Wise International Money Transfer Review

Wise International Money Transfer Review

Written by Corrina Murdoch
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated October 5, 2021

Formerly known as Transferwise, Wise was founded in London, England in 2011 and has since grown into a reputable financial transfer service. With services available in a dozen languages and 71 countries across the world, Wise has a lot to offer. The key to their success is by being entirely transparent regarding the price of transferring funds. Since you can send money from a total of 43 countries, this can result in large savings. Offering the chance to transfer money both domestically and internationally, there is both an app and a website to add convenience. By keeping rates affordable and easy to understand, consumers have come to rely on Wise. Of course, before dealing with any company, it helps to have a full picture of their practices.

How Do You Send Money Through Wise?

The process for sending money through this company depends on the method you use. There are different approaches to the transfer service, each with different benefits. These include: 

Online Transfers

Navigate to the Wise website and register yourself for an account. The process is straightforward. You can opt to create either a personal or business account. This service lets you choose from three features. It advertises the ability to save as much as 800% on fees when sending money internationally. You can also hold onto funds in different currencies, should you want to trade at a different rate. Additionally, this service lets you receive payments from international clients without incurring service charges. There is no minimum amount required to complete a transfer, though there is a cap on the amount you can send, which varies by country.

In-App Transfers

The application for Wise is available both on the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. Once it’s downloaded, you can either create a new account or log into your existing one. Both the minimum and maximum amounts are consistent with the online services. However, with the application, there are restrictions on the countries serviced. If you wish to transfer funds to a nation that isn’t served on the app, try the website. With 71 different countries served, it is very likely that you will be able to send the transfer. 

In-Person Transfers

There are 14 different Wise offices, scattered throughout the world. That said, there is only one location in North America, and it is located in New York. Since there aren’t any physical offices in Canada, consumers can take advantage of their online or app transfers.

What Type Of Transfers Are Available? 

Depending on the situation, you can enact transfers in different ways. These methods include:

  • Bank Deposit: You can get the funds wired to your bank account. Wise lets you know, upfront, of the fees and transfer rates. The company focuses on offering low fees and offering conversion amounts that are genuinely at the mid-market rate. 
  • App: In many cases, the currency you are using can enable you to use either Android or Apple pay options. Typically, the funds arrive within a couple of business days (depending on your payment method). This adds convenience, though doesn’t work with all currencies. 
  • Cash Pick-Up: Because of the focus on digital applications, and the sporadically placed offices, Wise does not have a cash pickup option. 

How Do Wise Money Transfers Work? 

  • Bank deposit: This is the most common way to use this service. It requires you to provide personal financial details prior to completion. 
    • Info required: You are required to supply your social insurance information and need to verify your identity with the system. 
    • Process: Simply create an account and supply your personal details. Use the online service to send and track your funds. Bear in mind that this process involves two steps. The first is where you send the money to Wise. Subsequently, they issue the money to the end recipient. You can track the details throughout. 
    • Caveats: You cannot send funds in the Canadian dollar through SWIFT or as a direct debit if you’re using a business account.  
  • App: If both the sender and the recipient participate in the Wise account, the funds can be transferred within the system. This can cut down on time spent in transit. The amounts are still subject to fees and currency exchange rates. You can also use the digital application to transfer funds into a bank account
  • Cash Pick-Up: There are no cash options through this transfer service. 

Wise Multi-Currency Account

With Wise you have the option to create a send, receive and hold money in various currencies using their multi-currency account. You can use the account to hold up to 50 different currencies which you can send to any bank account whenever you need. In exchange, Wise will charge a fixed fee and a variable fee which varies by country.

What Kind Of Payments Options Are Available With Wise?

There are several ways to send money via the Wise online portal. These methods include: 

  • Credit Cards: You can use any credit card to send payments via Wise. 
  • Direct Debit: You can use this method on both the online portal and the app. 
  • Online Payment: From your online banking, you can send funds through Wise like paying a bill.
  • Google and Apple Pay: This method works on the mobile application for Wise, though not on the website. 

