Should I use Wirex for money transfers?
Services Offered by Wirex
Wirex Review: Executive SummaryNotice: Through consultation with the FCA, Wirex has temporarily halted new UK client registrations. Given recent press coverage we would strongly recommend not using the service. Eventually, Wirex withdrew from the FCA register (source)
Wirex is a digital financial services company that offers a variety of products and services to its clients. The company offers a range of products including a prepaid debit card, a mobile app, and a virtual currency exchange. The company also offers a number of other services such as merchant processing, money transfers, and crypto trading. The Wirex platform is very similar to digital challenger banks like Revolut and Monzo.
As our focus solely on international money transfers, there are simply better choices available in the market.
Not Top 10 Ranked
Where is Wirex Available?
Our Top Rated Wirex Alternatives
- Min Transfer: £/€/$ 100
- Currencies Supported: 39
- Offices : UK, EU, USA, India, South Africa.
- Our Rating : 97.8%
- Most Global Offices and Reach
No Fees from Anywhere and Competitive Rates
96% Client Satisfaction
- Min Transfer: £/€ 100
- Currencies Supported: 40
- Offices : UK, EU, Singapore, and Australia.
- Our Rating : 93.4%
- High Quality Bespoke Service
MoneyFact's Best Provider Award
Over 100 Years of FX Experience Across Its Trading Desk
- Min Transfer: £/€/$ 50
- Currencies Supported: 120
- Offices : UK, EU, USA, HK, and UAE.
- Our Rating : 92.8%
- Business Oriented, Many High Profile Business Customers
Industry Veteran since 1979
Diverse Hedging Options and Excellent Guidance
Is Wirex Safe?
Launched in 2014, the premise of Wirex made perfect sense. As Wirex’s CEO and co-founder Pavel Matfeev puts it, “We don’t think that customers need to choose between the novel crypto world and familiar traditional money; we believe these two ecosystems can and should coexist. At the end of the day, we want to give customers a choice, so people can decide what’s better for their particular problem. Only when people see real benefits, such as cheaper and quicker money transfers or transparent fund tracking, will we reach mass market and mass adoption.”
Given the success of digital challenger banks such as Revolut, Monzo and Starling Bank, we can understand why a fintech would want to build on this approach with the addition of crypto. Moving money between crypto and traditional ‘fiat’ currencies has been a pain point for customers for many years, with many of the leading crypto exchanges still unable to process fiat withdrawals. In 2015, the firm developed the world’s first crypto-enabled payment card that gives users the ability to seamlessly spend crypto and traditional currencies in real life.
Nowadays, with a team of over 200 staff and nearly 3.5 million customers across 130 countries, the company offers multicurrency accounts that allow customers to easily store, buy and exchange multiple currencies instantly with live rates on one centralised mobile app. Quick and simple crypto transfer options are available, as well as the freedom to spend 150+ traditional and cryptocurrencies in more than 61 million locations around the world using the Wirex card/mastercard payment network.
After many years of successful growth and happy customers, Wirex appears to be encountering some major issues in 2021. One recent article, points to some very serious issues, which we won’t re-list here as Wirex points to them being defamatory but we encourage you to conduct your own research. One thing that can’t be contested is the huge swathes of disgruntled customers who are seeing access to their accounts frozen, an inability to withdraw money and a lack of response on these issues from the Wirex customer service team – some queries outstanding for over a year! As it stands there are a lot of people unable to get their money back and the FCA have asked Wirex to temporarily halt all new client registrations in the UK.
Looking at Wirex’s expansion into the US, if we take a look at a recent blog from Wirex, it shows the firm was taking the correct approach to ensure it was regulatory compliant and working with the correct authorities. Authorised by the FCA under the electronic money regulations 2017 and registered in the EEA as an e-money institution with the Bank of Lithuania, the firm appears to hold the relevant licensing to conduct its activities. Still though, even with the correct licensing in place, it doesn’t exclude the firm from potential money-mismanagement. Given the number of complaints the firm has had in March 2021, we definitely think it’s best to hold off on registering and see how this all pans out for now.
Cryotoassets are provided by Wirex Ireland Limited and regulated for the EEA.
