London-based fintech Wise was established in 2011 with the aim of making international money transfers cheap, fair and simple. This review takes a look at the Wise business account to see how it could help businesses that regularly trade overseas.
What types of business accounts are on offer?
Wise offers 1 business account that is primarily focused on cheap and easy international money transfers. Its key features are outlined below:
- Pay people in 1 click. Effortlessly pay international invoices, vendors and employees with the real exchange rate in 80 countries.
- Get paid faster. Get local bank details for 10 different currencies and pass on to your customers for an easy and free way to get paid – 50% of payments are instant or arrive within 1 hour.
- Batch payments. Pay up to 1,000 people in 1 click. Upload a spreadsheet with details for each transfer and submit 1 payment.
- Accounting integrations. Connect currency accounts to Xero or QuickBooks in real time to save time on manual admin.
- Manage currencies. Move money between currencies in seconds, with the real exchange rate and without high conversion fees. See up to 54 currencies from the 1 account.
- No foreign transaction fees. Pay expenses online or in-store with no fees to worry about.
- Multi-user access. Assign team members different levels of access to your Wise business account.
- Control cash flow. See all your expenses in 1 place and track your team in real time with controlled spending limits.
- Additional cards. Add cards for your team for £3 each.
What fees are there to pay?
There are 2 different pricing options available with the Wise business account. The first has no set-up fee and includes most of the above features and benefits. The second has a £16 set-up fee and also includes direct debits, account details like an IBAN, sort code and routing number, the ability to receive payments from a third party and the option to withdraw money from platforms like Shopify and Stripe.
Whichever pricing plan you go for, there are a number of transaction fees to watch out for. For example, while transfers in the same currency are free from 1 Wise account to another, there will be a small conversion fee for sending money to a different currency. The fee depends on the amount you’re sending, how you pay and the exchange rate. A conversion fee will also apply if you use your card to buy things online or on holiday in a currency you don’t have in your account.
The first 2 cash withdrawals on your card up to £200 are free each month, but after that you’ll be charged £0.50 per withdrawal. There is also a 1.75% fee on any amount you withdraw over £200.
You can hold more than 50 currencies in your Wise account for free, but if you’d like to keep more than €30,000 in your account, you’ll pay a 0.07% monthly fee on the extra amount.
Finally, while most payments into your account are free, some faster methods of sending payments, like wire payments in US dollars, have a fixed fee – in this case the fee is US$4.14.
How to apply
You can register for a Wise business account online for free. You’ll then need to provide details such as your business registration, where you’re located, the industry you’re in, any online or social presence, and the name, date of birth and country of residence for all stakeholders.
You’ll also need to provide personal details to verify your identity. Wise may also ask to verify your business, which can take up to 10 working days.
You can apply for a Wise business account if you’re a:
- Freelancer or sole trader
- Limited or public company
- Charity or trust in the EEA, Canada, US, UK, Switzerland, Australia or New Zealand
Is Wise safe?
Wise is not a bank, it is an e-money institution. This means it does not offer protection under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
However, Wise is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 and, as a result, it safeguards your funds by holding them in accounts that are completely separate to the ones Wise uses to run its business. This means that should Wise become insolvent, your funds would be inaccessible to its creditors and you should get most of your money back.
Pros and cons of the Wise business account
- Cheap and easy to make payments and move money in different currencies
- Accounting integrations
- Easy to track spending, including that of your team
- No monthly account fee
- Hold more than 50 currencies in the 1 account
- Fees apply to certain transactions
- No FSCS protection
- No bank branches
If you regularly carry out business overseas, the Wise business account could be the ideal fit for your company. Enabling you to hold more than 50 currencies in the 1 account, pay invoices abroad and move money internationally with ease and without extortionate fees, the Wise account has a lot going for it. Plus, if you keep less than €30,000 in your account, there’s no monthly fee to worry about and it’s easy to track your own and your team’s spending.
However, you will need to be happy managing your money online or via the app as there are no high street branches to pop into. If that’s not an issue for you, the Wise business account is well worth considering.
Frequently asked questions
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