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Wise Review 2022

  • Send money anywhere, anytime
  • Spend in local currency with your card
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If you own a business and need to pay employees or accept client payments online, then you know it can be a real hassle. This is complicated even further if the people you want to pay or take payments from happen to live in other countries. This is why payment services are quite popular in the business world.

But many of these services can cost you a fortune in transfer fees. Because of this, many entrepreneurs prefer using Wise. But is Wise the best payment service for you? We’ll tell you everything you need to know about Wise in this Wise review so that you’ll be able to make an informed decision about their services.

What is Wise?

It makes sense to start our Wise review with a quick explanation of what Wise is. It’s a payment processing service that competes with other payment services, such as PayPal. In fact, it’s marketed as a cheaper alternative to these other services with transparent transfer fees.

Many other services claim to provide free payment services but then charge transfer fees, or leave out information about exchange rates and fees for international payments. But Wise is upfront about their fees, providing you with a Wise calculator to help you understand how much transfers will cost.

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Who is Wise For?

We’re sure that many people are reading this Wise review trying to determine whether this service would be beneficial to them. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ll tell you who will reap the most benefits from Wise.

  • People who send money internationally frequently will get the best experience from Wise because they can enjoy low fees and reliable services.
  • Anyone who wants to make an international transfer quickly. We learned while writing our Wise review that most transfers made with Wise only take a couple of days to process.
  • Any business owner who doesn’t want to pay massive fees for payment transactions. During our research for this Wise review we found that Wise is often the cheapest service, but even when they’re not they’re at least in the top three least expensive payment services. They give you the real exchange rate, too, so you’re not stuck with the hidden fees that other services charge.
  • People who are concerned about making a secure transfer. Wise is regulated by the FinCEN, or Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, as well as other agencies throughout the world. Furthermore, they use up-to-date encryption and security protocols, which means you can rest assured that your transfers are secure.
  • Anyone who wants to make a transfer without having to deal with an annoyingly long and complicated process to create an account. It’s easy to make a Wise account, and you can be creating transfers as soon as your account is created.
  • Business owners looking for an easy way to make transfers. Not only are Wise’s transfers easy, they allow you to pay in multiple ways and provide you with notifications and messages every step of the way to keep you informed about what’s happening.

History and Reputation of Wise

One of the most important factors, when you’re considering using a new service, is finding out about the company so that you can decide whether you want to associate with them or not. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about Wise’s history and reputation in this section of our Wise review.

The company was started in 2010 by two friends. They paired smart branding with low fees and currency exchange, which paid off. They’re now one of the largest international money transfer services not just in the United States, but in the world. Millions of customers trust them to handle billions of dollars worth of transactions each year.

In 2021 the company changed its name from Transferwise to Wise. We want to point out in our Wise review that the reason for the name change was pretty simple: they offer services beyond just transfers.

Their CEO and co-founder, Kristo Kaarmann said, “Today our name catches up with who we’re already building for- a community of people and businesses with multi-currency lives… Wise is for all of us who live, work, travel, or support family around the world. It’s for those of us who want to cut out the middlemen that hold us back from being truly borderless.”

Since we don’t expect you to go off the word of our Wise review, we’ll tell you about some of the TrustPilot reviews we read. The majority of reviews used words like “Great” and “Excellent”. However, negative reviews typically complain about transfer delays, difficulties with the identification verification process, account suspension, or bank fees (which isn’t something Wise can control).

Wise does fairly well in terms of reviews and has earned an overall TrustScore of 4.6 our of 5.

How to Transfer Money with Wise

We really can’t add a “features” section to our Wise review because you can use Wise to do two things: send money and receive money. That’s pretty much it. So in this section of our Wise review, we’ll teach you how to make a Wise transfer.

1. Create a Wise Account

The first step is to create an account with Wise. You can do this either from the Wise website or through their mobile app. All it requires is a few basic bits of information, such as your email address, name, date of birth and residential address. After you’ve provided all the information and submitted it, you’re ready to start transferring. You’ll also need to complete the email verification process.

2. Set Up Your Transfer

When you’re setting up a transfer, you need to specify the amount of money you’re sending, designate the country the money is being sent to, as well as its currency, and choose a delivery method. In most cases, this will be a bank transfer, but sometimes you’re given the choice to use a credit or debit card instead.

3. Add a Recipient

You’ve added all of your information, so now it’s time to add information about who you’re sending money to. You’ll need to add their name (and it has to match the name they’ve listed on their bank account), bank information and email address.

