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Wise (ex-TransferWise) Review 2021: Best Money Transfer?

How does Wise work? Is it really cheap as advertised? Let's find out in this detailed review of Wise (ex-TransferWise) money transfer.

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TransferWise Money Transfer Review

If you have been looking for cheaper ways to send money overseas, Wise (formerly TransferWise) is an excellent alternative to banks.

I started using TransferWise to send money to India from the UK in 2014 and this review is based on my personal experience…

Is Wise legit? Can I trust Wise (Ex-TransferWise) with my money? How fast is it? Is it safe and reliable?

That’s EXACTLY what this post is about – a detailed Wise money transfer review to answer all these questions.

I’ll cover how it fares on the exchange rates, fees, transfer times, safety and security to help you decide if Wise is a great choice for your next money transfer or not.

Spoiler: it’s far better than bank transfers or sending money with Paypal.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that might earn a commission for Comparism if you sign up and transfer money with Wise using our link. However, this is an independent detailed review based on my personal experience. This comes at absolutely no extra cost to you and helps in keeping Comparism content free. Please read the affiliate disclosure for more details.

Wise, formerly TransferWise Review – Pros and cons

Wise is a simple way to transfer 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 live rate you’ll find on independent sources like Google and XE.com.

This is one of the main advantages of using Wise money transfer – transparency in the rate offered and fees charged upfront.

Let’s take a look at some of the shortcomings weighed against the plus points of Wise.

PROS:

  • 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

CONS:

  • 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.

Remember:

If a company doesn’t charge you any fees for your overseas transfers, they take a cut out by offering you an exchange rate that has a mark-up compared to the mid-market rate.

Those are the only two prevalent business models.

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 mid-market 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.

In my quest for finding the best way to transfer money to India, I stumbled upon Wise back in 2014 (known as TransferWise until Feb 2021) who were disrupting the way banks transfer money traditionally.

Wise is no longer the only money transfer service that offers a transparent fee structure with the exchange at mid-market rates, but they are right there at the top with some of the best ones.

What is Wise, formerly TransferWise?

Wise is a peer-to-peer money transfer service that tries to match transfers for different currency pairs saving money in fees.

Wise (Transferwise) online money transfer website
Wise.com website

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 Wise 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 Wise, the money never leaves the borders!

Is Wise (Ex-TransferWise) safe?

If you are wondering whether you can trust TransferWise (now, Wise) with your money, it is entirely trustworthy.

There’s nothing to worry about when handing over your money to Wise to send to your loved ones!

Wise moves over £500 million every month globally and is available in 59 countries covering 504 currency combinations.

I have been using them myself for 6+ 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 Wise (TransferWise) work and how is it 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 (now Wise) 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.

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 Wise operates!

Wise, formerly TransferWise, is a peer-to-peer money transfer service that matches your remittance request to a similar request in the other direction.

As an example, your GBP-INR request from the UK is matched to an equivalent outward remittance from India to the UK.

With a simple, secure swap, the money never physically leaves the borders and Wise eliminates high bank fees saving a lot in the process.

This allows Wise to allow cheap money transfers by passing on the benefits to you.

How to send money using Wise (Ex-TransferWise)?

Making a money transfer to India (or anywhere) with Wise, formerly TransferWise, is pretty straightforward.

It’s a simple process – I have covered it below.

Steps to send money transfer with Wise:

Step #1. Check exchange rates on Wise.com

TransferWise Exchange Rates GBP to INR


Go to Wise 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.

I have selected the GBP-INR pair in this example and as you can see, the mid-market rate (the rate you see on Google) is used with the fees shown upfront for the cheapest method (low-cost bank transfer).
You can also switch between

Step #2. Create a free account with Wise

TransferWise money transfer registration

Click on “Get Started” and you’ll be taken to the registration page. On the registration screen, enter your email address, password and country of residence. Click Sign Up.
You can also choose to register using your Apple, Google or Facebook account.

Step #3. Enter your details

TransferWise Money Transfer - Enter personal details

Choose if you’re making a personal or business transfer. Enter your details – name, date of birth, phone number, and address. This is a standard verification step all money transfer providers need to follow to comply with the guidelines.

Step #4. Enter new recipient details

TransferWise - Enter recipient details

Provide the details of who you’re sending money to, along with their bank details. You can send money to Yourself, Someone Else, or a Business or Charity. You need to do this only for the first time and use the saved details the next time.

Step #5. Review your Transfer

TransferWise - Review Money Transfer

Review your money transfer details, including the amount, exchange rate, timelines, and recipient details. If everything looks good, click Confirm and continue. This will lock in the conversion rate. At this step, you can also schedule your money transfer for later.

All you need to do now is: choose your payment method and pay Wise to initiate your transfer.

