Home Reviews Wise, formerly TransferWise

Wise, formerly TransferWise Review

In February 2021, the company formerly known as Transferwise announced their newly redefined offerings and re-entered the financial services market as Wise. The London-based enterprise, which originated as a way to bypass overpriced cross-border payments, has transformed into an all-encompassing venture. Wise has vowed to become “the world’s most international account.” 

In this review, we will look at any changes brought about by the rebranding, dissecting the company’s unique selling propositions and any changes to their international money transfer services.

Wise, formerly TransferWise Icon Send Money with Wise, formerly TransferWise

About Wise

Founders Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus originally plotted the premise of Wise (formerly TransferWise) as a solution to the problems they were experiencing when transferring money overseas to manage their personal finances. Born out of their real-life experiences and the frustration of being charged excessive transfer fees and undesirable exchange rates when sending money home to Estonia from the UK. The motive behind Wise has continued to evolve: 10 years and 10 million customers later, it is now one of the leading international money transfer platforms in the world.

Due to their growth, Wise has been able to identify the diverse requirements of their users and is adapting in order meet these customer needs. CEOs Kristo and Taavet have pledged to take on banking, by building an alternative international infrastructure to suit individuals and businesses underserved and misunderstood by traditional financial institutions.

In terms of user experience, the 2021 Wise rebrand should not dramatically affect customers: your account can still be accessed as normal and any mention of Transferwise will be redirected to Wise.

Wise Exchange Rates, Fees & Costs

Over the last decade Wise has maintained their promise to offer customers total transparency and the true mid-market rate, with zero hidden fees or unexpected costs. In this section we will discuss how the company lives up to these expectations. 

Exchange rates

In a bid to make money transfers more affordable, Wise is transparent about their exchange rates: a pledge to match the mid-market rate is publicised across their multiple platforms. 

We tested this out with a transfer of £1,000 GBP to CHF, using the Wise widget. We received an exchange rate of 1.295 which was identical to the live interbank rate for GBP to CHF, as seen on XE.

Unlike other companies who add percentage-based markups onto exchange rates, Wise profit margins are not determined by the sending amount. Instead, on average, Wise exchange rate mark-ups rarely exceed 0.5%. This is very low when compared to the 3 – 7% profit margins of banks and other financial providers.

Fees

It is easy to identify Wise fees as they are displayed front and centre via the Wise widget, when arranging any international money transfer. This widget can be found on the homepage of the website and home screen of the mobile app, and it presents the following details:

  • The transfer fees associated with your chosen transfer type
  • The amount of money due to be converted
  • The exchange rate and how long it is guaranteed for
  • The amount you could save vs banks 

Due to the fact Wise does not charge a mark-up on top of their exchange rates, the company relies on fees to make their profit. This being said, the fees are minute compared to international bank transfer fees and determined by the amount of money sent, the location and the payment method. UK customers benefit from the same flat-fees no matter what country they transfer money to.

If you’re just getting started with international money transfers we’ve prepared a simple guide to help you find the cheapest ways to send money abroad.

Top destinations for sending money with Wise

The company is based in the UK, with Wise headquarters nestled in the heart of London’s financial district, alongside The Stock Exchange and the Bank of England. Outside of the UK, Wise has branches in Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Estonia and Hong Kong. In addition to this, the company has subsidiaries in Canada, Japan, the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, and India.

Wise customers can send money to 71 destination countries, from 43 sending countries, with over 1000 transfer routes and country combinations covered. The mid-market rate is applied to the 57 different currencies currently offered. Popular destination countries include:

Pros and cons of Wise

We have put together a list of the predominant pros and cons of using Wise, so you can compare the company’s services to other providers: 

Pros
Transparency: all fees and costs are made crystal clear from the start, with the same flat-fees applied to most international transfers
Trustworthy: as one of the top rated, long standing online global money transfer providers in the industry
Easy to use: navigating the website and mobile app is easy, with a quick sign up process for new customers
Great customer support: accessible in different languages via phone and email
Diverse offerings: Wise is branching out into other financial services including “Borderless” debit cards and multi-currency accounts
Cons
Limited countries: a respectable 71 destination countries are covered by Wise, but this is less than other online providers like Azimo and WorldRemit
Occasional delays: Wise promises a transfer speed of 1-2 business days in most cases, but some customers have reported delays of up to 4 days, depending on the destination and currency
No cash pick-up: For most Wise payments, funds can only be sent via bank transfer, from the sender’s bank to the recipient’s bank. Additional payment methods are accepted for some other currencies

What type of transfers can you make with Wise?

