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The Bottom Line: Wise is an online money transfer service that allows you to transfer money abroad cheap and fast. Receive money with international bank details, and track your transactions with notifications on your phone.

Wise logo

Our Partner

Money Transfer Service

AT A GLANCE

  • Transfer amounts: $1 to $1 million
  • Transfer options: online (regular or one-off payments)
  • Minimum transfer time: one to two days
  • Customer service: available via chat, phone or email

Overall Rating

4/5

B BBB Rating

Average review rating 4.6/5 on TrustPilot

Pros & Cons

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider before using Wise

Pros

  • Offers high transfer limits
  • Charges you mid-market rate
  • Cheap international transfers
  • Millions of happy customers

Cons

  • Limited transfer options
  • Transfer times may be slow

Wise is a money transfer startup that offers customers an inexpensive method to send money from the U.S. to more than 70 countries.

In addition to minimal fees, their exchange rates are some of the lowest out there and you can fund transfers in a few different ways.

Their mobile app and user-friendly website is easy to navigate, and you can see how much it would cost you to send money using their helpful calculators. 

Transferwise icon

Quick Summary

Service: International money transfer

Fees: Depends on amount

Promotion: No current promos

What is Wise?

Wise is a company that offers currency transfers in a faster and more user friendly way. 

It also prides itself as charge lower fees and being more transparent compared to other international money transfer companies. 

The company was founded in 2010 when to Estonian immigrants were fed up with high exchange rates when they were sending money abroad.

Transferwise now has over 650 employees and offices worldwide. 

It sends more than $750 million USD globally, helping more than two million customers so far. 

Why Wise Can Afford to Charge Minimal Fees

How Wise is that the company uses a network of customers who are doing the same tasks - transfer money to another country.

That means Wise can take advantage of housing currency within different countries and doesn’t need to charge you exorbitant fees for the money leaving the country each time.

In other words, Wise doesn’t need to physically exchange money.

Instead, it has its own bank account in all the countries it exchanges currencies with to cut back on cost. 

So basically it’ll trade currencies using peer-to-peer currency, so money doesn’t need to leave the country. 

While it sounds confusing, it’s pretty simple. For example, let’s say you want to send $1,000 USD to your mother who lives in Singapore.

Traditional money transfer services would typically take your money and send it to Singapore.

Instead, Wise leaves your USD in their bank account in the U.S. and takes the equivalent amount in SGD out of their bank account in Singapore and transfers that to your mother.

So the money that’s in Wise’s U.S. bank account will sit there until someone transfers money from another country to the U.S. 

The idea is that since the money doesn’t have to go across borders, there is less overhead costs — the savings is passed onto you.

What Is the Mid Market Rate That Wise Refers to?

Another reason why Wise costs much less than other money transfer companies is that the company doesn’t alter their exchange rates.

Instead, you’re charged the mid-market rate when sending money overseas.

This rate, also referred to as the interbank rate, is what the exact exchange rate is — aka it’s the exact amount it’s currently worth compared to another currency. 

Think of it as the rate transfer services and banks use when trading amongst themselves. 

Transferring Money

Wise allows you to do real-time transfers. That means you can’t schedule transfers for the future, but you may be able to set rate limits and forward contracts for some transfer methods and currencies.

The good news is that Wise does guarantee its rates as long as your money reaches the company by the next business day by 4 p.m. EST or you made an ACH payment successfully.

If so, you’ll be able to lock in the rate and your recipient will receive the amount shown on the confirmation when you confirm the transfer.  

Plus, transferring money has been fast and easy in our experience.

The fees were competitive and the exchange rates were well within the mid-market rate. 

Transfers were initiated in less than five minutes. 

Fees

Yes, you’ll need to pay fees to use Transferwise, but the actual amount depends on where you’re sending the money to and how much. 

Transferswise’s fee is based on a small fixed fee and a percentage of your transfer amount. 

Their fees are visible throughout the website — when you’re conducting a transfer or using one of their calculators.

That way, you won’t be caught off guard by the hidden fees that other companies may charge.

