Wise Review

Wise is a global technology company focused on building the best way to move money around the world. Launched in 2011, Wise now has over 12 million customers sending cheap, fast and safe payments all over the world.

This Wise review covers all you need to know about Wise, including fees, whether it's safe to use, how fast it is, how to get set up, and more.

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Wise: Key points

Key features:

  • International money transfers to 40+ countries

  • All currency conversion uses the real mid-market exchange rate with no markups and low, transparent fees

  • Wise uses its own payment network - a different approach to traditional banks - to cut costs and move money faster

  • Sign up with your PAN card and proof of address to send money online and in the Wise app wherever you are

Key stats:

  • 12 million+ customers around the world

  • Send payments to 40+ countries including Australia, Singapore, the UK, US and UAE

Pros:

  • Typically one of the cheapest services available, and always transparent (no hidden fees)

  • 45% of transfers are instant, 85% are delivered within 24 hours

  • Fully regulated and authorised by the appropriate regulatory authorities everywhere it operates

  • Make transactions online or in the Wise app for convenience

Cons

  • Payments arranged online and in-app only - no cash or cheque transfer options

  • Fees and limits do apply, and can vary based on the destination country

  • No branch network - all customer service is online and by phone

Overall:

Wise has built its own payment network that has made it significantly faster and cheaper to send money abroad. On top of that, they are also completely transparent, showing you the total cost of your transfer and using the mid-market exchange rate. Get an account easily with just your PAN card and proof of address, to send payments to over 40 countries online or using the Wise app.

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How much can I save with Wise compared to a bank?

Wise has built its entire business around offering low fees and the mid-market exchange rate for every payment.

Exactly how much you can save with Wise depends on where you're sending money to, the transfer value, and how you'll pay - here’s how much you could save compared to using a traditional bank on a couple of payment examples. We’ll look at sending INR payments to a friend in the US, to be received in US dollars:

Sending amount in INRWith Wise, recipient gets:How much you save compared to using a bank:
50,000 INR630.44 USD2,152.67 INR
100,000 INR1,261.83 USD3,028.24 INR

Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research - 17th May 2022

Wise typically offers the best value when compared to traditional banks, thanks to its low fees and fair exchange rates - and the amount you save can keep on growing the more you send.

See how much you can save - and get more comparisons over on the Wise website or app.

Save money with Wise

What is Wise?

Wise explains that its mission is to build the best way to move money around the world, by using new technologies and transparent charging structures. Best in this context means offering customers the cheapest, fastest, and most convenient way to make payments, through a secure and easy to use process.

Wise launched in 2011 as a money transfer service and has since grown to a user base of over 12 million customers.

Wise money transfer

Wise international transfers are fast, cheap and secure thanks to smart technological approaches which cut out many of the time consuming, and expensive intermediaries typically involved in cross border payments.

You can send money from India to 40+ countries, and payments will be deposited directly into your recipient's bank account for ease.

There's no need for your recipient to have a Wise account themselves. Just create the payment on the Wise website or app, setting either the amount you want to send, or the amount you need the recipient to receive. You'll then instantly see the fees and exchange rates which apply.

Great for: anyone who needs to send money abroad directly to a recipient's bank account - one off and regular payments are all supported.

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How does Wise (TransferWise) work?

Wise has built its own payment network which is cheaper and faster to operate compared to SWIFT - the system used by traditional banks to send international transfers. That means better prices and faster transfers.

The way Wise works is actually surprisingly simple. Instead of moving money across borders through complex payment networks, Wise has its own network of accounts in all the countries it operates in. When you make a payment you send it in INR to the local Wise account here in India. Wise then transfer the equivalent amount from their account in the destination country, in the currency you need. That means no money really has to cross borders, cutting the costs and the time involved.

Regular banks on the other hand typically use the SWIFT network - a network of partner banks which pass payments between themselves until they reach the correct destination account. SWIFT is established and reliable - but also expensive and slow. Each bank involved in the payment chain can add an intermediary fee which is tricky to predict and pushes up prices.

With Wise, because there are no intermediaries, there are also no surprise costs - allowing a more transparent payment structure. Read our article to learn how Wise compares to International Bank Tranfers.

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Is Wise (TransferWise) safe?

Wise is regulated by the appropriate financial regulatory bodies in all the countries it operates in. In India, Wise operates through local banking partners to offer secure transfers, with the approval of the Reserve Bank of India. 

