Sendwave money transfer review

A fee-free way to send money to Africa in 30 seconds.

Last updated:

The Sendwave (formerly Wave) app offers a secure way to transfer funds almost instantly to a mobile money account using your debit card but for now it only works in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana or Tanzania.

Details

Product nameSendwave
Minimum transfer£1
Maximum transfer£999 a day; £2,500 a month
Transfer methodsBank debit card
Transfer optionsN/A
Delivery speedInstant
Banking partnerN/A
Available currenciesKES, UGX, GHS, TZS
Fees and exchange ratesNo transaction fees; exchange rate markup of 2% to 3.5%
Customer service optionsText, phone

How much will I pay to send money with Sendwave?

Sendwave is one of those rare services that doesn’t charge transfer fees. Instead, it makes money by offering you slightly worse than the mid-market rate when you exchange currency.

Pro tip

The mid-market rate is what your money’s worth compared to another currency. For example, the mid-market rate for dollars to pounds could be 1 GBP = 1.30 USD.

Charging above the mid-market rate means a company will convert your money for less than it’s really worth — reducing the exchange rate to 1 GBP = 1.25 USD, for example.

Keep in mind that big players like Western Union and MoneyGram make money on both exchange rate spreads and fees that can be higher for specific types of transactions, like paying with your debit card. With Sendwave, you cut out the fee altogether.

How are Sendwave’s exchange rates?

Depending on your recipient’s currency, you’ll see a spread on the mid-market rate that appears to top out at about 3.5%.

To give you an idea of what you could pay on the exchange rate, here’s what Sendwave advertised at the time of this writing:

Mid-market rateSendwave’s exchange rateMarkup
Kenya1 GBP = 133.51 KES1 GBP = 130.26 KES2.5%
Uganda1 GBP = 4,841.16 UGX1 GBP = 4,741 UGX2.1%
Ghana1 GBP = 7.44 GHS1 GBP = 7.22 GHS3%
Tanzania1 GBP = 3,017.48 TZS1 GBP = 2,943 TZS2.5%

What does this mean?

According to the mid-market rate, 1 GBP is worth 133.51 Kenyan shilling (KES). Yet when you transfer through Sendwave, 1 GBP is worth 130.26 KES.
Here’s what that looks like when sending £100:

  • Your money is actually worth £100 x 133.51 = 13,351 KES.
  • Instead, your recipient receives £100 x 130.26 = 13,026 KES.

Sendwave profits the difference of 325 KES — or about £2.43.

How does Sendwave compare to other services?

Table: sorted by a combination of service offering and the amount your recipient will receive

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 5,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.156 EUR
11,561
Take advantage of fee lock-ins and live bookable rates, helping you save up to 85% in hidden bank fees. Go to site Show details
GBP 2,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.157 EUR
11,573
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction (conditions apply)
(Conditions apply)
Go to site Show details
GBP 3,000 1 day GBP 0.00 1.157 EUR
11,573
Get no fees as a Finder customer when you transfer your money overseas with Global Reach. Go to site Show details
GBP 1 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.156 EUR
11,561
Whatever amount you transfer, XE will not charge you a fee for using their service. Go to site Show details
GBP 2,500 Same day GBP 0.00 1.157 EUR
11,573
Central FX’s dedicated private client team will guide you through the money transfer process from first call to final payment. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days GBP 0.00 1.157 EUR
11,573
Better exchange rates for Finder customers.
Send 60+ currencies at competitive rates and no fees. If you find a better eligible quote, WorldFirst will beat it.
Go to site Show details
USD 0 1 - 2 days GBP 1.99 1.147 EUR
11,466
Quick, affordable transfers around the world. Remitly also has an express option that can transfer your money in minutes for a higher fee. The cheaper option takes several days. Go to site Show details
GBP 5 2 days EUR 3.00 1.156 EUR
11,561
Special offer: Zero fees on your first 10 transfers.
Get bank-beating exchange rates and fast transfer times on 15+ popular currencies.
Go to site Show details
GBP 2,500 1 day GBP 0.00 1.157 EUR
11,573
With 17 years of foreign exchange expertise, OFX know the money transfers business very well, offering facilities for one-off and recurring transfers. Go to site Show details
GBP 50 Same day GBP 2.99 1.15 EUR
11,500
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee.
Send money online anytime, anywhere, with a simple to use platform and transparent fees and exchange rates shown upfront.
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.

What types of transfers does Sendwave support?

Sendwave supports only debit card payments to mobile money accounts in Africa. You can send as little as £1 through Sendwave to Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania.

At the time of writing, Sendwave supports transferring your cash to M-Pesa, MTN and Airtel mobile money accounts, with plans to add others as it expands into other countries.

How do I send money through Sendwave?

Download the Sendwave app for iOS and Android and register for a free account. You can start sending money immediately — just enter your recipient’s name and phone number.

Sendwave money transfer banner with cellphones

How do I track my Sendwave transfer?

Once the recipient receives your transfer, Sendwave emails you confirmation. And you’ll see your transfer marked Funds Delivered in the app’s transaction tab.

Benefits and drawbacks

Pros

  • Mobile app. No need for a desktop, you can transfer funds straight from your smartphone.
  • Easy signup. To get started, submit your name, email and phone number on Sendwave’s site.
  • Low minimum transfer. Transfer as little as £1.
  • Quick transfers. According to Sendwave, transfers are instant.

Cons

  • Only for mobile. Sendwave is a mobile-only app.
  • Not for all African countries. Currently, you can send money to Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania only.
  • No credit card or PayPal payments. Load funds from a debit card only.

How safe is Sendwave?

Sendwave is a licensed money transmitter in every country it operates in. It encrypts transactions through a 128-bit connection and doesn’t store your personal or financial info in its databases.

Next steps

To get started with Sendwave, download the app on your mobile device. Then sign up for an account and enter your recipient’s contact details to send money.

If you need help at any point in the process, email help@wave.com.

Bottom line

Sendwave is a simple way to get money to African countries not often served by other money transfer services. It charges no fees to transfer funds directly to mobile money accounts — and it’s as easy sending a text.

Frequently asked questions

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