Wise.com Review 2021 – Pros & Cons of Transfers with (formerly) TransferWise
Borderless bank transfers
Banking for International Businesses
- world's lowest transfer fees
- No hidden extra commission
- World's first borderless bank account
- US bank account with ABA/ACH
- Underlying infrastructure of many transfer providers
- card cannot be shipped to all countries
- Debit card only (no real credit card)
You live abroad and one of the things that worries you most is economic problems such as: How to make international bank transfers? Which bank account to open? Wise is one of the best options on the market that answers both questions.
Wise processes global bank transfers without hidden fees, exchange rate differences or last-minute surprises. And you can even have real bank accounts with them in several countries for different currencies.
Here, we show you exactly how to get the most out of Wise and most importantly, how to start saving on your international bank transfers and have a real SEPA bank account, or even a real bank account in the Unites States. Also, you’re going to learn about the virtual bank’s weaknesses or under which conditions the service might not be the best choice to use for bank transfers. Let’s start with the strengths of Wise:
5 Reasons To Use Wise?
After couple of months using Wise to send money abroad, I consider it one of the best ways to make international transfers for the following reasons:
- Transparency: They apply the real and exact exchange rate (mid market range, the one that appears in Google). You will know exactly how much money you will send and how much money the recipient will receive.
- Speed: The recipient will receive the transfer much faster than with the traditional bank. Transfers within the European Union arrive on the same day. From the first moment, you will know exactly when the person to whom you are sending the money receives it.
- Savings: Only one fair and transparent commission.
- Security: Wise is an officially regulated financial institution in the European Union, the United States and dozens of countries around the world. The overall opinions are excellent overall.
- Comfort: As simple as making a transfer in a few seconds or an online purchase with your credit card.
Wise: Making Economic International Transfers
When you wanted to send money from any European Euro account to the United Kingdom (GBP account), banks always apply incorrect exchange rates, so customers lose a lot of money that way… In addition, they are used to apply unfair hidden commissions.
In the case of Wise, you make a transfer to your euro account, they apply the exact exchange rate for the day and make a transfer from your bank account to the final bank account. Here, instead of one international transfer, there are two transfers in the same currency.
The customer knows transparently and accurately the amount in Euros to be sent and the amount in Pounds to be received. No hidden costs or last-minute surprises.
Transfer Comparison: Wise vs. Banks
Here is an example, a 1000€ transfer from my German bank account (€) to my British bank account (pounds):
(the comparison was made with one of the leading banks in Germany)
As you will appreciate, today it is much more cost-effective to make our international transfers with online platforms such as Wise, at least up to a certain amount.
The key point to saving is not so much in management fees, but rather in the foreign exchange rate, which makes a huge difference. In our example, the amount to save would be 45 €.
In short, the traditional banking system has become obsolete.
How To Make An International Transfer
Step By Step Guide: Send Money
1. Go to Wise and register.
2. Enter the quantity to be sent. Choose the currency in which you send the money and the currency in which you receive the money. Then choose the amount you want to send or the amount you want to receive.
When you enter the amount on one side, the other side automatically appears with the estimated official exchange rate of the day. If the actual exchange rate is lower than the estimated, the difference is refunded to your bank account.
3. Fill in the recipient’s bank details. You have two options: the IBAN and the BIC of the recipient (For more information, go to the end of the post) or select the option with which the recipient receives an email from Wise.
In cases where the recipient does not want to give them, he can inform them himself. This is done automatically at the time of the transfer.
4. Make the payment. We have three options to do this:
(Don’t worry, Wise is 100% safe in all three options)
a) By credit card. This is the simplest method, all you have to do is enter your debit or credit card details and make the payment at Wise as you would for an online purchase.
Keep your mobile phone handy as banks usually ask for a confirmation code that they send by SMS. The limit for making a card payment is £10.000 in the United Kingdom (0.69% fee applies with business cards) and €2500 for the Euro Zone (1.65% fee with business cards).
b) By bank transfer. You must make a transfer from your bank to the Wise account by entering the code provided in the “reference” or “concept” part of the transfer.
Once the transfer has been made, click on “I have already sent the money to Wise”. As soon as Wise receives the money, you will automatically receive an email indicating the date of execution of the transfer. You will be able to track the status of the transfer online via the Web by entering your reference number.
5. Transfer made! Finally, you and the recipient will receive an email as soon as the transfer is made and the money available on the recipient’s account. This email specifies the following:
- The official exchange rate used (the official rate on the day of conversion)
- The commission charged by Wise (attention, the first one is free!)
- Confirmation that the recipient has been notified by mail
- In this case, the exchange rate was finally lower so we explain that we returned the difference (£2.72) to you on the bank account from which you sent the money. The refund will have the reference indicated.
Now you can see why the comments or opinions on Wise are so positive. It is simply a revolution for the international banking system. It is therefore very easy to know how to use Wise and start saving in commissions.
