Must read: TransferWise has rebranded to Wise
As TransferWise has expanded beyond international money transfers, the company has changed its name to Wise. As a user, not much will change for you – you’ll be redirected to Wise and can still access your account the same way as normal.
What's in this review?
- Wise's fees and exchange rates
- How long does a Wise money transfer take?
- What currencies can I send with Wise?
- Is Wise safe?
- Wise reviews and complaints
- How can I pay for my Wise transfer?
- How do I send money through Wise?
- Compare Wise to other transfer services
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
Why should I consider Wise?
- Easy to use. We signed up for an account and initiated a transfer through the website in less than three minutes.
- Affordability. When compared to a bank, Wise’s fees and exchange rates will almost always be better.
- Access to the mid-market rate. Wise offers the mid-market rate on all transfers sent through its network. All you have to think about are fees when comparing transfers.
- High daily sending limits. A cap of $1,000,000 per transfer is in place, but some sending methods and locations may lower that limit.
- Multiple payment options. Pay with a debit card, credit card or bank account with ACH or wire transfers. When using the Wise mobile app, you can also pay with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
What to be aware of
- Bank account transfers only. Funds must be sent to the recipient’s bank account; there is no option for cash pickup.
- Two-step process. You’ll first send the money to Wise, and then Wise will deposit the money into your recipient’s bank account. This extra step can sometimes add time to your transfer.
- Requires a Social Security number. You have to provide your SSN and possibly other identification before sending your first transfer through Wise.
- Fees. Because Wise offers the mid-market rate, it relies on fees to make a profit.
Wise’s fees and exchange rates
As long as you are sending US dollars, Wise’s fees are the same no matter what country you are sending to from the US. Fees are determined by the following:
- Amount. The more money you send, the higher your fees will be. This is because the fees are based on a preset percentage. Each currency uses its own percentage.
- Payment method. You can pay by bank account ACH, bank wire transfer, debit card or credit card — each uses its own fee based on the amount you are sending, but the percent will typically be the same no matter how much you send.
- Location. Transfers sent from different places in the US should all use the same fee table, but those may change if you are traveling abroad and sending money from other countries.
Wise fees explained
When we checked on April 13, 2020, Wise’s fees tended to be as follows, based on the type of payment method you are using:
|Payment fee||Wise fee||Total fees|
|Bank debit (ACH)||0.35%||0.5% – 1%||0.85% – 1.35%|
|Wire transfer||0.53%||0.5% – 1%||1.03% – 1.53%|
|Debit card||1.24%||0.5% – 1%||1.74% – 2.24%|
|Credit card||3.66%||0.5% – 1%||4.16% – 4.66%|
To give this more context, here is what sending $1,000 to Mexico through Wise looks like on April 13, 2020:
|Payment fee||Wise fee||Total fees|
|Bank debit (ACH)||$3.49||$7.62||$11.11|
Wise exchange rates explained
Wise uses the mid-market rate for transfers and also allows you to lock in a rate for a day or more to complete your transfer. When we checked Wise’s rates against the mid-market rate on Google and XE, they were similar. Wise’s rates update multiple times a day.
How long does a Wise money transfer take?
Wise transfer speeds are dependent on how much you are willing to pay in fees and when you send your transfer.
- Fastest option — instant
When using a credit or debit card, you’ll pay more in fees, but your money can arrive instantly in your recipient’s bank account. Your credit card might charge you an additional cash advance fee, further increasing the cost of your total transfer.
- Cheapest option — up to four business days
Making an ACH payment through your bank account to pay for your transfer is typically the cheapest way to send money through Wise, but it’s almost always the slowest. It typically takes two days for Wise to receive your money and an additional two days to transfer the funds to your recipient’s bank account.
What currencies can I send with Wise?
Wise offers money transfers to over 50 different currencies from all states in the US. You can check out the full list of the currencies above, but the following are some of the more popular ones:
- CNY Chinese yuan
- EUR Euro
- GBP British pound
- INR Indian rupee
- MXN Mexican peso
- LKR Sri Lankan rupee
- PHP Philippine peso
- VND Vietnamese dong
Must read: Temporary sending limit to Mexico
As of Jan 20, 2021, a temporary limit of $980 (or the same amount in Mexican pesos) has been placed on transfers to Mexico by Wise. We’ll update this information once the limit has been lifted.
Case study: Katia's experience
I began using Wise when I moved to the US from Australia a few years ago. I tested a few money transfer services and Wise was — and still is — my favorite for a couple of reasons:
- It’s transparent. As soon as you enter the amount of money you want to send, you’ll see the real, mid-market exchange rate as well as Wise’s fees. The rate changes so much that if I get distracted and come back to the site a few minutes later, it may have already changed. That’s how I know it’s current.
- The fee is small. Especially compared to the traditional banks — as someone who regularly transfers money between two continents, I appreciate this. The funds usually appear in my account in 24 hours, but it can take longer if I hit send just before the weekend.
Is Wise safe?
Wise was founded in 2010 and serves millions of customers a year. Wise is fully registered and accredited by many global agencies, using the following global standards to protect your money:
- Follows strict rules set by regulatory agencies. In every country where Wise operates, it is registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies when necessary.
