Wise vs CurrencyFair

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Jan 24, 2019
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Wise vs CurrencyFair. Which one is 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 money transfer company.

Wise is usually a better deal unless you can exchange directly with one of CurrencyFair's customers

Wise is an online service that specializes in helping you send money between two different currencies. They charge very competitive fees, but what is unusual about Wise is that they do not make a margin on the exchange rate.

CurrencyFair is unique because you enter the exchange rate you want and are paired with one of CurrencyFair's customers to conduct a transfer at that rate. Alternatively, if nobody matches this rate, you can bypass this method and convert your money at the best available rate offered by CurrencyFair.

Both Wise and CurrencyFair are excellent choices, but in general, CurrencyFair is better if you exchange with one of their customers at a below mid-market rate. Otherwise, Wise is a generally better deal. Here's why.

Compare Wise, CurrencyFair and 100+ International Money Transfer Services

📢 Important: Wise Is the New Name for TransferWise

Until March 2021, Wise had been formerly called TransferWise. The company decided to change its name to broaden its appeal and encapsulate the full range of service it offers. While the name is different, it's important to note that the service is still the same, and you're still able to use the service as usual with the same set of login details that you used on TransferWise. See more here.

Wise
10
CurrencyFair
8.8

Trust & Credibility

Background check

Background check
Background check

Wise is duly authorised and regulated by the FCA and HMRC in the United Kingdom, as well as by the relevant authorities in all the countries in which it operates.

CurrencyFair is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, as well as by the ASIC in Australia and the FCA in the UK.

Security & reliability

Security & reliability
Security & reliability

Wise's website is fully secured and makes use of top-notch security protocols, including segregated user accounts and HTTPS.

CurrencyFair's platforms are fully secured and use top-notch security protocols, including segregated user accounts and HTTPS.

Company size

Company size
Company size

Founded in 2011, Wise is a large and well-established company in the international money transfer world, touting over US$72 billion transferred in the past year, 10 million customers, and two thousand employees.

Founded in 2009, CurrencyFair is a fast-growing money transfer company handling around US$300 million in transactions each year for some 57 thousand customers.

Transparent pricing

Transparent pricing
Transparent pricing

Wise Money Transfer is impressively transparent when it comes to pricing, offering the mid-market exchange rate and charging only a low, clearly-displayed fee on transfers.

CurrencyFair is not transparent in its pricing, failing to disclose that most (97%) of its fees are hidden in the exchange rate margin.

Wise
9.0
CurrencyFair
8.0

Service & Quality

Opening an account

Opening an account
Opening an account

Opening an account with Wise is quick and intuitive thanks to the platform's clean user interface, helpful prompts, and lack of information overload.

Opening an account with CurrencyFair is fast and easy, thanks to a clean user interface and lack of information overload. However, you'll need to complete a few regulatory steps before sending money.

Making a transfer

Making a transfer
Making a transfer

Transferring money with Wise Money Transfer is fast and straightforward, regardless of whether you're a first-time or seasoned customer.

Once you've registered for CurrencyFair, you'll find making a new money transfer to be a fast and simple process.

Contacting support

Contacting support
Contacting support

Wise makes it easy to find help when needed, providing a detailed FAQ, a live chat feature, and phone support, all available around the clock.

Contacting CurrencyFair's customer support team is very easy, with on-site chatbot functionality and multi-lingual support.

Wise
9.2
CurrencyFair
8.4

Fees & Exchange Rates

Transfers to a bank account

Transfers to a bank account
Transfers to a bank account

Wise was the best deal on one third (33%) of available Monito searches for bank transfers over the first three months of 2021.

While the cheapest option in a minority (15%) of available Monito searches for bank transfers over the first three months of 2021, CurrencyFair was still competitive on most (60%).

Wise
9.7
CurrencyFair
9.1

Customer Satisfaction

Customer review score

Customer review score
Customer review score

Earning 4.7 out of 5 stars from more than 100 thousand reviews on Trustpilot, it should go without saying that Wise's service consistently delights its customers.

Earning an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, there’s no doubt that CurrencyFair has made a very positive impression on its customers all-round.

Number of positive reviews

Number of positive reviews
Number of positive reviews

Having earned more than 107 thousand four- or five-star reviews on Trustpilot so far, Wise is without a doubt a trustworthy and reliable service in the eyes of its customers.

With nearly five thousand four- and five-star reviews on Trustpilot, CurrencyFair is much-loved in the eyes of its customers.

Fees & Exchange Rates: How Wise & CurrencyFair Compare

Here is how Wise works: you pay for your transfer from your bank account, debit or credit card and send funds directly to the recipient's 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. Wise does the fee calculations for you and warns you when there may be a local bank fee (this is something they cannot control).

How CurrencyFair works: With CurrencyFair you can make an immediate transfer at the available exchange rate, or specify your desired exchange rate and wait to be matched with another CurrencyFair customer looking to exchange your desired currency. This is because they offer a unique service: it's a person-to-person currency exchange. They offer low fees and you can set your desired exchange rate, and can wait and see if you are matched with someone who wants to exchange money in the opposite direction. Once another CurrencyFair customer user is located (who wants to exchange in the other direction and is happy with the exchange rate you set), each person obtains this exchange rate. When there is a match, you can secure excellent rates. If there is no match, CurrencyFair jumps in and provides the money exchange (which is generally about 0.45% worse than the mid-market rate). You can pay via bank transfer or Irish debit card (that's right--anyone outside of Ireland only has the bank transfer option). After the currency conversion, the funds are deposited into the recipient's bank account.

Fees

Wise 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 Wise'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."

Depending on where you are transferring from, CurrencyFair charges a flat fee. For example, in Europe, it's a €3 transfer fee, for Uk customers it costs £2.50. If there is a customer match CurrencyFair will charge 0.25% or 0.3% (it varies according to the currency combination) of the total amount. If there no match with a competitive rate, CurrencyFair will match with you at a rate that is generally costs about 0.4% to 0.6% (as always, the percentage hinges on the currency combination).

So, depending on which way you’re exchanging, and the activity on the marketplace at that time, you’ll pay anywhere from as little as 0.1%, to 0.6%. 

Exchange Rates

Wise'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 are either set by each customer or by CurrencyFair, depending on whether or not there is a match.

Key Takeaways:

  • Both are fantastic, it's almost a tie, but Wise is better simply because CurrencyFair is only better if you can exchange with one of their customers. Both Wise and CurrencyFair offer excellent exchange rates and transparent fees.
  • Over 10% of users of the CurrencyFair MarketPlace achieve a better exchange rate than the mid-market rate, so if you snag that, CurrencyFair may you the best deal in terms of exchange rate.
  • Debit card payments are limited to people who hold an Irish debit card.
  • If you opt to just take the exchange rate CurrencyFair gives you (which usually has a margin of around 0.45%), then Wise will be a better deal, because they always match the current mid-market rate.
  • If you want to pay by debit or credit card but you don't hold an Irish debit card, then Wise is your best bet. Just keep in mind that debit and card payments incur additional fees.
  • Our recommendation is that CurrencyFair is better if you opt to exchange with one of their customers and manage to secure a rate that is below the mid-market rate. If not, Wise is a generally better deal because you know for certain that you will get the mid-market rate.

"Both Wise and CurrencyFair offer excellent exchange rates and transparent fees, but Wise is more consistently a better deal."

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