TransferWise is an international money transfer company with a mission to provide individuals and businesses with fast, inexpensive and transparent money transfer services. Compared to traditional banks and other online money transfer services, TransferWise stands out in that it charges no markup on exchange rates. According to the company website, TranferWise allows sending to 59 countries and supports 53 currencies.
A majority of the currencies TransferWise supports, only allow for bank transfers as the mode of payment. However, other currencies such as the US dollar allow for domestic wire transfer, ACH bank debit, and SWIFT payment. New customers cannot make transfers to Columbia at the moment.
In customer support, TransferWise concentrates on its online helpdesk and reserves telephone support for troubleshooting.
TransferWise exchange rates and fees
TransferWise is a brand synonymous with transparency. They have a transfer widget that shows you how much you will pay for your transfer.
The transfers are categorised into three, each attracting different fees.
- Fast transfers charge the highest fees. You pay for your transfer using a debit or credit card.
- Easy transfers sit at the middle in transfer fees. Here you pay for your transfer from the bank with online payment.
- Low-cost transfers charge the lowest fees and allow you to pay through your bank account.
Generally, TransferWise fees are low compared to banks and money transfer companies. Save for a few remittance corridors where they charge a flat fee, the company usually charges a percentage of the amount being transferred. Your currency pair will determine the fees you’ll pay.
For instance, when sending from Euro to GBP, you will pay 0.5% of the amount being transferred and a flat fee of €2.
TransferWise uses the mid-market rate or interbank rate with no markup added. To make their exchange rate feature even more attractive, they offer you a guaranteed rate of up to 48 hours. You can lock in an exchange rate and transfer within that window to help you manage currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Banks charge about 3-7% while Paypal charges 6-8% in exchange rate margins. When you compare and average the costs other international money transfer services charge, you’ll come up with a figure of between 0.5%-1.8%
Apart from debit and credit card fees with often range from 0.15%-2% and SWIFT charges by receiving banks, there are no added fees. When using local accounts to pay for your transfers and receive funds, you won't be charged any fees. On the same routes, banks can charge anything between $25 and $50 in total transfer charges.
Top destinations for using TransferWise
As at the end of 2018, TransferWise had a total of 835 employees up from 598 in 2017. All these are knowledgeable and experienced support professionals ready to assist customers on all transfer corridors.
Pros and cons of TransferWise
TransferWise is not just cost-effective, it is also transparent in its fee structure. Irrespective of where you are in the world, TransferWise will give you the right money transfer solution.
- Low Transfer Fees – TransferWise charges a small margin of between 0.3% and 0.5% with a fixed rate that rarely goes above $2 per transfer.
- Mid-market Exchange Rates – Irrespective of your currency pair, TransferWise won't charge you anything above the interbank rate. In fact, they allow you to lock in a rate for up to 48 hours to shield you from currency fluctuations.
- Transparency –Every fee that you are supposed to pay on your transfer is displayed on the transfer widget. This level of transparency ensures that you plan your funds transfer with every information you need at hand.
- No Minimum Transfer Limit- TransferWise has no lower limit and this makes the provider a preferred choice for people sending money to their families and friends back home.
- Easy to Use Website- The website is easy to navigate and you can get all the information you need very fast in 13 languages.
- Limited Telephone Customer Support- TransferWise has vibrant online support. However, when it comes to telephone support, their service is limited to troubleshooting. This may lead to delays in customer service.
- Occasional Delays in Transfers-Even though TransferWise promises 1-2 business days for funds delivery, at times it takes up to 4 days depending on the destination and currency.
- No Cash Pickups- TransferWise only supports bank deposits. This can be a huge inconvenience when sending money to remote areas where the recipient has no access to formal banking services.
Types of transfers by TransferWise?
TransferWise only supports transfers to banks. Unlike other money transfer companies, TransferWise doesn't have a cash pickup option. However, in Asia, TransferWise now allows funds transfers directly to mobile wallets. The participating e-wallets are GoPay, OVO, and DANA in Indonesia; GCash and PayMaya in the Philippines, and BKash in Bangladesh.
There is no minimum amount when it comes to transfers but there is a maximum amount you can send. However, this largely depends on the currency. For instance, when sending from GBP, the maximum you can send is 1,000,000 GBP. From euros, the maximum is 1,200,000 EUR and when sending from the US dollar, the maximum is 1,000,000 USD.
TransferWise money transfer times
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. TransferWise 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.
For faster transfers, pay using a credit or debit card. Though it is costly, your funds should arrive the same day or the following day. Using the TransferWise app, you can send transfers and track them 24/7. Compared to banks, TransferWise is about 8 times cheaper. Because of the $0 exchange rate markup, the company stacks up really well against other online money transfer providers like WorldRemit, Transfast and Xoom.
What payment methods are available?
The payment method to use varies with the currency you are sending to or from. That being said, the following are the main ways you can pay for your transfer.
- Credit card
- Debit card
- ACH direct debit
- Bank transfer
Apple Pay or Google Pay are available as payment methods in select countries.
Reasons to use TransferWise
TransferWise offers great services for both private and business customers. The following are some of the common TransferWise use cases.
