY fixed payment fee.


USD

0.31% – 0.47%, depending on the amount sent + $4.25 USD fixed payment fee.

Compare Wise Money Transfer and Paypal Fees

As Wise, formerly TransferWise, is a completely “online” platform that enables people to send money abroad, it is
often compared to Paypal, one the world’s largest online payment providers.

MTC_Icon-56-travel_money__gray.svg
Destination

Fees__gray.svg
Real Exchange Rate

Fees__gray.svg
Amount Received for £1,000:


Australia

1 Pound is $AU1.73 AUD

1,707.33 AUD

1,650.30 AUD


UAE

1 Pound is 4.87 AED

4,793.55 AED

4,647.56 AED


Canada

1 Pound is $CA1.71 CAD

1,682.04 CAD

1,630.82 CAD


Switzerland

1 Pound is CHF1.33 CHF

1,323.19 CHF

1,270.00 CHF


Eurozone

1 Pound is €1.14 EUR

€1,135.16 EUR

€1,089.53 EUR

Please note these are simulated prices and not the real rates and mistakes can occur in calculation or in our foreign currency exchange rate feed

Wise Fees 2021, 2022 vs TransferWise Fees 2020
Currency SentTransferWise Fee 2020Wise Fee Q1 2021Wise Fee October 2022
AUD0.31% – 0.41% + 1.14 AUD0.32% – 0.45% + 0.6 AUD0.32% – 0.45% + 0.66 AUD
BRL2.51% + 2.40 BRL2.55% – 2.6% + 1.48 BRL2.07% – 2.14% + 4.26BRL
CAD0.49% – 0.59% + 0.87 CAD0.46% – 0.59% + 1.77 CAD0.37% – 0.53% + 3.47 CAD
CHF0.22% – 0.32% + 0.64 CHF0.3% – 0.43% + 0.58 CHF0.28% – 0.42% + 0.75 CHF
CZK0.3% – 0.4% + 11.84 CZK0.33% – 0.45% + 6.50 CZK0.34% – 0.47% + 7.39 CZK
DKK0.26% – 0.36% + 5.29 DKK0.31% – 0.44% + 2.32 DKK0.36% – 0.49% + 2.67 DKK
EUR0.23% – 0.33% + 0.67 EUR0.28% – 0.41% + 0.50 EUR0.31% – 0.47% + 0.46 EUR
JPN0.63% + 185 JPY0.63% + 63 JPY0.72% + 91JPY
NZD0.27% – 0.37% + 2.12 NZD0.35% – 0.49% + 2.05 NZD0.35% – 0.45% + 0.41 NZD
TRY0.4% + 7.46 TRY0.66% + 10.57 TRY1.03% + 21.78 TRY
USD0.27% – 0.37% + 1.23 USD0.31% – 0.41% + 6.25 USD0.31% – 0.47% + 4.25 USD

The Wise pricing update in 2021 looked to have increased variable fees for a number of currencies when being converted to GBP. The fixed payment fees  came down slightly vs 2020 but it’s the variable fee (processed as a %) which has a much larger impact on the price you have to pay for your transfer.

Compared to 2020, USD saw an increase in both the variable fee/spread and the fixed payment fee. The best rate possible on a USD transfer used to be 0.27% but , in 2021, it moved to 0.31%. The fixed fee of $6.25 was much higher compared to the $1.23 fee in 2020, though it is still some way short of the $40+ US banks charge for international payments and this fixed fee has come back down to $4.25 in the October 2022 update.The 2022 update for Wise money transfers hasn’t seen a huge change to pricing but it has impacted some important corridors. Payments sent from GBP and EUR have become more expensive and bearing in mind a large majority of Wise’s 6 million customers are based in the UK & Europe, this is likely to have a big impact. A payment from EUR to GBP used to be capped at 0.41% but is now capped at 0.47%. A payment from GBP to EUR used to be capped at 0.35% but could now be up to 0.41%.

There has been a notable increase in fees for sending money from TRY, a variable fee of 1.03% replaces the old fee of 0.66% and the fixed payment fee increases from 10.57 TRY to 21.78 TRY.

Despite the changing nature of fees over the last couple of years, the exchange rates offered by Wise currency transfers are among the best in the business, and in no way comparable to other remittance companies (i.e. companies with low minimum transfers used by overseas workers to transfer money abroad to families). For instance Ria Money Transfer and Transfast’s margins are around the 2-3% mark! Their commitment to passing on savings is even shown by the small micro changes they make to payment fees, such as when sending money from EUR where the fixed fee has moved from 0.50 to 0.46. Many firms would not bother with small amendments to fees like this at all.