If you’re sinding money inside the Eurozone then you’ll need to add your recipient’s IBAN (International Bank Account Number) even if you’re in the Eurozone as well. And no matter where you’re sending money, if you’re making an international transfer then you’ll need to list a SWIFT/BIC code (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication/Business Identifier Codes) and their bank account number.

4. Review the Information and Pay for the Transfer

After you enter the recipient’s bank information, Wise will ask you to review the information you’ve entered. This is a nice measure to ensure that you haven’t entered any information incorrectly before making a transfer. If you check the information and find that it’s all correct, then you can click the “Confirm and continue” button. This will transfer the money from your bank account.

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Which Countries Can Wise Transfers Be Sent To?

An important factor for many business owners reading this Wise review is finding out which countries Wise will send transfers to. It’s not going to do you any good to sign up for Wise’s services if it won’t transfer to a country you need to conduct business in, after all. Here’s a list of the countries that you can make Wise transfers to:

Europe:

  • Austria
  • Luxembourg
  • Andorra
  • Monaco
  • Bulgaria
  • Norway
  • Croatia
  • Poland
  • Cyprus
  • Romania
  • Czech Republic
  • Russia
  • Denmark
  • San Marino
  • Estonia
  • Spain
  • Finland
  • Sweden
  • Georgia
  • Switzerland
  • Greece
  • The Netherlands
  • Hungary
  • Turkey
  • Latvia
  • Ukraine
  • Liechtenstein
  • The United Kingdom

Americas

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • The United States

Oceania

  • Australia
  • New Zealand

East Asia

  • Bangladesh
  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka

Southeast Asia

  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Middle East

  • Israel
  • UAE

Africa

  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Egypt
  • Ghana
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Ivory Coast
  • Kenya
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • South Africa
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
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Currencies You Can Send and Receive With Wise

Another important factor that we want to cover in our Wise review is the types of currency that you can send and receive through Wise. This is especially important if you need to send or receive a currency that doesn’t appear on this list. Here are the currencies you can send and receive using Wise:

AUD- Australian Dollar
BGM- Bulgarian Lev
BRL- Brazilian Real
CAD- Canadian Dollar
CHF- Swiss Fanc
CZK- Czech Koruna
DKK- Danish Krone
EUR- Euro
GBP- Pounds Sterling
HKD- Hong Kong Dollar
USD- US Dollar
JPY- Japanese Yen
HUF- Hungarian Forint
HRK- Croatian Kuna
NOK- Norwegian Krone
NZD- New Zealand Dollar
PLN- Polish Zloty
RON- Romanian Leu
TRY- Turkish Lira
SEK- Swedish Krona
SGD- Singapore Dollar
AED- Emirati Dirham
IDR- Indonesian Rupiah
INR- Indian Rupee
MYR- Malaysian Ringgit
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Currencies That Can Only Be Sent to Local Bank Accounts With Wise

We feel that it’s equally important to know which currencies can only be sent to local bank accounts. Luckily, we’re going to include the whole list in our comprehensive Wise review. Here are the currencies that can only be sent to local bank accounts:

CRC- Costa Rica Colon
ARS- Argentine Peso
BDT- Bangladeshi Taka
CLP- Chilean Peso
CNY- Chinese Yen
COP- Colombian Peso
EGP- Egyptian Pound
GEL- Georgian Lari
NPR- Nepalese Rupee
ILS- Israeli Shekels
GHS- Ghana Cedi
KES- Kenyan Shillings
KRW- South Korean Won
LKR- Sri Lankan Rupee
MAD- Moroccan Dirham
MXN- Mexican Peso
UYU- Uruguayan Pesos
NGN- Nigerian Naira
PEN- Peruvian Sol
PHP- Peruvian Sol
PHP- Philippine Peso
PKR- Pakistani Rupee
RUB- Russian Ruble
THB- Thai Baht
UAH- Ukrainian Hryvna
VND- Vietnamese Dong
XOF- West African CFA franc
ZAR- South African Rand
ZMW- Zambian kwacha
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How Does Wise Work?

It’s important if you’re using a payment service that you understand how it works. Of course the payment service doesn’t take your bank information and then do some sort of sorcery to complete the transaction. So we’ll explain how Wise works in this section of our Wise review.

Transferwise was a P2P (Peer to Peer) service, and it made a big deal about advertising itself as one of the first P2P money transfer service. Here’s how P2P transfer services work:

After you make a payment for  your transfer in USD and send money to a European country, Wise stores your money in a different bank account in the US. The funds stay in the account until someone else uses their services to send the same amount in EUR to the US. After this match process happens, Wise sends the EUR that the other customer sent to the US to your recipient’s European bank account.

