About the Author

Founder & author

Gavan started iCompareFX in 2014 after discovering the easiest way to wire money internationally was through a specialist provider and not the big banks. Working with global clients, he has become an expert in comparing money remittance companies. An ex-financial/IT nut turned entrepreneur, he reviews the best and cheapest providers available on the market.

Low and transparent fees

Multi-currency accounts for individuals and businesses

FX optimised debit card for personal and business

Manage personal and business from same account

Multi-currency account direct debits and credits

Mobile app for Android and Apple

Xero, Quickbooks and FreeAgent integration

Multi-user access for business

Batch payments

Payment options

Local bank transfer

Debit card

Credit card

Country specific options (e.g POLi, Apple Pay, Google Pay)
 

Payout options

Bank transfer 
 

Transfer options

Online

Mobile App
 

Regular transfers

Not available 

Send money from

AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, NZD, SGD, USD
 

Send money to

AED, AUD, AZN, BGN, BND, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EGP, EUR, FJD, GBP, HKD, HUF, IDR, ILS, INR, JPY, KRW, KWD, LKR, MGA, MXN, MYR, NOK, NZD, OMR, PEN, PGK, PHP, PKR, PLN, RUB, SAR, SBD, SCR, SEK, SGD, THB, TOP, TRY, TWD, TZS, USD, VND, VUV, WST, XOF, XPF, ZAR

More exotic currencies available via phone

Online help center only


Personal Features

50

TransferWise delivers a technology driven international money transfer service. As they are online only, the user experience design of their website and mobile apps are outstanding.
 

What TransferWise offers

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

International money transfers

TransferWise does currency exchange and sends money overseas to foreign bank accounts. You can only send at the exchange rate at the time of transfer. This is described as a Spot Contract. This is conducted through their apps or on their website. Their website user experience is very well designed.

TransferWise Borderless multi-currency receiving accounts

The TransferWise Borderless account gives you access to a digital currency wallet. Hold and transact in over 50 currencies. You also have access to 5 currencies with local banking details. GBP, EUR, USD, AUD, and NZD. Borderless account direct debit and credit is also available.  

TransferWise Borderless Debit Card - FX optimised debit card

The TransferWise Borderless Debit Card is attached to your TransferWise Borderless account. With this FX optimised TransferWise Debit Card, you can take advantage of their low transaction fees and currency exchange rates. The TransferWIse Debit Card can be used to withdraw cash from foreign ATMs, pay for goods and services in foreign countries, or even be used to purchase eCommerce goods for international shipping.

Android and Apple Apps

TransferWise Android and Apple apps have been designed very well and are easy to use. All funds received or paid, including via the TransferWise Debit Card, create alerts on the app. You are always informed for peace of mind.

Send money to email address

This is a unique feature compared to TransferWise’s competition. It involves entering the recipients email address.  In return the recipient must then create a TransferWise account and enter in their banking details to receive the foreign funds transfer.
 

What TransferWise doesn’t do

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

 

TransferWise score

Although the user experience for online-only is impressive. TransferWise services do not include risk management nor personal account managers. Individuals sending large sums of money may want the personal touch, advice on currency markets and options to manage the risk of regular transfers. This has resulted in TransferWise’s score in the Individual category.


Business Benefits

56

The same great online-only user experience through technology is carried into the TransferWise for business service offering. TransferWise adds to the individual services across their products to help international businesses. Below are the additional benefits to business on top of the individual service offering.
 

What TransferWise for Business offers

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

Batch payments

Batch payments allows you to bulk send payments to suppliers or overseas contracts, freelancers or employees. This can be uploaded as a CSV for faster processing. However, there is no ongoing transfer system to remove regular administrative efforts.

Xero and Quickbook integration

Integrate either of these accounting packages to TransferWise. This reduces bookkeeping reconciliation time and improves visibility of your business finances.

