TransferWise Review 2019 - How Is It Blurring Financial Boundaries?
Mid-market exchange rate Guaranteed transfer rateSecureRange of feesTransparencyCan send money from your debit or credit card Two-step verificationUser-friendly appCan receive using local bank account details
Not all countries and currencies are availableCharge for Borderless Account balance withdrawal to bank
9.6Overall Score
Fees9.5
Legitimacy & Safety9.8
Ease of Use9.6
Customer Support9.6

Getting the best rate when sending money to another country often requires steering clear of traditional banking establishments. However, a lot of people are reluctant to try out new methods and subsequently, continue paying overpriced fees and losing out on inflated exchange rates. But it doesn’t have to be this way. TransferWise offers a low-cost, convenient solution to international money transfers. This popular and rapidly-growing transfer service could be the answer to your transfer fee woes. If you’re new to international transfers and struggling to understand which service is best for you, our complete TransferWise review is here to help you finally get your head around it all.

So, read on to find out how to transfer your money abroad with confidence, while enjoying some of the lowest fees in the industry. After all, you work hard for your money, so why waste it paying over the odds in unnecessarily high fees?

What Is TransferWise?

money without bordersIn a nutshell, TransferWise is an online currency transfer service with transparent, fixed low fees, that could save you money. As TransferWise uses the mid-market exchange rate, you are much more than likely to get a better deal here than you would elsewhere. The mid-market rate, also known as the interbank rate, is the midpoint between the buy and sell prices of two currencies. In using the real exchange rate, TransferWise can offer fantastic savings where banks and other financial institutions add on hidden costs.

How Does TransferWise Work?

It’s no secret that your bank charges over the odds on your international transfers, but how can TransferWise offer such a saving over traditional international bank transfers? Let’s find out in this TransferWise review.

Basically, TransferWise innovatively uses a Peer to Peer (P2P) model. In many cases, by transferring money using P2P whenever possible, the money does not actually cross borders. Say for example you want to send your GBP to EUR in France and someone in France wants to send their EUR to GBP in the UK, then TransferWise cleverly switches currencies, avoiding huge transfer fees and offering you the real exchange rate. Don’t worry, the end result is always just the same as you had sent via your bank. The upside is that the cost is substantially reduced, which means greater savings are then passed on to you.

What Are The Fees For Using TransferWise?

TransferWise fees are a lot more reasonable than the vast majority of other financial institutions. However, to guarantee that you are definitely getting the best possible deal, it’s always recommended that you thoroughly check any fees before using any service.

One of the great things about TransferWise is their transparency concerning fees. They let you know upfront how much they are charging and what for, so you won’t have to worry about any sneaky add-ons just before you hit confirm, unlike some other international money transfer agencies.

There are some fees that apply to transfers between certain currencies and not others. On the other hand, because TransferWise is so transparent, you will be able to see all the options available to you as well as the total fee before making your choice. We will take a look at the most useful choices below.

1. TransferWise Guaranteed Rate

guaranteed rateWhen you send money using TransferWise, no matter which method you choose, you’ll benefit from their guaranteed rate.

The TransferWise guaranteed rate is a set rate that you are assured to receive, provided that you send your funds within a set time frame once you have completed your transfer. You can see the time frame that the rate will be locked at in blue text on the transfer set up screen:

If you don’t send your money to TransferWise within this set period and still wish to go ahead with your transfer, then they will send it using the mid-market rate at the time you make the transfer. This is still a much better rate than you would get transferring from your bank.

2. Low-Cost Transfer Fee

low cost

When you set up your transfer with TransferWise, you’ll notice that you have a choice of several different fee options. These are located in the drop-down box between the two currencies.

The Low-Cost Transfer Fee is, as the name suggests, the cheapest option for sending money abroad. Use it to send money directly from your bank account to your recipient. While it’s not classed as a rapid transfer, in the majority of cases it is still relatively fast, around 48 hours.

For example, at the time of writing, sending 100 GBP to EUR with a Low-Cost Transfer costs just 0.61 GBP

3. Fast and Easy Transfer Fee

fast and easy

Costing a little more, but somewhat easier and often significantly faster, the Fast and Easy Transfer Fee is applied when you wish to send money directly from your debit or credit card to the recipient.