Wise Key Features

Transferable AmountsNo minimum transfer amount.
Max transfer amount varies by country.
Transfer Channels You can transfer funds either online or through the Wise app. 
Types of TransfersBank transfer
Payment OptionsDirect debit
Debit card
Wire transfer
Credit card
Online bill payment
Service Coverage70+ countries (sending), 43 countries (receiving)

How Fast Can You Send Money Through Wise?

Though the process is not immediate, it is usually quite efficient. Typically, users can expect to receive the amount within two to three business days of sending (keep in mind that this depends on the payment method you choose). Since the Wise system uses a two-step process to transfers, it can take up to three business days to move the funds. You are able to track the progress of your money transfer through your Wise account. 

How Much Does It Cost To Send Money? 

  • Transfer fee: You pay a standard fee for the transfer. The site clearly states the breakdown. Example: If you send $1,000 CAD, transferring it to an American recipient (USD), the fee is $2.10 if you pay via Direct Debit. The lowest fee is via domestic wire transfer or bill payments, which is only $0.95. The highest price is credit cards, ringing in at $21.62. Debit card payments for this amount run a transfer fee of $15.36. All these amounts are in Canadian dollars. An additional fee, placed by Wise, comes in at $7.49. 
  • Exchange rate: Continuing with the above example, the transfer fee is taken away first and the remaining amount is then converted. The site provides you with a mid-market exchange rate. For instance, at the time of writing this article is roughly 76%. The site offers roughly 75.8%. When you make the exchange, Wise guarantees that exchange rate for 95 hours. 
  • Taxes: There is no indication of tax being applied to this amount. It is included with the fees noted above. 
  • Credit card: Since the issuer of your credit card may charge additional fees (or interest) on the transfer, it is better to pay using other methods. Additionally, credit card transfers incur the highest cost through Wise directly. 

Is Wise Safe? 

Provided you practice diligence and keep your security information safe, including passwords, yes, Wise is safe. It is registered as an authorized Electronic Money Institution through FINTRAC. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre is the main regulatory body governing these transactions. They are also registered with the Authorité des Marchés Financiers for Quebec customers. 

Is Wise The Right Transfer Service For You? 

Naturally, there is a range of benefits and pitfalls to every service. These include:

Pros

  • Low fees on transfers
  • Offers good exchange rate
  • Transparent pricing
  • User-friendly interface
  • Option of website or app
  • Works in a lot of countries
  • Multiple payment options

Cons

  • No cash transaction options
  • Two-step process means slower payments
  • Few physical locations worldwide
  • App limits countries and currencies
  • Certain restrictions to business sending
  • Fees vary based on payment method

Wise FAQs

Can I track my Wise money transfer? 

You can check the status of your transfer at any time. Both the recipient and the sender are able to stay apprised of the transfer’s progress. While the sender can speak with customer service, the recipient cannot due to privacy requirements. 

How long does it take to receive a money transfer from Wise?

The length of time a Wise transfer takes depends on four main factors, the country that you’re sending the money to and the country where you live. Which form of payment you choose, card, bank transfer, etc. When you initiate the transfer, money can only be moved during regular business hours. And finally, any security checks that need to be performed. 

Does Wise have a reward system? 

The reward structure at Wise is essentially a referral bonus. In order to qualify, you need to invite family or friends. This is easy to do on the invitation page. Eventually, this lets you qualify for a reward. From there, the company will email you with instructions as to how to claim the benefit. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the essential details about how Wise works, you can decide if it’s the best way for you to go. It has low fees, relative to banks and many other services. However, it lacks in-person assistance and cash services. Depending on your needs and financial priorities, this company can help you save money and become more efficient overall. 

Corrina Murdoch has been a dedicated freelance writer and editor for several years. With an academic background in the sciences and a penchant for mathematics, she seeks to provide readers with accurate, reliable information on important topics. Working as a print journalist for several years, Corrina expanded her reach into the digital sphere to help more people gain insight into the realm of finances. When she's not writing, you can find Corrina swimming and spending time with family.

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