Step #6. Pay for your transfer

TransferWise - Pay for your money transfer

Select your transfer type (you don’t need to do anything at this step if you’re sticking to bank transfer). Then, transfer the GBP amount from your bank account to Wise, formerly TransferWise. Alternatively, you can choose to pay using your debit card, credit card, but that will cost you more in fees.

Wise converts the UK Pounds to Indian Rupees (in this example) at the shown rate, and your recipient gets paid the amount in Indian Rupees from Wise’s bank account in India.

I followed the above steps to make a money transfer from the UK to India with Wise (formerly TransferWise). The steps involved are the same for all international corridors and currency pairs.

You can use the same steps to make money transfer using Wise on your mobile browser or the Wise native mobile app.

Wise / TransferWise Fees

TransferWise (now Wise) has been very transparent about how much you pay in fees, and this is their business model.

…provide access to real mid-market rates (the rates you see on Google) to consumers adding no markup to the exchange rate, charge a competitive fee and clearly show the charges up-front.

For money transfers from UK to India, TransferWise charges 0.45% + £0.29 of the transferred amount.

For a 1000 GBP to Indian Rupees transfer, that’s £4.77.

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.

Wise (ex-TransferWise) uses the real mid-market exchange rate – the rate that you see on Google when you search GBP to INR.

Even after paying £5-ish as a 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 that in fees to your bank.

You can check this link to find out how much you pay in fees for any currency pairs.

How long does the money transfer take?

When I started sending money with TransferWise (re-branded Wise) back in 2014, it used to take 1-2 working days for the funds to reach the recipient’s account (for GBP to INR transfers as an example).

My last money transfer with Wise from the UK to India took 13 seconds!

Over the years, the way Wise, formerly TransferWise moves money has changed a lot and the time taken for money transfers has gone down noticeably.

TransferWise money transfer time

If you do try Wise, do drop a comment below and let me know how long did the transfer take for you.

How to pay for the transfer with Wise.com?

Let’s look at your options to pay Wise in detail.

You can pay using a bank transfer to Wise’s account (the cheapest option) or other payment methods, including a Credit/Debit card, Apple pay (via iOS app).

For a £1000 transfer:

Bank, SWIFT transfer: £4.77 (Low cost transfer and Advanced transfer)

Debit/Credit card, Apple Pay: £7.75 (Fast and 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.

Wise money transfer payment options - bank transfer, debit/credit card, SWIFT.

Verification Documents

Depending on the country you’re initiating a transfer from, Wise might need to have you verified.

The verification takes 1-3 days.

Wise (formerly TransferWise): User Reviews

Wise has a 4.7/5 TrustScore on Trustpilot based on 114,304 reviews.

Over 94% of users rate the TransferWise service as Excellent/Great.

Wise user reviews on TrustPilot

That’s some great feedback rating based on 110k+ reviews across services.

Wise (formerly TransferWise) Review: Conclusion

There you have it.

I hope you now understand how Wise works and if it suits your needs to send money to your loved ones abroad.

Wise 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!).

I haven’t come across any concerning issues in the last close to 7 years of personally using it.

If I were to be picky and point out what is a concern for a few people based on the reviews I read on Trustpilot it would be this:

Having a pick-up location service would be an excellent addition for people whose loved ones don’t hold a bank account (for example, in India).

But, I understand that’d make Wise a more expensive option, but that could be an offering for those who cannot use Wise otherwise.

Another issue I came across while reading through online reviews is: some transfer routes take a bit longer than promised, but I understand over time, Wise 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 Wise for your international money transfer, head over to Wise.com now to lock your exchange rate.

Apart from the potential problems I have listed above, I am quite happy with Wise and recommend it for your next transfer.

I hope this review by Comparism was helpful to you in making an informed decision.

If you have had any bad experience with Wise or come across negative reviews or complaints, please share your experience in the comments below.

And finally, please share it with your friends, colleagues and family members on Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter.

It won’t take you more than a minute but will show your support towards my efforts of spending several hours of going through real user reviews and bringing such detailed posts to you!

Hit that share button now! 😉

And while we are at it, why not subscribe to my free exclusive newsletter where I send insider tips and the latest deals for international money transfer?

FAQs

Review overview

Cost of transfer9
Transparency10
Speed of transfer9.5
Ease of use9.5
Security9.5

Summary

9.5TransferWise is a revolutionary service that passes on the direct benefits of peer-to-peer money transfers to you. Thumbs up to TransferWise for using real mid-market exchange rates, transparency, top-notch service and ease of use.

Aman
the authorAman
Aman is the founder and chief curator of Comparism. He loves to write how-to guides and via comparism, he envisions to bring to you the best ways of sending money to India without paying hefty fees in hidden charges and poor conversion rates.

14 Comments

    • Hi Ron, thanks for sharing this – I appreciate you.

      I believe you’re, in this case, trying to send money to a Cryptocurrency business (Kraken) which yes, is blocked with a few money transfer companies. Do you reckon I should research this and maybe cover this in a future post?

