What is Wise?

Wise – formerly known as TransferWise – allows customers to make international money transfers at a low cost, quickly and transparently. The company was founded in 2011 by two Estonian friends living in London: one was paid in euros and the other in pounds. In response to high fees and poor exchange rates, they devised an alternative.

Wise Expert Review

Wise’s service is based on a peer-to-peer network, transferring money from senders to receivers, converting currencies at the mid-market exchange rate, which is cheaper than many other services, while charging a low fee. The company says that 10 million people use its services to transfer more than £4.5 billion each month.

The main products offered by Wise are money transfer accounts to enable customers to pay and receive money from other countries. It also offers a money transfer card and a multiple-currency account. The company’s main services are transfers between bank accounts, from credit cards, mobile phone apps and business accounts, across 56 currencies.

Wise Money Transfer Currency Transfers

Customers can transfer money to accounts in around 54 currencies to 61 countries, while receiving money in least 24 of these currencies, using a system based on a peer-to-peer network. Wise enables customers to make online or mobile transfers from their bank account to a recipient’s bank account, while avoiding the heavy fees or expensive exchange rates that banks often charge.

Wise has a similar geographical reach to some of its competitors, offering access to similar numbers of currencies. Its debit card and multi-currency account differentiate Wise from the competition. It is larger than some online competitors, but smaller that the large US giants such as Western Union.

Wise is most suitable for small and medium-sized transfers. For amounts above £7,000, other services may be cheaper or simpler to set up.

Wise Money Transfer Exchange Rates, Charges & Fees

Wise charges clients a fee based on a percentage of the amount they transfer. This is typically as little as 0.5 per cent. The company charges a low fee, compared to most other providers. Wise has special offers for new customers, including free transfers and discount coupons. Its transparent services mean that customers are not hit by hidden charges or unfair exchange rates. Although some other providers offer similar transparency, others claim to charge zero fees, but use an expensive exchange rate.

Here are some examples of Wise’s transfer rates:

  • To transfer £100 to euros on 30 March 2021 would cost £0.85 and the recipient would get €116.20
  • To transfer £100 to dollars would cost £1.41 and the recipient would get $135.65

Wise Money Transfers

Customers can send and receive money in the major currencies of dollar, euro, pound, yen, Australian dollar and Canadian dollar, along with another 18 mainstream currencies. They can send money in a further 30 currencies, but cannot receive money in these. You can transfer money from your bank account, or using a credit or debit card, or via a mobile phone app.

Wise lists 61 countries to which customers can send money – https://wise.com/help/articles/2571942/what-countries-can-i-send-to  By comparison, the United Nations lists 193 countries in the world, so 132 of these are inaccessible to Wise customers.

Transfer fees are a small percentage of the amount, from as little as 0.47 per cent. Wise compares favourably to other platforms in terms of price for small and medium-sized transfers. It offers a good range of currencies and countries compared with the competition.

Wise Money Transfer Customer Support Contact Details

Customers can access online support, send emails or call the customer service line. Reviewers note that online customer service is generally excellent, while telephone support is limited in terms of availability and languages spoken. All Wise transfers take place online. Phone transfers are not offered, but there is a customer support line, to help with any queries or problems.

An extensive list of topics included in Wise’s F&Q section, answering queries relevant to transfers, banking, registration and currency conversion. Beyond this, customers can type in questions to the support center bar. The Wise money transfer customer support contact details include a London-based phone number: +44 20 3695 0999

Wise Money Transfer Multi-Currency Account

Wise offers a money transfer multi-currency account (formerly known as the Borderless account). This allows customers to make transfers in a range of different currencies, guaranteeing no exchange rate markups and quick delivery times. Customers are charged a small percentage of the amount they transfer. Depending on the location of the customer, it offers a range of currencies. A UK-based customer can convert and hold 56 currencies, receive money in 10 currencies and withdraw money in 200 countries.

The multi-currency account would be appropriate for frequent travellers, freelance workers or for individuals or companies doing business with people in several different countries. Some competitors offer similar pricing, speed and service, while others charge higher fees or offer more expensive exchange rates. Wise’s standards of service are highly rated compared with its competitors.

