Wise Review: Our Definitive Review of Wise's Money Transfers in 2023
Byron has a BA Honours in Journalism and has spent over four years writing extensively about financial topics. He has a keen interest in the intersection of personal finance and technology and strives to bring these subjects to life insightfully and enjoyably.
Monika is an expert in international transfers, fintechs, and neobanks. Leading the life of a digital nomad, she shares her knowledge and experience about living abroad with Monito users.
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Wise is an excellent money transfer service (9.5/10) and one that the experts at Monito firmly recommend. Offering users a level of security and transparency almost unparalleled in the market (10/10), Wise Money Transfer provides a wide range of easy-to-use services and features (8.7/10), as well as some of the best fees and exchange rates available on the market (9.6/10). Unsurprisingly, all of this leaves Wise an extremely well-liked service in the eyes of its customers (9.3/10).
What Monito Likes About Wise
- Consistently one of the cheapest money transfer services of all;
- No exchange rate margin and fees are low and transparent;
- A well-designed mobile app geared toward sending and receiving;
- A large number of available pay-in options.
What Monito Dislikes About Wise
- Cash pickup services are not available.
- Transfers to some locations can take 2-3 days.
- Sometimes not cheapest if outside North America and Europe.
Trusted by over 10 million customers.
Transfer process is fast and easy.
Among the best fees on the market.
Excellent Trustpilot and app store reviews.
🪙 Min. Transfer
💵 Max. Transfer
Varies based on the currency.
Afghanistan, Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, DRC, Cuba, Ukraine (Crimea only), Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela.
English, French, German, Spanish
Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, Portugese, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, Indonesian, Ukrainian, Italian, and Chinese.
📍 Head Office
London (GB), New York City (US), Tampa (US)
Collingwood (AU), Brussels (BE), Tallin (EE), Budapest (HU), Chiyoda (JP), Kuala Lumpur (MY), Singapore (SG), Cherkasy (UK), and Dubai (UA)
📈 Publicly Traded
World Summit Award (2013), FinTech50 (2013, 2014)
FT's Boldness in Business (2014), EY UK Entrepreneur of the Year (2015), Mozo Experts Choice Awards (2019), PwC UK Tech Awards (2019)
✅ Fun Fact
Founded by two former Skype employees
How We Review Money Transfer Providers
With more than 50 providers reviewed and 100 test transfers made over the past ten years, we pride ourselves on providing the best reviews of international money transfer services online. Curious how we make them and why you can trust us? Take a look at our process below:
🔎 See how our scoring methodology works
All international money transfer services we review are put through a comprehensive and rigorous scoring methodology, which involves the testing of the platform's functionalities, assessment of customer reviews, fees, pay-in options, customer service, and business metrics. The methodology is also powered by an analysis of millions of searches on Monito's comparison engine to determine each provider's competitiveness in terms of pricing. When the research is done, each Monito Score is then peer-reviewed by at least one Monito expert. Learn more about our scoring methodology here.
🤝 See why you can trust our recommendations
Reviews are written independently by Monito's editors, and the recommendations given are our own. We might make money from some links on our reviews to bring you premium content without pesky banner ads and paywalls. We promise you that this never impacts the independence of our recommendations. Learn more about our promise and our business model here.
Is Wise Available in Your Country?
Is Wise (TransferWise) Safe to Send Money?
Moving more than US$70 billion across borders for more than 10 million customers every year, Wise is without a doubt a trustworthy choice.
Is Wise legit?
Wise is a licensed Authorised Electronic Money Institution, which means it's regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) in the United Kingdom where it's headquartered, as well as by the relevant authorities in all the countries in which it does business. For example, Wise Ltd Australia is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
In the US, it's registered as Wise Inc with the Financial Intelligence Unit (AUSTRAC) as a money remitter, where it's authorised by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Wise Money Transfer is also licensed as a money transmitter in individual US states, meaning regulatory authorities fully supervise it in every state in which it does business.
Is Wise Trustworthy?
Wise Money Transfer also employs more than two thousand people from over 60 nationalities across its nine offices worldwide. Employees give the company close to a five-star rating on the employer review site Glassdoor and describe the team as a “great company that is doing an awesome job” full of “smart and motivated people,” a company that is “super customer-focused” with an “excellent culture.”
