Wave mobile app: Transfer money to Africa | finder.com
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Wave money transfer review

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

The 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 name Wave
Minimum transfer $1
Maximum transfer $999 a day; $2,999 a month
Transfer methods Debit card
Transfer options N/A
Delivery speed Instant
Banking partner N/A
Available currencies KES, UGX, GHS, TZS
Fees and exchange rates No transaction fees; exchange rate markup of 2% to 3.5%
Customer service options Text, phone

How much will I pay to send money with Wave?

Wave 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 euros could be 1 USD = 0.95 EUR.

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 USD = 0.90 EUR, 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 Wave, you cut out the fee altogether.

How are Wave’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 Wave advertised at the time of this writing:

Mid-market rate Wave’s exchange rate Markup
Kenya 1 USD = 102.92 KES 1 USD = 99.97 KES 2.9%
Uganda 1 USD = 3,593.50 UGX 1 USD = 3,500 UGX 2.6%
Ghana 1 USD = 4.38 GHS 1 USD = 4.29 GHS 2.1%
Tanzania 1 USD = 2,244.82 TZS 1 USD = 2,168 TZS 3.4%
Nigeria 1 USD = 363 NG 1 USD = 352 NG 3.1%

What does this mean?

According to the mid-market rate, 1 USD is worth 102.92 Kenyan shilling (KES). Yet when you transfer through Wave, 1 USD is worth 99.97 KES.
Here’s what that looks like when sending $100:

  • Your money is actually worth $100 x 102.92 = 10,292 KES.
  • Instead, your recipient receives $100 x 99.97 = 9,997 KES.

Wave profits the difference of 295 KES — or about $2.80.

How does Wave compare to other services?

I want to send

to

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 0 3 - 5 days USD 0.00 0.879 EUR 4,393 Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.886 EUR
4,428
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks. Go to site Show details
USD 1 Within an hour USD 0.00 0.877 EUR 4,384 Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up. Go to site Show details
USD 1,000 1 day - - No-maximum limit transfers with competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 1,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.882 EUR 4,411 Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.
Go to site Show details
USD 5,000 1 day - - Venstar will support you through the entire process of your international transactions, from start to finish. Go to site Show details
USD 50 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.874 EUR 4,368 Simple, zero-margin exchange rates, plus earn loyalty points on sign up, referral and every transaction. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

What types of transfers does Wave support?

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

At the time of writing, Wave 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 Wave?

Download the Wave 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.

Wave money transfer banner with cellphones

How do I track my Wave transfer?

Once the recipient receives your transfer, Wave 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 Wave’s site.
  • Low minimum transfer. Transfer as little as $1.
  • Quick transfers. According to Wave, transfers are instant.

Cons

  • Only for mobile. Wave 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 Wave?

Wave 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 Wave, 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.

Compare Wave to the competition

Bottom line

Wave 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

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

US International Money Transfers Offers

Important Information*
XE Money Transfer

Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees.

WorldRemit International Money Transfers

Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

TransferWise

Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks.

CurrencyTransfer

Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.

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62 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    FrankApril 15, 2019

    My brother tried sending money from U.S to me in Ghana but was called to ask if he had met me in person or he knows me…. Because of that wave didn’t accept his transcation.

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoApril 16, 2019Staff

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder! We’re sorry to hear Wave wasn’t an option to send money to Ghana. You can go to this page to find other options. When sending money – it’s important to check the exchange rate beforehand to maximize the funds to be exchanged. Also, read through the transfer process of the provider such as transfer fees, transfer options and transfer speed to set expectations for the receiver. Take note of any reference or tracking numbers should any transaction delays come up during the transit. Hope this helps and feel free to email back if you have questions. Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    PascalApril 8, 2019

    How can I receive $5000 through the Wave? Do I have to use multiple debit cards?

    • finder Customer Care
      MaiApril 9, 2019Staff

      Hi Pascal,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      I’m afraid Wave has a limit of $2,999 per month. No need to use multiple debit cards to receive an amount more than your limit. You can request to increase your limit by contacting Wave and providing them your government ID. They will then review your processing history or such amount designated by their processor. The Reserve may be raised, reduced or removed at any time by Wave or the Bank, in their sole discretion.

