Wise (TransferWise) review

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.

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CAD 1

Min. Transfer Amount

CAD 1,500,000

Max. Transfer Amount

1 - 2 days

Transfer Speed

Details

Product NameWise (TransferWise) 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, FJD, 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
Exchange Rate UpdatesReal time
Online Transfer Fee0.45%

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

Review by


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.

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.

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:

Payment feeWise feeTotal fees
Direct debit (bank transfer)0.21%0.5% – 1%0.71% – 1.21%
Debit card1.54%0.5% – 1%2.04% – 2.54%
Credit card2.16%0.5% – 1%2.66% – 3.16%
Bill payment$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:

Payment feeWise feeTotal fees
Direct debit (bank debit)$2.10$8.52$10.62
Debit card$15.36$8.43$23.79
Credit card$21.62$8.38$30.00
Bill payment$0.95$8.53$9.48
Domestic wire transfer$0.95$8.53$9.48

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.

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 — 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
  • 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?

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.

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.

Trustpilot4.6 out of 5 — based on 117,112 customer reviews
CompareRemit3.0 out of 5 — based on 469 customer reviews
Monito9.5 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:

  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 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.
  4. Verify your identity. Have your valid passport or valid driver’s license ready.
  5. Pay. Enter the details of you bank account, debit card, credit card or digital wallet to pay.
  6. Track your transfer. Check the status online or in the mobile app.
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How do I reach Wise’s customer service?

Wise offers support in 2 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 12 regions, including Canada. Both standard users and Wise Business users can contact support during business hours.

Does Wise have a mobile app?

Screenshot of the TransferWise 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 May 10, 2021.

Google Play Store4.4 out of 5 — based on 120,073 customer ratings
Apple App Store4.7 out of 5 — based on 21,079 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 0.79 USD
3,950
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
CAD 10 Within an hour CAD 1.99 0.785 USD
3,925
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
CAD 0 Within an hour CAD 3.99 0.791 USD
3,951
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 0.794 USD
3,934
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.

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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 of the features that are available.

Does Wise have a debit card?

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.

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