- Bank-level data security. Encryption and data storage at Wise are handled in the same way as your bank.
- Two-factor authentication. Protect your account with 2FA, with optional biometric locks on the Wise mobile app.
- In-house 24/7 digital security team. A security team works around the clock to monitor transactions for suspicious activity and accounts for fraudulent logins.
Wise reviews and complaints
As of October 2020, Wise’s reviews are moderately positive overall, with 86% of reviews on Trustpilot ranking it as Excellent, which is better than many competing money transfer companies. Overall, Wise’s clear fee structure and transparent rates make it easy to trust, but that doesn’t mean it is perfect. Customers often complain about slow customer service and turnaround times as well as the fact that missing a dash in your transfer account number can heavily delay your transfer.
How can I pay for my Wise transfer?
US customers can pay using the following methods:
- Debit or credit card. These payments are processed immediately.
- ACH bank debit. You’ll need to allow one to four business days for your funds to reach Wise.
- Bank wire transfer. Allow up to one working day for your transfer to reach Wise. Beware of extra fees charged by your bank.
- Google Pay and Apple Pay. These services can be used through the Wise mobile app and are processed straightaway. However, these payment methods may be charged as a cash advance.
- A connected Wise Multi-currency account. For more information on this account, read our review that includes pros, cons and overall tips on this product.
The funds are deposited directly into your recipient’s bank account once Wise receives your payment. Wise allows you to make secure one-off transfers to a range of destinations around the globe. However, there currently is no option to set up recurring transfers.
How do I send money through Wise?
Follow these six steps to have money sent in as little as a few minutes:
- Register. Create your free account online or through the mobile app.
- Enter your sending amount. Look at the fees and delivery time.
- Add recipient’s bank account information. Make sure to include the routing and account number.
- Verify your identity. Have your passport or valid driver’s license ready.
- Pay. Enter your bank account, debit, credit card or digital wallet details to pay.
- Track your transfer. Check the status online or in the mobile app.
How do I reach Wise’s customer service?
Wise offers support in two ways:
To contact Wise by email, visit the Contact Us page and enter your email address, select the topic of the question and provide as much detail as possible about your problem.
Wise provides phone support in 12 regions, including the US. Both standard users and Wise Business users can contact support during business hours.
- Standard users call +1 888 908 3833
- Business users call +1 888 829 3669
Does Wise have a mobile app?
Wise has a mobile app on both the Google Play and Apple App stores. The app makes it possible to do the following:
- Quickly repeat a transfer. See a complete list of past money transfers and send to past recipients in a few taps.
- Log in with biometrics. On phones that support face scanning and thumbprint reading, use these features to lock your Wise account.
- Get rate updates. Waiting for the perfect exchange rate? Set up rate tracking to get updates when the price is in your favor.
- Increase your payment methods. Pay for your Wise transfer with Apple Pay and Google Pay while using the mobile app.
|Ratings accurate as of April 13, 2020|
|Google Play Store||4.4 out of 5 — based on 76,666 customer ratings|
|Apple App Store||4.7 out of 5 — based on 19,100 customer ratings|
Compare Wise to other transfer services
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Want to compare Wise with other services side-by-side?
Wise is a straightforward company that presents fees and exchange rates alongside your transfer. Given that you can lock-in your transfer rate for many hours after first seeing it, it’s worth checking Wise’s prices first before exploring the competition. If you are ready to make your transfer with Wise now, head on over to get started by creating your free account.
Frequently asked questions
Can I use Wise for business payments?
Does Wise have a debit card?
Yes. Wise has a debit card in the US available to all residents except those in Nevada and Hawaii. With it, you can spend any currency on your card and use it to withdraw money across the world for free (up to EUR€250 a month). You can find out more about our experience with it in the video.
How can I cancel my Wise transfer?
In your account, navigate to the pending transfer and there’ll be a button called Cancel transfer. This will work if the money is still being sent to Wise or if it’s being converted. However, once Wise pays your recipient, there’s no way to get it back. If the details are incorrect, the money will usually bounce. Wise will let you know in this case, so you’ll have the opportunity to update the details or cancel the transaction entirely.
Always make sure you trust the business or person you’re sending a money transfer to.
Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder. He’s ghostwritten hundreds of articles on fintech, finding his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Traveling internationally for nearly half his life — and getting burned once by an OTC money exchange — Zak's vowed not to settle for anything short of the mid-market rate again.
Wise, unlike a lot of its competitors, makes it crystal clear how much you are paying in fees before you transfer. Money transfer companies can often try to hide fees and exchange rate markups from the user, making Wise a breath of fresh air. Wise offers accounts for both standard users sending to other individuals as well as business accounts with extra features like Xero integration.
When it comes to online transfers, I would be surprised to see big names like MoneyGram and Western Union offering better rates, but keep in mind that other online-specific companies may offer better deals than Wise. If you find yourself traveling overseas frequently or receiving payment in foreign currencies, be sure to look into the Wise Multi-currency account to see if it fits your needs.