Traditional currencies are provided in the EEA by UAB Wirex, authorised by Bank of Lithuania as an e-money institution. Traditional currencies are provide
The core principles of Wirex, which aim to reduce the barriers of moving money between crypto and fiat currencies, and improve the capabilities of spending crypto funds, are admirable. There’s certainly a gap in the market for such a service and no doubt the near 3.5 million sign ups attests to this.
For many years, the firm enjoyed rapid growth, driven by a slick digital product that on the most part, seemed to operate just fine. Though issues with poor customer service appear to be deep rooted and go back to even when customers reviews of the Wirex app were largely positive.
The firm partners with some mammoth financial institutions including Mastercard, Visa and Ralisbank – which would usually attest to the reliability and credibility of the firm. Recent press releases and customer complaints, however, have serious cause for concern and we would not recommend registering for the service right now. As it stands UK citizens are unable to register for Wirex anyway. On some customer complaints it would appear that account freezes have been in relation to the UK leaving the EU and Wirex not acquiring the relevant licenses to continue its UK operations. If this is true, it is dreadful preparation – it had been evident for a long time that the UK would lose its EU financial passporting rights after the end of the transition period. The best rated international money transfer companies were well across these regulatory changes and customers experienced no disruption as a result.
Wirex Customer Reviews
- 7,469 reviews on TrustPilot (3.4/5)
- 1,991 reviews on App store (4.2/5)
- 19,802 via Google Play (3.7/5)
True as of March, 2021
- Great app, quick and easy to use
- Cryto Reward Program (Rewards in WXT their own crypto)
- Easy to use card abroad, little issues
There are many negative Wirex reviews which are of a similar ilk to this user’s comments, “Stay safe – stay away. As it is clear to everyone now – wirex steal your money! No customer service, only customer scam… So many people have had money stolen from these scammers.”
- Poor/non-existent customer service
- Lots of reports of funds being removed from accounts and then accounts frozen
- Difficult to withdraw funds and close an account
Out of 7,469 reviews on TrustPilot, 59% of reviews rate the firm five stars – excellent. 10% of reviews rate the service as great, 3% rate the service average, 3% rate the service poor and 25% rate the service as one star – bad. The most worrying thing is the severity of the customer complaints and shift in how frequent the bad reviews are. For a long time the service appeared to be working pretty much OK but the majority of the bad reviews have been left this year. The bad reviews also appear to be mainly from UK citizens who are experiencing account freezes with no way of removing money from their accounts. So there’s a chance this could be a result of the firm failing to plan for Brexit. We will have to wait until the FCA’s findings are released to know for sure.
It should be noted we don’t like the way the firm responds to negative Wirex reviews on TrustPilot at all – the responses are generic and completely seem to fail to comprehend the magnitude of the complaints.
Wirex Exchange Rate & Fees
Getting a Wirex card and corresponding current account is free. The firm runs three monthly payment plans as follows:
Standard plan – FREE. Gives everybody the chance to benefit from game-changing features like the new multicurrency Wirex card, 0.5% Cryptoback™ in-store, unlimited free fiat-to-fiat exchanges and fee-free transfers.
Premium plan – SGD 9.99 per month. The same revolutionary features as Standard, plus a whopping 1% Cryptoback™ in-store and online, 2% annually on the balance of your WXT account and free express delivery for your new multicurrency Wirex card.
Elite plan – SGD 29.99 per month. The ultimate Wirex experience, combining cutting-edge features with turbocharged rewards that are not available anywhere else. A gargantuan 2% Cryptoback™ in-store and online, 6% Savings Bonus on your WXT balance, free express delivery for the new multicurrency Wirex card and exclusive merchant offers*.
Depending on the currency of your account, the following fees and limits apply:
Account fee: FREE
Multi-sig crypto accounts: FREE
Multi-sig fiat accounts: FREE
Card maintenance fee: FREE
Card issuance: FREE
Card replacement: Free
Card delivery (Standard): Free
Card delivery (DHL Express courier): SGD 5-25
Fiat exchange: UNLIMITED
Crypto exchange: Limit varies depending on the currency from which the conversion is performed.
