Wise (TransferWise) Review: Is it Safe? Rates, Fees and More | Finder Canada
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Review: Sending money with Wise (TransferWise)

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Wise offers a low-cost way to send money overseas with an easy verification process.

  • Good for transparent fees and no margin on the exchange rate.
  • Not so great if you need to transfer to less-popular currencies.

CAD 1

Min. Transfer Amount

CAD 1,500,000

Max. Transfer Amount

1 - 2 days

Transfer Speed

Details

Product NameWise International Money Transfers
Min. Transfer AmountCAD 1
Max. Transfer AmountCAD 1,500,000
Transfer MethodsOnline
Transfer OptionsOne off payments
Transfer Speed
Minimum transfer time
1 - 2 days
Customer ServicePhone, Email
Available CurrenciesAED, ARS, AUD, BDT, BGN, BRL, BWP, CAD, CHF, CLP, CNY, COP, CRC, CZK, DKK, EGP, ERN, EUR, GBP, GEL, GHS, HKD, HRK, HUF, IDR, ILS, INR, JPY, KES, KRW, LKR, MAD, MXN, MYR, NGN, NOK, NPR, NZD, PEN, PHP, PKR, PLN, RON, RUB, SEK, SGD, THB, TRY, TZS, UAH, UGX, USD, UYU, VND, XOF, ZAR, ZMW
Online Transfer Fee0.45%
Exchange Rate UpdatesReal time

Pros

  • No minimum transfer amount
  • No hidden commissions or unexpected fees
  • Uses the mid-market exchange rate to give you the best possible deal

Cons

  • Not all currencies supported

Expert review

Zak Killermann

Review by


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.

Expert review

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.

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.

Why should I consider Wise?

  • 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:
Payment feeWise feeTotal fees
Wire transfer$9.29$2.61$11.90
Online bill payment$9.29$2.61$11.90
Direct debit$12.36$1.86$14.22
Debit card$24.51$1.86$26.37
Credit card$30.71$1.86$32.57

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.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 9.00 0.788 USD
781
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
Check if there are any Wise promo codes available

How long does a Wise money transfer take?

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
  • EUR Euro
  • GBP British pound
  • INR Indian rupee
  • MXN Mexican peso
  • LKR Sri Lankan rupee
  • PHP Philippine peso
  • VND Vietnamese dong

Case study: Katia's experience

Katia Iervasi profile photo
Katia Iervasi
Writer

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.

What Wise’s reviews say

Reviews accurate as of July 22, 2020.

Trustpilot4.7 out of 5 — based on 93,475 customer reviews
CompareRemit3 out of 5 — based on 475 customer reviews
Monito8.8 out of 10 — based on staff reviews
NerdWallet4.5 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:

  1. Register. Create your free account online or through the mobile app.
  2. Enter your sending amount. Look at the fees and delivery time.
  3. Add recipient’s bank account information. Make sure to include the account number and transit or routing number.
  4. Verify your identity. Have your passport or valid driver’s license ready.
  5. Pay. Enter your bank account, debit, credit card or digital wallet details to pay.
  6. Track your transfer. Check the status online or in the mobile app.

How do I reach Wise’s customer service?

Wise offers support in two ways:

By email

To contact Wise by email, visit the Contact Us page and enter your email address, select the topic of the question and provide as much detail as possible about your problem.

By phone

Wise provides phone support in 14 regions, including Canada. Both standard users and Wise Business users can contact support during business hours.

  • Standard users call +1 888 445 2780
  • Business users call +1 888 403 2696

Does Wise have a mobile app?

Screenshot of TransferWise's app

Wise has a mobile app on both the Google Play and Apple App stores. The app makes it possible to do the following:

  • Quickly repeat a transfer. See a complete list of past money transfers and send to past recipients in a few taps.
  • Log in with biometrics. On phones that support face scanning and thumbprint reading, use these features to lock your Wise account.
  • Get rate updates. Waiting for the perfect exchange rate? Set up rate tracking to get updates when the price is in your favor.
  • Increase your payment methods. Pay for your Wise transfer with Apple Pay and Google Pay while using the mobile app.
Ratings accurate as of July 22, 2020
Google Play Store4.3 out of 5 — based on 84,693 customer ratings
Apple App Store4.7 out of 5 — based on 19,778 customer ratings

More on the best money transfer apps

Compare Wise to other transfer services

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
CAD 1 Same day CAD 0.00 0.784 USD
3,921
XE has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
USD 150 1 day CAD 15.00 0.78 USD
3,890
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Go to site Show details
CAD 0 Within an hour CAD 3.99 0.785 USD
3,922
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Go to site Show details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 45.00 0.788 USD
3,906
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Find out other alternatives to Wise

Want to compare Wise with other services side-by-side?

Bottom line

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.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use Wise for business payments?

Yes. Set up a business profile with Wise to begin saving on business payments. If you’re interested in Wise for your e-commerce store, read our review on the features on offer.

Does Wise have a debit card?

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.

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