Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is one of the most popular and highly rated international currency transfer and exchange platforms in the world.
Founded in 2011 by Eristo Käärmann and Tavet Hinkrikus, the company has won a lot of awards by providing a solution for individuals and companies seeking to send money abroad at an affordable rate.
But is Wise actually worth it? Is the company good enough in terms of customer service, value for money, and convenience? And most importantly, is it a perfect fit for you?
These are all valid questions to have, especially given the options out there today when it comes to currency movement, exchange, and transfer. And this is why we have provided a detailed review below on all things Wise.
By the time you're done reading, you should have a complete picture regarding the company, its currency transfer process, and how fitting it is for your needs.
Wise recognized a particularly challenging problem regarding international payments, and it solved it. A while ago, sending money across borders used to be an incredible source of headache.
Later on, of course, this problem became less challenging with the rise of some financial technology companies. Yet, there remained problems that had to be solved. You see, these companies, while making it relatively easier to send and receive money across borders, were still remarkably slow and quite expensive.
Years later, it is safe to say that Wise solved these problems. Now with Wise, customers get to make their international transactions using affordable mid-market exchange rates without additional charges as it used to be.
What's more, Wise also makes the process of doing all of these incredibly easy.
The Wise platform has continually increased in popularity since its early days. Nowadays, the platform serves no less than 12 nations and facilitates transactions worth billions of dollars.
One of the biggest appeals that continues to attract users to the platform is its simplicity. All you have to do to make use of Wise is to open an account in one easy step.
You can also make use of your Google or Facebook account to this end.
Of course, you will have to wait a few minutes for code verification and approval, but once your account is approved, you can proceed to set up your account for quick and easy transfers.
Transfers are done by entering the bank details of the party to which you're sending the money, before lastly you’re asked to verify your identity for compliance adherence.
And that's it.
After those few easy steps you will get to send money anywhere in the world with a few clicks of your keyboard.
It is also worth noting that Wise's easy and straightforward platform is not the only highlight of the company. We examine other areas where the company stands out below.
To understand exactly what factors set Wise apart from its competitors, we take a look at a few highlights of the company below. We also take a further look at some aspects that we either did not find very appealing, or that have generally been points of complaints by others at one point or another.
Transfer Speeds - International transactions take time. You are, after all, sending money across borders with different rules, currencies, and exchange rates. Thanks to its cutting edge technology, however, Wise has come a long way in making these transactions incredibly fast and effortless.
Transparency - Many international payment services either charge you a lot of money to get your transfers done quickly, or include subtle, hidden fees that you don't even know you're paying. Wise offers a perfect mix of affordability with transparency. Whatever they say you are paying is what you are really paying.
Affordability - Not only is Wise transparent with its charges, the charges themselves are not high at all by any stretch of the imagination. Compared to major competitors such as banks and PayPal, Wise's rate may sometimes be as low as 0.39%, or even lower.
This is by far one of the best rates out there. PayPal, for example, charges as high as 8%. And even compared to other cheaper options in the market, they are still one of the best in this regard.
Easy Process - And of course, as we have seen in the previous section, the process of setting up an account and sending payments with Wise is incredibly easy. It is also worth mentioning that the process of receiving payments with Wise is just as easy and just as streamlined as the process of making them.
Cash Pickup Option - Some users generally like to have cash pickup options in local outlets. And while we're not particularly concerned about this feature, a handful of customer reviews have indicated that they would appreciate it if such a feature could be made available by Wise in the future.
Others - We have found that Wise users also tend to complain about the following aspects of the company's features: limited currency and country support, lack of cash and cheque options for making payments, and the fact that payments over 10,000 generally incur more relatively expensive charges and there may be better options out there,
Having examined what Wise is all about, along with the process, advantages and disadvantages, the next logical move is to understand its reputation, reception trend among existing customers, and most importantly, how particularly fitting they are for your needs.
Wise is a heavily regulated platform. It is present in so many countries, and each of them have regulatory practices by which the company must always abide.
For instance, Wise is regulated in the USA by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, in the UK by the UK Financial Conduct Authority, in Belgium by the National Bank of Belgium, and in Canada by the Financial Customs and Excise Department.
It has also been established through prior actions that Wise actually does take regulations seriously and make it a constant point of action to always abide by the rules set by these regulatory bodies.
Wise also adopts a fund separation policy to keep your funds safe. It does this by separating your money from its operational funds in tier 1 international banks.
The platform also claims to run a top level data security program used by the best banks in the world.
Wise charges two different types of fees. On card payments, users pay a 1.25% fee for debit cards and 3.8% for credit cards. Business fees cost 1.1% and 4.33% for debit and credit cards respectively. Service fees and fixed fees also vary depending on location and currency.
In the end, all things considered, Wise is usually regarded as one of the best platforms in terms of offering genuine value for money. Their fees and charges are incredibly reasonable for the great deal of efficiency and convenience that the platform provides.
