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All you need to know before sending money with TransferWise

How can you use TransferWise to send money abroad? Is their service reliable? Can you trust TransferWise with your money? How good are their fees and exchange rates?

    Our independent review of TransferWise

    Last updatedJune 2018
    Written byLaurent Oberholzer, Caroline Sieg

    TransferWise is an innovative international money transfer provider 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 true mid-market exchange rate. In other words, there’s zero markup on the exchange rate. (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.) TransferWise currently supports sending money to 71 countries and sending money from 43 countries. The company covers 1000+ routes (country combinations) across 49 currencies, and they are also one of the few companies offering the true mid-market rate.

    Most currencies supported by TransferWise 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 the TransferWise iOS and Android apps. In most cases, the recipient will get the money within one to two business days.

    TransferWise is a top choice for international money transfers. They are known for their great customer service, have excellent reviews on Trustpilot and provide speedy transfers. And the cherry on the cake? They also provide a spectacular user experience, from an easy sign-up process to efficient transfers, as evidenced in our in-depth UX analysis of what first time users think of TransferWise. Some users were so impressed they thought it is too good to be true. Yes, it’s good, but it’s also true! They’ve seen massive growth since 2011 and are an extremely competitive, high-profile disruptor of the traditional money transfer model. TransferWise is frequently referred to as a no-nonsense company that is sparking a revolution.

    TransferWise

    What we like about TransferWise

    • You get the true mid-market rate

    • Low and transparent transfer fees

    • Fantastic user experience

    • Exceptional customer reviews on Trustpilot

    What we dislike about TransferWise

    • You can only send to a bank account

    How TransferWise works

    Create an account

    Sign up for TransferWise in just a few moments. You can do this by connecting with your email address or via your Facebook or Google account.

    Go through the verification process

    This varies depending on where you’re sending from and the transfer amount but always includes a copy of your ID and proof of address.

    Set up your transfer

    Enter how much you're sending and where you’d like the money to be received. You can send money to your own account abroad, or to another person or business.

    Send the money

    Send your money to TransferWise with your preferred payment method (bank transfer, debit or credit card, SOFORT, Apple Pay or Android Pay)* Options vary according by currency.

    Fees & Exchange Rates

    Fees & Exchange Rates 8.8/10

    Great

    TransferWise is very often the cheapest option

    This indicator is based on the percentage of searches on Monito for which TransferWise is the cheapest provider

    3.8/5

    TransferWise has very competitive fees and exchange rates

    This indicator is based on the percentage of comparisons on Monito in which TransferWise offers a competitive pricing (taking into account the pay-in and pay-out options as well as the amount).

    4/5

    TransferWise doesn't offer special promotions to Monito users

    0/1

    Monito can access real-time pricing information from TransferWise

    1/1

    The points above are added to calculate the "Fees & Exchange Rates" score of TransferWise, who scores 8.8 points on a maximum of 10 points.

    Transfer fees

    TransferWise fees are low and fully transparent. They charge a percent of the transfer amount, and a flat fee for certain transfer routes (country combinations). The minimum TransferWise fees and percent depend on the currencies you are sending from and to and certain currencies have variable fees depending on the total amount being sent.

    For example, from GBP (British Pound) to EUR (Euro), you will pay 0.35% of the transfer amount with a fee of £0.80. The reverse, EUR (Euro) to GBP (British costs 0.5% of the transfer amount with a flat fee of €2. Sending DKK (Danish Kroner), to Euros will cost you 0.5% of the transfer amount on the initial DKK 50,000 and 0.3% on anything over that amount.

    Exchange rate

    TransferWise converts your money using the true mid-market rate when they receive and process your money. This means that the TransferWise exchange rate is the fairest, most accurate exchange rate you can hope for. Bonus: TransferWise will automatically lock the exchange rate for a specified time frame, from 24 hours for most countries, and 48 hours for several others and 72 hours for BRL (Brazilian Reals) so you’re not exposed to exchange rate fluctuations (they call this the “guaranteed rate” feature). This is one way to ensure that your recipient receives a specific amount. Caveat: your money must be received by TransferWise within the specified time frame, or else the exchange rate - and therefore also the amount received - will no longer be guaranteed.