However, they’ve recently ditched all of the “P2P” advertisements. This is because most customers want to make instant transfers. It’s also quite difficult for them to maintain a P2P design because some people will make exceptionally large transfers, and also there are always going to be more popular currency forms (like USD or EUR).

With the number of transfers made daily with Wise, they’ve definitely had to obtain cheap liquidity from banks they’re partnered with.

We learned while we were writing this Wise review that Wise has bank accounts all over the world, which is why they can give you low transaction fees and exchange rates, but it’s also how they pull off this money swapping.

Here are some of the awards we found while researching Wise for this Wise review:

  • Best European Startup, Europas European Tech Startup Awards (2013)
  • FT’s Boldness in Business Award (2014)
  • EY Entrepreneur of the Year UK (2015)
  • WEF Tech Pioneer (2015)
  • Mozo Experts Choice Awards- Australia’s Best International Money Transfer Provider (2019)

Wise Pricing

There aren’t any monthly fees with Wise, and they make it a point to never have any hidden fees. So in this section of our Wise review, we’ll go the two types of fees that Wise charges.

Wise Card Payment Fees

If you pay for your transfer using a card, Wise charges a card payment fee.

Personal TransfersBusiness Transfers
Debit cards: 1.25%Debit cards 1.1%
Credit cards: 3.8%Credit Cards: 4.33%

Wise charges 0.8%, if you use a foreign card to make a transfer in USD (United States Dollars) and the card, was issued in the EEA (European Economic Area), and they charge 4.55% if it was it was issued outside the EEA.

Of course, we feel like it’s worth mentioning in our Wise review that you can avoid all of these fees if you pay for your transfer with your bank account instead of using a card.

Wise Service Fees

Wise uses both a fixed fee and a percentage of the amount of the transfer to calculate the service fee. Of course, there are various factors that play into this as well, such as which country you send your transfer to and the currencies you convert.

The good news is that we found out during our research for this Wise review that you can use the Wise Fee Calculator to determine what your service fee will be without even having to sign up for a Wise account. This means that you can find out about the service fee, and then choose a different service if you decide it’s too high because you don’t have to make a commitment to Wise to get the information.

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How Do Wise’s Wire Transfer Rates Compare to Other Services?

Of course everyone reading this Wise review wants to know how Wise’s rates compare to other payment services, and whether it’s a good value. Hre’s a look at some of the wire transfer rates of other payment services:

  • Many other International Money Transfer Services: 0.4%- 1.8%
  • Banks: 3%-7%
  • PayPal: 6%- 8%

Now that you understand the rates of other payment services, we’ll tell you about Wise so that you can make the comparison.

Wise charges a wire transfer rate of only 0.39%. As you can tell, that’s a highly competitive rate compared to other payment services.

Wise Hidden Fees

Wise is quite upfront about all of its fees. It’s part of the company’s branding. But we found out while writing this Wise review that there are some hidden fees in the form of bank fees from both ends that people typically don’t know about.

Most payment services will tell you that they can’t do anything about these fees, but they’d be wrong because Wise sure has. Because Wise has local bank accounts in nearly every country, you can avoid banks charging you ridiculous fees of between $10-$50 on both ends for a wire transfer.

This is less than ideal for any business because even if the payment service only charges you 1% for transfers, they’re still stuck with these despicable bank rates.

We found during our research for this Wise review that wise makes it a point to have local banks all over the world. So even if you do make a transfer and get hit with some crazy bank fees, you’re already paying less for the service than you would from other payment services due to Wise’s low transfer rates.

Information You Need to Send Money With Wise

It’s important to know what sort of information you need to have on hand when you make transfers, which is why we’re going to discuss that in this section of our Wise review.

Of course, you need to provide Wise with information about the recipient’s bank. You can either get this information from the recipient or call their bank and get it from them. This can be a bit awkward because not everyone wants to give out their banking information, which is understandable.

Because of this, Wise also gives you the option “Money to Email” option. This allows you to simply enter the recipient’s email address and then Wise takes the information from them, rather than from you. We feel like this is a handy feature, so we wanted to point it our in our Wise review.

Here’s some of the information that Wise requires you to provide to make a transfer:

  • The transfer amount
  • Both the country you’re sending money from and the country you’re sending money to
  • The currencies involved in the transfer
  • Details about the recipient, such as their name and address
  • And the banking information of the recipient

The required information about your or your recipient’s bank is different from country to country. Generally speaking, you’ll need either the sort code or routing number, as well as the account number. You may also need a SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) code or IBAN (International Bank Account Number).