Wise divides offer 3 types of transfers, the details of which differ from country to country, but all of which are safe and secure. For instance, the types of transfer available when sending money from the UK include:

  1. Fast and easy transfer: the quickest way to send money overseas, paid for using debit or credit card, or a digital wallet like Google Pay. Albeit fast, this option is the most expensive. 
  2. Low-cost transfer: this cost-effective option and is ideal for customers prioritising price over speed. This type takes the longest, due to payment via bank transfer.
  3. Advanced transfer: this type of international money transfer utilises the SWIFT network, which typically incurs a fee. 

Before initiating your money transfer the fees associated with each of the above transfer types are displayed for your convenience.

When it comes to sending money transfers there is no minimum amount, but there is a limit to the maximum you can send and this largely depends on the currency. For instance, when sending GBP, the maximum limit is 1,000,000 GBP. When sending euros, the maximum is 1,200,000 EUR and when sending US Dollar, the maximum is 1,000,000 USD.

How long will it take to receive money using Wise?

The currency pair and how you pay for your transfer determine the length of time it takes for the transfer to get to your destination. Wise says that it should take between 1 and 2 days for your money to hit the recipient’s account. However, customer experiences reveal that it can take up to 4 days.

The transfer speeds for each of the above mentioned transfer types vary, due to the different processing times of each payment and delivery method:

  1. Fast and easy transfer: recipient will receive funds instantly 
  2. Low-cost transfer: takes up to 2 days for the money to be received and approximately 2 days for the funds to be deposited into the recipient’s account
  3. Advanced transfer: using the SWIFT network, this type of transfer can take between 2 – 5 business days to reflect in the recipient’s account

What payment methods are available?

Accepted payment methods vary depending on the countries you are sending to and from. That being said, the main ways you can pay for your transfer and send money are as follows:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • ACH direct debit
  • Bank transfer

Most currencies only support local bank transfers and this is often seen as Wise’s major downfall, as only some currencies can be paid for via debit or credit card, and the limited available payment options prove off-putting to some customers. 

Reasons to use Wise

Wise offers great services for both private and business customers and commonly cited reasons for using Wise are as follows:

Business 

  • Paying Overseas Staff – You can make batch payments to oversees staff hassle-free
  • Paying vendor invoices
  • Buying inventory
  • Receiving payments from customers abroad

Personal Transfers 

  • Repatriating income and earnings to your home country
  • Buying property abroad -You enjoy low transfer fees with $0 exchange rate margin. We’ve created a simple guide for those interested in buying a house abroad.
  • Sending Money Home – You can send as little as $1 to thousands of dollars either through the website or the Wise app. Wise also has a borderless account, which is a popular choice for users of the platform who regularly move around the world and want a simple, one-location, option for all their transfer needs.

If Wise doesn’t fit your needs, we’ve created a list of top 10 money transfer companies and a guide to find the best way to send money overseas.

Can I trust Wise?

Incorporated on 31st March 2010, the Wise head office is in Shoreditch. The registered company number is 07209813 and the full registered address is 6th Floor, Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London, England, E1 6JJ. 

Financial intermediation is what Wise cites as the nature of the business model, according to company records. Outside of the UK, Wise has branches and subsidiaries in the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. 