Wise Money Transfer Card

The Wise money transfer card allows customers to spend money overseas using their local currency, at the best available exchange rate. The card itself costs £5.00. Wise also charges a fee for purchases or cash withdrawals. For example, a customer spending the equivalent of £250 in euros using their Wise debit card would expect to pay a fee of £0.85. If they withdrew £250 in euros, they would pay a fee of £1.76. The Wise money transfer card would be appropriate for customers travelling internationally who could save on banking charges.

Alternatives for travellers include Revolut, which offers a debit card including multiple currencies. Other providers including Starling, Monzo and Virgin Money offer debit cards with zero transaction fees, though their currency exchange rates may be more expensive than those offered by Wise.

Wise Money Transfer App

Wise offers mobile apps, allowing customers to use Apple Pay and Android Pay among other functions. The app incorporates biometric security and has a built-in chat function. You can sign up to become a Wise customer via the company’s website and then transfer currency. The telephone service is for customer support, not as a dealing service.

The app has received positive reviews from customers, including a 4.5 out of 5 rating at the Google Play Store and a 5 out of 5 rating from the App Store. Customers report that they like functions such as the online calculator which shows how much their transfers will cost, an indicator of processing times and status updates.

Wise Money Transfers Online

Customers can register with Wise online and then transfer money using the service from their devices. The app delivers benefits in terms of functionality for customers accessing Wise on their mobile phones. For those using the service on their desktops, laptops and tablets, there is a similar range of functionality, tailored for online customers.

Wise customers can track the progress of their payments using an online tool. Wise also sends emails to its customers to alert them to likely timings of transfers, in a similar manner to Amazon delivery messages. Customers report favourable experiences using Wise money transfers online, in terms of cost, speed, transparency and customer service.

Wise Money Transfer Business Account

Wise offers a money transfer business account to its customers, enabling them to pay invoices to oversees suppliers and to receive payments in multiple currencies, benefiting from advantageous exchange rates. The service has slightly higher fees than for personal accounts, charging a one-off fee of £16 to set up the service. It also offers a different set of services, tailored to business users, such as invoice payment. If you are a business that transacts in cash, such as a retail operation, you are likely to require a money transfer system which has physical branches, such as banks. Wise does not offer physical branches.

Wise Money Transfer Euro Exchange Rate

Wise charges a small percentage of the amount transferred. The exchange rate is calculated as the ‘mid-market’ rate, which is the best available to Wise customers at the time of the transfer.

  • To transfer £100 to euros on 30 March 2021 would cost £0.85 and the recipient would get €116.20

By comparison, here are the costs and transfer amounts for other services:

  • WorldRemit would charge a fee of £0.99 and the recipient would get €114.96
  • monese would charge a fee of £2.00 and the recipient would get €114.86
  • MoneyGram would charge a fee of zero and the recipient would get €114.77
  • Barclays would charge zero and the recipient would get €114.03

Wise Money Transfer US Dollar Exchange Rate

Wise charges a small percentage of the amount transferred. The exchange rate is calculated as the ‘mid-market’ rate, which is the best available to Wise customers at the time of the transfer.

  • To transfer £100 to US dollars on 30 March 2021 would cost £1.41 and the recipient would get $135.65

By comparison, here are the costs and transfer amounts for other services:

  • Western Union would charge zero in fees and the recipient would get $135.80
  • monese would charge £2.00 and the recipient would get $134.79
  • Barclays would charge zero and the recipient would get $133.86
  • WorldRemit would charge £2.99 and the recipient would get $131.82

Wise Money Transfer Security & Regulation

Wise money transfer offers high levels of security and regulation, to reassure its customers that their money is safe. It ensures security by holding all of its customers’ money with major financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank or Barclays Bank.

Wise is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and by equivalent authorities in other countries around the world, each with their own regulations. For example, in the United States, it is regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and in Australia by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

It is important for its customers that Wise complies with the laws of the countries in which it operates, to protect their interests, to safeguard their money and to avoid criminal behaviour.

