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SendWave Money Transfers Review

Sendwave is an international money transfer service that focuses on remitting money from the US and Europe to Africa and Asia. The app-based company is constantly expanding their global coverage and endeavors to maintain zero transfer fees. This review of Sendwave will evaluate the quality, speed, cost and customer support,, presenting specialist alternative operators in any cases where the company falls short of industry standards.

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About Sendwave

Sendwave was created in 2011 by two engineers from Brown University; Drew Durbin and Lincoln Quirk. Receiving investment from Kholsa Ventures, Founders Fund and Y Combinatory, Sendwave set up headquarters in Washington, United States. Operating as a money transfer app, the company mission statement is “to offer customers a fast and secure way of sending money from the US and Europe to Africa and Asia”. 

The objective of this review is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of Sendwave to help our users decide if this operator is a good match for their remittance requirements.  

Sendwave exchange rates, fees and costs

First we will identify the overall cost of any forex markups, transfer fees and other charges associated with Sendwave transactions.

Exchange rate

Sendwave turns a profit by charging a currency conversion spread that is worse than ranges between 1 – 3% above the mid-market rate. At the time of writing (Dec 21), available currencies include GBP, EUR, USD, BDT, GHG, KSH, NGN, and more. 

By charging customers 1 – 3% higher than the true market value, Sendwave is able to make a profit but still maintain a more competitive, low-cost service than what mainstream banks can offer. 

Transfer fee

Sendwave is a fee-free service, the company makes money by adding the 1 – 3% markup to currency conversions. The lack of fees is one of the highlights of using this operator and will save you money compared to international bank transfer fees.

Additional costs

There are no added costs for using Sendwave; it is free to download the app and register for a new account.

Top destinations for sending money with Sendwave

Before using Sendwave consider the available destination countries for sending money, as this will help you decide if there are any limitations which will stand in the way of you and your international transfer.

You can send money from the following countries:

  • United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Belgium and Ireland. 

Users can send money to the following countries in Africa and Asia: 

If the sending or receiving destinations you need are not included in the list of supported countries, you will need to use alternative specialist services. We recommend Azimo for better worldwide coverage; the company supports transfers between 200 countries as well as multi-lingual support. 

Pros and cons of using Sendwave

Here we will present the leading pros and cons of this provider, designed to make it easy to rule out whether this service caters to your money transfer needs. 

No fees: Sendwave is a purveyor of fee-free global money transfers; this affordable transparency means customers know exactly what to expect ahead of time
Mobile based: Sendwave is convenient and widely accessible thanks to its well designed mobile app, which is highly rated on the Google Play Store and App Store
Track your transfer: Sendwave provides real-time tracking which means both parties will receive updates regarding the status of their transfer; check the app to view the estimated transfer time
FCA regulated: The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority oversees all money transfers sent with Sendwave and if the company were to deviate from being a trusted service, customers can rest assured that the FCA will step in
Limited global coverage: As an international money transfer provider, Sendwave is lacking in comparison to other specialist services that facilitate transfers to 100+ countries
Available via mobile only: It is not possible to log into your Sendwave account via desktop or speak with an agent in-person; this will prove off putting to certain customers
Limited payment options: Debit card is the only accepted form of payment; if this does not suit you, consider using an alternative money transfer service

What type of transfers can you make with Sendwave?

We understand that customers want to have options when sending money internationally and in this section we outline the different ways you can transfer funds overseas with Sendwave.

The following types of transfers can be arranged through Sendwave*:

  • E-wallet payments (bKash, Wave Mobile Money, GCash, to name a few)
  • Bank transfers
  • Direct-to-card transfers
  • Cash pick-up 

*Availability of each transfer type will depend on the country funds are sent to.

How long will it take to receive money using Sendwave?

For many customers, the faster the transfer, the better; while others prioritize cost over speed. 

For those prioritizing speed, we recommend the e-wallet or cash pick-up transfer option: typically recipient’s receive funds within minutes using this option. 

Bank transfers will take 2 – 5 working days to arrive with the recipient, depending on the banks, currencies and countries involved in the transfer process. 