Crypto transfer OUT per transaction: USD 10k
Per day: USD 50k
Credit / Debit card top-up (confirmed): USD 5000
Credit / Debit card top-up (unconfirmed): USD 50
Card spend limit per transaction: SGD 5000
Maximum account balance: UNLIMITED
ATM withdrawals: SGD 250 per day
Minimum transfer is $1 and no explicit maximum upper limit, customers have flexibility when using Paymentearth. The exchange rate spread is reported to be as good as 0.5%, which is very reasonable and comparable to TransferWise’s dollar margins. Payment fees are also never going to be more than $8 (free when LOCAL) and is much cheaper than you would be receiving from a US bank.
Overall, this is competitive pricing, though it is usually preferable for customers to have just a fixed conversion fee instead of two different ways of losing money. What is impressive is that they calculate the exchange spread (they call it a conversion fee) next to the interbank rate, which is going above and beyond in both transparency and functionality.
Wirex Global Reach & Service
- Dedicated Dealer: None
- Offices: London, Singapore, Kyiv, Tokyo, Toronto, Dallas, Dublin and Atlanta.
- Ways to approach: In App Chat
- Translations: English only
- Accepts clients: 130 currencies for crypto. UK, EEA & Singapore for multicurrency traditional accounts.
- Currencies Handled: 18 (9 traditional, 9 crypto)
- Client reviews: 3.4/5 TrustPilot
Wirex’s crypto offering is available in an impressive 130 countries. As we know, cryptocurrencies are currently less regulated than traditional fiat currencies, so this may explain why Wirex was able to enjoy such rapid growth to so many countries.
In the UK & EEA individuals can access the Wirex Multicurrency Mastercard, allowing users to spend their balances at over 60 million merchants around the world. In Singapore it’s called the Wirex Multicurrency Travelcard (supplied by Visa) allowing users to spend wherever Visa is accepted.
Wirex is currently going through the correct due diligence protocols to launch its multicurrency account and multicurrency travel card in the USA & Japan.
No additional features specifically relate to international payments. International bank transfers aren’t possible, just conversion between 9 traditional currencies in your Wirex account and a currency card which is linked to your Wirex account. Allowing you to spend your Wirex balances around the world. Users cannot even conduct spot transfers to normal bank accounts and certainly not Forward Contracts.
Being a digital banking solution for both traditional and crypto currencies, Wirex offers:
- Multicurrency digital bank accounts
- Buy and sell crypto
- No fees for fiat to fiat FX conversion (between Wirex digital accounts)
- Multicurrency card
The idea behind Wirex is for it to act as an alternative bank account for both traditional and crypto currencies, in this sense it allows travelers who are on the move to withdraw money from ATMs and make point-of-sale card payments. In terms of international payments though, the service is still limited.
There is no ability to make international payments to other bank accounts (you can send money between Wirex users) but the idea is it’s very much designed to help you manage your own finances as opposed to sending money to others.
As it stands, the number of currencies offered is considerably less than some of the other money transfer companies we review here but they do have the added functionality of nine cryptocurrencies. For customers looking to make international transfers or have any requirement to hedge their international exposure then Wirex is not for you.
The tech capabilities behind Wirex seem impressive. Being able to pay for things wherever you are in the world with an international currency card and achieving the interbank exchange is as good as it gets. Being able to move money between your multicurrency accounts between both traditional ‘fiat’ currencies and crypto currencies is an added bonus.
Its compliance and operational procedures appear to leave a lot to be desired. Whether it is intended or simply miscompetence, there are a lot of unhappy users who are unable to access their money as things stands – in many cases individuals feel like they may have lost thousands of pounds. The issue appears to be impacting UK users and we await updates from the FCA.
Regardless of these issues we also have to consider how effective Wirex is for managing international payments through traditional currencies, as this is the primary focus of our reviews. Hedging tools such as forward contracts and FX swaps are not possible, nor are limit orders or batch payments. In this sense the firm isn’t applicable at all but we understand this is not what it originally set out to do. Wirex is much more closely aligned with the likes of Revolut – who let you spend with an international currency card at interbank exchange rates and trade crypto too.
Right now, given the compliance issues surrounding the firm, we strongly suggest not registering until a full review has been conducted and guidance is received from the FCA. If you’re planning on using the firm for international money transfers, then know this just isn’t possible, regardless of the outcome of the FCA’s findings.