One employee wrote they are “Impressed by the professionalism everyone has, alongside an innate sense of trust and drive to achieve the mission”, and another said, “The product is honest, so there's no trying to cheat customers, it's work you can feel good about doing.“ Overall, it’s clear that employees love working there and feel that they are on a mission to send money as cheaply and conveniently as possible.
Is Wise Safe?
The short answer is yes, Wise is safe indeed. Offering institutional grade security for their service and take preventative measures, such as 2-step login and verification procedures, Wise holds its clients’ funds completely separate from their own business segregated accounts, as per FCA requirements. Should the company have any financial difficulties, then your money will be safe.
Is Wise Profitable?
Wise Money Transfer has raised over US$396 million from major investors, including Virgin Group / Sir Richard Branson, Andreessen Horowitz, IVP (Institutional Venture Partners), Max Levchin of PayPal, Sapphire and Seedcamp, which has helped the start-up sustain its phenomenal growth.
For example, in 2016, they saw a growth rate of approximately 150%, and in the 2017 fiscal year, their revenues more than doubled! Overall, the company reported revenues of £67 million (US$94 million) for 2017 and made an adjusted operating profit of £2 million.
So, is Wise safe? Absolutely. We wouldn’t hesitate to trust them even with transfers of large amounts. In fact, many of our team at Monito have used them ourselves for our own international payments.
Is Wise Good For Sending Money?
Opening and managing an account, contacting customer service, and funding a transfer with Wise is very convenient, although receiving options are quite limited.
Monito's Impressions During Our Test
Wise's website and mobile app — which was fast, user-friendly, and simple to use — particularly impressed us with its clean user experience and helpful prompts and tips.
We found the website to be approachable, and we liked the fact that it avoided complicated phrases and money transfer jargon. Aside from this, the other major feather in Wise's cap was its excellent transparency; we were impressed by the mid-market exchange rates and clear fee breakdowns on Wise's homepage, giving us a lot of confidence in the service.
What Is Wise?
Wise is an innovative international money transfer service that is often dubbed the “Robin Hood” of the money transfer industry. They focus on making bank transfers more affordable than traditional banks by charging low and transparent transfer fees and converting money at the mid-market exchange rate.
In other words, Wise charges no exchange rate margin, something that sets them apart from most other services. (As a comparison, banks usually give customers an above-market rate, the margin is part of their fees, and in general, they are not transparent about this.)
Wise Currency Exchange
Wise Money Transfer currently supports sending money to 71 countries and sending money from 43 countries. The company covers 1000+ routes (country combinations) across 57 currencies, and they are also one of the few companies offering the true mid-market rate.
Most currencies supported by Wise offer one option: a bank transfer from one bank to another. For some currencies, you can pay with debit and credit cards or use a SOFORT transfer option. Apple Pay or Android Pay is also available for certain currencies via Wise iOS and Android apps. In most cases, the recipient will get the money within one to two business days.
The Wise App Review
Wise's mobile app has great ratings on Apple’s App Store (4.8/5 stars from 38,700 ratings) and Google’s Play Store (4.5/5 more than 118,200 ratings.) According to many Wise customers, the app is "an invaluable tool for anyone moving money internationally".
How Wise Money Transfer Works
Check Wise's rates
Use Monito's comparison engine to see how Wise's fees and exchange rates weigh up against the rest and ensure they're the cheapest option for you.
Create a Wise account
Sign up for Wise on the web or the mobile app using your email address. You’ll need to provide Wise with your full name, residential address, and date of birth.
Set up a transfer
Enter the amount, destination, and delivery method. You can fund your transfer with a bank transfer or using a debit or credit card.
Add a beneficiary
Enter your recipient's name, email, and bank information. Within the Eurozone, only an IBAN is needed. Provide a SWIFT/BIC code and bank account number for other countries.
Review and payTry Wise ❯
Review your amount, exchange rate, arrival time, and beneficiary. Confirm and continue to send money from your bank account to the details on the next page.
Wise's Fees & Exchange Rates
Wise is consistently one of the cheapest and most competitive on Monito’s search engine results.
Are Wise's Exchange Rates Good?