      Hope this helps.

      Kind Regards,
      Mai

  3. Default Gravatar
    BlessingMarch 18, 2019

    Please, why is that the cash that was sent to my Nigeria account through WAVE app refuses to be credited and it was not credited back to the sender over two days now. A message was sent that it has been cancelled and refunded but it not reflecting in the senders account.

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniMarch 19, 2019Staff

      Hi Blessing,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Sorry to hear your trouble. As per WAVE’s FAQ page, refunds are processed immediately but others can take up to 10 business days. This depends on your bank’s relationship with their debit card processor. I suggest that you text or call Wave through its mobile app to get in touch with their customer support and get further help on this matter.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  4. Default Gravatar
    SallyMarch 11, 2019

    I tried sending money to relative in Ghana .they said I need to show a passport that I been to Ghana or my receiver has been in the State is this true

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoMarch 11, 2019Staff

      Hi Sally,

      Thanks for getting in touch! The rules for sending money to Ghana depends on the money transfer service you use. As for Wave, you only need to set-up an account on the website and link it to your debit account. Please note that Wave has chosen not to accept credit cards or PayPal because both options cost the company processing fees. According to the company, accepting only debit cards allows it to keep costs low and pass savings on to consumers.

      If you need to know more information about Wave, easily text or call Wave through its mobile app.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

  5. Default Gravatar
    MakedaMarch 7, 2019

    Can wave been used in switzerland

    • finder Customer Care
      BellaMarch 8, 2019Staff

      Hi Makeda,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      As of this time, only users from the US, UK, and Canada can open or use a Wave account.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

  6. Default Gravatar
    CarolynFebruary 28, 2019

    Hello Wave! I’m Carolyn from Florida. I want to wire funds to my family in Ghana, but a friend told me only Africans can register and wire funds via Wave. How true is that?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 3, 2019Staff

      Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      You can use Wave even if you are not an African. As long as you have the phone number of your recipient and that person is located in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana or Tanzania, then you can make a money transfer.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  7. Default Gravatar
    JudyFebruary 26, 2019

    I have never used Wave before but I would like to send money to my family, please. They are in Ghana. Wave keeps on rejecting my email address and password.

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 28, 2019Staff

      Hi Judy,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I’m sorry to hear about the problem you are having.

      There are different reasons why you are not able to log in to your account. First, please check if you are using the correct email address. If yes, check your password as well. If you forgot your password, you can click on the “Forget it?” link on the sign in page. From there, you should receive a password reset link in your email. By this, you can also confirm whether you have used the correct email or not.

      If all else fail, Judy, please directly get in touch with Wave’s customer support.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  8. Default Gravatar
    AngelinaFebruary 24, 2019

    Hello I’m new Wave user. How can I send money if I don’t know the number of my recipient? Please Help Me. I’m From Tanzania.

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 25, 2019Staff

      Hi Angelina,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      You would need the phone number of your recipient for them to receive the money. If you don’t have a number, you might want to ask your recipient first.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  9. Default Gravatar
    AndyFebruary 19, 2019

    How can I have a printable personal transaction history?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynFebruary 20, 2019Staff

      Hi Andy,

      Thank you for your comment.

      To print your personal transaction history, you can take a screenshot of it and have it printed. You can also contact Wave Money support directly and request for the copy of your transaction history. They can email this to you and you can print this on your end.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  10. Default Gravatar
    MaryFebruary 1, 2019

    I need to send money to Kenya. The app tells me I have exceeded the limit of 2,999/month. We are in February and I have not sent any money this month?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 6, 2019Staff

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Typically, your send limit should reset every month. However, please note that there’s also a daily limit you should take note of which is $999 per day. Perhaps, that might also be a reason why you can’t send the money. By the way, you can also increase your daily and monthly limit by providing a government ID to Wave.

      Finally, if the problem still persists, please directly get in touch with Wave.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

US International Money Transfers Offers

Important Information*
XE Money Transfer

Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees.

WorldRemit International Money Transfers

Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

TransferWise

Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies while saving up to 90% over local banks.

CurrencyTransfer

Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
For larger transfers, get no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.

Go to site