Wise vs. CurrencyFair

Wise and CurrencyFair are two of the most popular international money transfer platforms in the world. Both owe their popularity to years of excellent service and reliability.

While there is no shortage of areas where both platforms thrive and provide significant value for their customers, there are also a handful of aspects where they both differ significantly. In case you're about to send money overseas and aren't sure of the best option for you between Wise and CurrencyFair, you have indeed come to the right place.

In the upcoming sections, we take an in-depth look at key aspects of both platforms and ultimately give our verdict as to which alternative is best for you depending on your unique international money transfer needs.

High-level differences between Wise and CurrencyFair

Wise

Wise is an online financial service that helps users send money between two currencies. They are known for charging very competitive fees.

Wise was established in 2011.

Wise covers more currencies compared to CurrencyFair. For example, Wise payments can be sent to 80+ countries using 50+ currencies.

On the Wise platform, users can use debit cards to fund their transfers.

Wise is a well-established international company. It manages more than 10 million customers and two thousand employees.

Wise charges a standard transaction fee on all transfers. Their exchange rate is also consistent with the mid-market rate and has no markup.

Wise has a minimum transfer amount of €1, £1, and $1.

CurrencyFair

CurrencyFair allows users to enter their desired exchange rate and to be paired with another customer who also wishes to make their exchange at that rate.

CurrencyFair was founded in 2009.

CurrencyFair supports more countries compared to Wise. CurrencyFair payment can be sent to 150+ countries using 20+ currencies.

Users of CurrencyFair cannot use debit cards to fund their transfers.

CurrencyFair is a fast-growing money transfer company. It has had more than 57 thousand customers since 2009.

CurrencyFair is not as transparent as Wise. A great deal of CurrencyFair's charges and fees are hidden in their exchange rate margin.

CurrencyFair allows the customer to send and withdraw a minimum of €8, £8, and $8.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wise and CurrencyFair

Advantages of CurrencyFair

  • CurrencyFair is a fast and secure money transfer company that uses two-factor payment authentication for additional security.
  • Customers on the platform can set up a peer-to-peer currency exchange at the rate of their own choice.
  • CurrencyFair allows users and investors to send and receive unlimited money.
  • Users on the platform can open a multi-currency account to receive international payments. This multi-currency account can send, exchange and receive money in 20 different currencies.
  • CurrencyFair is certified and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and Regulated By ASIC in Australia. It is also certified by MAS and FCA.
  • International transfers done via CurrencyFiar are usually available within 24 hours.

Advantages of Wise

  • Wise is a trusted financial service platform offering borderless accounts and fast international transfers.
  • Wise offers incredibly reasonable exchange rates on all transfers, regardless of volume.
  • Wise's reasonable fees are even more impressive when you consider that what you see is what you get. There are absolutely no hidden charges on Wise.
  • Users on Wise are allowed to make transactions using their Debit cards.
  • Wise also boasts a good, transparent user interface that is completely easy to navigate. Additionally, the wise website contains many helpful guides, and valuable information.
  • Wise payments arrive in seconds on some currency routes or in some countries.
  • Wise is useful and safe for regular payments to independent contractors or freelancers.
  • Wise offers individuals the use of the borderless Debit card and FX-optimized debit card.
  • Wise also makes transfers easier by allowing users to easily send money from one account to another through nothing but an email address.

Disadvantages of CurrencyFair

  • CurrencyFair does not provide personal or business account management.
  • There is no Digital Wallet interface in CurrencyFair.
  • You cannot use a Debit card to fund transactions on CurrencyFair.

Disadvantages of Wise

  • Sometimes Wise accounts may be deactivated out of nowhere due to their policy.
  • The Wise account verification process may be slow and tiring.
  • Reaching customer service on Wise may take a considerable amount of time.

Safety

Reputation

When it comes to establishing a solid reputation for reliability in what they do, very few money transfer platforms compare to Wise. The platform has also garnered a reputation for being secure and easy to navigate.

CurrencyFair may be a little harder to navigate than Wise, but it is generally reputed to be just as secure. The hidden charges, particularly on exchange rate markups, are a cause of concern for many. Still, the platform itself does not deny this practice.

Moreover, it is a common practice among many similar companies in the industry.

Track record

Wise remains one of the most popular international money transfer platforms in the world with a lot of satisfied customers. On top of that, they are well reviewed across platforms, boasting a 4.7 out of a 5-star review rating on Trustpilot.

CurrencyFair is also just as well reviewed. They boast a 4.6 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot. Customers particularly appreciate the dynamism of their platform and exchange rates.

Trust and Safety

Wise and CurrencyFair are duly authorized and regulated by the appropriate bodies in their respective countries. Wise is regulated by the FCA and HMRC in the United Kingdom, while CurrencyFair is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, ASIC in Australia, and by the FCA in the United Kingdom.

Speed

Wise transfer speed can vary from minutes when using a credit card (this incurs a higher fee) or up to 2 to 3 business days when transferring money internationally to countries like the US, Germany, India, Mexico, and the UK. Sometimes, delivery can be delayed depending on the country to which money is being sent to.

CurrencyFair transfers can be delivered within 24 hours or take up to 1-2 business days, depending on the recipient country and currency being exchanged. Customers also have the choice to determine the speed of their transfers when they opt for the peer exchange service.