This is an extremely popular choice and still works out considerably cheaper than what your bank would charge you in fees, without even taking into account the superior TransferWise exchange rate.

For example, at the time of writing, sending 100 GBP to EUR with a Fast and Easy Transfer costs just 0.91 GBP.

4. Advanced Transfer Fee

advanced

For around the same low price as a Low-Cost Transfer, the Advanced Transfer Fee comes into play.

You can choose to use this when you want to send money from a bank account located outside your home country.

This can be useful if you hold accounts in multiple countries.

At the time of writing, sending 100 GBP to EUR with an Advanced Transfer costs just 0.61 GBP.

5. Easy Transfer Fee

easy

This low-cost fee is ideal for sending small amounts quickly.

Whether you want to pay for something small or help out a friend, the Easy Transfer Fee makes it possible to send small sums of money without a prohibitively expensive fee.

At the time of writing, sending 100 EUR to USD via Easy Transfer costs just 1.30 EUR.

6. Fast Transfer Fee

fast

With fast transfer fee, you’ll pay a little bit more. But of course, this entails extra speed.

This is ideal when you want your money to clear quickly, for a fast arrival into your recipient’s bank account. Some users have reported that transfer happens within seconds!

At the time of writing, sending 100 EUR to USD via Fast Transfer costs just 1.29 EUR.

7. Other Fees

As mentioned previously, depending upon which country you are located in and the currency that you are sending, you may have several different fee rates to choose from.

While these can vary significantly, they are fully factored into the transfer amount right from the beginning, so you know exactly how much your transfer will cost and how much the recipient will receive.

If you need to send money quickly, you will understandably need to pay a little more for faster services. However, in the majority of cases, even fast turnaround transfers are cheaper with Transferwise than with your bank.

Is TransferWise Legit?

legal agreementsTransferWise is a licenced Authorised Electronic Money Institute, regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). With its headquarters based in the United Kingdom, it is also regulated by HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).

TransferWise is also regulated by other institutions in other countries, including the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments) in Australia and in the USA by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Being registered as a money transmitter in individual American states means that TransferWise is subject to regulatory bodies and rules in every state where it operates. For a full list of the regulatory authorities with which TransferWise is registered in each country, check out the TransferWise website.

Is TransferWise Safe?

In accordance with FCA regulations, TransferWise is required to hold their customers’ money separately from their own business accounts. This ensures that your money will be safe, even in the unlikely event of any company financial difficulties. When you transfer your money using TransferWise, you are fully covered by the guarantees provided by the regulatory bodies in your country, making Transferwise extremely safe to use.

Transferwise takes its customers’ privacy seriously. Their updated Privacy Policy and Customer Agreement can be found on their website, with details of how they protect your identity. As a financial institution, they are obliged to keep your details on record. However, they are committed to using the highest levels of security to protect your personal data.

In order to protect the security of your account, TransferWise uses a two-step login procedure. This involves sending a push notification or an SMS to your registered mobile device. You then enter the code to confirm that it is you who are requesting to make a transfer and not a case of identity theft.

This extra level of protection makes TransferWise very safe to use and ensures an enhanced level of security, which, notably is not currently the case with Paypal.

How to Use TransferWise

Whether you need to transfer money to reserve your holiday home or to secure a new business deal; sending money via TransferWise is quick, easy and safe.

1. TransferWise on Desktop

desktop view of the websiteWhether you’re just looking to try it out or you prefer to do your banking on your computer, the TransferWise site on your desktop is a great place to get started. The website is well designed, responsive and safe. With plenty of well-documented guides and assistance, using TransferWise on your desktop is easy and effective.

Simply go to the TransferWise website and signup to get started saving money on your international bank transfers. You can also use the desktop site to simply check how much your transfer would cost without committing to a price or even having to sign up first. If you’re not sure, we recommend heading over to the TransferWise desktop site for a browse and checking out their live rate.

There is also a wealth of information if you have any doubts or queries, as well as customer support contact information.

