In this guide we will be comparing the strengths and weaknesses of two UK-based money transfer providers: Revolut and Wise, formerly Transferwise. Both are widely used and have customers all around the world, but we want to know, how do their services differ? Which one offers the best rates and lowest fees? And what do customers have to say about them?
Having rebranded as Wise in February 2021, with a view to diversify their products, the company previously known as Transferwise has been around for over 10 years. During that time they have gained a name for themselves as one of the fastest, most inexpensive cross-border transfer providers.
The company manages to stay ahead of the curve through their mid-market rates and guaranteed transparency of currency conversions and transfer fees. With bank accounts across the globe, Wise specialises in moving money seamlessly between international users, offering excellent rates for exotic currencies and serving over 10 million customers.
Founded more recently, in 2015, Revolut is one of the newer money transfer companies to enter the alternative banking scene. Starting life as a prepaid card and smartphone app, Revolut’s primary product was a Mastercard “designed for a global lifestyle.”
Over the last 6 years, Revolut has expanded their offerings and now have a range of products and services to suit individuals and businesses, with different tiers of membership to suit customer needs. As the company works towards “building the world’s first truly global financial superapp,” we will be taking a closer look at Revolut vs Wise in terms of international money transfer and exchange services.
We will be focusing predominantly on the fees incurred during the international money transfer process, including the cost of currency conversions, service charges and exchange rates to look at how Wise vs Revolut compares.
Customers are given the exact mid-market rate, so Wise make their profit through added fees. These fees vary depending on the currency pairing. Debit and credit card fees range from 0.15% – 2%.
Wise has a useful pricing tool which allows customers to calculate the related fees before making a money transfer, ensuring total transparency.
Money transfer fees differ for personal and business Revolut users; the list of fees can be found on the Revolut website and app.
Typical fees include:
Wise offers lower fees, usually a small percentage of the amount being transferred, and they also guarantee the same mid-market rates on both weekends and weekdays. Revolut has some great deals but their focus on versatile banking services distract from their ability to ensure competitive fees of the same calibre as Wise.
Wise offers customers the best competitive rate on all standard currencies, without adding any kind of markup to the price. This means customers are receiving the exact mid-market rate that the banks use.
They also allow all customers to lock in a rate for 24 – 96 hours to avoid currency fluctuations.
Revolut’s strongest exchange rates are for sending smaller transfers in standard currencies.
During the week, when the market is open, Revolut matches the mid-market rate, with no form of markup. However, on the weekends, Revolut applies a markup of 1% to all currencies. For this reason, the exchange rate you receive on a Thursday, may have changed when you go to make your money transfer on Saturday.
Revolut suggests checking the currency exchange rate on the app before making any transfers.
Due to Wise transparency and ability to match the mid-market rate all day every day, regardless of whether the market is open or not, Wise’s FX rates are unmatched. Many business owners use Wise to send and receive international money transfers for this reason.
With Wise, customers are able to hold and manage over 50 currencies, send to over 60 countries and request money from over 30.
Find the full list of currencies you can send to and from over on the Wise website.
Conversely, Revolut allows customers to hold and manage 30 currencies. Transferring money to bank accounts for free is available to customers in over 150 countries.
For a list of unsupported countries, check out the Revolut website.
When we compare Revolut vs Wise, both are very well supported across Europe; but Revolut wins due to the sheer number of countries they facilitate money transfers between. Advertised as “The Global Money App” it is no surprise that Revolut covers the most locations out of the two.
Transfers between bank accounts happen in three stages: receiving, converting and delivering. The average time for a Wise bank account money transfer is 3 business days.
However, quicker delivery is available to those using a debit or credit card as payment.
As a UK based company, Revolut can transfer money between UK accounts in under 2 hours. Having said that, the average time for a standard money transfer is 1 – 2 business days depending on the bank, and international transfers have been known to take between 3 – 5 days.
Faster transfer speeds are available to those with certain monthly memberships; price plans are available to view on the Revolut website.