What's perhaps most noteworthy about Wise's pricing is that the service will convert your money using the mid-market exchange rate. This means that the Wise exchange rate is the fairest, most accurate exchange rate you can hope for, with the only way the service makes its money being the commissions and fixed fees noted above.
Wise Guaranteed Exchange Rates
What's more, Wise will automatically lock the exchange rate for a specified time frame (24 hours for most countries and 48 hours for several others), meaning you'll not be exposed to exchange rate fluctuations after having confirmed your money transfer. All in all, while this is a reliable way to ensure that your recipient receives a specific amount, be aware that Wise Money Transfer must receive your money within the specified time frame, or else the exchange rate (and therefore also the amount received) will no longer be guaranteed.
Wise's Transfer Fees: A Percentage Commission Fee
Wise fees are low and fully transparent. They charge a commission fee (i.e. a percentage of the transfer amount) and a fixed fee for some country combinations. The minimum Wise charges depend on the currencies you're sending from, and to and certain currencies have variable fees depending on the total amount being sent.
For example, from transfers from British pounds to Euros, you'll pay around 0.35% of the transfer amount with a fee of £0.80. In the reverse Euro to British pound transfer, the pounds will cost around 0.5% of the transfer amount with a flat fee of €2. When sending Danish kroner to Euros, you'll be charged around 0.5% of the transfer amount on the initial DKK 50,000 and then 0.3% on anything over that amount.
To get a sense of how costly Wise's fees are, take a look at their dedicated fee calculator tool, or see the table below for a rougher idea of how the platform applies fixed and commission charges on a US$2,500 transfer (or currency equivalent) to several destinations around the world:
On a $1,000 wire transfer
On a $1,000 wire transfer
On a C$1,000 wire transfer
On a C$1,000 wire transfer
On a EUR1,000 wire transfer
On a €1,000 wire transfer
Other Fees at Wise
In most cases, Wise uses a savvy network of local accounts around the globe to collect and send funds, thereby skipping the SWIFT network and its pricey steps and waiting times. As a result, you can expect to incur no charges from the sending or receiving banks and no correspondent bank fees along the way.
If you’re paying by credit card, you will be charged a credit card fee of between 0.3% and 2% depending on the currency you’re sending from and the type of credit card you are using. Debit card payments are free from certain currencies but sometimes incur a debit card fee of between 0.15% and 2%.
According to millions of searches on Monito, here's when we think you should (and shouldn't) use Wise:
- Sending from Europe to North America? Use Wise, it's always very cheap!
- Sending from North America to Asia? Compare providers, Wise often isn't the cheapest.
Be Careful of SWIFT Bank Transfers
Despite the bank account network mentioned above, Wise does transfer some currencies via the international SWIFT network, which most banks will charge a fee to receive. If you’re sending to these currencies, make sure you check with the receiving bank how much they charge for incoming SWIFT payments. The currencies concerned are the Japanese yen, the South African rand, and outbound transfers of US dollars.
If you live in the US, we recommend avoiding receiving payments via the SWIFT network as your bank will likely charge you hefty fees to get the job done. You’ll only want to send USD to Wise via SWIFT if your payment is coming from outside the US.
Compare fees & exchange rates cheaper than Wise:
Wise.com Customer Reviews
Wise has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from customers across all platforms. On Trustpilot, around 85% of 116 thousand customers who gave their feedback rated the service five out of five stars. Among the hundreds of Wise.com reviews we surveyed, the following key themes emerged from Wise customers:
Positive Wise Reviews
- Trustable service;
- Fast, transparent, and inexpensive;
- Simple, easy-to-use, and self-explanatory;
- User-friendly and with no hidden fees;
- A helpful and knowledgeable customer service.
Negative Wise Reviews
- Sometimes there is a delay;
- Some frustrations with the required documentation required to verify identities.
FAQ About Wise
💸 Is Wise the cheapest way to send money abroad?
Not always, but very often! According to data from Monito's comparison engine between April 2020 and 2021, Wise was the cheapest money transfer service of all on nearly one in every five searches, making them the cheapest of all on average. To see the cheapest money transfer service in real-time, run a search on Monito.
