TransferWise has changed its name to Wise in February 2021.
TransferWise is a name you have probably heard already.
This startup attracted investors such as Richard Branson, Max Levchin, and Peter Thiel (co-founders of PayPal), alongside other well-known names. The company is based in London, UK. If you are not familiar with this company, this Wise review explains and answers any questions that may arise.
The company was founded in 2011 by two guys from Estonia. Taavet Hinrikus, who was Skype’s first employee and Kristo Käärmann. What does the fact that one of the co-founders was deeply involved in the development of Skype say? Well, it reveals that the concept of startups and how they develop weren’t new for him.
We will not go into much detail. Instead, we will go over the main reason why Wise has born briefly. The answer is – expensive transactions between banks and currencies. Also, these transfers were very slow and sometimes overly complicated.
The brand founders were stated in both the UK and Estonia. So, they had to send money often, and each transaction cost seemingly cheap. But the fees quickly added up, and these cash transfers turned out too expensive for them. Especially when a lot of international transfers take place.
At the time of this writing, Wise hires more than 1,300 employees and holds 11 offices in 4 different continents. Since the opening, the company managed to serve more than 4 million customers around the world. Users transfer 4 billion dollars each month. Yes, that’s a lot of money. The best part – they save a fortune in fees. The company continually develops and grows. Especially by expanding the support of different currencies and countries. Currently, Wise has more than 1,300 different currency routes.
Wise has a lot of cool features and perks. However, the primary function of the service remains to help customers transfer currencies from one bank account to another. All this by saving on fees.
Naturally, the brand allows holding different currency balances. At the moment, customers can carry up to 40 different currencies, including USD, AUD, EUR, CAD, GBP, NZD, JPY, HKD, PLN, etc. There are 49 currencies available in total. However, some of the balances come without local bank details.
Balances with local bank details – USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, and NZD. What does that mean? Well, you get your unique bank account number, sort code, and the account comes in your name. Basically, it can be used as a bank account for receiving funds. Some of the currencies are presented without bank details, so transfers are processed through the company’s bank accounts.
Balances can be removed at any time. You do not have to store them all the time. However, do not remove or change them if you are getting repeating payments.
Depositing or Adding Funds
To fill your balance, you have to make a bank transfer or any other type of supported payment. Wise offers various ways to do that.
Depending on the amount and currency, customers can add money via Apple Pay, debit or credit card, and Trustly (works in Estonia, Spain, and Finland). Other supported methods include bank transfer, iDEAL (the Netherlands only), Sofort by Klarna (For transfers from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland). This list may expand within time, of course.
All these payment options are trusted and reliable ways to fund your Wise account. Also, they are tolerably fast and should not take more than a few minutes to make a payment. The only exception here is bank transfers that usually take up to 5 business days.
If you are in a hurry, better go with your local method, it will be faster.
Everything transaction goes directly to the statement. That allows checking where the money came from or where they went to. It is very convenient when you need to check previous payments. It helps to keep track of your funds’ movement.
Probably the most essential feature, that’s the reason why Wise has born – currency exchange.
Just send the currency you want and receive another currency you need. The fees are lower than usual. Wise provides a calculator for that. It instantly shows how much money will get to the account after the exchange, including the fees. Everything is explained and separated. No hidden or any unclear fees. Get what you have to get. Transparency gives a lot of credibilities.
Wise supports more than 40 currencies that can be exchanged. The list continually grows. You will find the full range of supported currencies above this text. Just check the table at the beginning of this Wise review.
Opening an Account
As usual, to use some services, a consumer must open an account or make an agreement. Well, nothing special or unexpected here. Financial services are always regulated and watched by controllers. Wise is not an exception.
However, this process is straightforward and fast. An account can be opened using a web version or on the mobile app (we have reviewed the app a little bit below). Select an account type – personal or business, enter email and set the password. Also, the user can handle the process via Facebook or Google. Super simple! It takes no more than a minute.
Of course, these details are not enough. Since this is a financial service, the newly registered customer must provide personal information. These may include but aren’t limited to full name, address, phone number (it needs to be verified by SMS), etc.
To send more than €1,000, a user needs to verify their account first. The process goes through Netverify. A user must provide a driver’s license, passport, or ID card. It can take up to 2-3 days to check an ID. Our account was confirmed within an hour, though. The notification email is sent after the process is completed, so you will not miss it when it’s done.
Also, Wise may ask for additional paperwork or information when sending money from certain countries. These may include but aren’t limited to North America (including Canada and the USA), Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific region (Australia and New Zealand). However, everything goes smoothly and without difficulties.
In general, we were happy how sleek and fast the process from the registration to verification went. It did not take long and was very clear and straightforward. Just for the record, our account was opened by an EU country resident.
Wise has native mobile apps for both iOS and Android, which are the most popular mobile OSs. Each application is fast and simple to use. Even an amateur user should not find it confusing.
Everything is a few clicks away. The menu is easy to understand and navigate.
Furthermore, the application can be used to open an account, as well as to complete a verification process. Use the built-in features to go through all the steps to verify your newly opened account.
Also, the app supports fingerprint and face ID logins. That’s time saving and, of course, much more convenient than entering login details every time. We want to highlight that the app works as a two-factor authenticator. What does it mean?