In some particular countries, Wise is cheaper (for example, the UK), while in Canada and the USA, it is great, but not as cheap as in other countries. Wise is a good option for sending money to/from some traditionally difficult markets for remittance, such as India and Indonesia, where brokers will traditionally charge you a much higher fee.

In some countries, like Brazil, Wise is making strides to reduce the overall cost of transfers but we’re sure Wise hasn’t been able to reduce fees by as much as it would like. These are currencies that are usually more expensive to transfer money from anyway (“exotic”) and at 2.14% the offering from Wise is a little below the 2.5% average in the market. As always Wise tries to give you savings where possible though – a payment from the UK (GBP to BRL) attracts a spread of 1.18%, whereas flip this and make a payment from Brazil (BRL to GBP) and you’ll see a spread of 2.14%. That’s why it’s always worth using the Wise free pricing calculator so you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need to pay.

Q3 2022 – Another Price Hike

Wise has recently raised prices again on the 1st October 2022 when you send money from USD, CHF, CAD, JPY, HUF, MYR, TRY, INR, SEK, PLN, CZK, DKK, NOK and RON to any other currency and when you send money to USD, INR, THB, PHP, IDR, MYR, MXN, PLN, PKR, KRW, VND, MAD and HUF from any other currency.

The reasoning provided by Wise was twofold; firstly, they explain that foreign exchange markets have been more volatile in recent times and that this has made it more expensive for them to buy and sell currencies. Secondly, the increase is required so they can continue to sustainably invest in their payment infrastructure to offer a faster and more convenient service.

Can Wise Continue to Honour its Low-fee Approach now its Publicly Traded?

The reasoning provided by Wise for its price hikes to GBP and EUR in June 2022 was that they themselves were starting to incur higher transfer costs from banks and other providers in these regions. Whilst we have no reason to doubt this, we can’t help but wonder if the company will soon start to come under pressure to boost its returns now that it is publicly traded. Since its listing in July 2021 the Wise share price has fallen by more than 50%. Originally trading at 880p, the share price peaked at 1150p a couple of months after launch, before it gradually slumped to 311p in June 2022. Since then, it’s been better news for Wise as their FY2022 financials reported big YoY increases in trading volumes, turnover, gross profit and EBITDA. Seeing their share price rebound to 680p by October 2022. However, this still remains around 25% down on its opening price.  Wise CEO and co-founder Kristo Käärmann has always had a steadfast commitment to drive the cost down for the end consumer but 2022/23 could prove his toughest test of nerve to date.

Is it possible to beat Wise’s rates with popular currencies like EUR, USD, AUD?

The fact that Wise is transparent and straightforward is generally very positive, but it is the company’s disadvantage when it comes to high volume transfers. Due to the fact that other companies like Currencies Direct have flexible pricing models, if the transfer is over GBP 25,000 (or equivalent in another currency), it is likely that they could offer cheaper rates than Wise. However, it’s always recommended to use Wise as a benchmark before you approach other recommended companies and negotiate your price. Conducting a cheap money transfer comes down to a number of factors and to have all bases covered, it’s best to see our guide to the cheapest way to transfer money internationally.

Wise First Trade Free

If you’ve been invited by an existing customer then Wise offers new clients the chance to conduct their first trade for free up to a certain cap (the purpose of this is to check how the system works rather than moving tens of thousands abroad without paying a dime).

Limits: Wise.com has variable limits for each currency route.

Currency

Limitation


NZD

NZD 85,000


AUD

AUD 1,500,000


USD

USD 1,500,000


EUR

EUR 1,200,000


RON

RON 5,300,000


SEK

SEK 1,000,000,000


CAD

CAD 70,000

Conclusion:

Wise, formerly TransferWise, is cheaper than almost any competitor when it comes to small or medium-sized transfers inside Europe. Its 0.3%-0.5% margin on major currencies, with small payment fees, represents an average saving of approximately 0.5%-1% against the average quote from other companies for small transfers.

With some destinations, it is not necessarily the cheapest even for smaller transfers, but as long as the margin is at 1% or less, it will be around what other companies are offering.

For large transfers their pricing system is definitely beatable by traditional FX institutions, such as Moneycorp. Furthermore, some destinations like Canada,
Australia or New Zealand have transfer limitations that prevent sending large amounts with Wise (or sending it in several instalments).

