Formerly TransferWise, Wise Money Transfer is a money transfer service that allows customers an inexpensive route to send money from the United States to 80 countries worldwide.
Launched in 2011, Wise is known for its friendly exchange rates, and they allow you to fund money transfers in several ways, allowing you to use your debit card or credit card to send money abroad.
But is it as easy as it sounds? Is Wise a reliable platform to utilize for international money so you can send it to your loved ones whenever possible?
This Wise Review (formerly TransferWise) should help make your decision clearer!
Wise Review: Overview
The two friends from Estonia created the money transfer service while living in the United Kingdom after trying to move their money using their bank accounts.
After expressing concern about bloated exchange rates and bank fees, as well as looking at the actual exchange rate each month on Reuters, they decided to create the formerly TransferWise to help others get around this issue.
In the decade since its inception, Wise now has over 10 million people using their service for international money transfers, with more than USD$6.3 billion changing hands each month.
The company claims their money transfer service has saved people over USD$4 million in bank fees daily, with clients holding balances in 55 currencies. They are a private limited company.
Wise has partnered with companies and banks such as Bolt, GoCardless and Monzo to try and provide their customers with more seamless opportunities to make bank transfers.
Furthermore, Wise has high-profile investors supporting their service including Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson, and PayPal co-founder, Max Levchin, among others.
The company has raised close to USD$396 million thanks to their investment, triggering a growth rate of 150% in 2016.
The following fiscal year, their revenues more than doubled, reported at USD$94 million.
The formerly TransferWise has 14 offices worldwide, ranging from Tampa to Hong Kong to Melbourne.
And, they have an extensive supply chain mainly based in the U.K. as well as the United States and across Europe.
How Does Wise Work?
Before you transfer money using Wise, you can use a calculator on their website to determine what you want your transfer amount to be.
Right away, you will see the exchange rate, the fees you’ll have to pay, and the currency conversion.
You don’t need to log in or set up an account on Wise to use the calculator and work out the currency exchange.
The former TransferWise uses a real exchange rate, the rate you’ll find on independent sources such as Yahoo Finance and Google.
The money transfer service also provides you with a price comparison tool to help your make the best choice for transferring money.
After that, you can set up your free account on Wise.
The person you’re transferring money internationally to does not need to have an account on the website to be able to receive money.
You can use Wise as an individual or you can add your business to your Wise account.
Furthermore, you can sign up for the former TransferWise using your mobile phone, desktop or their award-winning apps, either via your Apple phone or Android.
Depending on where you’re sending money abroad to, you might need to be verified on the website before you can make a transfer.
The verification process typically ranges from 24 to 72 hours (or up to three business days).
From there, you can tell Wise where your international transfers are going, giving details on who and where the receiver is based as well as the local bank details.
Though the person receiving money doesn’t need a TransferWise account to access it, they must have a bank account and a valid account number for it to work.
You can send money to someone else, to your business (depending on where it’s based) or to yourself.
You can make the payment for your transfer using a debit card or credit card.
Alternatively, you can make a local bank transfer to the account Wise has in your country.
If you’re sending money from the United States or Canada, you will need to link your bank account to TransferWise.
However, in other countries, the need to link the two isn’t required.
The rest is done by Wise who uses smart technology to link different local bank accounts worldwide.
The money transfer service then works out the foreign exchange and gives an estimated time of when the money will reach your intended receiver.
Wise assures users that this transfer will be quicker than a bank transfer.
Furthermore, by providing an email address for the person who will get the money, the recipient will receive a notification to let them know that the money transfer is on the way.
The money will go straight to the recipient’s bank account.
Is Wise Legal?
Yes, Wise (formerly TransferWise) is fully legal.
Wise works and is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), with who they renew their registration each year.
It is a licensed transfer provider in every state, as well as Puerto Rico, and is consistently supervised by regulatory authorities located in these states.
In some U.S. states and territories, money transfer services are provided by their partner financial institution, the Community Federal Savings Bank.
This bank is supervised by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency.
In its headquarters in London, the former TransferWise is a licensed Authorised Electronic Money Institution.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) regulate Wise in the U.K. as well as similar regulatory authorities in all of the countries where they are transfer providers.
