What is Wise (formerly TransferWise)?

Wise (formerly TransferWise), is a money transferring company that uses the inter-bank mid exchange rate to transfer money. The mid-exchange rate is the midpoint between the buyers (demand) and sellers (supply), and matches the rates you can see on Google and other currency search engines.
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As Wise does not take the difference between the buy and sell rate, they will instead collect a small fee for each transfer.

Is Wise a Bank?

Wise is a is an authorised Electronic Money Institution independently regulated by various governing bodies. Additionally, your multi-currency account through Wise is not a bank account, but instead a electronic money account. The multi-currency account is different from a bank account as you are not able to get overdrafts or loans, you can’t earn interest, and your account details don’t represent real bank accounts.



How is Wise Different?

Wise is different in a number of ways, including:

  • The use of the inter-bank mid exchange rate – compared to other money transfer companies that use the buy / sell rates
  • A multi-currency account (more on that below)
  • A debit card for use around the world
  • International banking details

What is a Wise Multi-Currency Account?

Transferwise borderless account

A multi-currency account is one account that can be used to send money, receive money and spend money around the world, without having to cough up heave banking fees.

What you can get:

Specific account details including an:

  • Australian account number and BSB code
  • British account number and sort code
  • European IBAN and SWIFT/BIC
  • US account number and routing number

Currencies that you can hold in your wallet (at the time of writing) include:

British Pound, Australian Dollar, United Arab Emirates Dirham, Bangladeshi Taka, Bulgarian Lev, Swiss Franc, Chilean Peso, Czech Koruna, Danish Krone, Egyptian Pound, Georgian Lari, Hong Kong Dollar, Croatian Kuna, Hungarian Forint, Euro, Canadian Dollar, Indonesian Rupiah, Israeli Shekel, Indian Rupee, Japanese Yen, Kenyan Shilling, Sri Lankan Rupee, Moroccan Dirham, Mexican Peso, Nigerian Naira, Norwegian Krone, Nepalese Rupee, New Zealand Dollar, US Dollar, Peruvian Sol, Philippine Peso, Polish Zloty, Pakistani Rupee, Romanian Leu, Russian Ruble, Swedish Krona, Singapore Dollar, Thai Baht, Turkish Lira, Ukrainian Hryvnia, Vietnamese Dong, South African Rand.

Investments

Nearly all of the p2p investment options that we discuss use Wise as a payment method. Through your multi-currency account, you can send and receive money from the p2p platforms (such as Mintos, Reinvest24 etc) at a click of a button. I have used a combination of Wise and Revolut for all of my P2P investment purchases (found under My Returns)

Wise Multi-Currency Account Fees

As with most money products, there are usually fees associated with accounts. Wise is no different in this regard. However, what is different, is that Wise is completely transparent about the fees that they charge. Wise only ever charges the amount that it costs to send the money, plus an additional margin to improve the platform. Specifically, fees cover (calculated March 2021):

  • Offices and running costs (12%)
  • Operations and customer support teams (14%)
  • Margin and growing TransferWise (18%)
  • Building our products (20%)
  • Banking partners and money-moving costs (36%)

If you want to see a specific example for you, you can visit the “fee structure” page on Wise. That is found here.

My Wise Multi-Currency Account Review

I live in Europe, however, most of my day job income comes from Australia. After trying many different ways of transferring money (i.e. through a bank, through bitcoin, through other money providers), it was clear that Wise is one of the best options out there. I have since been using Wise for all of my transactions into Europe. The other great thing is that because I use a lot of different investment platforms (South Africa, Estonia, UK, etc) I am easily able to transfer money without any problems. The other great thing about the card is that if you have multiple currencies in your account, any transfers will utilize the best exchange rate!

For example, I was in Doha recently and wanted to purchase some food in QAR (Qatarisk riyal), but I didn’t have any of that currency. What I did have was money in Euros and AUD (Australian Dollars). As the QAR / EUR pair was a better match at the time, Wise used my EUR balance. What’s not to love about that? It takes all pressure away from needing to determine the best transfer rate, or worry about what interest expenses the merchants are charging (when paying in local currency it usually does not cost anything).

Every year I look for alternatives, however, I am still not able to find any that compare. It is important to note that EUR to EUR does also attract a flat fee through Wise (0.63EUR) for each transaction. Therefore, once I have transferred my money from AUD to EUR (with Wise), I will use Revolut to make any payments in EUR (as Revolut don’t charge a fee for that). Always make the most out of the platforms that are out there!

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