To summarise, this is a very good choice for remittances and small transfers. The company specialises in European
corridors.

97% Fees, Exchange Rates.

Global Reach & Service

Research:
Dedicated Dealer: No.
Offices: UK (2
Offices)
Belgium USA Australia Estonia Hungary Japan UAE Brazil Ukraine Malaysia Singapore

Ways to approach: Email, Chat or Telephone

Translations:  Italian, French, Russian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian,
Turkish, Japanese.

Accepts Clients: Listed Below.

Currencies Handled:  49 – 21 you can both BUY and SELL + an additional 28 currencies BUY ONLY (i.e.
send money to)

Client Reviews: Love the support team.

Conclusion:

Wise has a very unique model when it comes to international money transfers. Other companies are usually more oriented towards a dedicated service and appeal mostly to clients who want to transfer £5,000+, and specifically focus on clients who need to move tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds. Wise, however, provides sharp margins to everyone and encourages clients of all sizes to use their system, while not offering dedicated dealers, hedging or any of the “complicated” options for large private clients or business clients.

That creates a situation in which Wise Money Transfers is a great solution for people who want to conduct smaller transfers and is a valid solution for those who need to move large amounts abroad – but not every person who wants to move big volumes is happy to do the entire transaction online.

New on Wise:

  • Wise is now supporting the USD / MXN Corridor
  • Wise is now accepting Canadian clients
  • Wise launches local CAD Wise bank accounts (Feb 2021)
  • Wise accepts Interac e-Transfers to fund deals from Canada (2022)
  • Wise launches Wise debit card in Canada + Brazil (2022)
  • Wise multi-currency account launched in Malaysia (2022)
  • Send money to Touch n Go and BigPay eWallets in Malaysia (2022)
  • Some more from Indonesia – previously 315m IDR, now 1.39bn (2022)
  • Link UK bank account and transfer directly within Wise app (2022)
  • Send money to bank cards and Alipay wallet in China (2022)

Clients accepted from:

ContinentCountries
EuropeAustria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,
Finland,
France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania,
Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK
AmericaAll US states except Hawaii and Nevada, Brazil, Canada
Australia and OceaniaAustralia, New Zealand
AsiaHong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE
AfricaMorocco, South Africa

 

85% Global Reach, Availability, Service Score

Additional Functionalities

Research:
Hedging:

None. Spot contracts (instant currency exchange) only.

Wise Debit Card:

The Wise debit card is available to both private and corporate clients, for use online and in-person at any
mastercard
accepting merchant around the world. Simply preload funds into your wise bank account and spend anywhere in the
world
with the wise debit card.

Wise Multi-Currency Account (formerly Wise Borderless Account)

The wise account allows clients to both make and receive payments and hold balances in over 40 currencies. In 10 countries, the Wise bank account is held in-country. For example a EUR account is held in Europe and includes a European IBAN account number, a USD account is held in the USA and comes complete with a US routing number and a GBP account has a UK account number and sort code. This makes it easy to make payments like a local and avoid excessive international transfer fees. The other 40 or so Wise bank accounts, which are not held locally, have a UK account number format and IBAN and are based in London. The Wise multi-currency

Below is a recap provided to us by Wise/Transferwise explaining the entire functionality offered by the Wise multi-currency account:

  • Make international payments up to 19x cheaper than PayPal and up to 8x cheaper than regular
    banks
  • Receive payments into a Wise bank account from overseas without high recipient or conversion
    fees
    – including platforms like Amazon and Stripe
  • Get unique account details for UK (including UK account number and sort code), Europe, US
    (including US routing number), Canada, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary & Turkey
  • Hold and convert between 50+ currencies all through one Wise account
  • Use the wise debit card globally to spend from your Wise balances
  • Make & handle payments via desktop or mobile app on Android & iOS
For Online Sellers and Freelancers:

“Request Money” functionality – an option to send a payment request through the Wise system that auto-generates a link enabling the person/company sending the payment to move money via Wise.com easily into your Wise bank account,
similar to Payoneer’s receive money system.