    Other fees

    In most cases, TransferWise uses local accounts to collect and send funds. This means that there should be no fees charged by the sending or receiving banks, and no intermediary bank fees.

    If you’re paying by credit card, you will be charged a credit card fee of 0.3% - 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 or incur a debit card fee of 0.15% - 2%.

    TransferWise sends certain 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. TransferWise SWIFT currencies are: JPY (Japanese Yen) over 1 million and ZAR (South African Rand) or a USD transfer to a bank account outside of US, we send it to your recipient as a SWIFT transfer.

    TransferWise can also receive USD (US Dollars) via SWIFT. If you live in the US, you will not want to do this since your bank will likely charge you fees to make a SWIFT payment, and free or cheaper alternatives are available (domestic wire and ACH direct debit). You’ll only want to send USD to TransferWise via SWIFT if your payment is coming from outside the US.

    Ease of Use

    Ease of Use 9/10

    Excellent

    A lot of Monito users going to TransferWise end up making a transfer with them

    2/3

    TransferWise's homepage is clear and very easy to understand

    2/2

    It's very easy to open an account with TransferWise

    2/2

    Setting up your transfer is quick and easy

    2/2

    It's easy to sign up and make a transfer both on mobile and desktop

    1/1

    The points above are added to calculate the "Ease of Use" score of TransferWise, who scores 9 points on a maximum of 10 points.

    Credibility & Security

    Credibility & Security 9.4/10

    Excellent

    TransferWise is fully licensed and authorized

    2/2

    TransferWise has many positive customer reviews

    2/2

    A very large number of customers already trust TransferWise

    2/2

    TransferWise employs a very large number of employees

    1/1

    TransferWise has already transferred at least 5 billion USD for their customers

    1/1

    TransferWise has been mentioned in countless recognized media outlets

    1/1

    TransferWise is part of Monito's network of trusted partners

    1/1

    TransferWise is a long-established company

    0.5/0.5

    TransferWise reported a minor data breach in the past year (-0.1)

    TransferWise had one short downtime in the past year (-0.5)

    The points above are added to calculate the "Credibility & Security" score of TransferWise, who scores 9.4 points on a maximum of 10 points.

    Our users often ask us, is TransferWise safe? Like all companies listed on our site, they must meet strict criteria to make them safe and trustworthy in our eyes.

    TransferWise is a licensed Authorised Electronic Money Institution—which means they are regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) in the United Kingdom (where its headquarters are located) as well as by a variety of other regulatory institutions in other countries. For example, TransferWise Ltd Australia is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). In the US, they are registered with the Financial Intelligence Unit (AUSTRAC) as money remitter TransferWise Inc. and are registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). TransferWise Inc is also licensed as a money transmitter in individual American states—in other words, they aresupervised by regulatory authorities in each of the states they operate in.

    They offer institutional grade security for their service and take preventative measures, such as 2-step login and verification procedures.

    As per FCA regulations, clients’ funds are held completely separate from TransferWise’s own business accounts, in so-called segregated accounts. Should the company have any financial difficulties, your money will be safe.

    TransferWise employs around 1000 people from over 60 nationalities across its nine offices around the world. Employees give the company close to 5 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 that they feel that they are on a mission to make sending money as cheap and convenient as possible.

    TransferWise has raised over $396M dollars 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 startup 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 TransferWise safe? Absolutely, we wouldn’t hesitate to trust them even with transfers of large amounts. In fact, we have used them ourselves for many of our own international payments.

    Authorised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) 
    Firm Reference : 900507

    Service & Coverage

    Service & Coverage 8.5/10

    Great

    TransferWise allows you to send money from a lot of different countries

    1.5/2

    TransferWise allows you to send money to a lot of different countries

    1.5/2

    TransferWise is available in many different languages

    1/1

    It is possible to pay for your transfer by local bank transfer

    0.5/0.5

    It is possible to pay for your transfer by credit/debit card

    0.5/0.5

    TransferWise doesn't offer additional pay-in options

    0/0.5

    It is possible to send the money to your recipient's bank account

    0.5/0.5

    TransferWise doesn't offer a cash pick-up service

    0/0.5

    The money can be sent to a mobile phone (airtime top-up or mobile wallet)

