Wise, previously known as Transferwise – review of the best service for sending money abroad safely and almost for free
Updated on 18.03.2021
There was a time when international money transfers were outrageously expensive, but rules changed once Transferwise joined the game. This British start-up was founded in early 2011 by people who built Skype and PayPal. They came up with simple and innovative idea to transfer money between people rather than countries. As a result they were in position to offer great service for incredible 0.35% + 80p fee and without any hidden fee. You can say farewell to banks since they probably will be no longer competitive in this business. Now they are changing their name to Wise and expanding their business from international transfers focused to a full featured modern online banking solution. Intrigued? Continue reading and learn everything about this service at Wise / Transferwise review.
How much you save sending 1000 GBP to EUR?
Here is a quick comparison of how much you can get when sending money using various providers. Please note that data is static and has been collected on 18.03.2021 with the effective mid market (real) exchange rate 1.16754
|Provider||Fee||Exchange rate||Amount recieved|
|3.69 GBP||1.16754||1,163.23 EUR|
|0 GBP||1.12677||1,126.77 EUR|
|0 GBP||1.14577||1,145.77 EUR|
|0 GBP||1.12035||1,120.35 EUR|
How much does it cost to make a payment?
It costs very little comparing to regular bank transfers. There is a quick review:
- Real mid-market rate without any extra commission is used for currency exchange
- Each payment will cost you just 0.35% of the amount you send + fixed 80p fee
- There is no any minimal fee
The same principle applies to currencies other than GBP and EUR. However fees can be different for certain less popular currency pairs, but you can always get instant quote.
For example, Alex transfers £1,000 to his friend Francisco who lives in Spain. For simplicity let’s assume current mid-market exchange rate for GBP/EUR pair is 1.10, Francisco would receive €1,095.66. How I got this number? The fee in this case is £3.95 (0.35% + 80p) and the rest £996.5 gets multiplied by 1.10. That simple and transparent. Moreover he would probably get his money same or the next day!
And even more. Ask your bank or local currency exchange office how much euros will they give you for £1000 in cash and compare with €1,095.66. For sure they will give you less money as they have their wage in the exchange rate. So the actual fee for your pocket will be even less than £3.95 in this case, keep this in mind.
>>> Calculate and review your transfer price in seconds <<<
There are no hidden fees
Some banks and payment providers may include not obvious and not transparent hidden fees for their services. They do it with the only purpose to make their services look more competitive. There are even cases when banks offer “free” international transfers when in fact they add an enormous margin on top of currency exchange rate. Many people simply overlook it. It’s important to understand these hidden fees and know how to perform an appropriate evaluation of total cost for your next international money transfer.
There are several things you should check
- Check a deposit fee for each supported payment method
- Compare offered exchange rate with the real mid-market rate. Google and XE.com are reliable sources of the real exchange rate
- Check if there is any fee to receive money. It also depends on the way you receive the payment. For example, cash pick-up is typically the most expensive option.
Remember, some of these fees may be not advertised by the payment provider at the moment when you request the transfer.
Wise is transparent about their fees
- There is no deposit fee if you pay with a local bank transfer in your currency. There is a small fee if you pay with a debit or credit card, you will see the exact amount when arranging the transfer.
- The transfer fee consists of two parts:
- A small fixed fee that is around £0.80
- The percent of the amount you send, typically as low as %0.35 or %0.5
- The recipient never pays any fee
Can I send money to…?
At the moment you can send money to 75 countries in 48 different currencies. This list contains the most popular destinations so it’s very likely that your country is on the list. Over 1000 possible routes (country/currency pairs) are offered by Wise and this list keeps growing. In an unlikely case if your country is not on the list you can always leave your vote for adding this new destination.
Can I trust my money to Wise?
Security is paramount when it comes to financial operations. Wise is certified money service company founded in January 2011 in the UK. The company is licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Electronic Money Regulations. That means they had to implement various means to ensure they keep money safely and operate securely:
- All customer’s funds are stored on segregated bank accounts, separately from company’s funds
- Institutional grade security (like in banks) is in place, that includes two-factor authentication, HTTPS and other means.
