Honest opinion on changes in TransferWise fees

GBP to EUR fee dropped from 0.5% to 0.38% + 80p

Recently TransferWise announced various changes in their fees under very catchy title: “Mission Zero”. What does it mean for us who are their customers? Despite of the title you can actually get even slightly higher fees depending on currencies you convert and money upload method you use. These are main points to cover in this review post:

  • Lower fees for most popular destinations with minimal fee removed
  • Fees for debit and credit card payments increased
  • Fees for several destinations will increase as of January 2018

Let’s dive into details.

Lower fees for the most popular routes

Fees for the most popular currency pairs got reduced and these is definitely good news. Also TransferWise team decided to change structure of the fee itself. The minimal fee got removed so that smaller payments become a bit cheaper. Also there is noticeable reduction in fees when you send relatively big amounts. There is an example with different amounts transferred from GBP to EUR. As you can see your actual savings significantly depend on the amount you send. Also there is a point where old and new fees are almost same or event a bit higher.

Amount £ Old fee £ New fee £ Difference £ Decreased by
100 2 1.15 0.85 ↓ 43%
300 2 1.85 0.15 ↓ 8%
500 2.5 2.25 -0.05 ↑ 2% (increase)
700 3.5 3.25 0.25 ↓ 7%
1000 5 4.30 0.70 ↓ 14%
1500 7.5 6.05 1.45 ↓ 19%
2000 10 7.8 2.2 ↓ 22%
3000 15 11.3 3.7 ↓ 24%
5000 25 18.3 6.7 ↓ 27%
10000 50 35.8 14.2 ↓ 28%

For completeness I copied the list of destinations where fees got decreased:

Currency pair Old fee New fee Cheaper for up to
GBP to EUR 0.5% (min £2) 80p + 0.35% ⬇️ 30%
GBP to USD 0.5% (min £2) 80p + 0.4% ⬇️ 20%
GBP to INR 0.7% (min £2) 50p + 0.55% ⬇️ 21%
GBP to AUD 0.7% (min £2) £1 + 0.45% ⬇️ 36%
GBP to NZD 0.7% (min £2) £1 + 0.55% ⬇️ 21%
GBP to CHF 0.5% (min £2) £1 + 0.35% ⬇️ 30%
GBP to SEK 0.5% (min £2) 80p + 0.4% ⬇️ 20%
GBP to DKK 0.5% (min £2) 80p + 0.4% ⬇️ 20%
GBP to NOK 0.5% (min £2) £1 + 0.4% ⬇️ 20%
GBP to AED 1% (min £2.27) £2 + 0.8% ⬇️ 20%
GBP to CNY 1.5% (min £2.76) £1 + 1.25% ⬇️ 17%
GBP to RUB 1.5% (min £2.62) £1.50 + 0.95% ⬇️ 37%
GBP to MAD 1.5% (min £2.42) £1.50 + 1% ⬇️ 33%
GBP to MXN 1.5% (min £2) £1 + 0.75% ⬇️ 50%
GBP to UAH 5% (min £3.19) £1 + 4.15% ⬇️ 17%
GBP to LKR 1% (min £2) £1.50 + 0.75% ⬇️ 25%
GBP to KRW 1.5% (min £2) £1 + 1.25% ⬇️ 17%
GBP to ILS 1% (min £2) £2+0.8% ⬇️ 20%
GBP to NGN £1 + 0.5% £1 + 0.4% ⬇️ 20%

Fees have been taken from TransferWise website on 27.11.2017

 I would say changes are in favour of customers in 99% of cases.

Fees will increase for certain routes

Apparently and unexpectedly TranserWise decided to increase fees for various currency routes. It looks a but inconsistent with their aim to make transfers cheaper with almost 0 fees. This is what they say about this:

Routes where we’ll increase price on January 1, but we’re committed to dropping it in the future

I think they understand people will not like it and they can loose some of customers. Same time they promise to try to reduce fees in future. I think these currency pairs can be not  popular to make enough profit and cover all related expense. Even if it’s not the case there must be strong reason for this change. There are routes that got affected:

Currency pair Old fee New fee Indreased up to
GBP to PLN 0.5% (min £2) 80p + 0.55% ⬆️ 50%
GBP to BGN 0.7% (min £2) 80p + 0.9% ⬆️ 68%
GBP to HKD 0.5% (min £2) £1.50 + 0.55% ⬆️ 70%
GBP to PHP 1% (min £2.14) £2 + 0.9% ⬆️ 78%
GBP to TRY 1% (min £2) £2 + 0.9% ⬆️ 90%
GBP to RON 1% (min £2) £1 + 0.9% ⬆️ 40%
GBP to GEL 1% (min £2) £1 + 0.95% ⬆️ 45%
GBP to HRK 0.7% (min £2) £1.20 + 0.65% ⬆️ 51%
GBP to PKR 1% (min £2.3) £1.75 + 0.9% ⬆️ 54%
GBP to MYR 0.7% (min £2) £1.50 + 0.6% ⬆️ 58%
GBP to SGD 0.5% (min £2) £1.50 + 0.45% ⬆️ 65%

Fees have been taken from TransferWise website on 27.11.2017

Fees got increased for card paymets

Unfortunately fees are increased if you upload money with debit or credit card. This is thanks to banks who in the UK make 0.2% profit on every payment made by a card. Especially the difference gets noticeable when comparing with new lower (better) fees for most poplar destinations. I know it’s meter of convenience and I personally prefer paying with a debit card. The solution is simple – use bank transfer option to avoid the extra fee:

Send £700 using bank transferAnd if you pay with debit card:

Send £700 using debit card payment

Let’s summarise

On my opinion TransferWise is still one of the best payment providers and my personal choice for sending money abroad. Their message “Mission 0” sounds too loud in this case, hover most of customers will see slightly better offers for their international transfers. If you got used to top up with your card you should to be ready to pay an extra 0.2% on top of the regular fee. However there is a work around to avoid extra fee by using regular bank transfer that is always free. In overall I take this change positively and strongly believe that TranferWise will do their best to keep number one position in the market.