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Wise (TransferWise) vs. Bank of America

View our head-to-head comparison of two international money transfer services to find the best deal.

When you need to send money overseas, you’ll likely think of visiting a local bank like Bank of America. Offering wire transfers to more than 200 countries, BofA provides secure, convenient money transfers that typically arrive within two business days.

On the other hand, UK-based newcomer Wise is a fundamentally different way to send money online. Using peer-to-peer technology, it matches users looking to send money in one currency with customers in other countries looking to receive the same money. So if need to get pounds to someone in the UK, Wise will find someone in the UK looking to send dollars to the US, essentially swapping your funds.

Both Bank of America and Wise will safely get your money where it needs to go, but which is superior on fees, exchange rates and speeds? Read on to find out.

Picture not describedBank of America logo
FeesFrom 0.55% to 2.35% of your transaction plus a fixed feeFrom $25 to $85 or more
Exchange ratesMid-market rateMore than the mid-market rate plus margin
Speed2–3 business day2 to 3 business days
Max Transfer AmountPrivate individual – $49,999 per day and $199,999 per year
Business – $199,999 per day and $1,000,000 per year
No limit
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Wise vs. Bank of America: How they work?

Wise

To use Wise, you’ll need to first create a free account, but it’s easy to set one up with your first transfer. You also have the option of signing in with your existing Google+, Facebook or PayPal account.

To send money, go to its site, select the currencies you are exchanging and indicate how much you want to send. After reviewing your rate and fee, money is pulled from your bank account and sent to a Wise bank in your recipient’s country using the mid-market exchange rate.

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Bank of America

To send an international wire transfer with Bank of America, you’ll need to first set up a bank account. You can quickly and easily sign up for an account online by visiting a BofA branch with your Social Security number, contact information and residential address.

Once you have an account, you can send a wire transfer overseas by logging in to your BofA account, clicking the Transfers tab and then clicking Outside the Bank Transfers. Enter the details of your transaction — how much you’re sending, the currency and to where — and confirm your rates and fees.

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Who offers lower fees?

Wise

Fees with Wise will depend on where and how you’re sending money, but most clock in at around $9.90. Overall, fees range from 0.5% to 1.5% of your transaction — and sometimes a bit higher, depending on the currency you’re transferring to plus a fixed fee. To send $1,000 to China, for example, you’ll pay the currency fixed fee plus 1.1% of your transaction (or $18.79); to the Philippines, the fee drops to 0.75% plus the currency fixed fee ($10.92). You can easily find out what you’ll pay by visiting its “How much does Wise cost?” page.

Bank of America

While most major US banks offer free bank-to-bank domestic transfers (or waive fees for specific account levels), they’re typically your most expensive option when sending money internationally.

Banks charge higher fees — anywhere from $25 to $85 or more, depending on the details of your transfer — and a bigger variety of fees: incoming, outgoing and other fees. On top of high fees, they offer weaker exchange rates than money transfer specialists. They also offer fewer options for your recipient, typically requiring they have a bank account in which to receive your cash.

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Winner: Wise

While it can be difficult to gauge exactly what you’ll pay with Wise and Bank of America before entering your information into their respective sites, you can expect to pay much higher fees in general with Bank of America than with the consistently affordable Wise.

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Compare other transfer services

Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you're ready to send.
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
OFX
24 hours
$0

View details
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.
Dunbridge Financial
Dunbridge Financial
24 hours
$0

View details
Dunbridge Financial offers diverse transfer options to more than 120 countries.
CurrencyTransfer
24 hours
$0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally £5,000)

View details
Exclusive: Minimum transfer of $1,000 for Finder readers (normally $5,000).
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace.
XE
Within minutes
$3

View details
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
WorldRemit
Within an hour
From $1.99

View details
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
Wise (TransferWise)
Within an hour
From $2.26

View details
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Instarem
Within an hour
$1

View details
Exclusive: Use code GET60 and save $30 on each transaction over $200. Valid for the first two transactions and till 31st July 2021. T&Cs apply.
Instarem offers zero transfer fees on all transfers.
Remitly
Within minutes
From $0
SPECIAL OFFER ✓ Free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers

View details
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Western Union
Within an hour
From $0

View details
Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world.
MoneyGram
Within an hour
From $0

View details
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Who offers better exchange rates?

To understand who offers better exchange rates, you’ll need to first look at the mid-market rate. This is the true exchange rate that averages the buying and selling rate of a global currency — and the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves.Let’s look at the rates that Wise and Bank of America offer compared to the mid-market rate.

Wise

Wise boasts excellent exchange rates, and this is the area that sets it apart from banks and other providers.

It’s one of the only money transfer services that offers you the mid-market rate. So if you’re sending $2,000 to Canada and the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 1.31 CAD, that’s the rate you’re going to get.

Bank of America

Nearly all banks skew the mid-market exchange rate for a profit, which means your recipient will receive less money.

Using the example of a transfer to Canadian dollars (CAD):

  • If the mid-market rate is 1 USD = 1.31CAD
  • Your bank’s exchange rate might be 1 USD = 1.27 EUR

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Winner: Wise

Its mid-market exchange rates make Wise the clear winner. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a stronger exchange rate elsewhere.

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Who’s faster?

Wise

All transfers from US dollars are received to Wise within one business day. But it could take another two business days for your recipient to see the cash in their account.

Bank of America

With Bank of America, your transfer is typically delivered in two to three business days.

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Winner: Tie

Both Wise and Bank of America offer quick transfers, but your average transfer may take about the same time with both providers.

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Who offers more options?

Payment methodsMinimum and maximum transfersDelivery methodsTransfer speedsCountries
WiseBank account, credit or debit card$1 minimum; no maximumBank transfer2–3 business day30+ countries
Bank of AmericaOnline, in person$1 minimum; no maximumBank transfer2–3 business days200+ countries

Case study: Sending $3,000 to Canada

Lauren and her family is buying a cabin in Alberta, and she needs to transfer $3,000 to broker for a down payment. While Lauren has a Bank of America account, she’s also seen ads on the subway about Wise.

Here are what her bank transfer options would look like with both Wise and Bank of America.

WiseBank of America
Exchange rate1 USD = 1.31 CAD1 USD = 1.27 CAD
Transfer fee$18.88$40
Transfer speed1 business day2 business days
Total Canadian dollars received3,905 CAD3,810 CAD

If Lauren chooses Wise, not only will she save about $20 on transfer fees, but she’ll also put down 95 more Canadian dollars on that dream cabin in the woods.

Bottom line

New kid Wise’s mid-market exchange rates and low fees could save you time and money when sending funds overseas.

Ultimately, you’ll want to compare your options to find the service that best fits your individual needs.

Frequently asked questions

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