Although Wise offers more currencies, Revolut appears to be able to transfer currencies faster when authorising international money transfers. For this reason, Revolut is the more desirable option for anyone looking for a speedy transfer when it comes to Wise vs Revolut.
In terms of types of transfer options, Wise offers 3 different kinds: Low Cost, Fast and Easy and Advanced.
More information about the different transfer types can be found on the Wise website or app.
Virtually all forms of money transfer methods are supported by Revolut, via interbank and intrabank transfers as well as cryptocurrencies, which were introduced by the company in 2018.
Payment options include debit and credit card, as well as bank account transfer; this incurs lesser fees. It is easy to make payments between existing Revolut accounts, using phone numbers.
When we compare Revolut vs Wise in terms of options, Revolut makes it easy for cardholders to send money, however Wise wins by providing various transfer types and payment options to suit everyone.
Positive customer reviews mention the following:
Customers who left negative comments refer to:
The inclusive rating from over 113,000 reviews of Wise on Trustpilot is 4.7 out of 5, which qualifies them as “Excellent”.
Customers who praise Revolut’s service mention the following:
Negative customer reviews include subjects such as:
Overall, Revolut has acquired a 4.3 out of 5 from over 75,000 Trustpilot reviews, also qualifying them as a “Excellent” service.
Wise comes off better in the battle of user reviews and is widely revered as the most reasonably priced money transfer provider due to their long-standing reputation and guaranteed mid-market rates. Having said this, despite being 5 years younger than its counterpart Revolut has made a good impression among customers and has received its fair amount of praise.
Accessibility: Wise is known to have reliable and responsive customer service.
Transparency: Wise has a reputation for ensuring transparency, often offering to lock in an exchange rate for up to 96 hours.
Security: Not covered by FSCS, Wise does not have a banking license but are covered the FCA. They are a self-proclaimed “low-risk financial institution” who can help you save a lot on international money transfers. However, MoneyTransfers does not recommend using Wise as a primary bank account.
Ease of use: Wise has had over 10 years to streamline and optimise the user experience of their website, and it is now considered one of the best websites of its kind.
According to App Store figures, it would appear the Wise smartphone app is not as popular as the website.
Accessibility: The Revolut app is available in 24 different languages, it is quick to set up an account and offers 24 hour customer service, making it very accessible.
Transparency: The fee structure of Revolut differs for each country. It can be confusing for anyone sending international money transfer to exotic regions.
Security: Revolut is also not covered by FSCS, the platform is considered relatively safe as they did acquire a European Banking License in 2018.
However, if you are intending to move all of your money to a Revolut account, it is worth considering they don’t have any physical bank branches at all.
Ease of use: Revolut’s mobile app is considered very user friendly and has a first class score of 4.9 out of 5 stars (with over 413,000 ratings) on the App Store.
While Revolut’s app is accessible, safe and easy to use, Wise has had more time to perfect and optimise their offerings as a money transfer service, and can offer customers more. Wise has a website and smartphone app, whereas Revolut is solely accessible via their app, making it harder to browse services, gauge a quote and lock-in a guaranteed rate for international money transfers for anyone who hasn’t set up an account.
As a new and constantly improving alternative banking service, Revolut is able to offer customers an array of diverse features, products and services; whereas Wise primarily focuses on transferring money at a low-cost. Additional features vary depending on membership.
Both companies excel in their respective specialities; Revolut boasts an impressive list of banking features available to members, and it is easy to set up an account without all the usual high-street banking paperwork. Wise, conversely, is known as an authority in the money transfer industry, having provided transparent, low-cost services for over a decade.
When it comes to Wise vs Revolut, ultimately, Revolut is best for anyone in the UK or EEA, who is looking to use a card for their next holiday abroad. For those outside of these countries, Wise would be the smarter option for anyone transferring money abroad. This is because Wise are always upfront about what the amount of money due to arrive with the recipient when making a transfer, along with the fees involved. Use our comparison tool to identify the best value money transfer.