Wise Business Account:

The Wise Business Account allows SMEs to hold funds and make/receive payments without the high rates, hidden charges and monthly fees that SMEs have come accustomed to. Key features include:

  • Pay invoices and suppliers, buy inventory, handle payroll, in 70+ countries
  • Make up to 1000 payments in one go via a batch CSV file or automate payments via API
  • Send USD, EUR & GBP payments to recipients all over the world eg. USD payments to Chinese suppliers
  • Synch your Wise accounts with Xero, QuickBooks & FreeAgent
  • Settle up to 80 bills in one process with QuickBooks
  • Allow your team to spend online and in-store with the Wise business debit card
  • Add team members to help with reporting and payments via multi-user access
  • Support CVS, XML and PDF for statement downloads
Rate Alerts:

“Request Money” functionality – an option to send a payment request through the Wise system that auto-generates a link enabling the person/company sending the payment to move money via Wise.com easily into your Wise bank account, similar to Payoneer’s receive money system.

Wise.com App:

An intuitive and attractive app, which receives a 4.5 / 5 rating from over 108,000 user reviews on Google Play. The app focuses on the actual functionality of sending money, and does so well, with very few bug reports. Customers can also view their Wise account balances and convert currencies between their different Wise bank accounts.

Mobile Transfers in Australia:

Connect your Wise USD account details to 6,000+ apps in the US with Plaid. Making it easy to move money between Wise and a number of popular finance apps like Venmo, Robinhood, Mercury, Chime and many more. This means customers no longer have to move money to a legacy US bank before using any of these apps, making it easier to side-step the cumbersome and expensive traditional banks.

Mobile Transfers in America:

Connect your Wise USD account details to 6,000+ apps in the US with Plaid. Making it easy to move money between Wise and a number of popular finance apps like Venmo, Robinhood, Mercury, Chime and many more. This means customers no longer have to move money to a legacy US bank before using any of these apps, making it easier to side-step the cumbersome and expensive traditional banks.

Payroll Partnership with Deel:

Wise has had a multi-year partnership with global payroll provider Deel, allowing Deel customers to make payroll payments in AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HUF, JPY, MYR, NOK, NZD, PLN, RON, SEK, SGD, TRY, USD. Recently, they even expanded the offering to allow Deel customers to make payroll payments just by using the employees’ email address. This raises a good point about much of Wise’s additional functionalities – they may not necessarily be available directly on the Wise platform and other businesses integrate with Wise technology via API in order to improve the offering of their fintech business.

Conclusion:
The app is definitely ideal for immigrants and expats who are sending money constantly. However, using hedging tools such as forward contracts and limit orders, is really problematic if you want to use Wise for a large transfer(or for your business). There’s very little offered by Wise.com besides sending money using credit cards, or bank transfers.

67% Added Values Score

 

Wise vs OFX vs WorldFirst vs Currencyfair vs Revolut

Wise vs OFX

OFX had been in the business for twelve years when TransferWise emerged, and until the Wise era they were considered the hip cross between financials and tech (not yet to be named FinTech back then). OFX prides itself in a great online system and registration process, much like Wise.com, but also has a team of dedicated support staff who are available locally to each country in which they operate. These are foreign exchange experts who can provide an update

Wise (TransferWise)OFX
Safe?Yes, regulated by FCA and many more regulatory bodies. Transfers dozens of billions in
foreign exchange each year, servicing millions of clients.
Yes, regulated by FCA and many more regulatory bodies. Transfers billions in foreign
exchange each year, servicing millions of clients, and doing so for more than 20 years. Australian
headquartered and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
FeesRanging between 0.24% for CHF transfers to 2.14% for BRL (Brazilian Real). On average it
is about 0.5% – 0.6%.
The rate varies depending on the size of payment, but based onour data averages at
approximately 0.5% to 0.6%. Clients who move larger volumes should negotiate an improved rate with
OFX vs Wise.
Dedicated DealerNo. You will get all the support for system issues/help you require but currency
guidance is not offered.
Yes. You will be matched with one person taking care of your FX needs and you will be
dealing with them exclusively. They will escort you through trades.
WebsiteWise.comOFX.com

Wise  vs WorldFirst (business clients and online sellers)

Behind Wise, WorldFirst is arguably the second largest money transfer company to emerge from the UK. Originating in 2004, it’s also been around for seven years longer. Whereas Wise launched with the idea it would be built around a slick, online offering, WorldFirst began as a traditional currency brokerage and steadily built its tech solutions to be one of the leading payment providers for online sellers and SMEs. The WordFirst tech may not be quite as slick as Wise but a number of positive traits have continued from their original launch – customer service is paramount, FX forwards are possible and SMEs transferring enough volume will be assigned their own dedicated dealer to discuss a tailored currency strategy, unique to the requirements of their business.