Rates vary by transfer origin and destination. For example, Remitly turned out to be the cheaper service for the following transfers:
- The United States to India;
- The United States to Mexico:
- Canada to India;
- The United States to the Philippines:
- Germany to Poland.
Small World is another one of the cheapest transfer services of all. It is often the cheapest service for the following pathways:
- The United States to Colombia;
- Spain to Argentina;
- Germany to India.
🔐 Is it safe to use Wise to send money overseas?
Yes. Having received a 10/10 Trust & Credibility score on Monito, Wise Money Transfer is indeed a large and trusted international money transfer service. Customer funds used for transfers are protected in segregated accounts, independent of Wise's business accounts, and the company uses strong, industry-standard HTTPS encryption to secure and protect all transactions. Wise has managed international money transfers for over 10 million customers and has achieved a top rating of five stars out of five on Trustpilot across more than 115 thousand reviews, of which 93% are four- or five-stars. Moreover, Wise complies with the strict rules and regulations of every country where it does business, and the company checks and verifies every user to protect against fraud and money laundering. In the UK, Wise is a licensed Authorised Electronic Money Institution that's regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs). In the US, Wise is registered with FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network).
Source: Wise, Trustpilot
📝 Is Wise safe?
Yes, Wise is safe and trustworthy. According to our comprehensive review of its service, Wise is indeed a fully legitimate financial services company that received a 10/10 Trust & Credibility score on Monito. Wise Money Transfer complies with strict rules and regulations of every country where it does business, and the company checks and verifies every user to protect against fraud and money laundering. In the UK, Wise is a licensed Authorised Electronic Money Institution that's regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs). In the US, Wise is registered with FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network).
💻 How do I use Wise to make a transfer through their website?
It’s very easy to send money overseas using Wise's website or mobile app. If you don’t already have a Wise account, you’ll need to create one and provide several identification documents. If you have an account, you can log in. Specify the countries and currencies you’d like to send money between, and choose how much you want to send to the beneficiary. Then, you’ll need to enter details for the beneficiary, such as their name, address, how they want to pick the money up, and their bank account details. Finally, you'll need to choose how you want to pay for your international transfer and fund your currency exchange with a debit card, credit card, or bank transfer. Wise will then exchange your money using the real exchange rate (i.e. the one you see on Google), and you’ll see all the fees well before making the payment.
📱 How do I use Wise's mobile app?
It’s very easy to send money overseas through Wise's mobile apps on both Apple and Android. You’ll need to install the app and make sure you already have an account with Wise. Creating an account may mean you need to visit their website and upload identification documents. Specify the countries and currencies you’d like to send money between, and choose how much you want to send to the beneficiary. Then, you’ll need to enter details for the beneficiary, such as their name, address, how they want to pick the money up, and their bank account details. Finally, you'll need to choose how you want to pay for your international transfer and fund your currency exchange with a debit card, credit card, or bank transfer. Wise will then exchange your money using the real exchange rate (i.e. the one you see on Google), and you’ll see all the fees well before making the payment. The Wise Money Transfer smartphone app also provides some additional features including:
- Details of every beneficiary you’ve ever sent money to;
- Repeat previous transfers with a minimum of fuss;
- Fund transfers with Apple Pay.
🛑 Does Wise have limits on how much you can send?
Wise does apply limits depending on how you’re transferring money. For standard money transfers to the bank account of a beneficiary in another country, they have an upper limit of US$1 million per transfer (the same limit exists for British pounds and Euros.) These limits to vary if you’re sending money out of the US and can also change depending on the countries and currencies you’re sending money between, the total amount you’re sending, and how you pay for the transfer. You may need to provide additional identification or other documentation if you’re sending more than US$10,000.
⏱ How long does it take for Wise to send money overseas?
Wise is one of the fastest money transfer services out there. In fact, the London-based service is one of the pioneers of fast money international transfers using its savvy network of global bank accounts and peer-to-peer transfer technology. According to Wise's Mission Update at the end of 2020, more than one third (34%) of its customers' total transfers arrive within 20 seconds, more than half (53%) within an hour, and four-fifths (81%) within a 24-hour period.
💱 What is Wise?