Every time you log in using the web browser, you must confirm it on the mobile app. So even if the password is lost or stolen, an attacker cannot do a thing without having access to your mobile device. On the other hand, this security feature loses the point if the app is the only way used for handling Wise.
Another cool thing the fintech provides – debit cards issued by MasterCard. And they’re FREE. However, the account must hold at least €/£/$20. The user can fill it by using one of the many methods available. We have reviewed them above.
The card can be used to pay at stores, e-shops, restaurants, and for cash withdrawals at an ATM. The first 200 GBP, 250 USD, 350 AUD, 350 NZD are free. After that, there’s a 2% charge on withdrawals. The limit resets every 30 days. Some of the ATMs can add a fee to the withdrawal, but that depends.
Keep in mind not to convert money at the ATM, TransferWise will do it for you for a much better rate. Just select the local currency at the money machine.
Sadly, you cannot check the card’s balance at an ATM. Still, this information is always on the app in your pocket, just a few clicks away. That does not cause any inconvenience, and it is free. All you need for the action – internet connection.
There are some cases when the user doesn’t have access to the internet, which is necessary to check the account’s balance. That’s inconvenient but happens rarely. These days, most restaurants and coffee shops or even bus stations offer free Wi-Fi.
Wise is free to register or hold a balance. However, it charges for currency exchanges. All the rates and fees are visible when making a transaction. So, make sure to check them before proceeding.
We loved the comparison table on the page. You can see what the difference between the fees of various banks and Wise is. Some disparities are enormous. You will be shocked by how much money you can save at the end of the day.
Moreover, the company has some card fees. However, we have presented these fees already. Find it above, at the beginning of this Wise review.
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*The fee is applied when 200 GBP; 250 USD; 350 AUD; 350 NZD monthly limit exceeds.
The excellent news – Wise is not dedicated to individuals only. Businesses are eligible to open and use these services as well.
First, opening a business account is free. No fees or hidden charges. Plus, business customers can also use a free debit card. But that’s not all. Wise business clients can use the service for paying invoices, no matter what currency it is in. They can also receive money with no fees.
Second, it can be integrated with Xero. Many companies around the world widely use it. Additionally, it has more convenient perks as API for high-volume transferring clients. Noteworthy are batch payments too. These enable making a lot of payments at once. And, of course, we have the valuable monthly statements.
Finally, this service is much cheaper than many other e-banks and e-payment processors. The comparison presented on the site states that Wise is even 19 times less expensive than PayPal. That’s a lot if you ask us!
Wise business is an excellent option for freelancers, entrepreneurs, or anyone who does business and needs a borderless bank account. Or, as the company puts it – “Do business without borders.” We cannot agree more!
- The website and the user interface to support more than 12 languages, including German, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, and Russian.
- It is authorized by the FCA (The Financial Conduct Authority). It ensures that the company follows strict rules and regulations.
- Has a pretty impressive financial blog with a lot of useful information, including travel and living abroad tips.
- Shares the updates, news, and stories on social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Wise Support and Contacts
Primarily, Wise provides users with a detailed FAQ section. When we say detailed, we mean super detailed. Our team was able to find pretty much all answers related to browsing, testing, and using Wise.
Furthermore, a user can open a support ticket. Just submit your question or issue in, and the support team will answer you ASAP.
Finally, the company provides superb phone support. Depending on the country, use one of the phone numbers. However, not all countries Wise supports have a phone number.
Trustpilot testimonials significantly sum up everything. 70,000+ almost perfect ratings speak for themselves. And only 4% of customers have valued the company with poor to a bad score. Put differently – this is a service you can trust.
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All in all, we found decent support. We got helpful and fast answers. No issues so far.
The company headquarters are located in the Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High St, Hackney, London E1 6JJ.
Also, the company holds offices in Belgium, Hungary, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, United Kingdom, United States, Singapore, Australia, Estonia, and Japan. Pretty impressive, right?
What we didn’t like?
However, we have found a few things we do not like, as well. Firstly, you cannot use the web version and mobile app at the same time. If you log in on the website, the app is automatically logged out. It may get a bit annoying if the user wants to use them simultaneously.
Also, some of the languages aren’t available, neither for support nor as a website language. Finally, Wise does not offer anything other than regular banking services. In this sense, it lacks advantages when compared to similar companies.
Finally, it doesn’t accept any activity related to cryptocurrency. You even cannot transfer or get funds from most popular crypto exchanges.
Wise provides high-quality money transfer services globally. It helps users save a lot on fees, especially if the customer frequently sends funds abroad. Also, the Wise account can be used to receive money in a different currency other than your local bank account. That is a great way to save some cash, too. It is an excellent alternative for freelancers who are always moving or have clients from various countries with different currencies.
The company proffers ambitious exchange rates, which will make you reconsider using a traditional bank. Furthermore, Wise gives us an excellent user interface, precise numbers, and an easy-to-use mobile application. The convenience reaches the top.
Lastly, we were happy to see transparency in the exchange. Fees are transparent and excluded from the total amount. So, the user can see what he pays for. No hidden charges. That’s why we fell in love with Wise almost instantly.