On the Wise website, they give a full rundown of how they’re regulated in each of the countries where they conduct business and conduct money transfers.
Is Wise Legit?
Wise is one of the most legitimate sources to send money abroad.
They have some of the best exchange rates around and are largely transparent about the services they offer.
They have strong customer reviews with most ratings within the 4-5 ranger out of five for their services.
Wise Review: Is Wise Safe to Use?
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is a very safe service to use. The money transfer service provides security that is institutional-grade.
Wise uses preventative measures to ensure users are fully secured when sending money to different countries.
They use two-step authentication and verification to ensure that all transfers can be done in the safest manner possible.
Money with Wise that is held for clients is held completely separate from the segregated accounts in their business accounts.
This is a Financial Conduct Authority requirement that must be fulfilled.
If Wise runs into any difficulties, your money is will be safe. You can trust Wise with large transfers thanks to the comprehensive security they provide.
What Does Wise Include?
Wise includes several facets that you can use to may a payment or conduct business. The main features to keep your eye on regarding the formerly TransferWise include:
- Money Conversions
- Holding Currencies
- Security Precautions
As mentioned earlier, when making transfers, you should set up your free account with Wise first, then arrange the transfer and work out the currency conversion.
From there, you will send digital copies of your identification for verification purposes.
Once verified, you will submit the bank details of the person overseas who will get the money.
Then, after double-checking everything to ensure your information is correct, you can make the payment, and then you will be able to track the progress of your money transfer.
The transfer fees you’re charged for making money transfers are relatively low.
For transfers, Wise charges a commission fee, which is a percentage of the transfer amount being sent. For some country combinations, they will also charge a fixed fee.
If you’re paying for your international money transfer by using credit cards, you will pay a credit card fee of anywhere between 0.3% and 2%, depending on the currency you’re using as well as the credit card type.
Also, depending on the currency, debit card payments don’t incur fees. But in some cases, you will pay a fee ranging from 0.15% to 2%.
Money can only be moved during normal banking hours.
Delivery can happen quickly once you use your debit or credit card for payment.
However, transfers that are funded with bank accounts can take at least a week given how much time it will take for Wise to receive, convert and deliver your money abroad.
Using an ACH transfer, either via your bank account or by using your debit card, tends to return the lowest fees.
If you’re paying via wire transfer, you will pay the same fee you would pay to make a transfer using ACH.
However, your bank will likely incur added fees for doing so.
Wise uses a mobile app that allows you to send money from your Wise account from anywhere that has internet access.
The app is available for Android, iPhones and iPads.
You can use the mobile app to track the status of your money transfers and cancel them, if necessary.
The Wise mobile app provides you with comprehensive information to help you make successful bank transfers, whether you’re on the internet or at your local bank branch.
Furthermore, you can use the mobile app to send verification documents to approve you sending money around the world.
You can also create Amount Lock transfers on available currency routes. And, you can easily create new transfers using previous details and recipient information.
You can use Google Pay to Apple Pay to make your payment. Plus, you can invite friends to use Wise whenever you’re ready.
Wise uses a borderless account that comes with a Wise debit card to help you spent money at any location worldwide while using the real exchange rate.
With the Wise debit Mastercard, the former Transferwise assures users that while using it, they will get low conversion fees and won’t have to pay a transaction fee or an annual fee.
With the Wise debit card, you can make payments free of charge using currencies in your account.
Furthermore, you get free ATM withdrawals of up to USD$250 every 30 days.
The transfer debit card can be used via the aforementioned mobile app to send money internationally.
And, you can spend money anywhere that Mastercard is accepted.
The card allows for seamless currency exchange as you can send or receive money from your phone.
Their exchange rate and fees are lower than the online money exchange service, PayPal.
Wise allows you to freeze and unfreeze the debit card at any time. Plus you can move money to another bank account for cheap.
Wise uses the mid-market rate for conversions. This means the formerly-known TransferWise will use the most reasonable and accurate rate possible thanks to the mid-market rate.
They also don’t charge an exchange rate margin, one of their more appealing aspects as traditional banks tend to give customers an above-margin rate, with the margin being a part of their fees.
