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

Wave money transfer to Africa review

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

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%
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 1,000 1 day USD 0.00 0.878 EUR 4,391 No maximum limit, no fees and competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies. Go to site Show details
USD 1 1 - 2 days USD 7.00 0.879 EUR
4,389
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 0.877 EUR 4,383 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
1 - 2 days USD 0.00 0.876 EUR 4,382 Get live quotes on exchange rates and take advantage of no transaction fees with no limits on transfers. 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, Nigeria 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.

World First

No maximum limit, no fees and competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies.

TransferWise

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

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

30 Responses

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Default Gravatar
    SaveNovember 27, 2018

    Can l transfer in Vodafone mobile money account in Ghana?

    • finder Customer Care
      AshNovember 28, 2018Staff

      Hello Save,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      Unfortunately, Wave only supports M-Pesa, MTN and Airtel mobile money accounts. You may keep an eye for Vodafone mobile account to be added in the future as they have plans to expand.

      I hope this helps.

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

      Cheers,
      Ash

  5. Default Gravatar
    AnnaNovember 27, 2018

    Do I need to have only US passport as an ID to join the app?

    • finder Customer Care
      AshNovember 28, 2018Staff

      Hello Anna,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      The form of identification will depend on what will be asked of you from Wave so they can verify your identity. You may call or email them directly through their contact details at their website to confirm the identification documents that they require from you.

      I hope this helps.

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

      Cheers,
      Ash

  6. Default Gravatar
    INovember 26, 2018

    How do I cancel my old card number and put on a new one?

    • finder Customer Care
      BellaNovember 27, 2018Staff

      Hi I do,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      in order to change or delete your old debit card number and put a new one, just simply go to “Payment info”delete the card that is in there and then input and save your new card- and you’re good to go!

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,
      Bella

  7. Default Gravatar
    CadeOctober 30, 2018

    Why does it ask for a picture of my ID? Is it safe to give?

    • finder Customer Care
      CharisseOctober 30, 2018Staff

      Hi Cade,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      As part of the registration process Wave may request documentation like a picture of your ID, for identity verification. If you will not agree to their terms and conditions, you will also not be able to use their service.

      As for the security of your personal information, Wave has implemented technical and organizational measures to secure it and prevent any accidental loss and unauthorized access, use, alteration or disclosure.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  8. Default Gravatar
    DamilareSeptember 28, 2018

    I can’t sign in.

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynSeptember 28, 2018Staff

      Hello Damilare,

      Thank you for your comment.

      There are a few things to check when logging in to an account. Please check that your device is connected to the internet connection or data, and according to Wave, their app does not work on mobile devices such as iPads, iPhones, or Android. Please contact Wave if you’re still having trouble logging in so they can check your account details.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  9. Default Gravatar
    JustineSeptember 25, 2018

    Like the terms and condition, you can’t send more than $2,999 a month right? And only $999 per transaction. Can I then send $999 each day even if it not up to a month?

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloSeptember 25, 2018

      Hi there,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      The rule of thumb is you can not send more than a total of $2,999 in a month using Wave.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

  10. Default Gravatar
    MurphySeptember 21, 2018

    I just wanna know if my recipient in Ghana can receive the money straight into their mobile money wallet

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaSeptember 24, 2018Staff

      Hi Murphy,

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

      The answer is yes, it is possible for your recipient in Ghana to receive the money straight into their mobile money wallet. To start sending money, simply download the Wave app for iOS and Android if you haven’t done so. Register and create a free account. You can immediately send the money. What you need is simply the recipient’s name and phone number.

      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 FINDER to send your first transfer with no fee.
Send to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposit, cash pickup or mobile top-up.

World First

No maximum limit, no fees and competitive exchange rates for 100+ currencies.

TransferWise

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

Go to site