    0.5/0.5

    TransferWise doesn't offer a bill payment service

    0/0.5

    TransferWise offers additional banking features

    0.5/0.5

    TransferWise offers a multi-currency debit card

    0.5/0.5

    TransferWise offers guaranteed exchange rates

    0.5/0.5

    It is not possible to set up repeating transfers / standing orders

    0/0.5

    There is no minimum amount (or very low)

    0.5/0.5

    There is no maximum amount (or very high)

    0.5/0.5

    The points above are added to calculate the "Service & Coverage" score of TransferWise, who scores 8.5 points on a maximum of 10 points.

    Customer satisfaction

    Customer satisfaction 9.3/10

    Excellent

    TransferWise has a very high percentage of excellent customer reviews

    4.4/5

    TransferWise has a very low percentage of negative customer reviews

    2.4/2.5

    TransferWise has a very high number of positive customer reviews

    2.5/2.5

    The points above are added to calculate the "Customer satisfaction" score of TransferWise, who scores 9.3 points on a maximum of 10 points.

    TransferWise has excellent customer reviews on Trustpilot. Nearly 90% of the feedback rating the company 5 stars. Here’s what some TransferWise customers say:

    Positive

    • It works!!! Trustable.
    • It's wonderful: Fast, transparent, inexpensive.
    • Quick, simple easy to use, self-explanatory. It’s also safe and efficient.
    • Fast, simple, user-friendly and with no hidden fees!
    • Very good customer service, helpful and knowledgeable.

    Negative

    • Sometimes there is a delay
    • Some frustrations with the required documentation required to verify identities

    Customer support

    Customer support 9.5/10

    Excellent

    The FAQ and help center of TransferWise are easy to understand

    2/2

    TransferWise has a live chat available to all

    2/2

    TransferWise offers email support (even to noncustomers)

    2/2

    TransferWise offers phone support (even to noncustomers)

    2/2

    It's very easy to get in contact with TransferWise

    1/1

    The FAQ and help center are not translated in all languages

    0.5/1

    Monito cannot contact TransferWise on behalf of our users

    0/1

    The points above are added to calculate the "Customer support" score of TransferWise, who scores 9.5 points on a maximum of 10 points.

    Transparency

    Transparency 10/10

    Excellent

    The exchange rate margin makes up a very small share of the total cost of your transfer

    3/3

    It's very easy to understand the fees of TransferWise

    2/2

    TransferWise doesn’t charge a margin on the exchange rate

    2/2

    A real-time quote can be obtained without registering

    1/1

    TransferWise applies the same fees and exchange rates to all customers

    1/1

    The pricing information of TransferWise is made available to Monito

    1/1

    The points above are added to calculate the "Transparency" score of TransferWise, who scores 10 points on a maximum of 10 points.


    • Borderless Accounts & Cards

      borderless account is a multi-currency account that enables you to hold money in over 40 currencies and convert them at the mid-market exchange rate whenever you want--for example when the rate is favorable to you. It’s equivalent to having local bank accounts across the world in one compact digital space.

      When you sign up for a borderless account, you also get a TransferWise debit Mastercard plus personal account numbers and bank details (currently these details are for USD, GBP, EUR and AUD, though they plan to add more currencies in the future. The borderless account also enables you to receive money with no fees from over 30 countries.

    • Mobile apps

      TransferWise offers mobile apps for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. The TransferWise app provides a fantastic user experience and is very convenient. It’s rated 4.6 / 5 in the Google Play Store and 4.8 / 5 in the Apple App Store.

      With the TransferWise apps, you can send money abroad from anywhere, check the status of your transfers or cancel them. You can also manage your borderless, multi-currency account and exchange money when the rate is favorable.


    Additional services

    Business Limitations

    TransferWise can also help businesses make international payments to suppliers, freelancers and employees. The fees and exchange rate and fees are the same as for private customers, however there are some restrictions on certain currencies for business customers. The list of TransferWise currencies with restrictions for sending from or to a business account are the following: GBP, EUR, CHF, PLN, DKK, NOK, SEK, BGN, CZK, GEL, HUF, RON, IDR, KRW, LKR, MYR, PHP, CNY, SGD, THB, AED, COP, MAD, MXN, ZAR, VND.

