If you have been looking for cheaper ways to send money overseas, TransferWise is an excellent alternative to banks.
I started using TransferWise to send money to India from the UK over 6 years ago and this is a TransferWise review based on my experience.
Let’s look at how they fare on the different benchmarks that define a great money transfer service!
Spoiler: it’s far better than wire transfers or sending money with Paypal.
- TransferWise Review – Pros and cons
- What is TransferWise?
- Is TransferWise safe?
- How does TransferWise work (and how is it so cheap)?
- How to send money using TransferWise?
- TransferWise Fees
- How long does the money transfer take?
- TransferWise: User Reviews
- TransferWise Review: Conclusion
TransferWise Review – Pros and cons
TransferWise is a simple way to send money across borders for personal or business needs.
It gives you access to real mid-market exchange rates; the rate that only big corporations and banks get when transferring money to each other.
That is the rate you’ll find on independent sources like Google and XE.com.
This is one of the main advantages of using TransferWise – transparency in the rate offered and fees charged.
Let’s take a look at some of the shortcomings weighed against the plus points of TransferWise.
- Real mid-market exchange rate; better than banks
- Transparent: Competent fees; much cheaper than banks
- Fast transfers: the UK to India transfer in our test took 13 seconds
- Excellent user experience on desktop and mobile apps
- No cash pickup facility
- Longer transfer time for some routes (based on online user reviews)
I am all for simple and cheap ways of sending money to India. When I came to the UK, I trusted my Indian bank and used the money transfer service offered by them for years only to realise this:
Banks charge an insane amount of money in (hidden) fees by converting your money at a bad exchange rate.
The best part? (For banks, of course!)
You don’t even realise this; because they offer you a “Zero Fee” transfer.
If a company doesn’t charge you any fees for your overseas transfers, they take a cut out of every money transfer you make by giving you poor exchange rates.
You can do a simple check with me!
Search “GBP to INR” on Google or check the GBP-INR pair on XE.com and the rate you see there is the real exchange rate!
Using banks for your money transfer without understanding the costs involved is not a great idea.
It took me YEARS to realise my mistake and as soon as I gathered awareness, I took action.
What is TransferWise?
TransferWise is a peer-to-peer money transfer service that tries to match transfers for different currency pairs.
It’s like you’d take GBP here from a friend in the UK and pay INR to their bank account in India – saving money otherwise wasted in bank transaction fees.
That’s exactly what TransferWise does and that makes them one of the most transparent and cheap ways of sending money overseas. (I will cover the in-depth details of how it works in a bit!)
With TransferWise, the money never leaves the borders!
That all sounds cool, you say.
Is it any good? How fast is it? Is it safe and reliable? Can I trust Transferwise? Is TransferWise legit?
That’s EXACTLY what this post is about – a detailed TransferWise Money Transfer review to answer all these questions.
I will cover all the different aspects and concerns you might have before trying TransferWise for the first time.
Let’s find out if TransferWise is really as reliable and cheap as advertised?
Is TransferWise safe?
If you are wondering whether you can trust TransferWise with your money, it is entirely trustworthy.
There’s nothing to worry about when handing over your money to TransferWise to send to your loved ones!
TransferWise moves over £500 million every month globally and is available in 59 countries covering 504 currency combinations.
I have been using them myself for 4+ years now and have only great things to tell about them. I can – without any hesitation – vouch for their transparency with the money transfer requests.
TransferWise is authorised in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 for the issuing of electronic money.
The web and mobile apps are secure and offer the latest in tech and security – 2-step login and fingerprint sign-in are secure and quite handy while placing new transfer requests.
Here’s what TransferWise explains on its security standard.
We maintain bank-level security, which is continually independently tested and audited, and reinforced by ongoing training of all of our staff. Our security includes preventative measures, such as 2-step login, and our verification procedures. These are specifically designed to ensure we are protecting your account from unauthorised access.
How does TransferWise work (and how is it so cheap)?
Ever tried exchanging money with your friend who lives in the country that you are sending money to?
That’s pretty similar to how TransferWise works.
Say you are in the UK and want to send money to India and have a friend in the UK who has Rupees lying in an Indian bank account and is now in need of GBP pounds here.
A simple trick saves transaction fees and commissions (in the form of a bad exchange rate) that you would otherwise pay to money transfer companies.
Pay your friend here in the UK in GBP pounds, and your friend can, in turn, pay you equivalent in Indian Rupees to your Indian account.
That’s exactly how TransferWise operates!
TransferWise is a peer-to-peer money transfer service that matches your GBP-INR request to an equivalent outward remittance from India to the UK.
With a simple, secure swap, the money never physically leaves the country and TransferWise eliminates high bank fees saving a lot in the process.
