CurrencyFair vs Wise

CurrencyFair and Wise aren't dissimilar, but Wise supports more currencies and often comes out cheaper.

Both CurrencyFair and Wise have made a name for themselves (and then changed it, in Wise’s case – from TransferWise) as bank-beating services for overseas transfers, so let’s see how they hold up against each other! In this comparison we’ve focused on the international transfer arms of their respective businesses (Wise also offers a prepaid card for travel, for example).

CurrencyFair and Wise at a glance

CurrencyFairWise (TransferWise)
Overall rating★★★★★★★★★★
Arrange transfers online
Arrange transfers through app
Arrange transfers by phone
Founded20092011
BasedDublin, IrelandLondon, UK
FCA reference522602900507
LinkGo to siteGo to site

Which is cheaper: CurrencyFair or Wise?

1 - 2 of 2
Name Product Fastest transfer Fee Key benefits Amount received
OFFER
CurrencyFair
24 hours
From £1.20
New customers get unlimited fee-free transfers for their first 3 months. T&Cs apply.
N/A
OFFER
Wise (TransferWise)
4 hours
From £0.20
Refer 3 friends to receive up to £50 referral bonus
N/A
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Compare up to 4 providers

Please note: You should always refer to quotes you receive from transfer services themselves directly for exact amounts as they may vary from our estimates.

Which charges lower fees?

CurrencyFair charges a low flat fee of about £1-£3 depending on where you’re transferring to. Wise charges a flat fee AND a percentage-based fee, and again, these can vary according to where you’re sending to.

But while CurrencyFair trumps Wise in this round, fees alone don’t tell the whole story. The overall cost of a transfer generally depends on fees plus the exchange rate offered. Take both into account, and Wise will often come out on top.

Trophy iconWinner: CurrencyFair

Which offers better exchange rates?

Wise offers the “mid-market” or “interbank” rate, which is generally the best rate going. Typically you’ll only see transfer services offering the mid-market rate in conjunction with a transfer fee – after all, they have to make money somehow!

Where a transfer service charges no (or very low) fees, it’s usually because it’s adding a margin into the exchange rate it’s offering. That’s what CurrencyFair does – so the rate you’ll see on CurrencyFair will typically be up to 2% away from the interbank rate. That’s fairly standard practice, and it means that the easiest way to see which is the best service for your transfer is to compare the overall cost.

Trophy iconWinner: Wise

Example: Sending £3,000 to Switzerland

CurrencyFairWise
Transfer fee£3.50£13.78
Exchange rate1 GBP = 1.1274 CHF1 GBP = 1.13206 CHF
Transfer speedSame daySame day
Total received3,378.20 CHF3,380.58 CHF

In this example, despite charging more in fees, Wise actually allows the sender to transfer a little more to the recipient. Please note this example isn’t based on a live exchange rate.

Coverage and payout

CurrencyFairWise (TransferWise)
Coverage rating★★★★★★★★★★
Number of available currencies22
(including: EUR, USD, INR, PHP, ZAR)
56
(including: EUR, USD, CNY, INR, PHP, PKR, ZAR)
Number of supported countries150222
Cash pick-up facility
Speed rating★★★★★★★★★★
Fastest transfer speed24 hours4 hours
LinkGo to siteGo to site

Wise has a clear edge over CurrencyFair in terms of the number of currencies it supports and the number of countries it can send to. So if you’re sending to a currency that’s supported by Wise but not CurrencyFair (like Pakistani Rupees, for example), that could be “case closed”!

Trophy iconWinner: Wise

Which is faster?

Both services tout same-day transfers in some major currencies, while less common currencies can take a couple of working days.

Trophy iconWinner: Tie

Payment methods

CurrencyFairWise (TransferWise)
Bank transfer
Debit card
Credit card
LinkGo to siteGo to site

Wise aditionally accepts debit and credit card payments, which could be useful, although paying by credit card is generally not something we’d recommend.

Forex features

CurrencyFairWise (TransferWise)
Facilities rating★★★★★★★★★★
Recurring transfer facility
Forward contracts facility
Limit orders facility
Stop loss orders facility
Customer servicePhone, Live chat, EmailPhone, Email
Personal account manager
Price matching facility
LinkGo to siteGo to site

CurrencyFair wins this round thanks to its peer-to-peer marketplace where you can effectively leave your target exchange rate on the table in the hope that another user sending from the opposite currency will be matched with it. Learn more about limit orders and locking in exchange rates.

Trophy iconWinner: CurrencyFair

The verdict: Which is better: CurrencyFair or Wise?

We found that most of the time, Wise worked out cheaper overall, and since cost is really what it’s all about, that makes Wise our overall winner. But these are both decent platforms and both are likely to beat your bank when it comes to international transfer costs.

Its worth noting that CurrencyFair’s limit order facilty (which lets you set a target exchange rate so your transfer can be executed if that rate becomes available) can theoretically help you beat the rates that CurrencyFair ordinarily quotes in its live calculator. When you’re transferring larger sums, tools like that are well worth exploring. A broker like TorFX, can offer expert human support to exploit such tools, and may have an edge over both CurrencyFair and Wise when you’re not simply after a super-fast, cheap, self-service transfer.

Trophy iconOverall winner: Wise

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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