Wise offers one of the simplest, most convenient user interfaces among its competitors. Its transfer process is so simple that it is usually one of the aspects customers who use Wise single out for praise.
Transfers are so straightforward that sometimes it is only a question of entering the recipient's bank details and making payments with your own card. International transfers definitely do not get easier than that.
Wise's customer support gets an A from us in terms of accessibility, willingness and ability to help. Getting through to them is quite easy through the website. And once they respond they usually provide enough details and explanation to resolve whatever issues you may have.
When it comes to response time, though, they may not necessarily have one of the fastest out there. Usually they take a while to respond so when you're getting in contact with them, particularly through email exchanges, be prepared to wait a while.
Below are the contact details you'll need to get through to the Wise customer support service.
Phone Number - +1 888 908 3833
Website - https://wise.com/help
Wise's customer support is available every day of the year. You can also choose to make use of the live chat feature on their website.
Processing time on Wise, and indeed a lot of similar platforms, can never be pegged to a single value thanks to the huge amount of factors in play when you make a transfer.
Selected options such as transaction volume, currency, destination country, rates, and so on, can play a huge role in determining how fast or how slow your transaction takes before it is finalized.
On average, though, Wise does in fact have one of the fastest transaction times out there. In fact, instantaneous transfers are quite common on Wise.
Using a credit or debit card is also allowed on Wise, and is generally known to work faster than bank transfers.
There are also cheaper options such as ACH payment which may not necessarily be done in the quickest time, but will always require very little transfer fees and charges.
Transfer fees and charges on Wise, like the processing time, depends on selected options. It is, however, possible to stimulate your transfer beforehand to discover how much fees and charges you're going to be paying.
You can also find out estimated processing time and guaranteed rates duration using this method.
To stimulate your transfer and find out your estimated charges, visit the Wise website and open the "Get Your Fees and Speed" widget, and enter your transfer amount and currency.
The system automatically calculates and displays your transfer fee and guaranteed rate. You can then compare this rate with other platforms.
Usually we have found that Wise offers some of the best rates in the market without a doubt. For instance, for a 2,000 pounds transfer, we found Wise's percentage fees to be 0.39%.
Compared to PayPal, Banks and other transfer companies, this was the best deal by a large margin.
Wise are generally very well reviewed across all platforms. Users praise the ease of using the platform, the speed of transactions, and the affordable rates they get on Wise compared to competitors.
The not-so-flattering reviews focused mainly on the platform disabling accounts, and reports about troubles using card services.
Knowing whether or not Wise is right for you requires considering a few conditions. You have to ask yourself how much you're transacting, how fast you want to get the transaction done, how particular you are about getting reasonable rates, and so on.
We take a look at these factors in detail below.
We advise people to make use of Wise as their go-to option when they need to get their transfers done quickly. This is not just in terms of making the transactions smooth on your end, but also for the recipient. With Wise, both ends of the transactions are finalized in a very impressive time.
Those who are also very particular about charges and fees can consider Wise to be a great option. Their fees are transparent and highly reasonable. In fact, many regard them as the most affordable option in the US.
Wise is also great for people who are concerned about safety and regulations, fast account creation, and ease of use. All of these are areas in which Wise excels way more than most of its competitors.
Wise may not be the best option for those who wish to make transfers using cash or cheques. On Wise, you can only make international transfers using your card, bank transfer, or wire transfer.
Wise is also not the best option if you happen to be sending money to someone without a bank account. Wise only supports transfers to bank accounts. The only other option here is creating a Wise Borderless Account.
Lastly, Wise is not advisable if your recipient would prefer to pick up the fund as cash, because currently Wise does not offer local cash pickup options.
When it comes to reasonable rates, incredible fees, and direct, straightforward process, Wise stands out among competitors as being one of the most excellent in this regard.
Add this to the transaction speed and the fact that the platform offers guaranteed rates for a specified duration of time, and you start to understand why Wise is so well reviewed across all platforms.
The company also offers support for payments using debit and credit card, a feature which is usually missing on similar platforms.
The only reasons we see why it may not be advisable to use Wise are when users prefer cash or cheque deposits and pickups, and when recipients do not have bank accounts.
Otherwise, Wise remains one of the best and foremost options to consider when it comes to international transfers and payments.
Below are a few common questions we have found users generally ask about making payments on Wise.
Yes, the company has a mobile app available for download on both the Android and iOS stores. The app is also well-reviewed and particularly easy to use. Some have even reported that they found the app to be more straightforward and easier to use than the website.
Yes, Wise offers a multi-currency option where you can hold a lot of currencies and spend online without foreign exchange fees.
Conversions from currency to currency are also incredibly cheaper and easier on Wise compared to running a conventional version of multi-currency accounts on traditional banking institutions.