They will lock the exchange rate for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours so you’re not left exposed to any fluctuations with currency once you have completed payment of your money transfer.
You need to send Wise the money in the specified time frame, or else the exchange rate and the amount that’s being received by the recipient won’t be guaranteed.
Their rates are updated multiple times each day.
Wise holds currency thanks to their multi-currency account.
On its website, Wise states that its multi-currency account is seven times cheaper than using traditional banks. And. there are no hidden fees involved.
The card can be used worldwide and only costs $USD9 to get.
You can receive payment like a local in 10 countries, getting a U.S. routing number, a U.K. account number, A Euro IBAN, and more.
Wise uses the real exchange rate to convert. And, each currency is held for free.
You can send money to up to 70 countries with a low and transparent fee, using direct debits.
The multi-currency account also allows users to shop online, always paying at real exchange rates and always paying with money from the country you’re from.
This Wise account allows you to avoid dynamic currency conversion fees.
Wise takes several precautions with each bank transfer or money transfer being conducted via its service.
Funds are protected in segregated accounts that are independent of Transfer Wise business accounts.
The company uses industry-standard HTTPS encryption to ensure fully safe transactions.
Wise also does regular checks to protect against potential fraud and money laundering. They comply with strict regulations in every country they conduct business with.
An in-house digital security team is also in place on a 24/7 basis to monitor transactions, detecting any suspicious activity or attempted logins from unverified sources.
With ID verification and their two-step authentication when logging into their website, Wise goes above and beyond to ensure safety for its customers whenever they conduct business.
Wise Business Review
Wire offers a business account that spares business persons of the high fees and other issues that come with dealing with a bank.
The business account allows businesses and companies to transfer money at will.
You can make payments using invoices at an exchange rate considered favorable to banks.
Wise Business also allows companies to pay employees without transaction fees.
Plus, your business can get a routing number, an IBAN, and/or a sort code in one account.
Furthermore, you can receive money from overseas and avoid exorbitant recipient fees or currency conversion fees.
All payments are streamlined, only requiring the recipient’s bank details to proceed.
You can make batch payments at any time, sending a spreadsheet with details with each transfer and allowing money to be sent to the bank account of each employee simultaneously.
Businesses can also add team members to the account to help with payment.
All past payment info is saved so you can send money to the recipient’s bank account without having to fill out details at every turn.
Wise Review: How Fast Is Wise?
According to Wise’s mission update, they report that more than one-third of their customers receive money in their bank account within 20 seconds of the money transfer being finalized.
More than half of consumers report getting their money within an hour while over 80% of their customers had to wait a business day to receive money.
Speed of transfer will rely on the countries involved, in some cases.
Currency conversions can take up to two business days to complete.
However, Wise insists that this is a rare occurrence and is working to make transactions instant, regardless of the country they’re sending or receiving funds from.
How quickly the money reaches can also depend on how quickly the bank can process your money.
Where Can You Use Wise Money Transfer?
You can use Wise’s money transfer in a wide array of countries and currencies.
You can use Wise in five continents, including more than 30 European countries, North America, Asia, Oceania, and Africa.
Some of the European countries that use Wise include:
In Africa, the routes that Wise cover include:
- South Africa
In the Americas, bank transfers and other transactions can be made to/from counties like:
- United States
In Asia, routes covered by the formerly-known TransferWise include:
- Sri Lanka
- Hong Kong
In Oceania, the service can be accessed in Australia and New Zealand.
What Currencies Does Wise Transfer Use?
You can add money to your bank account in 19 currencies that include:
- USD (United States)
- CDN (Canada)
- EUR (Europe)
- GBP (United Kingdom)
- NZD (New Zealand)
- AUD (Australia)
- BGN (Bulgaria)
- JPY (Japanese Yen)
- SGD (Singapore)
Is Wise Trusted?
Wise is one of the most trusted transfer providers around.
They have received a 10/10 trust and credibility rating via Monito, a comparison service that looks at a variety of money transfer services to help senders decide the best ways to transfer money internationally.
They have also received high trust scores from consumer review website, Trustpilot.
Additionally, based on the many positive customer reviews they receive, they have built a strong trust with their customers.