2. TransferWise App

downloadable appThe TransferWise App is downloadable via iTunes or Google Play. It allows you to keep track of all of your transfers and to make new ones with a touch of your fingertips. It’ll have all of your recipients stored and ready for you to select. You can also make use of the handy repeat feature to repeat previous transfers without having to re-enter all of the details. This makes it a fast, on-the-go solution to all of your international transfers.

For added convenience, the TransferWise App is now compatible with Apple Pay. Additionally, simply use your device’s camera to securely enter your card details to fund your transfer for lightning-quick payments that won’t slow you down. All of this, along with TransferWise’s low, transparent fees and real-time exchange rates make the app an undeniably strong advantage of using TransferWise for your international transfers.

3. TransferWise Card

green mastercardThanks to its huge popularity, a lot of people are looking for TransferWise Card reviews. First of all, check that the TransferWise Card is currently available in your country by going to their site. You’ll then need to sign up for a TransferWise Borderless Account. This may take a few days due to security verification procedures.

Once your account is open, simply order your card, verify your identity and load it with a small amount. Your TransferWise Card will be sent out to you. Then, you’ll receive or create your PIN via the app and be free to start using your TransferWise Mastercard all around the world.

With its low conversion fees and zero transaction fees, using your TransferWise Card abroad could save you a lot of money, whether you’re travelling for business, pleasure or a combination of both. Completely secure, you can also use your TransferWise Mastercard for all of your online purchases.

4. TransferWise Borderless Account

borderless accountsThe TransferWise Borderless Account is an innovative solution to all of your multiple currency banking needs, allowing you to keep money in over 40 different currencies.

Making a TransferWise bank transfer from your Transferwise Borderless Account couldn’t be simpler – it’s free to sign up for and there are no subscription fees. When you’re ready, simply convert one currency to another at the real exchange rate.

One of the main advantages of holding a TransferWise Borderless Account is that you receive bank details and personal account numbers for USD, EUR, GBP, NZD and AUD, with even more soon to be added. This makes it easy to share your details and simple to get foreign clients to pay you using their currency. If it’s easier for them, it’s easier for you.

When you need to, simply transfer money from your TransferWise Borderless Account balances to your main bank account. This entails a small fixed withdrawal fee, alongside a conversion fee when you convert your holding balance to a different currency.

However, these fees, even when combined, are very small – we recently converted a USD $225 balance to GBP and withdrew it to a GBP bank account. After the conversion and withdrawal fee, we had only lost around £2.00 on the real exchange rate.

Alternatively, you could use your TransferWise debit Mastercard to spend your money and benefit from zero transaction fees, with TransferWise’s low conversion fees.

Does TransferWise Have Good Customer Support?

website help centreSometimes, no matter how well prepared you are, things don’t always go as planned. Maybe there’s a public holiday in your recipient’s country, or they sent you the wrong banking details. Whatever the problem, it’s important to know that you have a responsive customer support team who can help to iron out any issues.

TransferWise has a lengthy help section dedicated to documenting common scenarios that could cause confusion for some users. Unlike many other electronic money institutes, when you complete your bank transfer with TransferWise, you also benefit from an on-hand customer support team. This means that you can speak to a real human being and receive solutions to your problems and get answers to your queries.

Once you have signed up with TransferWise, you can contact their customer support department in a variety of ways. For a quick response, use the chat facility and get real-time answers to your problems. Otherwise, you can email the support team, or even call them on their dedicated phone line to discuss your needs and resolve any unanswered questions you may have.

TransferWise is renowned for its fast reaction to any customer queries. As an innovative company with a clear emphasis on helping its clients to save money, TransferWise has superior customer support service than many of the other electronic money institutes around.

Is Transferwise Better than Paypal?

vs paypalIn terms of convenience, Paypal has been a popular alternative to traditional banks for some years now when it comes to sending money overseas. However, since the arrival of TransferWise with its low fees and virtually unbeatable mid-market exchange rates on top of its incomparable convenience and efficient timeframe, Paypal is no longer the undisputed favourite.