The following are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Wise Group:

  • Wise Inc -New York, USA
  • Wise Japan Kabushiki Gaisha -Tokyo, Japan
  • Wise Canada Inc. – Ottawa, Canada
  • Wise Singapore PTE Ltd – Singapore
  • Wise India Private Limited-Mumbai India
  • Wise Brasil Correspondente Cambial Ltd- Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Wise Malaysia Sdn. Bhd – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Wise operates in multiple markets and in each one it is authorised and regulated by the following governing bodies: 

  • Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (“FINTRAC”) in Canada.
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom
  • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the United States
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)
  • Customs and Excise Department (CCE) in Hong Kong
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
  • Kanto Local Financial Bureau in Japan
  • Bank Negara Malaysia
  • Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand
  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore

Wise is required to excise its fiduciary duty with respect to client funds and the aforementioned regulatory authorities ensure this duty is upheld. Client funds are stored in UK Barclays bank accounts, which is considered a low-risk financial institution.

Wise also has raised funds from both consortiums and individuals investors including: 

  • IA Ventures
  • Index Ventures
  • IJNR Ventures
  • NYPPE
  • Max Levchin -Paypal cofounder
  • David Yu -Former Betfair CEO
  • Errol Damelin -Co-founder Wonga.com
  • Valar Ventures
  • Richard Branson
  • Andreessen Horowitz
  • Old Mutual Global Investors
  • IVP
  • Sapphire Ventures
  • Mitsui & Co
  • World Innovation Lab

It would appear the investment community has a great deal of confidence in Wise and, looking at the 10 million customers currently served by the company, it is not hard to see why this international money transfer brand is widely trusted. 

What do users have to say about Wise?

Wise has made a big impression since appearing on the scene in 2010. They have forged a name for themselves and become the biggest money transfer platform in the UK, with a fiercely loyal customer base.

Wise has acquired more than 114,000 reviews on TrustPilot and 94% of these reviews voted them “Excellent” or “Great” with common comments referring to Wise as reliable, easy, convenient and secure. Of the 5% of users branding the service “Poor” or “Bad” comments cite unexpected delays or accounts which were closed for undisclosed security reasons.

Generally, Wise has garnered an excellent reputation, gaining the trust of customers around the world which is reflected in the reviews posted online. So much so, it was reported approximately 70% of Wise users chose to use the service as a result of personal recommendations. This demonstrates Wise pays special attention to their customers.

The company also received a TÜV-certification in Germany after having passed rigorous customer satisfaction inspections.

How to send money with Wise?

Sending money with Wise is quick and easy, you will need the recipient’s bank details, a valid proof of identification and your payment details. In addition to these things, it pays off to have a rough idea of the mid-market exchange rate for your currency pairing.

Step 1. Sign up for a Wise account

If this is your first time using Wise, register for your free Wise by clicking “Register” on the app or website, and entering your personal details; full name, email address and country of residence. Whether you are an Android or iPhone user, the Wise app is available to download for free. 

If you already have a Wise account, simply select Log In and enter your account details. 

Step 2. Verify your account

As part of Wise’s security measures, you will be sent a verification code via email, after signing up for an account. Simply follow the clickable email link and enter your security code, and you are ready to send your first Wise money transfer. 

Step 3. Enter the amount

Once you have successfully set up your account and are logged in, the process of transferring money to your recipient is achieved by completing the 5 following sections: Amount, You, Recipient, Review and Pay.

On the Amount page, you will be asked “How much would you like to transfer?” Select the amount you want to send, in your chosen currency, and enter the currency your recipient will receive the money in. 

Depending on how you want to work it out, enter the amount you wish to send to your recipient. You can review the transfer fees, exchange rate, transfer speed and how long the quote is held for, at this step. 

Step 4. Enter the recipient information

At the next stage you will be required to enter the details of your recipient. 

If you are sending money to a previous recipient, you will be able to select the name from the “existing recipients” section. 

When entering a new recipient, you will be asked to enter the full name of the account holder and provide their IBAN number or account number

Step 5. Review your money transfer in full

This step allows users to review the details of their international money transfer, before sending the payment. On this page you will be presented with the following details:

  • The amount you are sending 
  • The total fees included 
  • The amount Wise will be converting into your chosen currency
  • The guaranteed rate as displayed at the beginning of the process
  • The amount your receipt is due to receive
  • The date the recipient can expect to receive the money transfer (as well as the option to schedule a specific date)
  • The option to add a reference note or message to your recipient

If everything is as you expected, you will be asked to click the big green button at the bottom of the page: “Confirm and continue” 

Step 6.  Selecting your chosen payment method

It is at this point that users will be asked to choose from the 3 types of transfers offered by Wise, as outlined earlier in this review: 

  • Low-cost transfer 
  • Fast and easy transfer
  • Advanced transfer

When you have selected the transfer type and payment method, you can select “continue to payment” and enter your payment details. 

