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

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This mobile app offers quick money transfers to Africa.

We’re doing so much more on mobile these days than merely keeping connected with friends and family. And app-based money transfers certainly aren’t new.

But what about apps that specifically serve the “unbanked” — or the largely underserved population of consumers who just don’t have access to the banking options we’re used to?

That’s where Wave comes in. It’s a app that lets you transfer money nearly instantly to African mobile money accounts using your debit card. And it’s as simple to use as sending a text.

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%

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

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USD 1 3 - 5 days USD 50.00 0.873 EUR
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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

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.

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

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8 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JimmieJuly 23, 2018

    Can i use a prepaid visa debit card for this transaction

    • Default Gravatar
      IsaacAugust 4, 2018

      Do I get to use the visa debt gift cards to send money to uganda?

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoAugust 6, 2018Staff

      Hi Isaac!

      Thanks for your message and for contacting finder.

      Yes, you can use Wave to transfer money to Uganda.

      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.

      The rates to send to Uganda are as follows:

      Mid Market Rate 1 USD = 3,593.50 UGX
      Wave Exchange Rate 1 USD = 3,500 UGX
      Mark up 2.6%

      Hope this helps! Feel free to message us again for further details.
      Cheers,

      Nikki

    • finder Customer Care
      AshJuly 24, 2018Staff

      Hi Jimmie,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      Yes, you may use Prepaid/ Debit Card as the source of money that you will send. The Prepaid/ Debit Card should be in the same name of the sender.

      I hope this helps.

      Let us know if there is anything else that I may assist you with.

      Cheers,
      Ash

  2. Default Gravatar
    DeniseJuly 10, 2018

    I was trying to access My Wave app and it said deactivated. I’ve never used it. Could you help?

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJuly 11, 2018Staff

      Hi Denise,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      You can try uninstalling and reinstalling the Wave app on your phone. If it still doesn’t work, you can text or call Wave through its mobile app or email them at help@wave.com for further assistance.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  3. Default Gravatar
    DannyMay 3, 2018

    I don’t know my ID and don’t know how to get it

    • finder Customer Care
      AshMay 4, 2018Staff

      Hi Danny,

      Thank you for visiting finder.

      Your Wave Account can be accessed using your linked Mobile Phone Number or Email Address then your nominated Password upon signing up. You do not need any ID in accessing your Wave account through the application.

      I hope this helps.

      Let us know if there is anything else that we may assist you with.

      Cheers,
      Ash

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