FX optimised business debit card

The TransferWise Borderless debit card is also available for business entities. Useful for business travellers, paying overseas subscriptions, and other services denominated in a foreign currency to your businesses home country. E.g. website hosting.

Multi-user account access

The TransferWise Business account can have delegated access with reduced rights and privileges. For example, allow your bookkeeper to access the TransferWise Borderless account directly for reconciliation purposes.
 

What TransferWise for Business doesn’t do

  • Business account management
  • Risk management tools
  • Regular batch transfers

TransferWise provides a great technology user experience for day to day business activities, and the convenience of their TransferWise Debit Card. 

Business Account / Risk Management

Unfortunately TransferWise does not provide partnership capabilities that a growing global business would need to manage their currency risk profile. Nor do they provide the tools for busineses to manage regular currency fluctuations. 

You, as the business owner, must decide on the right time to exchange currency. Either directly to the recipient or across the multi-currency account holdings to reduce future business costs due to currency market fluctuations. There are no hedging tools available such as Forward Contracts at your disposal. There are no FX market experts available to discuss options for your business to manage currency risk.

Regular batch transfers

Batch payments must be manually created and cannot be automated. This can increase time needed to manage regular payments overseas.
 

TransferWise score

The missed opportunities with business services has affected the TransferWise business score. That said, the day to day business user experience and services available are very good. Managing the business's future currency needs is not a part of the TransferWise service.


Fees & Exchange Rates

54

TransferWise’s fees are transparent.  There is no hidden fee inside of the exchange rate offered to you and there are no margin fees. 

However, it is not a simple fee to calculate. The fees for each currency pair (e.g. GBP/EUR) are different and TransferWise fees can change regularly, sometimes in favour or sometimes against. As TransferWise is an Online Only service, these fees are non-negotiable.

In general, the TransferWise’s fees range from 0.4% to 2% of the total amount being transferred. There is no fee to receive funds from a 3rd party into your TransferWise Borderless multi-currency account. Below we breakdown Transferwise fees so it is easier to understand.
 

TransferWise Fees

TransferWise fees may have no hidden fee above the real exchange rate. However, they are varying and therefore complex. TransferWise fees can be broken down into a few examples. 

  • Simple International Money Transfer
  • Adding to TransferWise Borderless account balances
  • Converting between Borderless account balances
  • Sending money out of Borderless account balances
  • Borderless Account Debit Card fees

 

Simple International Money Transfer

Simply exchanging currencies and sending money internationally can cost 0.4% for a bank transfer payment, 0.9% for a debit card payment, and up to 2% to pay by credit card. 

Important note: iCompareFX has observed that fees can increase on weekends.

Adding to TransferWise Borderless account balances

There is no cost for 3rd parties to add money to your Borderless account for currencies that have local banking details.

There is a TransferWise Borderless account fee when adding to your own Borderless accounts. The fee only applies when adding from a different currency. For example, adding money to your GBP account from your AUD local bank account. This fee can be between 0.4% and 0.5% of the sending currency. In the same example, it would cost AUD$8.21 to add £1000 to your GBP TransferWise Borderless account or 0.45%.

Converting between Borderless account balances

This scenario had the second lowest fees during testing with this TransferWise review. Converting an existing balance on your TransferWise Borderless GBP account to your Borderless AUD account cost 0.36%. Converting AUD$1000 from your GBP account cost £550.70 in which £2.03 was the TransferWise fee. Please note that the TransferWise fee changes depending on the currencies you are converting. 

Sending money out of Borderless account balances

This example had the lowest fees during testing with this TransferWise review. £1000 from your Borderless GBP account to an external UK bank account cost £0.60 which is 0.06%.

Borderless Account Debit Card fees

There is no fee in ordering a TransferWise debit card.
ATM cash withdrawals - There is a fee free limit on withdrawals from existing Borderless account balances across currencies. The fee free withdrawal limit is GBP200, USD250, AUD350, NZD350, and SGD350. After that there is a 2% fee.
Payments - There are no fees charged if there is enough money in the currency account.  If the money has to be taken out of another currency account, then a 0.24 - 3.69% fee could be imposed.