When you complete a TransferWise money transfer, you will almost always save a considerable amount of money than you would when you use Paypal or any other service. In terms of speed and convenience, there is not really that much difference between the two companies. Initially, it may appear more convenient to transfer money to another Paypal user on the other side of the world. Although, given the simplicity of TransferWise’s user interface as well as its focus on customer service satisfaction and improvement, this perceived convenience is in reality somewhat negligible.

Case Study

Take for example sending 100 USD from a US bank account to EUR (Sender based USA, recipient based in Europe). At the time of writing, with TransferWise, the total cost in fees is just 1.71 USD.

With Paypal, you have a 2.99 USD fee. So for a start, you’re already paying more in fees. Also consider the fact that Paypal tends to charge around 2.5% above the base exchange rate, whereas TransferWise always gives you the mid-market rate. Using TransferWise instead of Paypal could easily save you well over 5 USD on this small transfer. With larger figures, as you can imagine, the differences get even larger.

Our Verdict

For this full review, we believe that nine times out of ten, Transferwise is going to save you money on your transfer and will outperform or at the very least match Paypal. Without a doubt, we strongly recommend opting for Transferwise for your money transfer over Paypal if you’re looking to save yourself money.

What We Liked with Transferwise

When you send money using TransferWise, there are plenty of things to consider. Here’s our detailed view of its advantages.

1. Mid-Market Exchange Rate

mid market rateWhen you use TransferWise, you get the mid-market exchange rate which is much better than the rate that will be offered by your bank.

2. Guaranteed Transfer Rate

When you set up your transfer with TransferWise, you can benefit from a guaranteed transfer rate for a set timeframe. This allows you to lock your transaction at a specific rate that will be guaranteed provided you send the money within the timespan.

3. Secure

Fully regulated, TransferWise is a responsible financial institution that takes your money and your personal data very seriously.

4. Range of Fees

With TransferWise, you can choose to pay more for faster clearing times or keep your fees to a bare minimum. This flexibility is very different from the inflated fees charged by your bank.

5. Transparency

TransferWise is upfront with how much your transfer will cost, so you won’t have any last second surprises just as you’re about to hit send.

6. Debit or Credit Card Transfers

For a fee, you can send money directly from your credit or debit card for added convenience.

7. Two-Step Verification

Protect yourself and your finances with TransferWise’s two-step verification for extra security.

8. User-Friendly App

The TransferWise App stores your completed transactions and integrates with Apple Pay. It allows you to quickly repeat transactions, create new ones and to stay updated on every step of your transactions that are in progress.

9. Have Local Bank Account Details

With your TransferWise Borderless Account, you receive numerous account numbers so that you can quickly and easily receive money in the local currency of customers, friends and family.

What Aspects Need Improvement

There are also a few things we think TransferWise could be better at.

1. Country and Currency Availability

TravelWise currently do not cover every currency and they are not available in some countries. However, as an extremely rapidly growing company, they are constantly expanding.

2. Withdrawal to Bank Charge

While they don’t make a secret of it, you will be charged a small fee to transfer your money from your TransferWise Borderless Account to your bank.

Go Borderless with TransfeerWise

transferwise light logoWhether you are looking to make a one-off international transfer or it’s a more regular occurrence, TransferWise could most definitely save you money on fees as well as offering a much more preferential exchange rate.

With a TransferWise Borderless Account, you can manage your finances in multiple currencies and switch to your local currency when it suits you. There is also the option to apply for a TransferWise Mastercard debit card, giving you the flexibility to spend the money in your Borderless Account almost anywhere in the world at a great exchange rate with zero transaction fees.

In this TransferWise review, we’ve learnt that it has such a vast number of advantages. If Transferwise is available for your currency combinations, then we strongly recommend trying them out. For a full list, check out the TransferWise website and sign up for free today to save on your international transfers.

As one of the fastest-growing financial service startups in recent years, TransferWise also values their customers and thanks to their strong security measures, excellent customer service and continued focus upon getting you more for your money, they are definitely the start of a new brighter, simpler and cheaper future for international money transfers!

Additional Resources

Sign up for exclusive discounts and product giveaways!

100% value and no spam, always.

You have Successfully Subscribed!