Whether it’s for personal transactions or business reasons, you may find yourself needing to transfer money overseas. You’ll want this process to be as safe and inexpensive as possible.
This means you need a reliable online money transfer service. Unfortunately, many of these services are sketchy. Some are just scams looking to get your money and personal information. Others are legit, but with how many fees they charge, they might as well be stealing your money.
So, before choosing a transfer service, you should do plenty of research. This involves scoping out different services. Through your research, you should be able to find one that is not only trustworthy and expensive but also suits your needs.
In this article, we help you narrow down your search by reviewing Wise, (formerly TransferWise). You’ll walk away knowing everything you need to know about this popular online money transfer service. We cover how it works, how safe it is, its typical rates, and much more. Read on for our thorough review!
Important: If you’re looking to transfer amounts of more than $5,000 then your best option will be Currencies Direct.
What Is TransferWise?
Estonians Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus founded TransferWise in 2011. This online money transfer service is good for sending money for both personal and business reasons. And, the service is compatible with a wide range of currencies.
Since its inception, users from around the world have relied on the London-based service. A quick look at Trustpilot shows that people praise it for its convenience and affordability. You can browse over 90,000 raving reviews from satisfied users. Additionally, big-name publications like Financial Times and The Economist have nothing but good things to say about the service.
How Do I Sign Up for an Account?
Signing up for an account with TransferWise could not be easier.
All you have to do is visit the official website and click “Register.” Choose whether you’re opening a personal or business account. You can sign up through Google, Apple, or Facebook. Or, if you prefer, you can use your existing email address and create a unique password.
At this point, you can verify your account. This will save you the trouble of doing it later and make your transfers go through quicker. For verification, you’ll need to provide a valid ID and proof of address.
How Does TransferWise Work?
TransferWise is super simple to use.
Start by using the site’s pricing calculator. Here, you enter how much you want to send and where you want to send it to. The calculator uses the real exchange rate and is transparent about all fees. You’ll know exactly how much you’ll end up spending.
Before sending money through TransferWise, you can also consult its price comparison tool. The tool shows you rates from other providers (even if they happen to be cheaper!). This is nice as it shows that TransferWise truly cares about finding you the best rate.
From there, you’ll provide the recipient’s name and local bank details. Depending on the transfer, you may need to verify your identity or provide additional documentation.
Finally, you’ll pay for your transfer. The service will take care of the rest and send your money as quickly as possible!
Are There Minimum and Maximum Amounts?
Some people are wary of choosing a service that requires a minimum amount. TransferWise’s minimum is only 1 USD, which means that you can use it to send smaller sums of money.
And, if you need to send more, no problem! Its maximum amount is 1,000,000 USD, which should be more than enough for most transactions. Note that you will have to comply with your bank’s regulations. Some may limit how much you can transfer per day.
How Long Does a Transfer Take?
There are many factors you should consider when choosing an online money transfer service. One people often overlook is how long a transfer should take. It’s important that your money quickly gets to where it needs to go.
Luckily, TransferWise allows you to send and receive money quickly. Exactly how long the transfer will take depends on what payment type you use.
For instance, using a credit card or debit card is the fastest option. Some users avoid this payment method seeing as it has higher fees. However, it is worth the cost seeing as the recipient will get the money instantly.
If it’s not urgent and you want to pay less in fees, you can make an ACH payment. This method is cheaper but will take a little longer. Typically, it takes around two days for TransferWise to receive your money and another two days for the money to get into the recipient’s account. Seeing as an ACH payment should take no longer than four business days, it is a good alternative to the more expensive credit card and debit card transfers. Some users even report that their ACH payments have gone through in as little as one business day.
Is TransferWise Safe?
TransferWise is completely safe. It has been offering reliable services worldwide for nearly 10 years. Users praise it for its ease of use and secure transactions. After combing through countless reviews, we were unable to find any signs of sketchy activity.
You’ll be glad to hear that TransferWise has top-of-the-line security measures in place including:
- Bank-level data encryption and storage. The service uses the same practices as your bank to secure your information.
- In-house 24/7 digital security. TransferWise has its own 24/7 digital security team. It constantly monitors transactions to ward off fraud and other sketchy activity.
- Two-factor authentication. You’re the only one who can access your account thanks to two-factor authentication. And, if you use the mobile app, you can turn on biometric locks for extra security.
- Adherence to regulatory agencies. The service is accredited by all required local and global regulatory agencies. These agencies hold TransferWise to strict operating standards.
So, when you use this service, you can rest knowing that your money and information is always safe.
What About the Mobile App?
Many users send money through TransferWise’s website. However, there’s also a mobile app that you can use.
The mobile app is just as convenient (if not more convenient) than the website. You can use it to send and receive money exactly when you need it. Some of the app’s most useful features include:
Rate updates. Exchange rates determine how much your money will be worth to the receiver. Seeing as exchange rates fluctuate, it’s sometimes better to hold off on a transfer until the rate is ideal. The mobile app helps you send money at the perfect time thanks to its exchange rate updates. Gone are the days of monitoring the fluctuating rates yourself.