New: Sending Money to China
Wise recently introduced their new payout option for transfers to China: Now users can payout CNY to AliPay IDs, which is a great step on their path to enable transfers all over the globe.
Wise Prices, Fees and Commissions
Although Wise does not charge any type of administration fees or additional on the exchange rate, as explained above, they do charge a minimal management fee to make the transfer. This fee is round about 0.5% of the transfer amount.
At present, they do not receive a minimum commission of £2 for most destinations in the United Kingdom. This is something that had made small transfers expensive. There are now fixed transfer fees with a percentage commission of up to 50 Pence.
So this FinTech service offers a cheap and transparent way to make our bank transfers, finally we get away from the abusive fees charged by traditional banks. For example, for a transfer of 1000 €, the possibility of having 60 € in bank charges is over.
In fact, the reality is that no exchange office in London or any other city in the United Kingdom have such low rates, so if you are going to live in the United Kingdom for a long time, I advise you to open a British bank account and transfer your money via Wise.
Caution: Large Transfers with Wise
The small transaction fees the transfer service charges makes sense for transfer amounts up to a certain limit. Above that limit, transfers with traditional banks can actually again be cheaper. The limit to which Wise makes sense can easily be calculated:
Let’s say a normal bank transfer would cost you 60€. So what’s the amount of which 60€ would be 0.5%? It’s 12.000€. So you could send 12k with Wise and also pay 60€ for the transfer. With a traditional bank the 60€ will usually stay the same, no matter if you transfer 1.000€ or 100.000€. With Wise you still pay 0.5% of 100.000€, which would be 500€. So be aware that larger Transfers are extremely expensive with this FinTech, while smaller transfers are super cheap.
Wise can send and receive transfers in the following currencies:
- EUR – Euro – European Union
- GBP – Pound Sterling – United Kingdom
- USD – United States Dollar – United States
- AUD – Australian Dollar – Australia.
- CHF – Swiss Franc – Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
- CAD – Canadian Dollar – Canada.
- PLN – Polish Esloti – Poland.
- SEK – Swedish Krona – Sweden.
- NOK – Norwegian krone – Norway.
- DKK – Danish krone – Denmark.
- HUF – Hungarian forint – Hungary.
- CZK – Czech Koruna – Czech Republic.
- BGN – Lev Bulgare – Bulgaria.
- RON – Romanian leu – Romania.
- NZD – New Zealand Dollar – New Zealand
- SGD – Singapore Dollar – Singapore
- HKR – Croatian Kuna – Croatia
- BRL – Brazilian Real – Brazil
- HKD – Hong Kong Dollar
- JPY – Yen – Japan
- TRY – Turkish lira – Turkey and Northern Chipre
Wise can only make domestic transfers in the following currencies:
- INR – Indian Rupee – India
- CLP – Chilean Peso – Chile
- NZD – New Zealand Dollar – New Zealand.
- GEL – Georgian Lari – Georgia
- HKD – Hong Kong Dollar – to Hong Kong.
- MYR – Malaysian Ringgit – Malaysia.
- PHP – Philippine Peso – Philippines.
- PKR – Pakistani Rupee – Pakistan.
- MAD – Moroccan Dirham – Morocco
- THB – Thai baht – Thailand
- AED – dirham de EAU – EAU
- UAH – Ukrainian hryvna – Ukraine
- TRY – Turkish lira – Turkey and northern Cyprus
- IDR – Indonesian Rupee – Indonesia
- COP – Colombian Peso – Colombia
- MXN – Mexican Peso – Mexico
- RUB – Russian Ruble – Russia
- KRW – South Korean won – South Korea
- CNY – Chinese Yuan – China
- LKR – Sri Lanka Rupee – Sri Lanka
- BDT – Taka from Bangladesh – Bangladesh
- VND – Vietnamese Dong – Vietnam
- ARS – Argentine Peso – Argentina
- EGP – Egyptian Pound – Egypt
- GHS – Cedi of Ghana – Ghana
- ILS – Israeli Rupee – Israel
- KES – Kenyan Shillings – in Kenya
- NGN – Nigerian Naira – Nigeria
- NPR – Nepal Rupees – Nepal – Nepal
- PEN – New Peruvian Sun – in Peru
For now, here are the accepted currencies, but for more information and updates here, access here.
The following countries are generally excluded from Wise services:
Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Burundi, Congo Republic, Chad, Cuba, Crimea (sub-territory), Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Iran, Eritrea, North Korea, Somalia, Sevastopol (city), Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, State of Libya, Syrian Arab Republic, Territories of the United States, Yemen and Venezuela.
Is Wise Safe?
Yes, Wise is very safe. It is a financial entity officially regulated by the economic institutions of the European Union, the United States and dozens of countries around the world.
