TransferWise Review: Is it Safe and How Does it Work? (2018 Edition)

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

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TransferWise Money Transfer ReviewIf you have been looking for cheaper ways to send money overseas, TransferWise is an excellent alternative to banks.

I started using their money transfer services from the UK to India about 4 years ago and thought of writing an unbiased TransferWise review based on my experience.

Let’s look at how they fair on the different benchmarks that define a great money transfer service!

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, just like you.

It took me a few years to realise this:

Banks charge an insane amount of money in (hidden) fees.

How?

…by converting your money at a bad exchange rate.

The best part? (For banks, of course!)

You (their loyal customer) don’t even realise this; because you get a “Zero Fee” transfer.

Remember:

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 if your bank does the same!

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.

In my quest for finding the best way to transfer money to India, I stumbled upon TransferWise who disrupted the way banks transfer money traditionally.

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.

But:

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?

SIDENOTE: This is an independent review, and we haven’t been paid in any form to write this post. However, you must know there are affiliate links on this post that might result in compensation from TransferWise if you sign up and complete a money transfer via Comparism. It comes at absolutely no cost to you, and you will support my efforts of writing unbiased reviews and paying for hosting and other running expenses for Comparism.

TransferWise Review – Pros and cons

TransferWise is a dead 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 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.

PROS:

  • Real mid-market exchange rate; better than banks
  • Transparent: Competent fees; much cheaper than banks
  • Fast transfers: UK to India transfer took 10 minutes
  • Excellent user experience on desktop and mobile apps

CONS:

  • No cash pickup facility
  • Longer transfer time for some routes

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?

Ever tried exchanging money with your friend who lives in the country that you are sending money to?

How TransferWise works, is pretty similar.

Let’s 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 with TransferWise is pretty straightforward.

It’s a simple 3-step process.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Fees

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 UK Online in 2018 – The Ultimate Guide (opens in a new tab)

Okay!

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 recipient’s account.

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

My last money transfer with TransferWise in April 2018 from the UK to India took merely 10 minutes!

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.

Verification Documents

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 – that’s insane!

Over 95% 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 a UK to India money transfer used to take 1-2 days and now it takes less than 10 minutes.

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 and or come across Transferwise negative reviews or complaints, please do share your experience in the comments below.

And finally, if you like this independent review and want to keep more coming, please do share this article 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!

Come on – hit that share button below now! 😉

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

Review overview

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

2 Comments

  • 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.

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