Repeat past transfers. The user-friendly interface displays all of your previous transfers. In just a couple of taps, you can quickly send money to past recipients. No longer will you have to set up new payments when you’ve already done them before.
Have more payment options. When you use the mobile app, you can pay for your transfers with Apple Pay or Google Pay.
And, when you use the mobile app, you don’t have to worry about compromising security. It has protective measures in place to keep your data and money safe. Plus, you can rest knowing that the app is compatible with biometrics. Only you will be able to access your account via fingerprint/face scanning.
The mobile app is available on both the Apple and Google Play stores. This means you can use pretty much any device to send money on-the-go.
So, if you decide to sign up for TransferWise, make sure you download the app! It’s a super-easy way to track and manage your transfers.
Transferwise Fees & Rates
Now that you know TransferWise is totally safe to use, let’s talk about fees and rates. It charges anywhere from 0.5%–1% to cover the cost of its services. Other fees that it charges are influenced by factors including:
You can send money via credit card, debit card, wire transfer, or bank account ACH. These options give you lots of flexibility when making payments.
However, use discretion when choosing which method to use. Certain methods will cost you more in fees than others. A credit card payment in USD, for instance, charges 3.66%. A debit card payment and wire transfer are slightly cheaper at 1.24% and 0.53%, respectively. The most affordable option is a bank account ACH at 0.35%.
The numbers we mentioned above apply if you’re working in USD. Different currencies abide by different fee tables.
The rates will stay the same as long as you are sending money from the same country. However, if you’re traveling abroad, you might have to abide by a different fee table.
Amount of Money You’re Sending
How much money you’re sending won’t affect the preset percentages. Of course, the more money you send, the more overall fees you’ll end up paying. Use the service’s pricing calculator to see exactly how much a transfer will cost.
Is It Worth the Cost?
Is TransferWise worth the cost of its fees?
We say yes. The fee for a credit card payment is somewhat high, but this is typical of online transfer services. It’s a small price considering how quickly the recipient gets the money. And, if you want to pay less in fees, you have the option of paying by debit card, wire transfer, or bank account ACH.
Whichever payment method you use, TransferWise is notably cheaper than your bank and even other services like PayPal. It is upfront about what it charges, meaning you’ll never be surprised by hidden fees.
You’re unlikely to run into problems with TransferWise. Its interface is very intuitive and easy-to-use. Plus, there are very few reports of payment problems or other bugs.
If you do come across a problem, you’re in good hands. TransferWise has one of the best customer service teams we’ve seen. Aside from being responsive, the representatives offer support in multiple languages. They are friendly and genuinely willing to help.
TransferWise never uses frustrated automated chats. You get to talk to a real human via phone call or email. You can also find helpful guides and FAQs on the website.
Who Uses TransferWise?
TransferWise is one of the most popular services of its kind.
Millions of users around the world benefit from it. This is thanks to the fact that the service works with over 50 currencies. You can send and receive money from AUD, USD, GBP, and other popular currencies. You can also send money to less common currencies like the Argentine peso and Vietnamese dong via local transfer.
In other good news, the service is great for a variety of purposes. People use it for personal transactions like sending money to friends and family.
It’s also good for freelancers and small/medium/large-scale businesses. Owners can open a free account to pay invoices and receive money for free. The service makes things simple by automating work through its API. And, because it integrates with Xero, managing your business’s finances has never been easier.
So, no matter who you are or where you’re from, you’re bound to benefit from TransferWise. The service is super easy to use, flexible and caters to a wide range of users.
Should I Use TransferWise?
So, should you use TransferWise for sending money overseas? Here’s a quick list of the service’s pros and cons:
- Quick sign up and verification process
- Intuitive interface
- No monthly fee
- Your account does not have to maintain a minimum balance
- Flexible payment options
- More affordable than banks or services like PayPal
- High daily sending limit
- Easy-to-use mobile app
- Top-of-the-line security measures in place
- Slightly higher fees for transfers that you pay by credit card or debit card
- Not the best option for larger transfers (we recommend Currencies Direct for transfers over $10,000)
- ACH payments can be slower because of the two-step process
- Recipient can not pick up the cash (the cash must go directly to their bank account)
We’ve found that TransferWise’s pros outweigh its few cons by far. The service is reliable, quick, and affordable. It will get your money where it needs to go. And, more importantly, it’s safe. When you use the service, you can rest knowing that your money is in good hands.
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Matt is a veteran of the moving industry, a recognized moving expert and is the founder of MoverFocus. Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Finance and Marketing and Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Economics and History. He also has completed the EiM (Essentials in International Moving) course from the FIDI Academy. His advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Business News Daily and The SpareFoot Blog Go. Read more.