Wise started as a “Startup” by the creators of Paypal and Skype and is today one of the most important companies in the FinTech world. All this success would not have been possible without the safety of the service. A single mistake followed by a bad comment and, nowadays with the Internet, this opinion will have destroyed the company.
At Wise, they know their strengths: price and security, which is why they take it very seriously. And, of course, they are authorised by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) in the United Kingdom under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011, with Firm Reference 900507.
Another plus, its customer service is excellent. Available 24 hours a day and in French, so if a problem occurs, it is solved instantly.
Finally, note that you will have written confirmation of the transfer from the beginning with detailed information (the amount sent, the sender and the recipient, the exchange rate applied, the amount to be received in the other currency, etc.)
In short, when asked if Wise is safe, the answer is yes, and the security is equal to or better than any other financial institution.
How Long Does It Take To Receive The Money?
Sending money with Wise is much faster than conventional bank transfers. Transfers usually take no more than two days, and arrive on the same day (a few hours). It all depends on the payment method you use (bank transfer or credit card)
That being said, from the beginning, you will know exactly when the recipient will receive your money.
Request A Transfer With Wise
Sometimes we need a transfer from France (bank account in Euros) to our British bank account. For example, when your parents send you money while you are studying in Liverpool.
That’s why the “Request Money” option is very useful. You put the amount you are asking for, the concept of payment (university fees, for example) and the account where you want to receive the money.
And here you are, now you get a link that you will share with the other person by email and when you click on it, you will be able to pay online, in your local currency, with your credit card (as if you were buying online). How could it not have been invented before!
- On Wise, click on “Request money”
- Select the amount and bank account
- Send the link to the other person (below what they will see)
IBAN / BIC
The IBAN and BIC are the contact details that allow you to identify your international accounts, so that each country, even if it has a different format of account number, serves to homogenize these details.
- The BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or SWIFT is the code of your bank. Each bank has its own code to be identified. The bank and the country of its headquarters are identified in its eleven alphanumeric digits. For example, for a ING account in Amsterdam, this would be: INGBNL2AXXX
- The IBAN is the international bank account code. It is just an alphanumeric sequence that allows us to identify someone’s bank account in a financial institution. For example, if your account is in the Netherlands, it will be something with NL at the beginning: NL12 3456 6789 10 1231314113.
You can calculate your BIC and IBAN, for example at:
Wise In The United Kingdom (UK)
And yes, Wise is available in the United Kingdom, where it has established itself in recent years as one of the most cost-effective ways to send money abroad, especially when exchanging euros for sterling.
In the United Kingdom, all bank accounts with an IBAN starting with GB are included, as well as those starting with GI and belonging to Gibraltar. Remember that the Channel Islands are also included without any restrictions.
When we use Wise in England and the United Kingdom, the vast majority of shipments are made on the same business day until 5pm, but it may take up to two business days for exceptional reasons.
Remember that in the UK, bank accounts are 22 characters long and consist of letters and numbers. The account number is only eight digits long.
Wise In France – How To Make An International Transfer
Without a doubt, France has become one of Wise’s main markets where, since its creation, Wise has become the most economical method for making international transfers with currency changes.
In France, all bank accounts whose IBAN begins with FR are included, therefore accounts residing overseas are included.
When you use Wise in France, most shipments are made on the same day (business day) if they are made before 5pm, but may be delayed up to 2 business days for special reasons.
Remember that in France bank accounts have 11 numeric characters.
First Free Bank Transfer With Wise?
No, you will pay a small commission that you will know transparently and accurately from the first moment.
It is true that a few years ago, Wise launched an advertising campaign offering their service or the first transfer was free. Now, since they have managed to lower the prices even further: we only pay a small amount.
In order to achieve such a competitive price, it was necessary to do without promotions such as the first free transfer.
It should not be forgotten that today, Wise remains the cheapest method of sending money abroad, and whose cost is 8 times lower than that of any traditional bank.
Opinions On Wise
I discovered Wise in its early days, when almost no one knew it. The truth is that at the time of my first transfer the doubt was there, even more so at the time when money and internet was not yet 100% reliable.
The fact is that since I first used it, I have regretted not having discovered it before. How much money I was able to give to the banks! My opinion on Wise is very positive. Now I use it constantly and have never had any problems.
I don’t know anyone who has had a single problem and all the opinions on Wise on Trust Pilot are positive. Anyway, any questions you may have, call them, they will help you in French and with a smile.
Wise Review Conclusion
As you can see, Wise is a very interesting option for all those who live abroad: it is fast, simple, you save a lot of money in commissions and exchange rates, that is to say: without losing a single cent.
It also helps us to have a bank account and make the most of it by receiving our salary, taking money from ATMs or making purchases.
I hope that this article on the two Wise services will be useful if you are going to live in the UK and want to keep your money in the most economical and simple way.