 

TransferWise fees score

In summary, TransferWise exchange rates have no hidden fees. The real time exchange rate is used at the time of the transaction.

TransferWise fees can be low or high depending on the currencies being exchanged, how you are paying into TransferWise, and how you use the TransferWise Borderless account. The fees are complex to calculate in advance and can change over time. 

Although fees can be low, due to the complexity of the fee structure and reduced dependability on knowing the cost of future transactions, TransferWise has lost points for the iCompareFX TransferWise review on Fees. 


Ease of Use

83

Ease of use is where TransferWise really shines through. They are a technology company at heart with wonderful User Experience capabilities built in to every part of their application. Bravo TransferWise.
 

What TransferWise does well

Account registration - Accounts can be created by a simple wizard and an email verification.

ID verification - TransferWise uses 3rd party solutions to verify ID instantaneously in most countries.

Payment options - There are multiple ways to make payments to TransferWise. Simple local bank transfers, debit / credit cards and country specific solutions. The faster it is, the higher the cost.

Transfer speed - With bespoke country solutions to pay TransferWise and for TransferWise to pay out at the foreign destination, TransferWise can at times produce instant international money transfers. For example, sending from an AUD bank account to a client in the UK. Paying TransferWise via POLi is instantaneous. TransferWise can then instantaneously send out to a UK bank account. This may, however, come at an additional cost. Sending to other destinations and using bank transfer to pay TransferWise can mean transfer speeds of 2 - 3 days.

Minimum transfer amount - As low as $1. 

Android and Apple apps - Their design, development and user experience is the best there is. There is no doubt that they are a fintech company with outstanding products.
 

Where TransferWise could improve

Phone support - Some customers would prefer to talk with a real person. 
 

TransferWise score

TransferWise’s high level of detail to user experience is reflected in the scoring. TransferWise has one of the best user experiences built into the design and development of their applications.


Support & Countries

88

TransferWise supported countries are as complex as their fees. There is no straightforward answer. A dedicated TransferWise supported countries and currencies article has been created by iCompareFX to help you. Here is a summary below. 

Countries you can send from - There are over 23 countries and the Euro Zone (including SEPA countries) you can register for a TransferWise account to send money online internationally.
Currencies you can send to - There are 61 currencies you can send money online to internationally. There are many more countries outside of Europe you can send EUR to.
Borderless account supported countries - Customers from Europe, Singapore, Australia, USA, New Zealand and the UK are eligible for a Borderless account. Each of these have local banking details. Hold and manage 50+ currencies without local banking details.

Borderless account debit card countries - Customers from Europe, Singapore, Australia, USA, New Zealand and the UK are eligible for a Borderless debit card.

 

Customer Service Country / Languages support

  • Unfortunately, TransferWise customer support is initiated through their web site only.
  • Their website supports 12 languages. 

 

TransferWise score

TransferWise scores highly with supported countries and language support. Unfortunately customer service is online only. Despite this iCompareFX has scored TransferWise highly.


Trust & Transparency

63

What TransferWise does well

  • TransferWise fee transparency, albeit complex, has no hidden fees. During the course of your transfer you know how much it will cost before you commit to the transaction.
  • TransferWise is fully regulated by the FCA.
  • Many thousands of iCompareFX customers now use TransferWise regularly.
  • 2 factor authentication is used to secure your TransferWise account and balances.

 

Challenges

TrustPilot reviews of TransferWise

TransferWise’s TrustPilot score is an overall rating of Excellent, however you will find dozens of very poor user reviews. There are many reviews of account closures without apparent reason and funds refunded with no contact from TransferWise. While this may be due to strict compliance regulations, the poor TrustPilot reviews are going unanswered. This is a concern.

