Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder. He’s ghostwritten hundreds of articles on fintech, finding his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Traveling internationally for nearly half his life — and getting burned once by an OTC money exchange — Zak's vowed not to settle for anything short of the mid-market rate again.
Wise, unlike a lot of its competitors, makes it crystal clear how much you are paying in fees before you transfer. Money transfer companies can often try to hide fees and exchange rate markups from the user, making Wise a breath of fresh air. Wise offers accounts for both standard users sending to other individuals as well as business accounts with extra features like Xero integration.
When it comes to online transfers, I would be surprised to see big names like MoneyGram and Western Union offering better rates, but keep in mind that other online-specific companies may offer better deals than Wise. If you find yourself traveling overseas frequently or receiving payment in foreign currencies, be sure to look into the Wise Borderless account to see if it fits your needs.
Must read: TransferWise has rebranded to Wise
As TransferWise has expanded beyond international money transfers, the company has changed its name to Wise. As a user, not much will change for you – you’ll be redirected to Wise and can still access your account the same way as normal.
Easy to use. We were able to sign up for an account and initiate a transfer through the website in less than three minutes.
Affordability. When compared to a bank, Wise’s fees and exchange rates will almost always be better.
Access to the mid-market rate. Wise offers the mid-market rate on all transfers sent through its network. All you have to think about are fees when comparing transfers.
High daily sending limits. A cap of $1,500,000 per transfer is in place, but some sending methods and locations may lower that limit.
Multiple payment options. Pay by direct debit, online bill payment, debit card, credit card or wire transfers. When using the Wise mobile app, you can also pay with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
What to be aware of
Bank account transfers only. Funds must be sent to the recipient’s bank account; there is no option for cash pickup, cheques or bank drafts.
Two-step process. You’ll first send the money to Wise, and then Wise will deposit the money into your recipient’s bank account. This extra step can sometimes add time to your transfer.
Requires a Social Security number. You’ll have to provide your SIN and possibly other identification before sending your first transfer through Wise.
Fees. Because Wise offers the mid-market rate, it relies on fees to make a profit.
Payment restrictions. You can’t send CAD by direct debit from business accounts, nor can you send CAD by international SWIFT payments.
Wise’s fees and exchange rates
As long as you are sending Canadian dollars, Wise’s fees are the same no matter what country you are sending to from Canada. Fees are made up of a small fixed amount determined by the receiving currency and a fixed percentage determined by your payment method. The amount you’ll pay can be broken down as follows:
Amount. The more money you send, the higher your fees will be. This is because the fees are based in part on a preset percentage. Each currency uses its own percentage.
Payment method. You can pay by bank wire transfer, direct debit, debit card, credit card or online bill payment — each uses its own fee based on the amount you are sending, but the percentage will typically be the same no matter how much you send.
Location. Transfers sent from different places in Canada should all use the same fee table, but those may change if you are traveling abroad and sending money from other countries.
To provide context, here is what sending $1,000 to Mexico through Wise looks like on July 22, 2020:
Online bill payment
Wise exchange rates explained
Wise uses the mid-market rate for transfers and also allows you to lock in a rate for a day or more to complete your transfer. When we checked Wise’s rates against the mid-market rate on Google and XE, they were similar. Wise’s rates update multiple times a day.
Calculate your transfer with Wise
Choose your currency and desired transfer amount. Exchange rates change frequently, so visit Wise’s site to get a final quote.
Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
Wise transfer speeds are dependent on how much you are willing to pay in fees and when you send your transfer.
Fastest option — instant When using a credit or debit card, you’ll pay more in fees, but your money can arrive instantly in your recipient’s bank account. Your credit card might charge you an additional cash advance fee, further increasing the cost of your total transfer.
Cheapest option — up to four business days Making a wire payment through your bank account to pay for your transfer is typically the cheapest way to send money through Wise, but it’s almost always the slowest. It typically takes two days for Wise to receive your money and an additional two days to transfer the funds to your recipient’s bank account.
What currencies can I send with Wise?
Wise offers money transfers to over 50 different currencies from all over Canada. You can check out the full list of the currencies above, but the following are some of the more popular ones:
CNY Chinese yuan
GBP British pound
INR Indian rupee
MXN Mexican peso
LKR Sri Lankan rupee
PHP Philippine peso
VND Vietnamese dong
Must read: Temporary sending limit to Mexico
As of 20 Jan 2021, a temporary limit of US$980 (or the same amount in Mexican pesos) has been placed on transfers to Mexico by Wise. We’ll update this information once the limit has been lifted.