Wise is a large and trusted online money transfer provider that allows you to send money overseas quickly and easily. Since 2011, Wise has helped over 10 million customers exchange their currency and send it internationally. They provide various services, including sending money to people and businesses in other countries, allowing you to get paid in other currencies. Wise converts money between different currencies at the base exchange rate and charges meager fees. One of the best-known and well-loved money transfer providers, Wise is an extremely transparent service as they always use the best exchange rates available and tell you all the fees before you pay for any transfer. You can send money through their website or smartphone app, your money is safe and secure, and you’ll get regular status updates.
Sources: Wise, Wise Help Centre
🗑 How do I delete my Wise Money Transfer account?
💶 Do I need a Wise account to receive money?
No, you do not need your own Wise Money Transfer account to receive money sent via Wise; just a bank account will do. If you're looking to receive money on your Wise Multi-Currency, this will be very simple. Take a look at our in-depth review of the service to find out how.
💷 Does the recipient need a Wise account to receive money?
No, your recipient does not need a Wise Money Transfer account to receive your transfer. Enter their name and bank details while preparing your transfer, and Wise will make sure the money goes straight to their account!
Is Wise a legit company?
Yes, it is. Wise is very safe to use to send and receive money from abroad. They offer international transfers at the mid-market exchange rate with a transparent fee structure to millions of customers annually.
Is Wise connected to a bank account?
Yes, Wise partners with secure and authorized banks to send your money across borders.
Is Wise available in the USA?
Yes, Wise is available in the USA. American citizens and residents are eligible to open an account with them. We highly recommend it because Wise is among the cheapest international money transfer services between the United States and Canada.
Is Wise safer than PayPal?
Both companies take security very seriously and are duly regulated by the competent authorities in each jurisdiction in which they operate. Both services are integrated with Touch ID and two-factor authentification.
Is PayPal better or Wise?
For international money transfers, Wise is not only faster and more transparent, but it is also a much cheaper option — in just about all cases. Whether you want to send money from the United States to Canada and from Brazil to Japan, Wise is likely the better option. This is largely because Wise only applies the mid-market exchange rate on your transfer, never pocketing hidden exchange rate margin fees.
Is Wise legal?
Yes, Wise is legal. Wise US Inc. is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). It is licensed as a money transmitter in the United States and is supervised by relevant regulatory authorities in each state, and it renews its federal license each year.
Does Wise transfer to a bank account?
Yes, Wise only offers the option to send money via bank transfers. Wise does not do cash pickup or cash delivery. If you want cash services, then use the Monito comparison tool to compare and find the best money transfer specialist for you.
How is Wise money transferred?
How do I transfer money with Wise?
- Log in to your Wise account;
- Type in the amount you'd like to transfer;
- Specify the kind of transfer you'd like to make (ACH, Wire, SWIFT, debit card; Wise account transfer, etc);
- Fill in your bank details.
- Type in the bank details of your recipient;
- Review your transfer details;
- Confirm and wait for as little as seconds to up to two business days.
Is Wise a bank?
No, Wise is not a bank. Wise is an electric money institution that is authorized to send money domestically and internationally. Wise partners with legal and authorized banks in the countries that it operates in to offer its services to you. Wise does not provide debt instruments, such as loans or credit cards, to its customers.
What do you need to transfer money with Wise?
To transfer money with Wise, provide the following information:
- Your recipient's legal name;
- Your recipient's bank account number;
- The routing number of your recipient's bank;
- Your recipient bank's BIC/SWIFT code (depends on the location of the transfer).
Why is Wise so cheap?
Wise is so cheap because it applies only the mid-market exchange rate on your international transfers. Typically, money transfer services make money by applying a rate that is weaker than the market rate and pocketing the difference. Instead, Wise charges low fixed fees.
See How Wise Compares Overall With Alternatives
Wise Money Transfer Reviews and Comparisons with Wise Alternatives
Why Trust Monito?
You’re probably all too familiar with the often outrageous cost of sending money abroad. After facing this frustration themselves back in 2013, co-founders François, Laurent, and Pascal launched a real-time comparison engine to compare the best money transfer services across the globe. Today, Monito’s award-winning comparisons, reviews, and guides are trusted by around 8 million people each year and our recommendations are backed by millions of pricing data points and dozens of expert tests — all allowing you to make the savviest decisions with confidence.
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