Wise transfers are made using leading edge technology, and with a dedicated anti-fraud team on hand to ensure money is kept safe. Here are some key facts about Wise safety and security:

  • Approved to operate by the Reserve Bank of India

  • Regulated by the FCA in the UK, FinCEN in the US and other global regulators

  • Customer funds are safeguarded using leading financial institutions

  • Wise is regularly audited to check everything is working smoothly

  • Advanced data protection and 2-step authentication processes are used

  • Round the clock fraud prevention systems including both technology and a dedicated team

  • Wise is a publicly listed company, with some 12+ million customers and 2,800 employees

Wise (TransferWise) pricing

Wise has disrupted the international payment market by challenging banks and established providers on fees. Wise has transparent fee and pricing principles, which you can learn about here. In short, Wise aims to:

  • be radically transparent

  • charge as little as possible

  • make premium the new normal

  • lower fees over time

There are also discounts available that automatically apply to your account if you're sending higher amounts - more on that coming up later. Here's the lowdown on how Wise fees work.

Wise fees

Wise fees can be split into 2 costs:

  • Fixed fee: covering the fixed costs associated with the transaction. For major currencies this can be in the region of 60 INR - 75 INR

  • Variable fee: covering the cost of the currency exchange. For major currencies this can be around 1.78% of the transfer value

You'll always see the fee upfront before you make your payment. Here are some cost examples for sending 100,000 INR to some popular major currencies:

Sending INR to:Fixed feeVariable feeTotal fee
AUD68.02 INR1,747.68 INR (1.78%)1,815.70 INR
CAD71.83 INR1,757.26 INR (1.79%)1,829.09 INR
CHF74.45 INR1,786.14 INR (1.82%)1,860.59 INR
EUR61.66 INR1,747.79 INR (1.78%)1,809.45 INR
GBP68.94 INR1,747.66 INR (1.78%)1,816.60 INR
USD75.20 INR1,747.55 INR (1.78%)1.822.75 INR

Wise exchange rate

Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate - that's the one you'll find on a currency converter tool or with a Google search - without any hidden fees.

That's different to many banks or international payment providers, which add extra costs into the exchange rates they offer in the form of a markup. These fees can be tricky to spot, so customers end up paying more than they need to without ever realising it.

Save money with Wise

Sending large amounts with Wise

Wise can be used safely for high value payments, too.

The variable fee applied to international payments with Wise gets cheaper for higher value transfers. Discounts are automatically applied to qualifying accounts - there's no need to get in touch with Wise to make arrangements. That means you could instantly get even better value when sending high value transfers - usually over the currency equivalent of around £100,000 (about 9,500,000 INR at the time of writing).

The default limit for personal transfers sent to INR is the equivalent of £1 million, but higher limits can be arranged on request. You may need to provide more information about the payment to comply with financial service rules - but the Wise team can guide you through that if it's needed.

For example, if you're making a transfer to move the funds from a property sale or inheritance you may be asked to show a bank account statement to show the money being deposited to your account and documents to verify the source of the funds.

Learn more about high value transfers with Wise here.

How long does Wise take

The good news is that 45% of Wise's international transfers are instant (delivered in less than 20 seconds), while 85% are delivered within 24 hours.

The exact length of time it'll take for your Wise payment to land can vary based on the destination country and currency, and how you're paying. But you'll always see an estimated delivery time when you set up your payment so you know what to expect, and you'll be able to track your transfer in the app if you need to.

Wise Pros

  • Mid-market exchange rate currency conversion

  • Low, transparent fees for transfers 

  • Online and in-app services for ease

  • Fast and secure transfers to 40+ countries

Wise Cons

  • No cash or cheque transfer options

  • Fees and limits apply, and can vary based on the destination country

  • Account verification requirements are in place

  • No branch network

How to use Wise

Using Wise is easy. All you need is your smartphone or computer. Here's what to do:

  1. Log into your account

  2. Type in how much you want to transfer, or how much you need the recipient to get

  3. Confirm the type of payment

  4. Enter the recipient's details - bank account number or email

  5. Check over the details

  6. Add a reference or message for your recipient

  7. Fund your payment by bank transfer

  8. Confirm and your money will be on the move

Get a full guide to sending money with Wise here.

Funding methods

Funding your Wise international payment by bank transfer is the most popular method and usually least expensive.

Payout methods

Wise payments usually arrive directly in the recipient's bank account. However, Wise does support other payout methods on some payment routes. You'll see your options when you set up your payment.

How to create an account

Creating a Wise account is easy, and can be done entirely online.

  1. Register with your email address, or an Apple, Google or FaceBook account

  2. Follow the prompts to enter your personal details

  3. Upload your ID documents for verification

  4. Once your account is verified you can start sending payments

There's a full guide to getting verified with Wise here.

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What documents you'll need

The exact documents you need will depend on the type of account you want, and the type of payments you're making. You'll be guided through the process, and can always get in touch with Wise customer support if you need help. If you need to stop while verifying your account you can simply save and exit the process and come back to it later.