Case study: Katia's experience
I began using Wise when I moved to the US from Australia a few years ago. I tested a few money transfer services and Wise was — and still is — my favorite for a couple of reasons:
It’s transparent. As soon as you enter the amount of money you want to send, you’ll see the real, mid-market exchange rate as well as Wise’s fees. The rate changes so much that if I get distracted and come back to the site a few minutes later, it may have already changed. That’s how I know it’s current.
The fee is small. Especially compared to the traditional banks — as someone who regularly transfers money between two continents, I appreciate this. The funds usually appear in my account in 24 hours, but it can take longer if I hit send just before the weekend.
Is Wise safe to use?
Wise was founded in 2010 and serves millions of customers a year. Wise is fully registered and accredited by many global agencies, using the following global standards to protect your money:
Follows strict rules set by regulatory agencies. In every country where Wise operates, it is registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies when necessary.
Bank-level data security. Encryption and data storage at Wise are handled in the same way as your bank.
Two-factor authentication. Protect your account with 2FA, with optional biometric locks on the Wise mobile app.
In-house 24/7 digital security team. A security team works around the clock to monitor transactions for suspicious activity and accounts for fraudulent logins.
Registered with/Regulated by
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Financial Intelligence Unit (AUSTRAC)
Belgium and the European Economic Area (EEA)
National Bank of Belgium (NBB) as an Authorised Payment Institution
Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), Authorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF)
Customs and Excise Department (CCE) of Hong Kong
Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
Kanto Local Financial Bureau
Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia)
Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
United Kingdom and the European Economic Area (EEA)
UK Financial Conduct Authority, The Information Commissioner’s Office
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA)
What Wise’s reviews say
Reviews accurate as of July 22, 2020.
4.7 out of 5 — based on 93,475 customer reviews
3 out of 5 — based on 475 customer reviews
8.8 out of 10 — based on staff reviews
4.5 out of 5 — based on staff reviews
Wise’s reviews are moderately positive overall, with 86% of reviews on Trustpilot ranking it as Excellent, which is better than many competing money transfer companies. Overall, Wise’s clear fee structure and transparent rates make it easy to trust, but that doesn’t mean it is perfect. Customers often complain about slow customer service and turnaround times as well as the fact that missing a dash in your transfer account number can heavily delay your transfer.
How can I pay for my Wise transfer?
Canadian customers can pay using the following methods:
Debit or credit card. These payments are processed immediately.
Bank wire transfer. Allow up to one working day for your transfer to reach Wise. Beware of extra fees charged by your bank.
Online bill payment. Not all banks and credit unions in Canada support Wise as a bill payee, but so far you can send through BMO, the National Bank of Canada, Tangerine, EQ Bank, Manulife Bank of Canada and members of Central 1 Credit Unions, among other financial institution.
Direct debit. This method is less expensive but can take 4-6 business days for funds to leave your bank account and reach Wise.
The funds are deposited directly into your recipient’s bank account once Wise receives your payment. Wise allows you to make secure one-off transfers to a range of destinations around the globe. However, there currently is no option to set up recurring transfers.
How do I send money through Wise?
Follow these six steps to have money sent in as little as a few minutes:
Register. Create your free account online or through the mobile app.
Enter your sending amount. Look at the fees and delivery time.
Add recipient’s bank account information. Make sure to include the account number and transit or routing number.
Verify your identity. Have your passport or valid driver’s license ready.
Pay. Enter your bank account, debit, credit card or digital wallet details to pay.
Track your transfer. Check the status online or in the mobile app.
Wise is a straightforward company that presents fees and exchange rates alongside your transfer. Given that you can lock-in your transfer rate for many hours after first seeing it, it’s worth checking Wise’s prices first before exploring the competition. If you are ready to make your transfer with Wise now, head on over to get started by creating your free account.
Yes, but it’s not available to Canadian residents. However, the Wise debit card is available to residents of a number of other countries including the US (except for residents of Nevada and Hawaii), Australia, New Zealand and most European countries. With it, you can spend any currency on your card and use it to withdraw money across the world for free (up to EUR€250 a month). You can find out more about our experience with it in the video below.
How can I cancel my Wise transfer?
In your account, navigate to the pending transfer and there’ll be a button called Cancel transfer. This will work if the money is still being sent to Wise or if it’s being converted. However, once Wise pays your recipient, there’s no way to get it back. If the details are incorrect, the money will usually bounce. Wise will let you know in this case, so you’ll have the opportunity to update the details or cancel the transaction entirely.
Always make sure you trust the business or person you’re sending a money transfer to.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.