Sending money abroad online is now easier than ever, but how simple is it really?

In order to answer this question, Monito is currently carrying out an in-depth benchmarking study, analyzing the user experience of sending money online with TransferWise and nine other leading providers.

In collaboration with remote user-testing company UserBrain, we are evaluating over 50 recordings of first-time users testing an online money transfer solution. Every week, we will be releasing the highlights of our analysis of a new provider, in a series of blog posts leading up to the publication of our full report which you read for free through the link below.


Read the full report for free

Under our scrutiny this week: TransferWise, one of the largest and most famous online money transfer companies, with headquarters in London and offices all around the world.

In this post, you will discover what users think of TransferWise’s homepage, and get insights about how easy it is to open an account and set-up a transfer. We will also explore how well first-time users of TransferWise are able to figure out how much their transfer will cost and how long it will take.

TransferWise makes a good first impression

The homepage of TransferWise does a good job of conveying the company’s value proposition: sending money at a better exchange rate.

“The tagline really makes it clear what it is for, […] as it seems, it’s just a service to send money online to somebody else, they also exchange the currency for you […]  it seems like a neat way to send money to somebody in a foreign land.”

TransferWise’s well optimized homepage

While many users immediately started playing around with the calculator to see how much they would receive for their transfer (and loved the upfront transparency about the fees and exchange rate), those that started scrolling down the page were often overwhelmed by all the content.

“There’s a lot of information on this page, I already consumed quite a lot of information and it seems there is still quite a way to go.”

“My first impression is that there is a lot of content here, I got a bit lost.”

We were slightly surprised that users didn’t pay more attention to the “real exchange rate” section (just below the hero section) and therefore didn’t necessarily understand that one of the particularities of TransferWise is that they don’t charge a margin on the mid-market rate. In fact, only one of the five users in our panel mentioned it: “Looks like […] banks take a bit of percentage on the exchange, and I guess with TransferWise I get the mid-market rate.”  

Overall, users have a positive feeling towards TransferWise from the get-go, are able to understand what the website is about and how they can use it very quickly, as one of our testers puts it : “There were no troubles understanding the website, everything was detailed and all relevant information was there for me”.

Can a sign-up process be “too easy”?

Many of our testers were surprised by how easy it is to sign up with TransferWise: “I just had to type in my email and choose a password, and then directly I was in and could send my money straight away to somebody.”

TransferWise’s simple sign-up process

The next steps are entering the sender’s details followed by the recipient’s, all in a very straightforward process: “Okay, so that was quite easy! I did that all within 5 minutes” said one of our testers.

But is this process too simple? Several testers seemed to think thought so: “The signup process is a bit too easy!”

The fact that users can jump right into setting up their transfer after entering only their email address was disturbing for some: “It would make it look more trustworthy to have to fill your own information first so that TransferWise knows a little bit about you before you send money. It felt strange, it raised a red flag for me.”  

“Am I already ready to transfer?” asked another user at this stage, before having a look at the next steps and understanding that he indeed still needed to enter some more information about himself and the recipient.

While the majority of testers found the sign-up process to be straightforward, the flow wasn’t logical at all for others, who were expecting to first enter detailed information about themselves. There is no right or wrong here, but maybe adding more emphasis and details on the upcoming steps of the sign-up process would be all some user needs to feel confident about what is happening.


More information about the next steps wouldn’t hurt

Offering the mid-market rate is the best way to make sure users know how much their transfer costs

All our testers were able to find out how much they would pay in fees for their transfer without any trouble. The fees are first displayed on the calculator on the homepage, then on the first and last step of the transfer process.

“Everything is totally clear (what’s happening and what I have to pay), and I think it’s a really great deal!”

“It was very obvious how much I was gonna pay”  

“Straight away you can see the fee breakdown and how much the recipient will get […] It’s very easy to find out the total cost of the transfer”

There is a consensus among our panel of users that the fees are fair. Some don’t understand how TransferWise is able to afford such low fees: “I understand how the website works, maybe not the business model”.

The cost breakdown is fully transparent and easy to understand

Some users also understood that they would get the mid-market exchange rate and wouldn’t lose any money on the currency conversion.  

“It tells me exactly how many euros the recipient will get. It looks like it deducts the fee upfront and then it converts at the guaranteed rate, whatever that spot rate is I assume, I don’t know how live that is”

Others weren’t too certain about the exchange rate component:

“I’m not sure what the mid-market rate is, but I would assume that it’s the actual exchange rate… “

“… guaranteed rate updated one minute ago, that’s nice! I’m a bit curious whether this number is corresponding to the reality, I’m gonna check later”

But by offering the mid-market rate, TransferWise ensures that even those users who didn’t pay that much attention to the exchange rate know how much their transfer will cost them because everything is included in the upfront fee.

TransferWise gets extra points for transparency with their comparison with other providers, which they also display when they aren’t the cheapest service.

Concerning the transfer time, many users didn’t understand how long the transfer would take. TransferWise does display the estimated delivery time of the transfer below their calculator, but not very prominently, which is probably why it didn’t catch the eye of many of our testers.

Not “boring”, but still trustworthy!

When asked if they would trust TransferWise with their money, most users said that TransferWise definitely looked trustworthy, but all but one told us that they would need to do some research online before actually transferring money with TransferWise.

Just as some considered the sign-up process “too easy”, one user asked if TransferWise was too clean and modern to be trustworthy, stating that “it’s maybe too modern…. banks are looking more boring, it seems more secure when it’s more boring…”.

Having a phone number and a live chat on their contact page helped multiple testers feel confident that TransferWise is a secure option for their money transfers.

A great user experience overall

In the end, all our testers agreed that TransferWise provides a seamless and positive experience:

“Even for the fact that it was my first time visiting that website, I could figure it out very easily and I think that this is the best evidence that it is easy to transfer money on this website” 

“All in all a very good design, very user-friendly, I really like it “

“It looks pretty good, I would recommend TransferWise.”

“I think it would be very easy to send money with TransferWise”

“I think it’s very easy to use TransferWise, it was pretty seamless, it was easy to understand what was happening, they make the fees really clear.”

The pattern that we observed among our panel of testers is that a lot of things sound “too good to be true”: the super fast sign-up process, the clean and modern layout, the low fees, etc. but this is obviously not something we can reasonably hold against TransferWise’s team.

Those doubts will without question disappear once users give TransferWise a try for a first transfer or read our independent review.

* * * * * * *

Get the full tear-down of the user experience of TransferWise and 9 other leading online money transfer companies in our full report.



Pre-order the full report for free




We would like to thank UserBrain for providing us with the panel of testers for this analysis. If you want to start testing your website and get a constant stream of feedback, give UserBrain a try!