Wise is also regulated in other countries:
- In Australia, by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
- In the USA, by the Financial Intelligence Unit (AUSTRAC)
They have already earned reputation of reliable and honest financial service. There are thousands of people who trust them and using their services on the regular basis. You can find many positive Transferwise reviews and I’m sure soon Wise reviews as well. Ask your friends and you would probably find someone who already sends money using Wise.
How does it work?
International transfers are expensive but what if there were a way to avoid them? There are many people who have similar needs:
- Frontier workers need to send salaries to the country they live
- Expats may want to send money home
- People may need to pay someone (individual or company) who resides in another country
If we would take them together we would figure out that their needs could be satisfied without actually sending money abroad. Money can be just exchanged between them. This requires a lot of cooperation and Wise is the one who takes the role of coordinator. It’s easier to explain it by example:
Michael lives in Spain and owns a flat in London. He still pays to the bank £700 each month for the mortgage. Jane lives in Manchester and plans her holidays in south France. She found amazing chalet available for rent but property owner asked to pay €770 in advance. Let’s assume GBP to EUR rate is 1.10 so £700 and €770 are equal. In order to achieve their goals we can send Jane’s money to Michael’s bank and Michael’s money to the chalet owner in France. Euro transfers between the EU counties are for free. Same time local transfers in the UK costs nothing. We did it spending no money at all!
My experience using Wise
I’m a frontier worker who lives in Spain and crosses Gibraltarian border every day. The vast majority of expats who work in Gibraltar do the same as the cost of living in Spain is much cheaper. As a result, I receive my salary in pounds to my NatWest bank account in Gibraltar, but I need Euros for everyday expenses. That was a problem when I arrived here. I went to NatWest bank and asked if they can help me with sending my salary to a Spanish bank account in Euros. They said yes, but with an enormous fixed fee and at a very bad exchange rate. I walked away and found the best currency exchange office in the town. I used to go there once or twice a month with a wallet filled with cash to buy Euros. Then I carried Euros through the border and deposited to my Spanish bank account. That was time consuming, inconvenient and not really safe.
Then one of my colleagues recommended me Wise (known as Transferwise at that point). Since then I became a rare visitor of my favourite exchange office. Now I do everything through the Internet and get my salary delivered to my Spanish bank account normally same day. Moreover, because I send relatively big amounts of money I get even better deals than any of local currency exchange offices can offer! Later I decided to share my personal experience and created this review website.
Most of my colleagues do the same and they are very happy. Some of them are paying rent using Wise and find it very convenient.
>> Still thinking? Register and get your first transfer FOR FREE! <<<
How to start sending money
First of all, you will need to register an account with Wise. It will not take you much time and you can do it through their website or the mobile app. Optionally you can sign up with your existing Google account so that will simplify the login process in future.
Personal details required to be provided on registration:
- First and last name
- Phone number
- Country and address
You will be able to make your first transfer instantly. There will be some limitations on the maximal amount you can send before you pass the verification process. By law, Wise is required to verify your identity but don’t afraid, this process is quick and simple.
Identify verification process
Before you start make sure you have all required documentation ready to be provided. You will need to get an electronic copy of your documents, preferably scanned copies. Of course, you can make a photo of your documents using a mobile phone but try to obtain the best possible quality doing so. Make sure you make a bright, sharp photo and not distorted photo. All documents are processed automatically. If the recognition algorithm rejects the document it will have to be processed manually that will delay the verification process.
There is a list of required documents
- A scan of your photo ID (passport, national ID card or driving license)
- A proof of your address. That can be any type of utility bill, council tax, vehicle registration tax. The document has to be on your name, have your actual home address and be not older than 3 months.
Note that your address can’t be a PO Box, it has to be your real home address.
The verification process can be slightly different for different countries. Sometimes you can be asked to provide 2 documents to prove your address. These details will be clearly explained once you initiate the verification process. You can always interrupt it and resume later if you have any documentation missing.
What do people say about Wise?
I always recommend searching for customers feedback when evaluating a product or service. This way you will get independent reviews, see if customers are happy and what are typical problems others face. There is one thing you should keep in mind when looking through customers reviews. It’s the fact that most of the satisfied customers will not leave any feedback. On the other hand, customers who were not very happy with the product or service will more likely spread some negative words. Anyway, I believe these reviews are very helpful.