This allows TransferWise to allow cheap money transfers by passing on the benefits to end-users.
How to send money using TransferWise?
Making a money transfer to India (or anywhere) with TransferWise is pretty straightforward.
It’s a simple 3-step process.
- Go to TransferWise and select the currency pair you want to convert. Enter the amount you want to send to see the converted amount at the real mid-market rate (locked for you for 24 hours). Click on “Get Started” and sign up using email, Facebook or Google account.
- Enter new recipient details – Provide details of who you are sending money to along with bank details. You need to do this only for the first time and can use the saved details next time. With TransferWise, you can send money to yourself, someone else, or a business/charity depending on your country.
- Transfer the GBP amount from your UK bank account to Transferwise. You can pay in £s using your UK debit card, credit card or money transfer using net banking.
TransferWise converts UK Pounds to Indian Rupees at the given rate, and your recipient gets paid the amount in Indian Rupees from TransfweWise’s bank account in India.
I followed the above steps to make a money transfer with TransferWise from the UK to India. The way TransferWise app works is the same for all international corridors.
TransferWise is very transparent about how much you pay in fees, and this is what their business model is.
Provide access to real mid-market rates to consumers adding no markup to the exchange rate, charge a low fee and clearly show the charges up-front.
For money transfers from UK to India, TransferWise charges 0.55% + 0.50p of the transferred amount.
For a £1000 to Indian Rupees transfer, that’s £5.97.
Now you might think that that’s a lot.
But it’s better than the overall deal you get via banks. Let’s look at this again.
TransferWise uses the real mid-market exchange rate – the rate that you see on Google when you search GBP to INR.
Even after paying £6ish as the fee on a £1000 transfer, you are still getting more money in conversion compared to most money transfer providers – mainly banks.
If your bank/money transfer company is advertising a 0% fee money transfer and it entices you, well you are paying in many cases as much as 10x in fees to your bank.
“Zero fee transfers” don’t exist!
You can check this link to find out how much you pay in fees for any currency pairs.
If you haven’t already checked out my detailed guide to sending money to India to get the best rates, I recommend you do that right now.
Sending money to India from the UK online – The Ultimate Guide (opens in a new tab)
Let’s get back to TransferWise review.
How long does the money transfer take?
When I started sending money with TransferWise back in 2014, it used to take 1-2 working days for the funds to reach the recipient’s account.
My last money transfer with TransferWise from the UK to India took 13 seconds!
Over the years, the way TrasferWise moves money has changed a lot and the time taken for money transfers has gone down noticeably.
If you do try TransferWise, do drop a comment below and let me know how long did the transfer take for you.
How to pay for the transfer?
You can pay using a bank transfer to TransferWise’s account (the cheapest) or other payment methods including Credit/Debit card, Apple pay (via iOS app).
For a £1000 transfer:
Bank, SWIFT transfer: £5.97 [Low-Cost transfer]
Debit/Credit card, Apple Pay: £7.96 [Fast & Easy transfer]
If you use TransferWise Borderless account, you can also pay from your GBP balance.
Here’s a snapshot showing different ways of paying TransferWise along with transfer times.
Depending on the country you’re initiating a transfer from, TransferWise might need to have you verified.
The verification takes 1-3 days.
TransferWise: User Reviews
TransferWise has a staggering 5/5 star rating on Trustpilot based on 41921 reviews.
Over 95% of users rate the TransferWise service as Excellent/Great.
I have rarely seen such a rating for any company in any industry based on 41k reviews – let alone money transfer market.
Maintaining a TrustScore of 9.1/10 is not natural based on such a massive number of user reviews.
Good job there!
TransferWise Review: Conclusion
There you have it.
With this detailed review of TransferWise, you should now have a better understanding of how TransferWise works and if it suits your needs to send money to your loved ones abroad.
TransferWise is very transparent about their fees and earning model, have fantastic web/mobile apps and provide one of the quickest solutions to send money to India (and anywhere!).
Having a pick-up location service would be an excellent addition for people whose loved ones don’t hold a bank account in India.
Another issue I came across while reading through online reviews is: some transfer routes take a bit longer than promised but I am sure over time TransferWise will keep working to make them quicker.
I say this because a few years ago the UK to India money transfer used to take 1-2 days and now it takes less than a minute.
If you plan to use TransferWise for sending money to India from the UK, head over to TransferWise now to lock your exchange rate now.
Apart from the potential problems I have listed above, I am quite happy with TransferWise and can recommend you to give it a try for your next transfer.
I hope this TransferWise review by Comparism was helpful to you in making an informed decision.
If you have had any bad experience with TransferWise or come across negative reviews or complaints, please do share your experience in the comments below.
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