Usually for a personal account you'll need:

  • Your PAN card

  • A  passport or driving licence

How long does verification take

Verification may be done instantly - this is often the case if you're sending a relatively low value payment from a bank account in your own name. If you need to upload additional documents verification can still be done on the same day in some cases - or certainly within a couple of working days.

Wise (TransferWise) limits

Wise payment limits are set by currency. Other rules may apply based on the person you’re paying, and the reason for the transfer.

Check the details for Wise limits for your currency here.

Supported currencies

Wise lets you send money to over 40 different countries.

Wise regularly updates the countries and currencies available for payments - for the latest info check here.

Wise (TransferWise) reviews

Trustpilot is a great resource for checking out reviews of businesses you may want to deal with. See what previous customers have said before you get started, so you'll know you're going to get a good service.

At the time of writing, Wise has an Excellent score on Trustpilot, of 4.6 stars out of 5. Happy customers touch on the great rates offered:

"I have used Wise many times and they have never disappointed, fast transfers and great rates, I would highly recommend."

And the peace of mind which comes from a fast and reliable service:

"peace of mind, fast, efficient , reliable. Very pleased with WISE services."

Of course, not all Wise reviews were as glowing. At the time of writing, 1% of respondents gave Wise a Poor review, and 5% gave a Bad review.

Recent poor customer reviews tended to reflect accounts which have been frozen while verification and terms of use checks are carried out. On the positive side, Wise customer service responses within Trustpilot are up to date and suggest that Wise agents are able to understand and manage issues which are flagged through this route.

Is TransferWise a bank?

Wise is a financial technology service, not a bank. Wise works through local bank partners in India, and is approved by the Reserve Bank of India. It’s also regulated by the FCA in the UK, and other similar global bodies, and uses the same kinds of fraud detection tools and security technologies as banks. Customer funds are safeguarded - that means they're held securely in Wise's partner banks, separate from Wise's own company funds.

Wise accessibility

You can use Wise from your desktop, or get the app with an Apple or Android device. Wise has customer support in a range of languages, and a handy FAQ section online where you can get answers and troubleshooting support for common problems.

Wise (TransferWise) customer service

Generally, Wise is easy to use and offers a simple self service customer experience, meaning you can easily transact without needing to speak to someone. However, help is on hand if things go wrong.

The easiest way to get personal support from Wise is to log into your account and use the in-app and online chat feature. You can also use email and social media channels.

Contact channelWise availability
Personal chat supportLog into your account online or in-app
Phone supportLog in and visit the Wise help page to get the best phone number for your account type and query
Email

You can also log into your account to message Wise support about specific payments more easily - just click on the payment you'd like to query to get support options

Wise (TransferWise) alternatives

It makes sense to check out some alternative providers before you start making payments or open an account. The alternative which suits you could vary depending on the type of transactions you want to make. Here are a few to consider.

We'll dive into the detail on one of them - in just a moment:

  • Western Union - domestic and international payments arranged online or in person via an agent, payouts to bank accounts or for cash collection. Western Union does support more countries compared to Wise, but the overall costs for online payments tend to be higher.

  • PayPal or Xoom - send instant payments at home and abroad. Overall costs tend to be higher compared to using Wise, and if you choose PayPal your recipient will also need to set up a PayPal account to get their money.

Conclusion

Wise is great for people looking for low cost, fast international payments. Because Wise currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate without hidden fees - and a low, transparent charging structure - services tend to be cheaper compared to competitors, with no nasty lurking surprises. Click the button below to go to Wise, or read about our exclusive Wise promo code for Exiap readers.

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FAQ

How much does Wise cost?

Wise transfers have low transparent fees and use the real exchange rate with no markup.

How long does Wise take to transfer funds?

Many Wise payments are instant, 85% arrive within 24 hours.

Is Wise safe?

Wise is approved by the Reserve Bank of India, and also regulated by the FCA in the UK, FinCEN in the US, and other appropriate regulatory bodies elsewhere in the world.

How does Wise apply exchange rates?

Wise used the mid-market exchange rate with no markups or extra fees added.

Does Wise have a mobile app?

Yes. Get the Wise app for both Android and Apple phones.

How does Wise work?

Wise international transfers are arranged online and in-app, and deposited directly into recipient bank accounts. Because transfers are processed through Wise’s own payment network, the fees can be lower than with other providers.

How many currencies does Wise support?

Send payments with Wise to 40+ countries around the world.

General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions. We compare currency exchange and money transfer services in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. We only display reputable companies which we have researched and approved.

By Seyma Mektepli
Updated 14 July 2022