There are various websites where you can find customers’ reviews. The best is to check multiple sites, not just one. For example, see:
There are more than 43000 TransferWise reviews from real customers posted on Trustpilot from which more than 95% are positive. This is a really high score that corresponds to 5 stars and “Excellent” service. Let’s see deeper at what actually people say about the service. I picked the most recent positive and negative feedbacks to get an overview.
“Amazing, used for the first time today. I recently lost almost 900 pounds to a UK bank transfer (Coop bank) from foreign currency in fees/exchange rate. I sent almost the same amount of money through transferwise today back to my own account in Philippines and the fee was around 30 pounds plus 1.3 USD sending fee….the money was in my local bank an hour after I did the transfer. Quite simply the most amazing service I have ever seen! “
Super easy to use, super convenient, much cheaper than bank transfers, very helpful support staff
Very easy to use and really handy that I can have various currency accounts.
Super quick sending money to my sister in Australia. I tried sending to her actual bank account and it was there the next day. I then sent using her TransferWise account and it took 10min. Excellent.
Some people had problems with automated verification of identity.
“Cannot recognize my driving license nor my ID card. Improve your AI, it is still poor.”
According to reply from Wise the verification process for the company took 8 days for some reason. Normally it takes up to 2 days.
“So after 8 days since the 1st attempted transfer, with much sweat, back and forth by chat/email/phone calls with bad connection and finally a threat to close my account and return all the money Transferwise has been holding for 8 days, the money finally arrived at the destination. This is a far cry from the direct payment by credit card or by paypal which takes seconds. I am afraid to use your service again for future business payment transfers.”
Wong & Wegener
The next disappointed customer had to pay an extra fee and the interest to his bank when used his credit card. Those it’s always worth verifying with the bank if there will be an additional fee for paying TransferWise with a credit card.
“BEWARE IF YOU USE A CREDIT CARD your CC company will charge a fee of at least £17.00 then interest every day… This does not work like Pay Pal with a credit card… AVOID… if you use a DEBIT CARD ask your Bank will they charge you a fee. They do not make this clear when they blow their horn. I will now approach my credit card company to see if I can get a refund… I DOUBT IT”
As you can see some people complain about the service while Wise didn’t do anything wrong. The verification process can take some time, not all cases are the same. Automated verification can fail if provided scans are of questionable quality. We still need to deal with banks when sending and receiving money, always clarify bank’s fees, especially when using a credit card. I personally prefer depositing money with a bank transfer from my NatWest account. It’s free and it typically takes less than half an hour to complete.
Facts about Wise
The company was established in 2011 by two Estonian guys Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann. They both moved to London but Taavet was still getting his salary in euros to his Estonian bank account. That was not very practical as he needed pounds for day to day expenses and for paying his bills. He had to make expensive bank transfers on monthly basis to receive his salary to his UK account in pounds. Kristo had another problem. He was employed by Deloitte in London and got paid in pounds, but he still had to pay a mortgage in Estonia. So he needed euros in his Estonian bank account that costed him an expensive transfer and currency conversion every month.
One day they found a solution to the problem. They figured out that Taavet can send euros from his Estonian account to Kristo to pay his mortgage without any fee. Then Kristo sends the equivalent amount in pounds from his pounds account to Taavet’s pounds account without any fee or currency conversion involved. They were using the actual currency exchange rate fro Reuters to make a fair conversion. That worked very well for them and they decided why not to move this system to a different level and create a product for people who have similar needs.
Nowadays Wise is a very recognizable company in online money transfers business. They transfer more than a billion dollars every month, have 9 offices around the world with over 600 employees.
The company operates on simple principles:
- Transfers should be easy
- Money should arrive fast
- Fees should be transparent and as low as possible
So far the company got incredible $396.4 million in funding from various recognizable investors including well known Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group). If you visit CrunchBase you can find more details about all 22 investors who believe in Wise success.