Wise Cancellation and Refund Review
The ability to cancel an international transfer depends on what stage of the transfer you are at.
According to the Wise cancellation policy, you can cancel at any stage of the process until the money has been sent out to the recipient.
If you’ve just setup your transfer and want to cancel, you can simply go to the home page on the website, click ‘Cancel Transfer’ and either indicate that you have or haven’t paid.
If you have made a payment, you can enter bank details if necessary.
If you’re in the process of transferring money, you can follow the same cancellation process.
It will take a few business days for the funds to return to your bank account.
If the money is being processed, that means that Wise has it and is doing currency conversion.
You may be able to press ‘Cancel Transfer’ if you can still see the button. If not, then you should reach out to customer support to have them cancel it.
Their currency conversion doesn’t take long, so you should reach out to customer support as soon as possible.
However, if your international transfers have already been sent out, Wise can’t do anything to refund it unless the bank details for the recipient are wrong.
If that’s the case, the bank will reject the transfer and send the money back to Wise who will then ask whether your want to send the amount again or if you want a refund.
How Much Is the Fee for Wise?
As mentioned, fees will range up to 2% when you use your debit or credit cards for international money transfers on the formerly known TransferWise.
They declare all fees upfront and don’t use hidden fees.
The is a 1% for transfers from the United States in USD and around 0.5% for most other transfers.
Can Wise Be Used for Large Amounts?
Wise has an upper limit of USD$1 million for transfers being sent to the bank account of a recipient overseas.
They do apply limits depending on how your send money and those limits can change depending on which currencies and countries are involved.
If you’re sending more than USD$10,000, it’s likely that you’ll have to submit additional documentation or identification to verify your transfer.
Wise Review: Pros and Cons
Quick Delivery – A transfer can be completed is seconds whenever you use your debit or credit card.
Transparency – There are no hidden fees and Wise declares all their fees upfront, including transfer fees. Plus, they go through stringent verification to ensure that every transfer being made is in good stead.
Currency Conversion – Using the borderless account, an electric money account, you can send, receive and/or convert your currencies in the same account. They also hold currency at a considerably cheaper rate than traditional banks do.
No Exchange Rate Markups – They don’t use exchange rate markups on their transfers unlike many banks and transfer providers.
Slow Bank Delivery Times – If you use a bank account to fund a transfer, you may have to wait up to a week as each step involved (receipt, conversion and delivery) can take days.
Limited Phone Support– If you want to reach their customer support in the United States, phone service is limited during business hours as you can only reach them between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST from Mondays to Fridays when you want more information about your international transfers.
Wise Review: Is Wise Better than Western Union?
Because of the friendlier exchange rates and the fees involved, you may consider it as a better option than Western Union.
However, which one you choose will depend on the details of the international transaction you’re conducting.
Comparison services like Monito and MoneyTransfers.com have given Wise a higher rating than Western Union due to having a less complex fee structure and not having exchange rate markups, which Western Union uses.
Wise Review: Is Wise Good?
Wise is a very creditable service that has increasingly gained traction with customers for being tech-savvy, transparent, and offering multiple payment options so money reaches your recipient’s bank account as soon as possible.
Is Wise Right for Me?
If you’re in or sending cash to a bank account in one of the participating countries, Wise is right for you considering the fairness of the exchange rates they use, the fact that there are no hidden fees, and the ease of use across several platforms.
They also deal with countless currencies and you don’t have to use several accounts to hold them.
Wise Reviews by Customers
“Love TransferWise! Within the first month I had saved well over 60% on my usual monthly bank fees as I’m living abroad and am constantly using different currencies. Absolutely love the new feature of the ‘jars’ for saving money now too. Best decision I ever made moving to TransferWise – a complete game changer to old ridged banking systems. Thank you!”
“The fees that are charged by transferwise are extremely competitive and its debit card is very useful, specially if you travel and deal with several currency at the same time. It’s become the bank I use the most.”
Final Review: Is Wise Worth It?
If you’re looking to make any type of international transfers, whether via debit card, credit card, or wire transfer, the service may well be worth it for you or your business based on this Wise review.
The account is free to start, the fees are manageable and you can easily access a refund if something goes wrong.
You may well find it to be a wise investment.