Step 7. Track the status of your money transfer

Customers are given the option to monitor the status of their money transfer by using the Wise app or notifications sent via email. Most international money transfers are completed within the same day, depending on the destination, and some payments take up to 7 days to be deposited. 

How to receive money with Wise?

It is possible to receive funds via your Wise account, much like an ordinary bank account. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1. Select the currency you wish to receive funds in

Open a new balance to choose the currency you are due to receive money. This can be done via the homepage of the website or using the Wise mobile app.

Step 2. Find your account details

If this is the first time you are searching for your account details, you will find them via “Get account details” once you have opened a new balance.

Step 3. Share your account details

Safely and securely share your account information with the individual or business who will be sending you money.

Step 4. Receive payment directly into your account balance

The money will reflect in your account balance and can be converted into other currencies from there, if required. There is currently no limit to how much you can receive via your Wise account, unless it is USD. Wise does not accept cash or cheque payments.

Different fees apply when withdrawing or sending money from your Wise balances, depending on the currency and country in question. Further information about these costs can be found here.

Does Wise have a mobile app?

The Wise mobile app can be downloaded for free on iOS or Android. According to reviews, the app is easy to navigate and intuitively designed. With 4.1 out of 5 stars from over 111,230 reviews on Google Play Store and 4.8 stars with more than 38,500 reviews on App Store, it seems a large majority of Wise customers opt to access their services via this money transfer app.

Can I cancel my Wise transfer?

Depending on the stage your transfer is at, you may be able to cancel it via the activity tab of your online account. Below are the possible scenarios.

  • If your money is on its way to Wise: You can cancel the transfer
  • Your transfer is being processed: This means your money is still with Wise and you can cancel the transfer via the activity tab or by getting in touch with the customer support team.
  • Your money’s been sent out: At this point, Wise cannot cancel the transfer. If the details you entered were wrong, the receiving bank will reject the transfer and send it back. If the amount you sent was wrong, the recipient will have to ask their bank to reject the transfer so you can repeat it.
  • The transfer is completed: Wise cannot cancel the payment but you can get in touch with the recipient to ask them to reverse the amount.

It is always important to double-check your transfer before clicking the ‘Send’ button. Some actions cannot be reversed.

How does Wise compare to other providers?

Wise typically ranks highly when compared to its competitors and regularly makes it into many Top 10 Money Transfer Companies lists compiled by reputable websites around the world. Curious to see how the company fares when compared directly to its competitors? Check out some of our comparison guides here.

OFX vs Wise
How does OFX compare to Wise? Wise is a UK based international money transfer service provider that uses mid-market rates to process transfers. It provides an excellent platform for both small and large transfers subject to upper transfer limits. Currently the limits are GBP 1 million, USD 1 million and EUR 1.2 million. Previously known […]
WorldRemit vs Wise
How WorldRemit compares to Wise? WorldRemit is a leading online money transfer company incorporated on 22 December 2009 in the United Kingdom. It plays a key role in facilitating the transfer of billions of dollars that expatriates and immigrant workers send home to their families. With a customer base of more than 4 million, WorldRemit […]
Wise vs Payoneer
How does Payoneer compare to Wise? Payoneer is a New York based financial services company that provides online funds transfer services, web-based cross-border B2B payment services and working capital to its customers. Founded in 2005, Payoneer currently has 1200+ employees in 14 global offices serving over 4 million customers. The presence of Payoneer in 200+ […]

Customer reviews

Post your review:

Hello i want to verify my business account please assist me with this issue

By Sviatlana Prystupa
30 April 2020 - 09:42am