Wise is not only online transfers provider but a company that provide various money services:
- You can open a Borderless Account in GBP, EUR or USD online in minutes
- You can get a prepaid Wise debit card linked to your Borderless Account
It was never that easy to get a pound, euro or US dollar accounts without even visiting a physical office. All you need is to have an account that is free to use and there is no any annual service fee. This new product allows making transfers in the same currency that were not possible earlier. UK residents can also get salaries to their Borderless Account. All this became possible thanks to the partnership with BPCE Groupe bank. This is a really great addition to company’s products profile.
Just recently it became possible to order a physical debit card that will be linked to you Borderless Account. There are the most important features of the card:
- It’s a debit MasterCard that is accepted everywhere around the world
- It’s free to own and free to use
- Supports more than 40 currencies
- Currency conversion costs from 0.35% to 2% depending on a currency pair
- There is a fixed £0.50 fee (or equivalent in your currency) when transferring money from the card to somebody else
You can request your card anytime if you already have a Wise account. Why not ordering one if it’s free?!
37 thoughts on “Home”
Just like to thank you for letting me know about TransferWise. I’ve been using it for about a year for sending money back home to Lithuania. Really simple and cost effective, money typically arrive same day or early next day. Great deal!
i have been using transferwise for last one year,its really simple and easy
This is how I send money from Gibraltar to Poland every month. I think they are the best option, at least for me.
Can you tranfer money to a business account in Pakistan via transfer-wire?
I think they can only transfer to private bank accounts in Pakistan.
Sounds great and cheap
Can I transfer the funds in my euro account in Portugal to a TransferWise account?
Hi Gerry, yes you can transfer money from your EUR account in Portugal. They will provide you a local EUR account to where you should send money free of charge.
se puede ingresar dinero en efectivo en la Cuenta sin fronteras para poder usar la Tarjeta TransferWise?
¿deben de informar de todas las transferencias y su cuantia a la Agencia Tributaria del país de residencia del titular de la cuenta sin fronteras?
En efectivo no puedes, solo con la transferencia bancaria. No se sobre la Agenica Tributaira, yo no informo nada addicional en la renta.
If you send euros from a bank in Europe to a borderless account in Europe how do you actually retrieve the euros and also can you send euros to another borderless account and how would that person retrieve the euros. Thank you.
Threat borderless account as a regular bank account. To get money from it you just arrange the transfer to any other bank account. You can also send euros to another euro account, there will be a tiny fixed fee for it. Or just use TransferWise debit card that is linked to your borderless account to pay for services or goods directly from your account.
Does anyone know if you use TransferWise as your banking account and sign up for direct deposit, if your funds post early like most online banks. I’m paid every 3rd Wed , but with my other online bank my funds were available the Friday before.
I’m having trouble filling the card application form.It won’t accept my birth date or phone code.When I clic on they disappear,
It sounds like a problem with your browser, may be there is a extension that does this trick. Did you try in another browser? This never happened to me.
Our accounts were unreasonable closed with no explanations or any details.
Arguing with tech-support during a weeks, we’ve got so long-awaited answer. Briefly – they said “We don’t like you, because we don’t like you”.
All our activity was absolutely transparent and clear. We were ready to provide any needed (or additional) documents to prove our transparency, but had no reaction it all.
In public space Transferwise declares liberalism; “say goodbye to banks”; “say no to banks’ bureaucracy” and other attracting things. But in reality what they do is worse than most banks do.
Banks at least provide the details of the problem and really help to solve misunderstanding if it is so.
Re-phrasing Transferwise’ slogan “We say goodbye to Transfewise and say hello to the World!”.
Be aware of this TransferWise “service”. They don’t care about people – they only care about their system.
Opening accounts in Transferwise you have a huge risk to loose your accounts having no explanations.
It’s a first time I hear something like this. UK regulations becomes stricter and stricter, there is a thing called KYC (know your customer) that businesses should comply with. I assume they got some records about your company that were classified as high risk and preferred to not have business with you instead of accepting the risk. TransferWise is not the only company in the market, you can try CurrencyFair.
I think it’s the future of banking and transfers. I’ve used it a few times to move money and it’s been done fast and securely. Saved an awful lot I would have otherwise lost to currency exchange fees and poor conversion rates which banks use. Saving money is earning money! The app is brilliant and the customer service team are great too, they replied quickly and helpfully when I sent them a question.