Value for money

Wise

With no markup on transfers and a focus on the real mid-market exchange rates, Wise transparent service rates give you an exact idea of the total cost of international transfers with no hidden charges. This makes the cost of service using Wise money transfer competitively lower than other money transfer providers.

CurrencyFair

To know the total cost your transfer will incur when using CurrencyFair, you will have to calculate the currency exchange rates yourself and include the flat rate approximate to a $4.00 service charge deducted from every transfer. Or you can opt for the peer-to-pair exchange rate service.

Ease of use

Wise

Wise offers an excellent web user experience with a detailed FAQ section that makes navigation easier for first-time customers. The homepage has a built-in cost calculator for transparency when checking for transfer rates and fees.

Lastly, Wise offers delivery within minutes on transfers made through a debit or credit card.

CurrencyFair

It is easy to register a user account on CurrencyFair. This can be done either on the online website or via the mobile app. Customer support can also be reached through email or phone at any time except for weekends and banking holidays in various languages.

Payments on CurrencyFair can only be made using BPay or customer bank accounts.

Fees/Charges

Wise

Wise deducts a percentage of the money being sent. This amount is determined by the currency rates of the recipient country. Also, depending on your transfer mode, Wise will not charge you for transfers made from your bank account or debit card unless you opt for a faster credit card transfer mode, which will cost you more.

Wise makes its profit by targeting mid-market rates instead of exchange rates, so you are not charged by currency rates. Mid-market rates are also known as inter-bank charges between banks during currency transfers. This rate tends to fluctuate by the minute.

CurrencyFair

Transfer charges are deducted from your wallet on CurrencyFair for each transaction made to a bank account. These fixed charges usually fall under €3.00 or its equivalent in other currencies.

Transfers made within and out of your CurrencyFair account using a local bank transfer method may not attract any fee. But foreign transactions are done with an international bank transfer with a service fee to the intermediary bank.

A commission charge ranging from 0.10% to 0.60% with an average margin of 0.45% may also be deducted from the exchange amount. You can choose which currency you want the transfer to be carried out with to save cost.

Features

Wise

  • Large Transfer Amounts: Wise allows customers to send large amounts of money with no minimum limit. The maximum amount of money transferable varies depending on the currency.
  • Multi-Currency Account: Customers enjoy the perk of holding and receiving money in different currencies using a single account. With this feature, customers get a reduced cost when transferring to other countries, faster transactions, and a better customer experience overall.
    This is especially perfect for customers with several businesses or loved ones abroad.
  • Security: Wise has rigorous security measures that protect customers from online scammers and suspicious online activity. This feature includes a 2-factor authentication requirement before any transfer can be done.
  • Transparent Rates: As mentioned earlier, Wise offers a mid-market exchange rate for all transfers, which means they do not add a markup or manipulate exchange rates to suit their purposes.

CurrencyFair

  • Peer-to-Peer Trading: CurrencyFair allows users to choose between sending money using the available exchange rate or setting a preferred rate. This feature holds a transfer until the preferred rate is matched. It also pairs people who want to transfer currencies in opposite directions at similar rates.
  • Multi-currency Account: You can open a free multi-currency account with an availability of over 20+ currencies. This makes the funds in your account always ready for exchange to any of the available currencies.
  • Alerts on Current Exchange Rates: Another helpful feature on CurrencyFiar is the option to get notifications when the exchange rate rises or falls. You can quickly turn on this alert feature on your account via your mobile app. This comes in handy when you want to make a considerably large transfer amount at a decent exchange rate.

Is Wise or CurrencyFair best for you?

When to use Wise

Wise is a great alternative to consider if you happen to find yourself in any of the following scenarios:

  • You make substantial money transactions several times in a month.
  • You have staff in different countries and want to save the cost of foreign exchange rates.
  • You want transfers delivered fast.
  • You want low and transparent service rates.
  • You wish to make international transfers using a debit card.

When not to use Wise

Wise is not necessarily the best option for you if you find yourself in any of the following scenarios:

  • The receiver of the money does not have a bank account.
  • You want to make cash deposits. Wise does not have a branch network.

When to use CurrencyFair

CurrencyFair is a great alternative to consider if you happen to find yourself in any of the following scenarios:

  • You want a very affordable international bank transfer.
  • Your transfer volume is below £4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 AUD/NZD.
  • You want to open a dedicated business account for a growing business.

When not to use CurrencyFair

CurrencyFair is not necessarily the best option for you if you find yourself in any of the following scenarios:

  • You wish to send money worldwide.
  • You would like to carry out currency conversions using a currency pair that is not part of the 20+ currencies available on CurrencyFair.
  • You want to send large amounts of money at once.

Bottom line

Both Wise and CurrencyFair are two excellent international money transfer services with unique functionalities. Wise, of course, is a little more direct and easy to navigate than CurrencyFair. This is usually appealing for those looking to get their transfers done quickly without hassle.

Now, while the Wise platform thrives in its simplicity, there is no denying that it lacks in functionality.

CurrencyFair, on the other hand, is quite functional. Not only do you have the chance to set your preferred exchange rate and look for customers to trade with, but you can also choose to trade directly with the platform at a specified rate, albeit with substantial markups.

In conclusion, both platforms are viable options to consider. However, which one you eventually choose to go to is usually nothing but a function of the features you happen to prioritize at that particular moment in time.

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