What payment methods can I use when sending money with Sendwave?

At present, debit card is the only method of payment accepted by Sendwave. To use a debit card to fund your next money transfer, enter your card details in the app, before entering the details of your recipient. 

Most other money transfer providers offer a wider variety of payment options, such as bank transfer, credit card, prepaid card and more. Weigh up your options by reading our guide to the Top 10 International Money Transfer Companies.

What are the best reasons to use Sendwave?

Sendwave is a great choice for customers looking for a fee-free cross-border transfer service as the company does not make its money by charging fees, but instead profits from minimal foreign exchange spreads.

Another reason customers are satisfied with Sendwave is the easy-to-navigate mobile app which is intuitively designed for a high quality digital experience. Complete with 24/7 customer support and 128-bit data encryption, the Sendwave app is reliable and a great option for those on-the-go. 

Finally, anyone sending funds to a country in Africa or Asia should consider using Sendwave. While not every country in each region is currently available, Sendwave plans to expand into additional markets, growing the supported country list in a bid to improve its tailored global coverage.

If you would like to learn more about other money transfer services before making a decision, you can check out other options in our reviews section.

Can I trust Sendwave?

Sendwave’s customer service department is available 24/7 through the mobile app, which means help is guaranteed in any timezone, day or night. Furthermore, the team can be reached via email (help@sendwave.com) or phone +1 888 966 8603.

Sendwave operations are overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) , one of the leading licensing regulatory bodies worldwide. This means Sendwave must adhere to industry standards to ensure customer money is secure and protected. One example of this is the 128-bit data encryption protocols implemented during the money transfer process. 

Further to this, Sendwave has a number of reputable investors, all of whom have financially backed the company since its inception; these include Kholsa Ventures, Founders Fund, and Y Combinatory. In 2020, the company was valued at an estimated $1.5 billion USD. 

What do users have to say about Sendwave?

Sendwave has a TrustPilot score of 4.6 out of 5; this is an excellent score that indicates customers have enjoyed their experience and are likely to enjoy reuse the service in future.

  • The positive reviews comment on how simple and affordable Sendwave is, as well as praise for the reliability and timely delivery of transfers. 
  • Negative comments include issues with impromptu country-specific changes to Sendwave policies which mean services are unexpectedly no longer available. 

Overall, though, customers seem satisfied with the provider, with 91% of all Trustpilot reviews rating the company Excellent or Great. 

How to get started with Sendwave to send and receive money

Using a new money transfer service to execute a foreign currency transfer can be daunting which is why, in this section, we will provide a step-by-step overview of how to send and receive money with Sendwave. 

Sending money

  • Download the Sendwave app from the Google Play or App Store 
  • Enter your personal details to create a new account 
  • Provide photo ID and proof of residence to complete account verification
  • Select a debit card you would like to use to fund transfers
  • Select the recipient and choose the currency you want to use 
  • Review all details and the currency conversion rate, before submitting payment

Receiving Money

  • Download the Sendwave App on your Android or iOS device 
  • Provide your mobile number to the sender 
  • Wait for the funds to arrive, tracking the status (if necessary) via the app 
  • Cash transfers will need to be collected from a local pick up location  

Does Sendwave have a mobile app?

Yes, Sendwave functions exclusively as a mobile application; free to download from the Google Play or App Store. Widely regarded as a high-quality mobile app, Sendwave shares exchange rates in real-time and this transparent way of allowing customers to preview the cost of their transfer is generally appreciated by all users. 

The company reports over 400,000 active users, and if any of them experience issues with the app, customer service is available 24/7.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sendwave

Can you cancel transactions with Sendwave?

No, since Sendwave transactions are instant, you cannot cancel them. Therefore, make sure that you are sending funds to the correct recipient before confirming the transaction. 

What details are required for cash pick up?

The sender needs the recipient’s full name and phone number to send them a USD cash pick up. The recipient will need to collect the money with a government-issued ID. 

How do I know if the transaction is completed?

You will receive a confirmation email and the transaction state will be changed to “Delivered”. Sendwave will contact you if a transaction gets held up because of a security review. 

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