Dear sir : What is the acc.-number of my registration- TransferWise-account ? I have registered for a private and a business account. But where can I see the account-numbers ? I don’t see them and I have not been asked for “identifying verification” myself ? How to do that ? THX
Hi Kenneth, I think you don’t get an account number automatically once you registered. Once you logged in just go to “Balances” and press “Get started” to signup for a free bank account.
Hello, I want to send funds from Kenya to Nigeria but I couldn’t. Is it possible to send from Kenya to Nigeria?
According to what I know it’s not yet available.
I used it only for money transfers the last 3 years but now I decided to use it as my everyday account. Best exchange rate and transfers sometimes immediate to other country. I have 13 bank accounts, the latest are Monese, N26, Starling. But I have issues with them suspending account for weeks and asking for further documents and than nothing. That’s crazy.
I even sent £30000 to Spain and had no issues with TransferWise. I wouldn’t trust any other money exchange company to send this much.
Can i send money from kenya to US and receive money from US while in kenya?
You can only send money from US to Kenya. At the moment it’s not possible to send money from Kenya.
Can I use My TransferWise account to receive my tax return? Can I use it to link to my return like a regular bank?
As long as it’s a local bank account I think you can. Better confirm with TransferWise support.
I had a TransferWise account with deposits in Euros (about 3300.00) US dollars (about 5.00) when I booked a hotel in Belgium for €63.95 and authorised that this amount be deducted from my account. A simple transaction I thought. Not so!
When I checked my TransferWise accounts I was surprised to see that $5.24 had been deducted from my US dollar account and converted into UK pounds and €63.25 had been deducted from my Euro account and converted into UK pounds and that then £61.11 had been paid to the hotel.
Someone, somewhere, either the hotel or TransferWise, had seen that the TransferWise card had been issued in the UK and had used Dynamic Currency Conversion, at a very disadvantageous rate to me (at a rate of about £1 to €1), without my permission and so I basically had $5.24 stolen from me. Both the hotel and TransferWise insist that they did not do this!
TransferWise say that because my card was issued in the UK that my base account was in UK pounds and if a charge was made in UK pounds then they would pay that charge in UK pounds. Thus, because I was not holding a balance in UK pounds they converted money from my existing balances at the most advantageous rates so they emptied my US dollar account to get £4.22 and then converted €63.25 to get £56.95. so I ended up paying $5+ to some scammer.
Apparently, according to TransferWise, there is no way of preventing unscrupulous businesses from applying Dynamic Currency Conversion and the only way to find out is when you are landed with the bill. I did not authorise the conversion but TransferWise accepted it and paid it. If the scammer had applied an even worse rate then TransferWise would have paid out even up to all of the money in my account.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I agree that it wasn’t a honest decision for the hotel to actually change the price of the reservation. I never had any similar issue… Dynamic currency conversions are usual thing, most of cases they are good thing. For example I have a Revolut card and they also convert currencies on demand if the balance of the requested currency is not sufficient to cover the payment.
Can I send money from Nigeria ie my euro domicillary account to euro acct in germany
I think it’s not possible at the moment.
First of all, I want to thank you for your big heart’s capacity and my appreciation for your efforts in receiving asked questions all questions and responding to them transparently .
my question is :
I am a young man residing in Morocco and I don’t know if he TransferWise support my country to apply for MasterCard.
What is the method that enables me to order a MasterCard and receive it in morocco?
and Thank you
Hi Yassine, if you are able to register an account then you should be able to order a MasterCard.
Greetings! Very useful advice within this article!
It’s the little changes that produce the greatest changes.
Thanks for sharing!
If I keep money in gbp or euro because I work for a company from UK, but I’m not a european citizen and I don’t live in europe, do i have to pay taxes in the country where my funds are stored? Don’t want to bring the money to my home country, as i’ll be moving to europe in the future. Do I pay taxes above certain amount?
Absolutely 100% the best bank account I ever had, so easy to use and understand, so easy to purchase something abroad and at home without the worry of high street banks ripping you of with their charges
It agree, very good message