    Helpful Tools

    TransferWise provides some helpful tools for you to use. The TransferWise rate alert tracker helps you monitor the evolution of the mid-market exchange rate, and you can choose to receive rate alerts every day, when the mid-market rate reaches a certain level or when it reaches a two-week high. The TransferWise SWIFT / BIC code finder lets you easily find and verify the SWIFT / BIC codes of banks around the world, so you can make sure you’re entering the right information when you set up your money transfer. Finally, the TransferWise currency converter tool lets you convert one currency into another currency at the real exchange rate, which is the exchange rate that TransferWise will offer you when you use them to send money abroad.


    • Spotlight: TransferWise Brazil

      Sending money to Brazil with TransferWise will cost you 1.3% and a flat fee of USD 1.80, which includes a tax of 0.38% called IOF (Imposto sobre Operações Financeiras) when sending to someone else or 1.1% if sending to yourself. The IOF is applied to any foreign exchange transaction in or out of Brazil and is not specific to TransferWise.

      You have to transfer a minimum of 10 BRL but you can’t transfer more than 250,000 BRL per transfer. Due to Brazilian regulations, if you transfer more than 10,000 USD per day, 50,000 BRL per month or 100,000 BRL per year, you may have to provide TransferWise more information about the transfer. The receiving brazilian bank might ask for a power of attorney document (Procuração) as well as a registration form (Ficha Cadastral) to the recipient.

      Sending money from Brazil with TransferWise will cost you 2.42% plus a 7 BRL flat fee including the IOF tax.

      The maximum amount you can send from Brazil is 9,000 BRL per transfer and per month. This is because payments go through their partner boletos bancarios (a leading payment method in Brazil). Boleto sets monthly limits which TransferWise must adhere to.

      Once your transfer is set-up, TransferWise will send you (via email) a Boleto which expires within one working day (expiry time is shown on the Boleto).

      You will need to indicate your CPF number, the Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas (Portuguese for "Natural Persons Register"), when you set-up you transfer on TransferWise. It should be 11 digit and the same one you provided when creating your account.

      Important: when you send money from and to BRL, TransferWise will limit the fluctuation of the exchange rate to 5%. It means that if the exchange rates drops by 5% or more between the time you create a payment to or from Brazil on TransferWise and the time TransferWise is completing your transfer, your transfer will be delayed until the exchange rate rise again below the 5% threshold.


    The story behind TransferWise

    TransferWise was founded in 2011 by two Estonian migrants, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, who were both living in London. Taavet needed to send money from Estonia to the UK, while Kristo was making regular transfers from the UK to Estonia. After realizing that they were both sending money in opposite directions, they developed a clever peer to peer model to avoid having to do costly international bank transfers. Kristo would make a local transfer of GBP (British Pound) from his UK bank account to Taavet’s account in the UK, while Taavet would do the same in EUR (Euros) between his and Kristo’s Estonian bank accounts. As for the exchange rate between GBP and EUR, they simply used the current true mid-market rate that they found online. Since they were not sending money internationally and were both getting the mid-market rate, they quickly saved thousands of pounds on their transfers.

    They realized that this could be helpful to the hundreds of millions of migrants worldwide making regular money transfers abroad and decided to create TransferWise. After several years of intense growth and success, today the company sends around £1 billion around the world every month. The company is headquartered in London and has offices across the globe including the following locations: Tallinn, Estonia; New York, USA; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan.

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    • Why you can trust Monito's reviews

      Monito's mission is to help you (and thousands of others each day) find the best providers for your money transfers.

      We do that by providing real-time comparison of exchange rates and fees (you can use the form below to make a comparison) and by writting in-depth reviews about money transfer providers.

      We have partnerships with many money transfer providers (TransferWise included), which help us get access to their exchange rate and fees information (which we always check for accuracy). Those partnerships help us support our activity and offer our service for free.

      We put a lot of efforts to review money transfer providers like TransferWise in details and based on objective and verifiable criteria. A good example of that is the in-depth User Experience Benchmark Study we conducted in August 2018.


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