      Cheers

  • Great article Aman. I’m thinking of setting up an account in Transferwise for receiving incoming payments from overseas. But is there any monthly / quarterly / annual maintenance fees for TW? The kind of which our normal bank accounts charge us. If yes, then in what range?

    I’ve read somewhere that TW only charges commission for money transfer and nothing else.

    • Hi Srini,

      With TW, there are no maintenance fees of any sort. You pay the fees shown upfront per transaction and the money is exchanged at a mid-market rate (the rate you see on Google).

      There is no commission on the currency rate charged as well – just the fees (~0.5% effectively) which overall makes it quite competitive for the overall amount you receive in India. A few others that come close are TransferGo, InstaReM, and Remitly. If it’s your first transfer, you can also check out the latest deals here: https://www.comparism.com/all-deals/money/

      Hope this helps.

      All the best,
      Aman

  • Hey Tim, I am sorry to learn about your experience. The first transfers sometimes tend to take a bit longer if the money transfer company needs to make additional checks and in a few cases, also end up asking for additional documents but that usually is for bigger amounts but still you could be asked for documentation as it’s first transfer. Unfortunately, money laundering laws and guidelines these companies need to meet etc.

    And that, unfortunately, could happen for any money transfer company out there. I hope the transfer gets sorted for you quickly.

    TransferWise stopped doing free transfers as they reduced their overall fees – and even including the fees, the overall amount tends to be quite competitive. But I would agree that with the £10 off on the first transfer with Xendpay in this case, money-wise, Xendpay would be a good deal but the verification process with Xendpay might have come up as well.

  • I used it only for money transfers for the last 3 years but now I decided to use it as my everyday account. Best exchange rate and transfers are sometimes immediate to other countries. I have 13 bank accounts, the latest are Monese, N26, Starling. But I have issues with them suspending account for weeks and asking for further documents and then nothing. That’s crazy.
    I even sent £30000 to Spain and had no issues with TransferWise. I wouldn’t trust any other money exchange company to send this much.

  • I think Transferwise is the best online money transfer company at the moment as you can send money abroad for just a tiny fee, and now a mastercard debit card is also available with their borderless account where you can hold five currencies.
    Today you can make your first money transfer(up to 500 GBP) without paying any fee at all, start saving now just by joining Transferwise using this link: https://www.comparism.com/go/transferwise/

  • RISKY. No protections for sender of funds. — Transferwise is not set up in a responsible manner to safeguard the sender of funds. My experience using them one time basically caused me to lose $50. Details: I sent money to a recipient in Indonesia, however, the recipient claims to never have received the transfer. Transferwise says it was sent. I don’t know who to believe, but Transferwise DOES NOT HAVE A MECHANISM to withdraw or take back the funds, and they also refuse to contact the recipient. So, I didn’t get the items I ordered from the Indonesian seller, and I am also out the $50! I called them (888) 908-3833, and their only remedy was to offer me a free future transfer, but I am afraid that I will get ripped off again. They need to rethink their business model, so that this can’t happen to people. Good thing I wasn’t sending a larger amount. There should be some way to retract the funds in order to guarantee sender safety. They basically took no responsibility.

  • Hi Aman,
    Thanks for the review. I’m wondering, when the transfer is done via transferwise, does the Indian bank charges extra fee to the owner of the Indian bank account (the recipient) for an “international” transfer via transferwise?
    Thanks in advance
    Virginie

    • Hi Virginie,

      No, there’s no additional fee charged at the receiving end for the incoming transfer. I am never charged when I make transfers to my Indian bank account using TransferWise.

      Thanks
      Aman

  • Xend Pay is much better compared to T, in terms of transfer fee & lead time, I used to chase T for crediting it, but with X it gets credited within a day. Try once…

    • Hey Jay,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, I do agree that XendPay is also a great alternative.

      I have tried XendPay and listed it as one of the best ways of sending money to Indian. 😉

      I loved it for their “Pay What You Want” fee model and transparency but on 2 different occasions, I had no track of where my money was and took me a lot of chasing to get Xendpay to process my payment. As I mentioned in my review, TW did use to take 1-2 days for the money to arrive, but with recent changes, the money gets credited within minutes. I did a transfer yesterday and it took 6 minutes for the money to reach my Indian account.

      XendPay is also a very good option and I am soon going to cover Xendpay review as well on Comparism where I will write about my experience in detail.

      • Given I have been charged 50p for my first transfer – which I thought was supposed to be free AND I get this on the tracker:

        We’re running some checks
        Sorry for the wait — we should be done in the next 1 working day.

        I really wish I’d gone with Xendpay. Checking Trustpilot it seems the service WAS 5 stars and has hit problems in the last months. It’s 4.6 now.

        This was my first ever transfer to India or Transferwise and it seems less than great.

        So yes…avoid.

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