Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder who’s been specializing in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology for four years — covering everything from ICO booms, crypto winters, memecoins and more. He’s mined and minted cryptocurrencies, and remembers the days when DOGE was just for fun. Zak’s focus is in breaking down technical concepts (like yellow papers) for the average folk to digest on their morning commute. Before diving into all things crypto, Zak contributed to Finder’s money transfers vertical.
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.
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.
Why should I consider Wise?
Easy to use. We signed up for an account and initiated 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 (bank transfer), debit card, credit card, bill payment or domestic wire transfer. 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.
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 Insurance Number. You 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.
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 determined by the following:
Amount. The more money you send, the higher your fees will be. This is because the fees are based on a preset percentage. Each currency uses its own percentage.
Payment method. You can pay by direct debit (bank transfer), debit card, credit card, bill payment or domestic wire transfer — each uses its own fee based on the amount you are sending, but the percent 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.
Wise fees explained
When we checked on May 10, 2021, Wise’s fees tended to be as follows, based on the type of payment method you are using:
Direct debit (bank transfer)
0.5% – 1%
0.71% – 1.21%
0.5% – 1%
2.04% – 2.54%
0.5% – 1%
2.66% – 3.16%
$0.95 (flat fee)
0.5% – 1%
$0.95 + (variable percentage ranging from 0.5% to 1%)
Domestic wire transfer
$0.95 (flat fee)
0.5% – 1%
$0.95 + (variable percentage ranging from 0.5% to 1%)
To give this more context, here is what sending $1,000 to the Philippines through Wise looks like on May 10, 2021:
Direct debit (bank debit)
Domestic wire transfer
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.
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 — 2-4+ business days Making a bill payment or domestic wire transfer 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 2 days for Wise to receive your money and an additional 2-6 days to transfer the funds to your recipient’s bank account.
What currencies can I send with Wise?
Wise offers money transfers to over 60 different currencies from all provinces and territories in 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
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?
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
Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), Authorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF)
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Financial Intelligence Unit (AUSTRAC)
Belgium and the European Economic Area (EEA)
National Bank of Belgium (NBB) as an Authorized Payment Institution
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)
Wise reviews and complaints
As of October 2020, 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.
Overall, Wise has responded to 77% of the negative reviews on Trustpilot, and response time typically happens within one week.
Reviews accurate as of May 10, 2021.
4.6 out of 5 — based on 117,112 customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 — based on 469 customer reviews
9.5 out of 10 — based on staff reviews
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.
Direct debit (bank transfer). You’ll need to allow 1-4 business days for your funds to reach Wise.
Bill payment. Wise can be set up as a bill payee with the following banks: Bank of Montreal, National Bank of Canada, Central 1 Credit Unions (owns many different banks), Tangerine Bank, EQ Bank, CS Alterna Bank, Manulife Bank of Canada and First Calgary Financial.
Domestic wire transfer. Allow up to 1 working day for your transfer to reach Wise. Beware of extra fees charged by your bank.
Google Pay and Apple Pay. These services can be used through the Wise mobile app and are processed straightaway. However, these payment methods may be charged as a cash advance.
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 6 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 all the necessary information, which could include details like the name of the bank, a routing number, an account number, a SWIFT/BIC code and/or an IBAN.
Verify your identity. Have your valid passport or valid driver’s license ready.
Pay. Enter the details of you bank account, debit card, credit card or digital wallet 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. Wise has a debit card that lets customers spend any currency on their cards and withdraw money across the world for free (up to EUR€250 a month). However, this card isn’t currently available in Canada. It may become available in the future, though.
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.
At Finder, we value and respect our editorial independence. We keep our reviews completely factual so you can use them to make better decisions. While we may receive revenue and referral fees from advertising and affiliate links, advertisers do not approve our reviews.
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