Personal Features

TransferWise

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TransferWise provides a simple easy to use international money transfer service with digital wallet capabilities. Their digital wallet, or Borderless account also gives the individual local banking details in 6+ currencies including, EUR, SGD, NZD, USD, GBP and AUD. Their TransferWise Borderless debit card backs on to their Borderless digital wallet allowing you to spend directly out of your multi-currency account balances.

What TransferWise offers individuals

  • International money transfers
  • Borderless multi-currency receiving accounts
  • Borderless Debit Card - FX optimised debit card
  • Android and Apple apps
  • Send money to email address

What TransferWise does not offer individuals

  • Personal account management
  • Regular transfers
  • Cash pick up or international bill payments

Bank Transfer

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International bank transfers are also called international wire transfers or telegraphic transfers. A bank transfer doesn’t offer individuals anything outside of the basic purpose of transferring money from one bank account to another, whether it's within the country, or internationally.


TransferWise wins!

TransferWise has solved the user experience problem for sending money internationally. Big banks are catching up with offering in-app money transfer solutions. TransferWise is a fintech at heart and has built their products and services with the customer in mind. 

The big difference is that TransferWise is online only, and big banks offer account managers to help guide you if you need assistance. This comes at a cost!

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Business Benefits

TransferWise

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In addition to the services TransferWise offers the individual, there are some features only available for a business. Unfortunately, as TransferWise is online only, a business customer does not have support with currency fluctuations and trends. TransferWise does however offer easy to use transactional foreign currency receipts and payments.

What TransferWise offers businesses

  • Batch payments
  • Xero and Quickbook integration
  • FX optimised business debit card
  • Multi-user account access

What TransferWise for business doesn’t offer

  • Business account management
  • Risk management tools
  • Regular transfers

Bank Transfer

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International wire transfers can be used by businesses globally to receive payments or settle payee accounts. Bank transfers are commonly used to settle trade accounts for import / export, pay global suppliers, employees or foreign tax obligations.


TransferWise wins!

As with individual services, the big banks offer much of what TransferWise offers. Where TransferWise excels is their Borderless product offering local banking details in foreign countries allowing you to bank like a local. While the big bank can provide foreign currency accounts, they are located within your home country and therefore attract additional costs for payments and receiving funds internationally.

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Fees & Exchange Rates

TransferWise

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TransferWise offers the real time exchange rate at the time of your transfer. Therefore fees are visible in addition to the transfer amount. The fee structure is complex as it differs depending on the currencies you are sending from and to. Fees also apply to the type of Borderless account transaction. Fees can also apply on the use of the TransferWise Borderless debit card. Fees are briefly summarised below. Read the detailed TransferWise review for more details on TransferWise fees.

TransferWise ServiceTransferWise fee
Simple International Money Transfer

0.4% - 2% 

Varies on currency and payment type

Adding to TransferWise Borderless account0.4% - 0.5%
Converting between Borderless account0.3% - 0.6%
Sending money out of Borderless accountLess than 0.1% in most cases
Borderless Account Debit Card

No fee for card issuance

Fee free cash withdrawal limit of US$250, 2% thereafter

Zero cost on spend from existing currency balance, 0.24 - 3.69% fee if there is no existing balance


Bank Transfer

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Bank transfers are more expensive then the money transfer providers.  They normally add up to a 5% markup on exchange rates. In addition, they also charge a fee that may vary from $10 to $25.


TransferWise wins!

TransferWise offers much lower costs for sending and receiving foreign currencies. It’s why TransferWise exists!

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Ease of Use

TransferWise

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The TransferWise app design and user experience of their technology is great with simple, intuitive processes.

Registration - Fast and easy account creation

ID verification - Instant in some countries

Transfer speed - It can be instantaneous in some countries. Fast payments to TransferWise comes at an additional cost.

Minimum transfer amount - $1

Mobile app - Simple and easy to use. Probably the best designed app of the international money transfer companies.

Payment options - TransferWise has the broadest range of payment options. Local bank transfer, debit / credit card and country specific solutions such as POLi.


Bank Transfer

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Bank transfers work differently depending on the relationship between the banks involved. 

If the banks share a direct relationship, then:

  • The sender’s bank debits the transfer amount from sender’s account.
  • The sender’s bank credits the transfer amount to the recipient bank’s account.
  • The recipient bank transfers the amount into the recipient’s account.

If the banks do not share a direct relationship, then:

  • The sender’s bank debits the transfer amount from sender’s account.
  • The sender’s bank asks an intermediary bank to debit the transfer amount from its account and transfer it to the recipient bank’s account.
  • The intermediary bank processes the transfer from the sender’s bank to the recipient’s bank for a fee.
  • The recipient bank transfers the amount into the recipient’s account.

Banks can take five to seven business days, or more, to process your transfer.


TransferWise wins!

As a FinTech company at heart, TransferWise excels at customer experience and ease of use. Using bank transfers for international payments really depends on where you bank. Some experiences may be good. Most poor.

TransferWise’s speed of transfers leaves traditional banks in the dust. TransferWise’s peer to peer money transfer solution bypasses the need to leverage telegraphic transfers and Swift settlements. Those can slow your international bank transfer down to sometimes a week for a transfer.

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Support & Countries

TransferWise

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TransferWise’s supported countries vary with different services having different supported customer countries and destination countries. These are detailed in the TransferWise Countries and Currencies article and is summarized below.

Send from - 23 countries plus the Europe SEPA countries

Send to - Over 60 currencies

Borderless account and debit card - Over 6 countries can sign up to their Borderless services.


Bank Transfer

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For banks, overseas fund transfers account for a small percentage of their business.

That said bank transfers can be organised through most financial institutions across the world.


TransferWise wins!

TransferWise Borderless account offers location banking details in more countries. As a global integrated company, they work tightly as a team. Focusing on customer experience and service.

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Trust & Transparency

TransferWise

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TransferWise is fully regulated by the FCA and their customer funds are segregated from their business banking activities.

TransferWise is rated on TrustPilot as Excellent. Unfortunately there have been some poor reviews on TrustPilot indicating sudden account closures with funds being returned with no explanation.

TransferWise continues to raise capital through private funding. This could be a concern for the future when the shareholders are looking for aggressive growth and / or a return on their investment.


Bank Transfer

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Bank transfers offer a secure and reliable way to transfer money between bank accounts held in different countries but are more expensive and slower then through the money transfer providers. 


TransferWise wins!

TransferWise’s transparent fee structure and Excellent customer reviews leaving normal bank transfers behind.

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The Result

Winner ribbon iconWinner

 TransferWise

No surprise that TransferWise win’s overall. You really should read our detailed TransferWise review to learn more about how this money transfer company solved the international bank transfer problem.