Wise, formerly TransferWise, is a UK fintech company that provides one of the fastest and cheapest money transfer services for both individuals and businesses around the world. Wise is up to nine times cheaper than a bank transfer.The online money transfer service was founded in 2010 by Estonians Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus.
What makes Wise cheaper and faster than other money transfer services is because is uses its local bank accounts in supported countries to make the transfers instead of the international transfer system. For instance, if you are making a money transfer to Kenya from the UK, the money will be sent to your recipient from a Kenyan bank account. This process avoids expensive currency conversion and transfers delays. Currency conversion is done using the real mid-market exchange rate.
How to Sign Up and Send Money with Wise
When you are ready to send money after registration, just fill out the details of the person you are sending money to, including bank details (they don’t need to have a Wise account) and the amount for the transfer. You will know immediately when the money should get to the recipient. You can make the transfer using a debit/credit card or bank transfer. You will receive a confirmation email when the money has been received. In most cases, the transfers happen the same day.
Please note that when you send a large amount with Wise, they might also need to check how you got the money for this transfer. And they might ask to see some documents as proof of income.
Wise for Business
Apart from individual transfers, there is a business transfer option with a fixed fee. Businesses can use Wise’s batch payments system to make bulk payments or mass payouts. It allows businesses to make up to 1,000 transactions with a single CSV file upload.
Wise started as a money transfer service. However, it later added a virtual banking service, Wise multi-currency account. With this service, you can open a non-resident account. For example, you can open a US non-resident bank account even if you don’t have a US address or social security number. With this account, you can receive and send money internationally. The account comes with a Mastercard debit card.
To open a multi-currency account, you need to get verified with a photo ID, proof of address, and/or a picture of you holding that ID. Verification for multi-currency accounts usually takes about 2 working days but can be done in less than one hour. When your account is active, you will get personal account numbers and bank details for GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD and PLN. The account holds 50+ currencies in balances in your account, which can be converted instantly with low fees.
You can also order Wise debit cards available for people and businesses in the UK, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the US (except Nevada and Hawaii) and most of the European Economic Area (EEA).
To know the fees for your transfer, enter how much you want to send or how much your recipient should get and Wise calculator will show you the fee. Wise only charges you what it costs them to send your money, plus a small margin.
Wise Supported Countries
You can use Wise to send money to the following countries:
Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Europe, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vietnam and Zambia.
Is Wise Safe?
Wise is fully regulated by regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) as an Authorised Payment Institution.
Note that Wise doesn’t protect your money in financial protection schemes like the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in the US. Fortunately, Wise doesn’t lend your money or make high-risk investments with it. This is one of the reasons they don’t insure it in a financial protection scheme.