- Paying Overseas Staff – You can make batch payments to oversees staff hassle-free
- Paying vendor invoices
- Buying inventory
- Receiving payments from customers abroad
- Repatriating income and earnings to your home country
- Buying property abroad -You enjoy low transfer fees with $0 exchange rate margin
- Sending Money Home – You can send as little as $1 to thousands of dollars either through the website or the TransferWise app.
Can I trust TransferWise?
TransferWise was incorporated on 31 March 2010 in the United Kingdom with company number 07209813. The registered office is on the 6th Floor, Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London, England, E1 6JJ. The founders, Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus are Estonians, based in London.
According to the company records, TransferWise nature of business is financial intermediation. Outside the UK, TransferWise has branches in Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Estonia and Hong Kong. In addition, the company has subsidiaries in Canada, Japan, the United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, and India.
The following are wholly owned subsidiaries of the TransferWise Group
- TransferWise Inc -New York, USA
- TransferWise Japan Kabushiki Gaisha –Tokyo, Japan
- TransferWise Canada Inc. – Ottawa, Canada
- TransferWise Singapore PTE Ltd – Singapore
- TransferWise India Private Limited-Mumbai India
- TransferWise Brasil Correspondente Cambial Ltd- Sao Paulo, Brazil
- TransferWise Malaysia Sdn. Bhd - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
In each of the markets TransferWise operates, it is authorised and regulated by the authorities there. The following are the authorities and regulatory 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
These regulatory authorities require among other things that TransferWise excise its fiduciary duty with respect to client funds. The provider stores client’s money in UK Barclays bank accounts. Barclays is classified as a low-risk financial institution.
The company has also raised funds from both consortiums and individual investors such as:
- IA Ventures
- Index Ventures,
- IJNR Ventures
- 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
- Sapphire Ventures,
- Mitsui & Co
- World Innovation Lab
This shows the potential and level of confidence the investment community has in TransferWise. Looking at the 6 million customers currently served by the company moving £4 billion in transfers every month in 53 currencies, it is not hard to see why TransferWise is a trusted brand.
User feedback about TransferWise
Looking at the social media platforms and the 76,213 reviews on Trustpilot, customers have been heaping praises on the company in several areas such as:
- Best Exchange Rates -The fast that TransferWise charges $0 margin on exchange rates has made it attractive to most customers.
- Easy to Use– TransferWise has a friendly interface both on the website and on the mobile application. Customers find it interactive.
- Transparency- Every cost you may possibly incur is displayed upfront on the transfer widget for you to see and make an informed decision.
The 4% who rated the company as ‘Poor’ or ‘Bad’ cited occasional delays and the fact that TransferWise has a strict verification policy. Some customer’s accounts were closed in cases where sufficient information was available for identity verification.
The company also received a TÜV-certification in Germany after having passed rigorous customer satisfaction inspections.
How to send and receive money?
Signing up on the TransferWise platform is easy-peasy. The following are the steps to follow to sign up and send your first transfer!
How to Send Money Using TransferWise?
- Step 1: Sign Up –You can sign up for an account directly on the website, through your Facebook or Google account.
- Step 2 – Account Verification – The verification is straightforward. TransferWise will send you a security code and clickable email link. Once you click the link and enter the security code, your account is verified and ready to transact.
- Step 3 – Setting Up the Transfer – When you enter the amount you want to transfer, choose the currency pair and mode of payment, you’ll see the total cost and estimated time of transfer arrival. You’ll also see a guaranteed rate you can lock in for the next 24 or 48 hours.
- Step 4 –Bank Details-Enter the bank details of the recipient
- Step 5 – Identity Verification- You’ll be required to upload images of your government-issued ID to verify your identity. It is usually an instantaneous process though there is a provision of up to 3 days.
- Make Payment and Track progress -When you confirm the transfer details for accuracy, you’ll be asked to choose how to pay for your transfer. Once that is complete, you can send the money and begin tracking your transfer.
How to Receive Money Using TransferWise?
The funds transferred will be deposited directly into the recipient's bank account hence there is nothing they are required to do or provide.
Does TransferWise have a mobile app?
TransferWise Money Transfer app is available on both Android and iOS platforms as a free download. The application allows you to do lots of things amongst them:
- Sending money to any of the 59 countries on TransferWise disbursing network coverage
- Tracking your transfers
- Viewing transaction history including all the people you’ve previously sent money to and their details
- Repeating transfers-This is a perfect feature for recurring monthly payments
- Using your device camera to capture your card details and upload them without typing them in.
On Google Play, the app has crossed the 1 million downloads mark and has been reviewed by 66,087 users, giving it an average rating of 4.5. Anyone can install the app, there are no country or regional restrictions.
Can I cancel my TransferWise transfer?
Depending on the stage the transfer is at, you may be able to cancel it right from the activity tab of your online account. Below are the possible scenarios.
- If your money is on its way to TransferWise -You can cancel the transfer
- Your transfer is being processed- This means your money is still with TransferWise and you can cancel the transfer from the activity tab or get in touch with the customer support team.
- Your money’s been sent out -At this point, TransferWise can do nothing. 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- if the transfer is marked complete, TransferWise cannot be involved and you’ll have to get into 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.
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