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How Wise Verifies Your Identity

While we were learning about Wise for our Wise review, we found out that in an effort to ensure safe transfers Wise requires that customers confirm their identities. Wise may ask you to confirm your identity upon first creating your account, or making a transfer.

We know you’re probably reading this section of the Wise review and thinking that this is an annoying requirement, but it’s something that every financial institution does to ensure security.

It depends on the amount of money you’re transferring, but Wise may ask you to submit both some form of identification document and proof of address. Here’s a list of the documents that Wise accepts:

Identification DocumentsAddress Documents
Passport with photoDriver’s license
State IDGas or electricity bills
Driver’s license with photoBank or credit card statements
U.S. Military IDState ID
Immigration ID or Residence PermitUS government documents

Here are some helpful tips that our Wise review will provide you with, even though other sites may not.

  • Check to make sure that your ID is currently valid and that it hasn’t expired.
  • Make sure that your documents show your full name, date of birth, current address, or other identifying information clearly.

Once you’ve gathered your documents, all you have to do is upload either a photo or scan of the document to their website. From then Wise tells you that it may take two or three days to identify your identity, but during our research for this Wise review we found that it usually doesn’t take that long. In fact, in many cases your identity is verified the same day.

Wise Transfer Methods and Options

We feel that we wouldn’t be writing a very good Wise review if we didn’t tell you more about the transfer methods and options that are available to you. Here’s a look at all of the transfer options (and limits) with Wise:

  • Sending Channels: You can use either Wise’s mobile app or their website to send money.
  • Payment Options: You can use your debit card, credit card, Google Pay, Apple Pay or your bank account (SWIFT, ACH or wire transfer) to make payment transfers.
  • Delivery Options: Unfortunately recipients can only receive money to their bank accounts. There are other providers with international cash pickup locations. A cash pickup location would make it easier to send payments to clients or employees without access to bank accounts, but at this time Wise doesn’t have that option.
  • Transfer Limits: There are transfer minimums that vary from country to country. But we found in our research for this Wise review that the minimum in most countries is $1, while the maximum for most American businesses is $15,000/day if they use ACH, and if they use a bank wire transfer to make an international payment the maximum is typically $1.6 million.

Wise Sending Limits

Every business owner reading this Wise review wants to know about the maximum amount you’re allowed to transfer with Wise. Don’t worry, we found out about spending limits while conducting research for this Wise review.

There is a spending limit, but you’re not likely to hit it. Depending on how you choose to pay for your transfer, you can send up to 1 million USD or $1,000,000. However, if you pay by card rather than using your bank account to make a transfer, the limit is lower.

Is it Safe to Use Wise?

You’re probably wondering whether transfers with Wise are actually safe, and we’ll tell you all about it in this section of our Wise review. First of all, you need to know that they have millions of customers and handle billions of dollars worth of transfers each year. They’re regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the US, as well as by many other agencies worldwide.

One of the methods they use to ensure your funds stay secure is that they manage your funds in a separate financial institution than the ones they secure their operational funds in. This means that your money and theirs are kept separate from each other. They also stay up to date and use the latest security measures to ensure that your information and your money are secure.

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Which Countries and Institutions Regulate Wise?

We’ve mentioned previously in our Wise review that there are many different agencies that regulate Wise. Here is the complete list:

  • Belgium and the EEA (European Economic Area): The National Bank of Belgium (NBB) acts as an Authorized Payment Institution and has pasport rights across the EEA.
  • Australia: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) regulates Wise, and they’re registered with another agency called the Financial Intelligence Unit (AUSTRAC) as what is known as a “money remitter”.
  • Hong Kong: the Customs and Excise Department (CCE) of Hong Kong.
  • Canada: Wise is registered with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) as an MSB (Money Service Business. Their M15193392.
  • Japan:Wise is licensed as a Funds Transfer Provider, and is regulated by the Kanto Local Financial Bureau.
  • India: The RBI (Reserve Bank of India)
  • New Zealand: Wise is allowed to operate as a foreign entity in New Zealand, with the supervision of the Department of Internal Affairs, or DIA.
  • Malaysia: Wise has a Class B Remittance license and is regulated by the Bank Negara Malaysia.
  • United Kingdom: Wise has been authorized by the UK Financial Conduct Authority to act as an EMI, or Electronic Money Institution and has pasport rights across the EEA (European Economic Area).
  • Singapore: Wise is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and is considered a remittance business.

Wise Borderless Account

It would be a missed opportunity if we published this Wise review if we didn’t mention Wise’s Borderless Account option. It’s a multi-currency account,a dn it allows you to have as many as 40 different currencies in your account, and send transfers to more than 50 countries.

The Wise Borderless Account makes it easy to convert money to different currencies with Wise exchange rates. And it allows you to obtain local bank information, which lets you receive money and have it paid to your Borderless Account. Areas, where you can obtain local bank information, include: the UK, the US, New Zeland, Australia and the Eurozone.

Here are some of the most notable features of the Borderless Account we found in our research for this Wise review:

  • No foreign transaction fees, or annual fees
  • You can take out up to $250 every 30 days for free
  • It comes with an app that does conversions for you and provides you with notifications
  • Use the account worldwide and spend money at any place that accepts Mastercard or Apple Pay
  • Convert money to different currencies using the real exchange rate (no hidden fees)

Another nice feature that we discovered when reading about the Borderless Account for this Wise review is a Wise Mastercard Debit Card. With this debit card you can spend the money in your account virtually everywhere. Even better, you won’t be charged a foreign transaction charge, but the exchange rates and fees that Wise offers instead.

The Borderless Account can support the international transfers and currency exchanges of your business. This account can be used to accommodate both business and personal needs, and you can customize it to best suit you.

Wise Business Account

The other account type we discovered while researching the payment service for this Wise review is the Wise Business Account. This is a good idea if you want to do business with clients around the world or pay employees anywhere they live.

Some of the things you can do with a Wise Business Account include:

  • Pay employees in different countries
  • Receive payments from international clients
  • Use a debit card and spend money in any currency
  • Integrate Wise’s services with your e-commerce store

Wise charges a one-time setup fee for international banking. This fee costs $31 USD, 16 GBP, $42 CAD, 21 EUR, $22 AUD or $40 NZD.

Not only can you pay employees who live in different countries, you can set up mass payments by uploading a spreadsheet. By doing this you can pay up to 1,000 people at a time and pay less in fees for doing so. Another handy feature we learned about while we were reading about the Wise Business Account for our Wise review is the ability to add team members to your Wise account. You can then delegate payment duties to these team members.

It’s easier for you to get paid with Wise, as well. All you need is an international account number, sort code and IBAN, and then Wise gives you not only a platform to get paid with, but makes you and your business appear more professional to your clients.

You can get a multi-currency debit card for either your team or for yourself. It’s easy to keep track of all the transactions you’ve made with the card from the mobile app or the Wise Business Account dashboard.

We’re excited to tell you about this feature in our Wise review because it makes e-commerce far easier. You can integrate Wise with your e-commerce store! This allows you to take payments in multiple different currencies. Wise also supports integrations with Stripe and Shopify to make transactions in different currency a breeze.

Another interesting feature we found while writing this Wise review is that you can issue debit cards to your team members for spending. They can use the cards to spend money online or in your store.

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Wise Debit Card and Fees

We’ve discussed the debit card previously in this Wise review, but we’re going to go into more detail about the features and fees associated with the Wise debit card.

The debit card is best used in conjunction with the Borderless account. This allows you to spend money while you’re in other countries using the funds in your account and exchange the currencies at mid-market rates.

If you have funds in your account that have already been converted to that currency, then it automatically pays for your purchase using those funds. If you don’t have funds that have already been converted to the desired currency in your account, then Wise converts it.

The Wise debit card allows you to spend money both online and in person in 150 different currencies in 200 countries. You can pay people in 54 different local currencies. It’s easy to add your Apple and Google Pay accounts to Wise and then send and spend money using those payment methods. You also get the option to use 2 ATM withdrawls while you’re abroad for free each month.

We’ll tell you all about the fees you can expect with your Wise debit card in this section of our Wise review, as well. When you first buy your card, you’re charged $10 and if you lose or damage your card, it’s $5. However, Wise Business users can get the card for free. No matter whether you have a business or a personal account, you can use up to three different virtual cards at no charge.

As we mentioned earlier in this section of our Wise review, you can make two different ATM withdrawls every month, but the total amount between both withdrawls must be under $300. If you make further withdrawls, you’ll be charged a $1.50 fee for each subsequent withdrawl. It’s also worth noting that if you withdraw over $350 per month, then you’ll be charged a fee of 1.75% in addition to the $1.50 withdrawl fee.

Wise Exchange Rates

One of the most intriguing things we found during our information gathering for this Wise review is that Wise has very low exchange rates. This is because they use the lowest base rate to calculate their rates so that you get the best rates possible.

Once you’ve sent your transfer Wise guarantees that the exchange rate will be locked in for between 2-72 hours. If you’re wondering why there’s such a difference in the time periods that Wise locks in these rates, it’s because it’s dependent on a couple of factors, such as which country you’ve sent the money from and how quickly the funds are transferred to Wise from your account.

We learned while writing this Wise review that Wise takes into account things like bank holidays and weekends and add time to the guaranteed exchange rate to compensate for it.

We also need to point out in this Wise review that some services don’t guarantee the Wise exchange rates. It isn’t ideal when this happens because exchange rates can fluctuate one way or the other by at least 1% each day, or more.

Reviews about Wise’s exchange rate system are mixed. Some reviews say that Wise is basically saying that if the money doesn’t reach them in time that they convert it and send it out as soon as possible, but they use the mid-market rate instead of the Wise exchange rates, which is a pretty good way to explain that situation.

We found other user reviews in our research for this Wise review that said they made a transaction on Saturday morning, even though the bank would be closed through out the weekend. The transaction took four days to complete, and during that time the exchange rate had changed slightly for the recipient, but not the customer who set up the transaction.

How Long Does it Take Wise to Transfer Funds?

This is something that we know many people reading this Wise review want to know how long it takes for transfers to process. It varies depending on several factors, including the currencies and countries to which you are sending the money, the payment method you’re using, the time and day that you make the payment, and whether you need to go through the identification verification process.

Payments made from your bank account also take longer to clear than payments made using cards, as well. The variation in transfer times is between minutes and days. However, on average it takes less than two business days for transfers reach your recipients.

Although we found out while writing this Wise review that funds are processed more quickly if you use a card rather than your bank account, the fees associated with using cards may give you pause.

But if you really want a lightning-fast transfer, it may be worth it to you to suck it up and pay the fees anyway. This rule doesn’t apply to large transfers, however, because they can only be placed using a bank account transfer.

From what we can tell from research conducted for this Wise review, of course converting currencies and sending the money to different countries does affect how long the transfers take. But ultimately, transfer times come down to how quickly your bank and your recipient’s bank process the money.

But because they can’t really do anything about how quickly banks process payments, Wise covers its bases and says that transfers could take one to five business days, and that it typically takes two whole days just for the currency conversion aspects of the transfer.

Also, we found that Wise sends out lots of helpful emails that let you know what’s going on while you’re waiting on funds to transfer. This is a service that most other payment services don’t provide, and a nice added touch, so we wanted to mention it in our Wise review.

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Wise Mobile App

Many people reading this Wise review are more likely to use their phones than desktop computers, and find mobile options more convenient. The good news is that Wise has a mobile app. You can get the app on both Apple and Android devices.

The Wise app is full of features, and it has a lot of great reviews, scoring a 4.4 in the Android store and a 4.8 in the Apple store. It’s pretty easy to learn how to use the app, and once you do you can access your Borderless Account, manage your debit card and start making transfers.

Wise Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

Once we found out about this feature, we knew we had to include it in our Wise review. It makes sense that Wise gives you the option to set up Two Factor Authentication (2FA) because you have to input so much sensitive personal and financial information to your account.

If you’ve used Two Factor Authentication on Facebook or Google, then you already know what the service is. If you haven’t, it’s a service that has you enter your password or a code sent to you in text message or email. Wise uses three different authentication methods: text messages, phone calls or notifications in the app.

The Canadian Experience With Wise

If you’ve been reading this Wise review and you’re wondering about how Wise works for Canadians, then the good news is that we actually looked that up as part of our Wise review. Here’s what you need to know about using Wise in Canada:

First of all, because Wise is based in the United States, if you send money from Canada it can take between 1-3 business days to reach Wise’s bank. This depends on your payment method.

Here are the limits that Canadian transfers can expect:

  • Direct debit transfers: $9,500 every 24 hours, as well as a $30,000 bi-weekly limit
  • Credit and debit cards: $3,000 per transfer
  • Local wire transfer: $1.5 million per transfer

Here’s a list of banks that work with Wise to support automatic debits from your Canadian bank account:

  • Bank of Montreal
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Bank of Nova Scotia
  • National Bank of Canada
  • Toronto Dominion Bank
  • President’s Choice Financial
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
  • Tangerine Bank
  • HSBC Bank Canada
  • Vancity
  • La Caisse Centrale Desjardins Du Quebec

One interesting experiment we read during our investigation of Wise for this Wise review involved a user sending $1,000 CAD to a recipient in Australia. The total fees that they were charged from Wise added up to $9.95, which was under 1%. But then the person went the extra mile and performed the same transaction from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and PayPal.

The Royal Bank of Canada charged $66, which means the exchange rate was 1.0384. That was 3% more expensive than the mid-market exchange rate. PayPal charged $42, which means the exchange rate was 1.0303, nearly 4% more than the mid-market rate. The total fee also includes the fee for currency conversion, and the $4.99 transfer fee.

Wise’s 2021 Fees vs Wise’s 2022 Fees

Since we’ve noticed a difference in Wise’s service fees during the past year, we wanted to mention them in our Wise review. Sometime between April- June 2021, Wise instituted several different reduced fees. They’ve pointed out in their Q2 report that they reduced payments from Norway and Sweden, and transfers that are converted to USD have been discounted, as well.

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Drawbacks of Wise

Because we’re writing an unbiased Wise review, we won’t just tell you all of the good aspects of Wise’s services. We’ll tell you about the downsides of their services and things they could improve, too.

You’re limited on the payment methods you can use to pay for a transfer. As of the time of writing this Wise review, you’re only allowed to pay for a transfer using a bank transfer, credit card or debit card. This means you can’t pay with either a check or cash. Many payment processing services don’t allow you to make payments this way, but the few that do are appreciated by many business owners.

Not all currencies are supported, and you can’t make transfers to every country. Of course, this is to be expected. But it can be quite disappointing if you find that you can’t make a transfer to a country you’re doing business with, which is why we’re mentioning it in our Wise review.

You can only make transfers to a recipient’s bank account. Again, this sort of makes sense. But it can be annoying if your recipient doesn’t have a bank account or can’t access one.

Recipients don’t have a choice in where the transfer money is sent. Of course they can choose to send it to their bank account, but that’s they only place they can receive it. They don’t have the money to transfer it to a wallet or to do a cash pickup. So if your recipient wants a cash pickup option, then Wise isn’t the best option for you.

If you want to do a large transfer then Wise isn’t the best choice. For transfers of $10,000 or more, it’s a better idea to use a foreign exchange provider because it will be cheaper in the long run. Many business owners won’t have to worry about this type of transfer, and you may choose to use Wise anyway because of the convenience. But because there are cheaper options, we thought we should mention it in our Wise review.

If your company primarily deals with larger transfer amounts, the signup process is more involved. We found while writing this Wise review that it’s a far simpler process for companies who make smaller transfers to complete the signup process. Companies who routinely make large transfers have to deal with a longer signup process and provide more information.

If you want to make a large transfer then you’re likely going to have to talk to someone on the phone. One thing we need to point out in our Wise review is that larger transfers are likely to require assistance. New regulations about foreign transfers mean that the banks in each country change how they conduct business, and money transfer services like Wise are affected, as well.

When this is the case you need to speak to someone, an actual human, and preferably someone from your country that is knowledgeable about the rules of the banks in your country.

Accounts are sometimes deactivated after a transfer. Look, as we write this Wise review we’re quite aware how big of a problem this is. Sometimes accounts are deactivated either in the middle of transfers or while there is still money in them, which can be really upsetting. No one wants to find that their account has been deactivated when they still have money in it. It can be annoying enough to sour the entire Wise experience.

What causes these account deactivations? We actually couldn’t find a definitive answer to this question while we were doing research for this Wise review. But we feel that it’s likely got something to do with regulations and legal requirements.

Wise isn’t the only payment transfer service that faces this issue. You’ll find the same with nearly any other payment transfer service. The vast majority of Wise users will never encounter this problem.

It really only happens on transfers over $7,000. In nearly every instance of account deactivation of this sort, you can get your money back. The real hassle is calling customer services and dealing with some tricky troubleshooting, which is of course frustrating to any user who has been locked out of their account and their money.

There’s limited support on weekends. Many businesses take the weekend off, so we’re not going to really slam the company for that in our Wise review. However, when it comes to financial transactions, customer support is important and it should be accessible. The fact that it isn’t can be really frustrating.

The identification verification process is frustrating to many people. Some of the reviews we read while we were checking out Wise for our Wise review express a lot of frustration with the identification process. Some of the documents you’re required to provide to verify your identity can be hard for some people to obtain.

For instance, if you live with someone else or rent an apartment where your utilities are included in the rent, then there’s likely not an electric or water bill in your name. You may not even have any mail in you name, so verifying your address could be a real pain.