Wise (Wise Account)WorldFirst (Global Account)
Type of ClientsAll clients, all transfer sizes. Business, online sellers, and private customers are
welcomed.
Only business and online seller clients. Private customers are not welcomed.
Safe?Yes, regulated by FCA and many more regulatory bodies. Transfers dozens of billions in
foreign exchange each year, servicing millions of clients.
Yes, regulated by FCA and many more regulatory bodies. Transfers billions in foreign
exchange each year, servicing millions of clients, and doing so for more than 15 years.
FeesRanging between 0.24% for CHF transfers to 2.01% for CLP (Chilean Peso). On average it
is about 0.5%.
0.5% flat rate for transfers of all sizes above £1,000. Clients who move larger volumes
can get 0.15%-0.25% margins.
Dedicated DealerNo. You will get all the support for system issues/help you require but currency
guidance is not offered.
Yes. You will be matched with one person taking care of your FX needs and you will be
dealing with them exclusively. They will escort you through trades.
WebsiteWise.comWorldfirst.com

Wise vs Currencyfair

Similar to Wise, Currencyfair is another company we think highly of. When you look at Wise vs Currencyfair you will notice many similarities. Two innovative companies which are constantly gaining market-share and offering tremendous rates. View the comparison below.

Wise
Currencyfair
Safe?Yes, regulated by FCA and many more regulatory bodies. Transfers
dozens of billions in foreign exchange each year, servicing millions of clients.
Yes, regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland as well as by
several other regulators. Transferred over £1bn since inception.
FeesRanging between 0.31% for USD transfers above $135,000 to 2.6%
for BRL transfers. On average, for popular routes, it is about 0.5%.
As low as 0.15% FX margin if a transfer is matched through the
online platform. If not, then reportedly 0.4% average margin of transfers of all sizes.
Dedicated DealerNo. You will get all the support you require but currency guidance
is not offered.
No. You will get all the support you require but currency guidance
is not offered.
WebsiteWise.comCurrencyfair.com

Wise vs Revolut

Revolut and Wise have crossover on two of their most popular products – online money transfers and multi-currency accounts (Revolut has its own version of the Wise multi-currency account and Wise debit card). They are two of the most successful Fintechs to have launched in the UK and both boast many millions of customers. Wise launched with money transfers and expanded into digital banking, whereas Revolut began with digital banking (and an international currency card) and then expanded into online cross-border money transfers. Nowadays, it looks like each of these tech companies is looking to expand and disrupt into different areas of financial services.

Wise
Revolut
Safe?Yes, regulated by FCA and many more regulatory bodies. Transfers
dozens of billions in foreign exchange each year, servicing millions of clients.
Yes, regulated by the FCA as well as in the US, Australia and
many more countries. Again, transfers billions each year.
FeesRanging between 0.31% for USD transfers above $135,000 to 2.6%
for BRL transfers. On average, for popular routes, it is about 0.5%.
0% to other Revolut users. No fee on FX transfers if under your
rather low £1k limit. 0.5% for international transfers above this.
Dedicated DealerNo. You will get all the support you require but currency guidance
is not offered.
No. You will get all the support you require but currency guidance
is not offered.
WebsiteWise.comRevolut.com

Wise Review Scoreboard
87%
87 of 100 1 review
  • Credibility Score - 90%
    90%
  • Client Feedback - 95%
    95%
  • Fees, Exchange Rates - 97%
    97%
  • Global Reach, Availability, Service - 85%
    85%
  • Added Values - 67%
    67%

Wise Review Summary

Wise, previously Transferwise, is a behemoth in the international money transfer space and that’s due to unprecedented level of transparency coupled with a very powerful online trading system and mobile app. Wise Account enables customers from all over the world to make payments for cheap as well as receive foreign exchange payments into their Wise.com account. Wise money transfers is an excellent “do it yourself” solution for individuals and businesses alike and the user experience is potentially the best you can find in the money transfer space.

With that being said, the Wise (Transferwise) money transfer experience is not for everyone. Based on customer surveys, there is a significant amount of customers who don’t feel safe about DIY methods when it comes to transferring large amounts of money abroad (or receiving it). They want a designated account manager with expertise in foreign currency who is able to assist at any point, with payment procedure or guidance on trading, and they want it readily available by a local professional — and that’s what Wise doesn’t offer. Wise is an online money transfer system and is not a currency broker, and hence we believe is less apt for large volume money transfers.

Subscribe
Notify of

233 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments