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 0.875 EUR 4,375 Transfer up to $500,000 with no minimums and no fees. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 7.00 0.875 EUR
4,371
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 3.99 0.874 EUR 4,365 Use promo code FINDER to send your first transfer with no fee.
Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.
Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.873 EUR 4,364 Minimum transfer: $5,000. For larger transfers, take advantage of no transaction fees and no maximum send limits. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 day USD 8.00 0.863 EUR 4,307 Easily transfer cash to more than 350,000 locations around the world. 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.

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 FINDER to send your first transfer 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

Minimum transfer: $5,000. For larger transfers, take advantage of no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.

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44 Responses

  1. 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

  2. Default Gravatar
    HenryJanuary 18, 2019

    I was sent money from USA and it’s been a couple of hours and I’m still to get the money in my Nigerian bank account, why? Must the recipient have an American visa to get money?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniJanuary 18, 2019Staff

      Hi Henry,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      US Visa is not a requirement when receiving funds via Wave. Please note that currently, users can send money to Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania only. If you have this app, kindly text or call Wave’s customer support regarding your money which was from the US.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. Default Gravatar
    KevinJanuary 8, 2019

    can you email me please/

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJanuary 10, 2019Staff

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for getting in touch! To get in touch with Wave, you can go directly to their contact page on their website and get their email addresses listed on the page. They also have available phone numbers should you wish to give them a call. Hope this helps and feel free to email us back if you have other questions.

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  4. Default Gravatar
    andersonJanuary 2, 2019

    How do I open a money Wave account in Kenya?

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseJanuary 2, 2019Staff

      Hi Anderson,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      As of this time, only users from the US, UK and Canada can open a Wave account. Wave’s mission is to make sending money to Africa easy and affordable, which is the reason they only send money into Africa and not from Africa.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  5. Default Gravatar
    PerryDecember 28, 2018

    Please, is this to all network in Ghana or you only have a particular network that you work with? Will the person be able to send money to Airteltigo cash mobile account too?

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseDecember 28, 2018Staff

      Hi Perry,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      As of this time, Wave money transfer only supports mobile money transfers to MTN in Ghana.

      Alternatively, if you are still looking to compare money transfer companies you can consider when sending money to Ghana, you can head on to this page.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  6. Default Gravatar
    JonasDecember 21, 2018

    What is the limit of sending money to Uganda? Can I send money to 5 people in one day?
    I have family members in Uganda and what to send them money each to his or her mobile wallet. Let me know, thanks.

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseDecember 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Jonas,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      You can initially send a maximum of $999/day and $2,999/month from US to Uganda. You can send to five people or even more as long as you do not exceed your daily and monthly sending limits. If you need to send more than your allowed limit, Wave can increase your limits to $2,999/day and $12,000/month through their app, by sending them your government ID photo.

      Aside from your sending limits, please note that Uganda’s MTN and Airtel mobile money programs also have their own limits:
      – You can only send up to 4,000,000 UGX per transfer
      – No MTN or Airtel account can hold more than 5,000,000 Ugs at one time

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  7. Default Gravatar
    AgogobroniDecember 21, 2018

    Can I use WAVE to send money from my location in Florida, USA to Ghana?

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseDecember 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Agogobroni,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      Yes, you can use Wave mobile app to transfer money from your US debit card to Ghana as long as your bank account is based in the US. You can initially send a maximum of $999/day and $2,999/month.

      However, aside from your own sending limit, MTN Ghana has its own limits too. Please note that MTN account cannot hold more than 10,000 cedis at one time.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  8. Default Gravatar
    TitusDecember 6, 2018

    Does wave support m-pesa in TZ?

    • finder Customer Care
      AshDecember 11, 2018Staff

      Hello Titus,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      Yes, Wave supports transfers to M-Pesa mobile account in Tanzania as well as to Kenya, Uganda and Ghana.

      I hope this helps.

      Please do not hesitate to reach out again if you have additional questions that you need assistance with.

      Cheers,
      Ash

  9. Default Gravatar
    GabriellaDecember 5, 2018

    What do I choose, low to high or high to low, what does that mean?

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoDecember 11, 2018Staff

      Hi Gabriella,

      Thanks for getting in touch! Depending on the category, for example, transfer speed – when it’s low to high – it means slowest to fastest transfer speed. For another, online transfer fee – when it’s low to high – it means the cheapest transfer fee to most expensive transfer fee. Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

  10. Default Gravatar
    RichDecember 1, 2018

    Hello, what is the maximum amount I can receive in Uganda? Can one send me 7,000 US Dollars at once? And can it come to my Airtel money account?

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoDecember 4, 2018Staff

      Hi Rich,

      Thanks for your message and for visiting our page! The maximum transfer when Wave is used (regardless of the country) is $999 a day; $2,999 a month. As it says on our page, Wave supports transferring your cash to Airtel mobile money accounts. Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

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 FINDER to send your first transfer 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

Minimum transfer: $5,000. For larger transfers, take advantage of no transaction fees and no maximum send limits.

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