Keep in mind that if you’re getting a fee estimate even a few days before you’re set to do the transfer, it may change due to the fluctuations in the exchange rates. 

The cheap, fast way to send money abroad.

Options to Set Up Transfers

You can make one-off secure transfers to around 70 countries around the world.

Like mentioned before, you can’t set up recurring transfers at this time. 

When setting up a transfer, you have a few options on payment:

  • Bank transfer: It could take up to three business days for the payment to get to Wise (depends on the currency).
  • ACH bank transfer: This option could take anywhere from one to four business days to reach Wise.
  • Wire transfer: Your funds may take up to one business day to get to Wise.
  • Debit or credit card: Your funds should get to Wise immediately.
  • Facebook Messenger: You can only do this when sending funds to Australia, Australia, Europe and the UK.

Once Wise receives your money, then it’ll deposit the funds to your recipient’s bank account.

How Long It Takes to Complete Transfers

As you can see with the transfer options above, how long it’ll take the money to reach your recipient will depend on a few factors.

First, certain payment methods will take longer than others. 

For example, a bank transfer takes four business days to reach Wise and your recipient may have to wait a few more days, depending on their bank.

In general, sending money using your card is the faster option.

There’s also the recipient country and currency.

It’s a fact that some countries are going to take longer than others. 

As well, national holidays or weekends in the recipient countries will also affect how soon the money will be delivered. 

In most cases it’ll take between one and four days from start to finish, even though there are a lot of factors that can affect how soon it’ll get there.

In any case, Wise lets you know approximately how long it’ll take right before submitting your payment.

How to Open an Account

To open an account, go to Wise’s website and go to their sign up page.

Then enter your email address, Facebook or Google account to create a new account.

You’ll need to verify your identity in order to comply with anti-money laundering regulations.

Documents you can use to verify your identity include a photo ID like your driver’s license or passport.

In some cases you might need a proof of address — upload a document with that piece of information on it such as a tax return, driver’s license, credit card statement or utility bill.

Then you’ll need to wait up to two working days for Wise to verify your details.

How to Transfer Money

Transferring money is pretty convenient and easy to use. 

Here’s how it works:

  • Provide transfer details such as where you want to transfer money to, how much and the recipient.
  • Enter your personal details (if you already haven’t done so) such as your address, Social Security number, full name plus your recipient's bank account details (like their International Bank Account Number, or IBAN) and full address. 
  • Confirm transfer details.
  • Send funds in your preferred manner which includes debit card, Facebook Messenger or bank transfer.
  • Once Transferwise receives your funds, then it’ll transfer the money to your recipient.
  • You and your recipient will be notified when the transfer is completed.

You can also send money to Wise via Apple Pay.

It works much like what you do to conduct a regular Apple payment by clicking on the Apple logo which says “pay.” 

There is no additional fee if your account is linked to your debit card, but there is a 2% fee if it’s linked to your credit card.

For residents of Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia, you can’t use Apple Pay.  

Once your transaction goes through you’ll be able to track the status of your transfer via your Wise account. 

Should You Use Wise?

Wise is a great option for those who are looking for an inexpensive way to send money overseas, especially since the company charges you at the mid-market rate.

Plus, it’s intuitive to you and offers transparency throughout the process.

You know exactly what you’ll be paying and get updates on the transfer process so you know when your recipient will get the funds. 

However, if your recipient prefers to receive funds in cash, then you’ll need to go elsewhere, as the only way for now is to have Wise make a bank transfer.

Plus, transfer times may take a few business days, whereas other money transfer companies claim to have faster processing times (though it comes at a price). 

But if you’re not concerned with how long it takes and prefer to lock in a favorable rate, plus pay as little as possible in fees, then give Wise a try.

Before pressing the submit button, make sure to compare rates and fee with other money transfer companies to see which is the better option.

Wise

Wise is an online money transfer service that allows you to transfer money abroad cheap and fast. Receive money with international bank details, and track your transactions with notifications on your phone.

Transferwise icon
  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4 stars
  • 80%

  • Wise
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: May 24, 2021


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