International Transfer Review: Transferring Money With TransferWise

Transferwise LogoWith 59 countries and 504 currency routes, TransferWise works from local bank transfers; banishing hidden fees. Not to mention, TransferWise also promises price-match guarantee; gaining the attention from investors like Richard Branson. We’ve looked at what the process is like when transferring money with transferwise.

What will this TransferWise review cover?

Here at The Currency Shop, we always have your best interest at heart. As such, all information provided here are factual and informational. In this article, we will explore:

  • How does TransferWise work?
  • How to make an international transfer
  • Safety
  • 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, its main aim is to keep you from spending more than you need. The way they go about doing this makes them unique, and enables it to stand out from the crowd.

Furthermore, instead of your money actually leaving the country, being converted and you incurring a potential receiving cost from the overseas bank, TransferWise uses a different approach.

TransferWise’s solution to large fees and unfair exchange rates is transferring your money locally. That is, your money never leaves the country you’re in.

For example, if you want to send Singapore Dollars from your bank account in Singapore to British Pounds to a bank account in the United Kingdom, you can use your TransferWise profile to do the following:

  1.  Set up a transfer through which you provide your recipient’s bank account details.
  2. Transfer the money from your Singapore bank account to TransferWise’s Singapore bank account located in Singapore.

TransferWise will then convert it at the real exchange rate (as shown on and pay out the resulting amount as an inexpensive, local transfer from your bank to your recipient’s UK account.

  • TIP: Have a look at the currencies TransferWise support. You may find that you are unable to send certain money from a country, or there are certain restrictions around paying money into businesses, or how you can pay in certain countries. For more information, click here.
  • They have 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 SGD, and paid out to bank accounts within Singapore.

How to make an international transfer

TransferWise prides itself on the ease of its website and app. It is, in so many words, a company reflecting the digital era we’re in.

There are two ways to complete an international transfer:

  1. Creating an account online
  2. Creating an account through their app (available to iOS and Android)

Additionally you can also fund the transfer in more ways than most international money transfer companies.

  • 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


  • PRO TIP: If you want the recipient to receive a set amount, TransferWise has 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 and they keep customer money separately from their operational accounts.

Their specialized team are regularly trained and they also review processes to make sure they are always up to date. In addition to that, the industry standard HTTPS encryption protects all your transactions. 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 sets a fee 0.5% (or 6 SGD for transfers under 1200 SGD).  It should be noted that a higher charge applies when sending to currencies with a different fee.

The maximum amount you can transfer from Singapore is 78000 SGD.

  • TIP: If you are funding your transfer with your debit or credit card, you will incur an additional fee of 1.5%. Also, your bank may charge an additional fee for this type of card payment. Hence 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 all dependent on the currencies involved, the payment method you choose, as well as bank holiday and weekends. Click here to find out more about how long an international money transfer take.

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 1.5% charge specifically for Singapore if you fund your transfer from a debit or credit card
Some currencies have restrictions set on them

Case Study

Joy is now back in Singapore after spending a year abroad in the US. She wants to transfer what she had earned over in the US to her bank account in Singapore. Her friend mentioned that she had transferred through TransferWise, and that their app was really easy to use along with a quick transfer. As Joy wanted the funds as quick as possible, she downloaded the app.

Joy was 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’; allowing her to avoid high fees based on the conversion fee that TransferWise avoided. In addition, she also had her money safely converted into her Singapore bank account within three days of processing the payment online.

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