TransferWise may be the new kid on the block, but it is rapidly becoming a star player in the industry. Founded in 2011 by two Estonians, it is a UK-based company with technological ease and convenience at its core, alongside big savings and low fees. It was born from a simple idea of making international money transfers simple and affordable. We’ve got this review to help you understand all the services they offer and information about transferring money with TransferWise.
- 59 countries and 504 currency routes
- Works from local bank transfers, avoiding currency conversion fees
- Price-match promise
- Investors like Richard Branson
You can compare other money transfer providers and banks via our comparison table here. This will allow you to assess their fees and rates.
What will this TransferWise review cover?
Here at The Currency Shop, we like to know that the companies we recommend to you are good value for money, convenient to use and are able to keep your money as secure as possible. In this TransferWise Review, we will explore:
- How does TransferWise work?
- How to make an international transfer
- Is TransferWise Safe?
- Fees and Charges
- How long does the transfer take?
- Pros and Cons of TransferWise?
How does TransferWise work?
Like many of the international money transfer companies out there, TransferWise aim to save you money. TransferWise do this in a unique way.
Instead of your money actually leaving the country, being converted and you incurring a potential receiving cost from the overseas bank, TransferWise has a different approach.
TransferWise’s solution to large fees and unfair exchange rates is transferring your money locally i.e. your money never leaving the country you’re in.
For example, if you want to send US Dollars from your American bank account to a British Pounds account in the United Kingdom, you can use your TransferWise profile to do the following:
- Set up a transfer through which you provide us with your recipient’s bank account details.
- Pay in money your US bank account to TransferWise’s USD bank account also in the United States.
TransferWise will then convert it at the real exchange rate (as shown on Reuters.com) and pay out the resulting amount as an inexpensive, local transfer from our UK bank to your recipient’s UK account.
TransferWise has a bank or partner through who they make these local transfers.
- TIP: Do have a look at the currencies TransferWise support, as you may find that you are unable to send money from certain countries. Additionally, there are certain restrictions that surround paying money into businesses, or how you can pay in certain countries. For more information, click here.
- They have however set up what they have called a ‘Currency Wishing Page’, whereby you can make suggestions for a currency that TransferWise don’t currently support. They will then inform you as soon as a new route becomes available.
To balance the process, it is constantly working in reverse. This means that money is paid in from many of the currencies you send to, converted to US Dollars, and paid out to bank accounts within the United States.
TransferWise Review: How to make an international transfer
TransferWise prides itself on the ease of its website and app.
There are two ways to complete an international transfer:
- Creating an account online
- Creating an account through their app (available to iOS and Android)
You can also fund the transfer is more ways than most international money transfer companies allow you to do.
- Debit/Credit Card
- Bank Transfer
- Apple/Android Pay
- On some occasions, you can send your transfer to the recipient’s email address. This essentially bypasses the hassle of the recipient giving you their details, and instead they can give it straight to TransferWise
- TIP: If you want the recipient to receive a set amount, then TransferWise have a handy ‘lock’ feature on their transfers whereby you can input the amount you wish the recipient to receive after the exchange rate and transaction fee has been applied.
How safe is TransferWise?
TransferWise use trusted bank accounts and banking partners worldwide for transferring money. They also keep customer money separately from their operational accounts.
Their team is regularly trained and their processes reviewed to make sure they are not at risk. All your transactions are protected by industry standard HTTPS encryption. This keeps all of your information safe.
TransferWise is registered by the Department for Internal Affairs (DIA) and operates as a foreign entity, number RE-01517.
Fees and Charges
TransferWise differ from many of the mainstream international money transfer websites with their fees. Instead of setting a fee dependent on how, when and where you wish to send your money, or a fixed fee of a certain amount, TransferWise set a fixed percentage of 0.7%, or 0.5% if you are making a large payment.
For New Zealand, it is as follows:
TransferWise fee per transaction is 0.7% (or $2.94 for transactions made under $420NZD)
The maximum amount you can transfer from New Zealand is $2,200,000NZD.
- TIP: If you are funding your transfer with your debit or credit card, you will incur an additional fee of 2%. This is because cards issued in New Zealand are currently processed internationally which carries a higher fee. Your bank may also charge an additional fee for this type of card payment, so you may wish to check with them before your payment.
How long does the transfer take?
The whole process should be completed within 1-4 days. This time is dependent on the currencies involved and the payment method you choose.
Pros and Cons of TransferWise
|Really easy-to-use website and app to make transfers||You have to create an account with them|
|Local transfers made so you save on the exchange rate||0.5%-0.7% transaction fee applied|
|TransferWise has a price-match promise||2% charge specifically for New Zealand if you fund your transfer from a debit or credit card|
|Some currencies have restrictions set on them|
After getting back from her year abroad in the US, Natalie wanted to transfer what she had earned over in the US to her New Zealand bank account. Her friend mentioned that she had transferred through TransferWise, and that their app was really easy. As Natalie wanted the funds fast, she downloaded the app.
Natalie was instantly impressed at how easy it was and how she saved money not only through a favourable exchange rate but by TransferWise’s unique ‘local transfers’. This allowed her to avoid high fees based on the conversion fee that TransferWise avoided. Natalie had her money safely converted into her New Zealand bank account within three days of processing the payment online. Bonus!