Wise Money Transfer Pros

Here are some Wise money transfer pros:

  1. It is frequently cheaper than the competition, with no hidden charges
  2. It was established as an online operation, so it prioritises ease of use and functionality
  3. Wise will guarantee an exchange rate for a transfer, so that you will not lose out if the rate changes during the course of the transaction.
  4. The service has very high user ratings from multiple comparison sites and surveys, indicating that its customer service standards are excellent and that it follows through on its promises
  5. Wise is an innovator in the FX sector, developing new products and services for its customers, meaning that it is likely to continue leading the field

Wise Money Transfer Cons

Here are some Wise money transfer cons:

  1. For customers wanting to transfer larger amounts of money, over £7,000 for example, other providers may be cheaper or easier to use. This is partly because Wise demands fewer examples of ID and security clearance for smaller payments, and partly because its fee structure becomes progressively less generous at higher amounts, compared with some competitors.
  2. Wise has a relatively narrow focus: it only enables online bank to bank transfers rather than cash transfers or cheque payments. If you need to transfer cash, other providers can help.
  3. Wise doesn’t offer telephone transfers, only telephone customer service. Some customers prefer to transfer money with the assistance of a human agent.

Wise Money Transfer Alternatives

Wise money transfer alternatives include:

  • Western Union, which is the largest and best-established money transfer company, enabling $80 billion in transfers every year. Other competitors include WorldRemit, monese and MoneyGram.
  • WorldRemit grew from customers sending money from the UK to friends and family in Africa, Asia and South America.
  • monese is a mobile app bank that began in London to allow Europeans to transfer funds. It now operates in 31 countries.
  • MoneyGram is the largest competitor to Western Union. It is also US-based, operates worldwide and turns over almost $1 billion per year.

Few companies other than Wise use the mid-market exchange rate to calculate the cost of transfers.

Wise is one of the few to offer a debit card with multiple currencies and its fees are typically lower than most of its competitors. Customers needing to transfer large amounts, or transferring cash, may be better off with an alternative provider.

Wise Customer Reviews

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Transferwise
Average rating:  
 6 reviews
 by Jessie H

Easily the best money transfer service on offer at the moment for overseas payments

 by Steven Tyrer

Have been using them for a long time now mainly for funding my French Bank account works well and brilliant exchange rates and costs, have also used them when on holiday in Hong Kong 10/10

 by C

Appalling! No matter if you are a long time customer, their verification methods are a joke! They’ve been holding a transfer for over 3 days after taking my money, because they can’t read the passport in the selfie they request as verification. If your doc is small or laminated, you don’t stand a chance to be verified. My mortgage payment is at risk of default because Transferwise is holding my money, which is an illegal practice. I requested cancellation of the transfer and they said it is going to take 2 days to get it back. Which makes it a week without being able to access my own money. DO NOT USE TRANSFERWISE. Their customer service is appalling, treating long time customers as potential criminals, after they’ve been profiting from my money for years. STAY AWAY FROM THEM!!!

 by Luke Bebbington

Great app, great rates, super fast.

 by Bulent

Best exchange rates in the market, updated in near real time, with a stable and intuitive digital platform. The free international Bank accounts are handy, also. Would never consider using anything else for exchanging currency, this is the best value there is.

Online Platform: 5/5
Customer Service: 5/5
Fees & Pricing: 5/5

 by Nick

Simple and easy to use for any FX.

Online Platform 5/5
Customer Service 5/5
Fees & Pricing 5/5

Wise Money Transfer FAQs:

Is Wise safe?

Wise promises that it keeps its customers’ money separate from its own funds, to ensure security. It claims to have had very few security breaches, and even then, only minor ones. How do Wise money transfers work? Wise money transfers are based on peer-to-peer networks, which link payments between banks.

How does Wise make money?

Wise makes money by charging a small percentage of each transaction as a fee.

Is Wise a bank?

Wise is not a bank and its customers do not have Wise bank accounts.

How long do currency transfers take with Wise?

Wise transfers typically take place quickly – they may complete in just a few minutes. However, in some cases, banks’ own processes may hold up a transfer because, for example, the transaction is taking place outside banking hours.

Do I need a Wise Money Transfer account to receive money?

No, you don’t need a Wise money transfer account to receive money from a Wise customer.

Does Wise charge the recipient?

No, Wise doesn’t charge the recipient to receive money.

Wise Facts & Figures


See Offers
Provider SpecificsWise Reviews
Total Currencies50
Min Transfer£1
Max Transfer1.2m EUR
Customers10,000,000
Founded2011
HQLondon, UK
Account Options
Personal TransfersYes
Business TransfersYes
Currency ForwardsNo
Currency OptionsNo
Personal ServiceNo
Phone DealingNo
Online PlatformYes
AlternativesWise Versus Azimo
Wise Versus Western Union
Wise Versus XE
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