TransferWise ownership

TransferWise shareholders include institutional investors and private equity. Fundraising is a regular occurence. The most recent was in 2020 with another secondary shares sale of $319m. Each of these investors are looking for growth and ultimately a return on their investment. What does this mean for the future of TransferWise and it’s pricing structure? iCompareFX believes that significant private capital funding of large global businesses can be a risk. 

TransferWise savings account feature

TransferWise has most recently added a feature in Beta called Savings Account. This is a multi-currency account where you can set aside money from your main transactional account. This could be misleading to the customer that their funds are secured by government balance guarantees. TransferWise does not have a banking license and therefore is not covered by government bank balance guarantees. 
 

TransferWise score

Due to some challenges highlighted above, iCompareFX has reduced the TransferWise score in this category accordingly. iCompareFX will continue to observe TransferWise’s risk profile and will update the TransferWise review accordingly.

FAQs

Is TransferWise safe??

Yes. TransferWise is safe to use. TransferWise is fully regulated by the FCA and segregates customer’s money from its business banking accounts. iCompareFX uses TransferWise for some international money transfers. We also use their Borderless account combined with their debit card to pay suppliers worldwide. However, it is not advisable to leave funds indefinitely in their multi-currency Borderless Account as explained in the FAQs on TransferWise.

How does TransferWise work?

TransferWise started off as a peer to peer money transfer company. This means that they have a pool of money in the countries they transfer between. Let’s use sending money from EUR to GBP as an example. You send money to TransferWise’s local EUR account. TransferWise sends GBP from their GBP account. No money is sent via international wire transfer. TransferWise then charges a nominal fee for the use of their service. In some countries TransferWise only supports sending money through SWIFT which can come with additional fees.

What is TransferWise?

TransferWise is a specialist peer to peer money transfer company. They specialise in creating a great user experience through their website and mobile applications. They are known for bold marketing campaigns, spruiking the big banks fees and being a Fintech Unicorn worth in the billions.

Can I transfer money from TransferWise to my bank account?

Yes! You can transfer money from TransferWise to your bank account. This can be from their digital wallet multi-currency account, Borderless Account, or internationally from one bank account to another.

Is TransferWise a bank??

Nope. TransferWise is not a bank. The TransferWise Borderless account should not be treated as a bank account. No interest is paid on deposits. Most importantly, TransferWise is not protected by Government insurance and deposit guarantees. If TransferWise fails, although your funds are segregated, it may not be returned to you immediately. If TransferWise is awarded a banking license. We'll update this FAQ.

Can I have 2 TransferWise accounts?

Yes. You can have two TransferWise accounts. One individual account and one business account. But you cannot have two personal accounts. 

Can I pay bills with TransferWise?

Yes. You can pay bills with TransferWise. You cannot pay bills directly to a service provider, e.g. electricity or TV. WorldRemit is a better option for bill payment service. However, you can pay bills with the TransferWise Borderless Debit Card. The Borderless Account now also supports direct debits and credits. So bills could also be paid for via direct debit if supported by your service provider.

Summary

75

The iCompareFX TransferWise review has shown TransferWise is a great choice for simple international money transfers. They have a range of features and services all backed by great fintech. Design and user experience is at its heart. TransferWise has a strong brand backed by smart innovative marketing campaigns based on the premise of transparent fees on top of real time exchange rate.

Where TransferWise excels in technology and its easy to use solutions, they lacks in individual and business partnership capabilities. This is reflected in the iCompareFX score of TransferWise.

Pros

  • Well designed, easy to use website and mobile app.
  • Multi-currency TransferWise Borderless account to receive funds from 3rd parties.
  • Direct debits and credits available in the Borderless account.
  • FX optimised debit cards for personal and business use.
  • Delegated access to the Borderless account for TransferWise business customers.

Cons

  • Transparent but complex and varying fee structures across currencies and services.
  • No personal customer service.
  • No business account management.
  • No risk management tools for businesses or individuals.