Alternatives to Wise

When you read the section about Wise’s drawbacks in our Wise review, it may have made it clear to you that Wise isn’t for everyone. Of course no payment service fits every company. Here are some alternatives to Wise:

Xoom (PayPal)

Xoom is a PayPal service that allows you to make international transfers. They allow you to send money to nearly any bank, which is nice. Unlike Wise, they allow you to send money for cash pickup or directly to the recipient’s door, which is useful if your recipient doesn’t have a bank account. There’s even a fourth payment option that allows you to make a payment to the recipient’s mobile wallet.

Some more interesting features are bill payment, so that you can pay your bills or a family member or friend’s bills, and mobile top up, which allows you to top up your phone, or someone else’s. Money sent between PayPal accounts is transferred in a matter of seconds. Even if you send money using the cash pickup delivery, the transfer will typically take only minutes.

They offer 24/7 customer service, which isn’t something that Wise provides. The most interesting feature that we found while writing this Wise review is that Xoom offers a money-back guarantee. If the money you transfer doesn’t make it to your recipient, you’ll get your money back. However, Xoom’s fees aren’t as good as Wise’s.

Earlier in our Wise review we used an example where someone made a transfer of $1,000 CAD using Wise and was charged a little less than $10 in fees. Someone did that with USD and found that Wise charged them $8.58. Xoom charges between $0 and $21.49. Furthermore, there are hidden fees through PayPal that typically make Wise a better option to most people. However, if you have clients that need cash payments or more instantaneous payments, then Xoom is a good option.

Western Union Money Transfer

Western Union has been around since before the advent of online payment services. They’ve updated their services a bit, however, and they’re now a fast, cheap alternative to Wise.

Many people appreciate their good reputation and the quick transfer times. Western Union offers a service that Wise doesn’t: in- store transfers. If you’re doing business with a person who doesn’t have a bank account, or who needs a cash transfer for some other reason, then Western Union may be the best option for you.

They have over 2,500 stores in the United states, which you can visit to make transfers. You can also make transfers online, however the fees you’re charged for in-store transfers are less expensive than online transfers. There are also a lot of Western Union locations all around the world. Western Union is in 200 countries or territories, and they have more than 500,000 locations.

PayPal is a major part of so many financial transactions these days, so it can be a major turnoff for some people that you can’t make transfers to PayPal, or from PayPal using Western Union. It’s also worth noting that while we were checking out Western Union as an alternative in our Wise review, we found that they have high fees and low limits.

For instance, the fee goes up to $25 if you’re making a transfer from Canada. And you can only make transfers of up to $7,500 CAD. If you do make an international transfer, then the fee is typically a bit less. But if you intend to make a lot of transfers then Western Union may not be the best option for you.

Wise Review Transferwise-Debit-Card-Comparewise

Wise Review Conclusion

Wise is a cheap, easy payment service solution for many businesses. They offer the lowest fees and exchange rates that we’ve seen while writing this Wise review. (Seriously, we didn’t find any that were cheaper!)

And the addition of the Borderless and Business accounts along with all their features, and their Wise Mastercard Debit card make Wise massively useful to business owners who pay international clients and employees, or who travel abroad often and need to make payments in various currencies.

Of course Wise has a few drawbacks. There are definitely cheaper services that are more convenient to use if you want to make large transfers often, and they have an identification verification process that many people find frustrating.

However, the identification verification process is essentially an extra security measure, both for the person you’re sending money to, and for you. But there are so many benefits to Wise’s services that they outweigh the drawbacks.

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FAQs about Wise

Can I pay using cash or cheque with Wise?

Unfortunately, Wise does not accept this type of payment or transfer method. You can only transfer money using a bank or wire transfer. Or you can use a Wise Borderless card if situated outside of Canada.

How long does it take to transfer funds with Wise?

It can take up to two business days to reflect a transfer in the receiver’s bank account. However, the transfer speed is determined by several circumstances, including the country to which you are transferring or receiving money.

Is Wise safe to use?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to use. The Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) regulates Wise in Canada.

How do I make a Wise transfer?

Making a transfer is easy. To begin, simply sign up with your name and email address. Wise will then ask for your address, contact information, and proof of identification. Once your identity is verified, you can facilitate the transfer.

Do I need a bank account to use Wise?

Yes, whether you’re sending to your account or the account of your recipient, you’ll need a bank account. Your recipient, on the other hand, does not require a Wise account. All they need is a bank account.

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Wise Review 2022

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January 30, 2022
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