Transferwise vs HSBC
TransferWise vs HSBC Which one is the best for you and your needs? Which is the most affordable option if you need to send or receive money internationally?
Check out our analysis of the pros and cons of each for transferring money internationally.
TransferWise vs HSBC: Our recommendation
TransferWise is usually a better deal, period.
TransferWise is an online money transfer service that specializes in helping you send money between two different currencies. They charge very competitive fees, but what is unusual about TransferWise is that they do not take a margin on the exchange rate.
HSBC is a global bank that offers standard bank accounts, also called current accounts, to the general public in several countries including the US, UK and France. The operate as any bank does and offer other types of accounts, like savings accounts, online banking, mobile apps, debit and credit cards and international and domestic bank-to-bank online money transfers . The charge fees for transfers and take a margin on the exchange rate.
Both TransferWise and HSBC are solid choices for sending money to another country, but in general, TransferWise costs less and gives you a better deal. Here's why.
Compare TransferWise, HSBC and 100+ international money transfer services
Fees & Exchange Rates - How TransferWise & HSBC compare
Here is how TransferWise works: you pay for your transfer from your bank account, debit or credit card and send funds directly to the recipients bank account. Options vary according to the corridor; in other words, it depends on where you are sending money from and to. For example, if you are transferring money from the US to Mexico you also have the option to pay from your bank account via ACH (Automated Clearing House). Alternatively, if you are making a transfer from a number of countries in Europe, you can make a SOFORT transfer. All fees and exchange rates are transparent, and they are clearly indicated on the website when you make the transfer. TransferWise does the fee calculations for you and warns you when there may be a local bank fee (this is something they cannot control).
How HSBC works: Each HSBC account in various countries will charge different fees in their respective local currency, but we'll use a UK-based HSBC account for comparison purposes.
With HSBC you can send money from your personal HSBC bank account to another bank account in a foreign country. You can do it via online banking or with your app, depending on the country or the amount you would like to send and whether or not you've already set up someone or a business as a previous payee.
TransferWise charges a percentage of your total transfer amount. This amount is roughly 0.6% to 1% of the transfer fees (it depends on the currency combination). There's no transaction fee if you pay via a traditional bank transfer. Paying via ACH? There's a 0.15% fee, or by debit or credit card there's generally a 0.3% to 2% fee. It's variable; according to TransferWise's website, "most banks charge an additional fee. These processing fees vary depending on the kind of card you use and where it was issued." For example, to send 1000 Pound Sterling account to convert to Euros to a European Euro account, you pay a £3.66 transfer fee.
Depending on where you are transferring to, HSBC charges a flat fee. For example, to send money from your Pound Sterling account to convert to Euros to a European Euro account, you pay a £4 transfer fee.
TransferWise's exchange rate is based on the standard, mid-market rate. They don't add a margin on top of that rate, which is quite different from other money transfer providers.
Exchange rates by HSBC are highly variable and always above the mid-market exchange rate. For example, in today's comparison, if you send £1000, the recipient will het roughly €1,116.42 EUR, which is €43.19 less than what they would get with the actual exchange rate of the day.
- TransferWise is better simply because they charge the mid-market rate.
- TransferWise's fee is a percentage of the total amount, so the more you send, the higher the fee. However, the exchange rate is so much worse with HSBC, that even when the TransferWise fee is higher, you still get a better deal with them over HSBC
- Keep in mind that HSBC is not transparent about fees so you often do not know what you will pay until after the transaction.
- Our recommendation is that TransferWise is a generally better deal because you get the mid-market rate and fees and charges are clear up-front..