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Transferwise is from far one of the best apps when it comes to currency exchange and international money transfers. It became more and more famous in the past few years and if you wonder how good Transferwise is, this article is for you!
In this Transferwise review, you will find out everything you need to know about Transferwise, how it works and how it can save you a lot of money.
Exchanging money and international transfers can be extremely expensive. It can quickly add up and become a big portion of your travel budget.
If you are planning to move abroad, you may also want to send money overseas.
Whether you are an occasional traveller or an expat, you need a provider of money transfer services that will be fast, safe and easy to use!
This is why I used Transferwise. I have tried many different currency exchange apps through the years but Transferwise is from far, my favourite.
Transferwise is safe, offers amazing rates, easy to use… In this Transferwise review, you will discover all the pro and cons of using Transferwise and how to use it!
What is Transferwise?
Transferwise is a British online money transfer service founded in 2011 by two Estonian chaps.
Transferwise provides cost efficient international money transfers and currency exchange services with pre-paid debit card.
Summary of my review of Transferwise
Transferwise is an amazing app and it’s from far the best in the market. Here is a quick summary of what Transferwise offers.
|Fees||Very low||Especially compared to traditional banks|
|Currency rate exchange||Excellent||Very close to the official rate on xe.com|
|Security||Excellent||TransferWise follow the rules set by regulatory agencies in every single country they operate in|
|Debit Card||Yes||You get a free international mastercard|
|Mobile App||Yes, very easy to use||You even get live updates! It's secured by pin and/or finger print|
|Easy to use||100%||The only difficult thing about it is that it doesn't work like traditional banks. Once you know how to use it, it's super easy.|
|Business Account||Yes||The borderless account is a business account. Can be created for free.|
|Quick?||Yes||Transfers to someone else, yourself and on your debit card are very fast|
|Multi-currency account & debit card||Yes||Up to 30 currencies|
|Creating an account||Easy and free||Creating an account is free. You will even get a free first transfer. Click here to create your account.|
How does it work?
Transferwise has bank accounts in various countries. They have bank accounts in over 50 currencies.
Instead of actually exchanging the money, which is what banks do, they move money in a smarter way and never exchange it per se.
The user (you), transfer money onto an account located in your country and currency. Then Transferwise sends you the money from their bank account in the wanted currency onto the bank account your indicated.
They also offer a free MasterCard debit card where you can add wallets in different currencies and store your money. This comes particularly handy when you travel.
How to use Transferwise for the first time
In practice, here is how you use Transferwise:
2 – Start a transfer
- Choose the amount you want to pay or receive and the currencies
- Fill in the recipient info (it can be someone else or yourself)
3 – Verify your identity
- You will be asked for your passport to verify you are the right person. This is for security purposes.
4 – Pay the amount provided by Transferwise
- Transferwise will give you the exact amount to pay in if you chose how much you wanted to receive. If you chose how much you wanted to send exactly, this will be the amount.
- You will be provided with the Transferwise bank details for your currency with a unique reference number
5 – Your recipient receives the money in the required currency
The whole process will take under 20 minutes. Recipients usually get the money straight away but depending how the banking systems work in their country, it can take up to 1 or 2 days.
For example, in France, transfers don’t go through on Sundays as the banks are closed.
How to use Transferwise once you’ve done your first transfer
Once you’ve done your first transfer with Transferwise, it gets super easy!
1 – Log onto your account on the website or mobile app
2 – Choose the amount to send
3 – Choose an existing recipient or add a new one
4 – Transfer the money from your bank account (details should be saved from the previous one)
What do I love about Transferwise?
- The best exchange rate on the market
- Very little fees
- Quick and easy to use (only takes a few minutes to get the money)
- Spectacular user experience
- Safe & secure
- No need to go anywhere, I can exchange my money from the comfort of home
- Great mobile app
- Live updates on my expenses
- Easy to carry as many currencies as we want
- Free Master card debit card
- Easy to re-exchange money
- No need to worry about how much I spend as I can add and remove money as I want
- No need to carry around a lot of money in cash
- Easy to receive money
Transferwise App Review
Transferwise always comes with a mobile app. You can access everything on their website as well but let’s be honest, an app is always better! When it comes to money, we all need to have access to our bank/card on the go.
Here is why I think the Transferwise App is awesome:
- It’s very user friendly and easy to use
- It sends me a notification with my new balance as soon as I pay something (I generally can feel my phone vibrating before even leaving the cashier desk! That’s how quick it is!). That way I always know how much I have left and of course, I would know if my card had been stolen
- I can add money whenever I want and it’s instant. This was not the case when I used We Swap as I had to plan days in advance to get the best rate
- It’s secure, password and fingerprint protected
The only thing I think could be improved would be direct integration with my bank or having a direct debit on my account so I don’t need to transfer the money every time. Although, for security reasons, I guess it makes sense.
Transferwise debit card review
With your Transferwise account, you can get a free MasterCard debit card.
You just fill in the information required and your debit card will be delivered a few days later.
This card is connected to your Transferwise account and to the Transferwise mobile app. You can add wallets on it with as many currencies as you want.
You load these wallets using the usual transfer process. Once you are abroad, the card will automatically pay or withdraw money into the relevant currency. This will save you a lot of fees onsite.
As previously mentioned, the TransferWise App linked to your card is very good. There are live updates. You get a notification as soon as you pay with the updated credit on your card. If your card gets stolen, you can also block it directly from the app.
The good thing about it too is that you can have many wallets and transfer the money left from one wallet to another with ease.
That way you don’t end up having to spend your money left or re-exchange it at a high rate.
You can re-exchange it at the best rate.
Last thing, you can move every single penny. Generally, when you exchange money, you can only exchange banknotes. In this case, you can transfer the exact amount you have left.
How much are the fees with Transferwise?
Transferwise obviously charges you some fees. They do need to make money somewhere.
However the fees are nowhere as much as with normal banks.
First of all, the exchange rate Transferwise offers is the best on the market. Although not quite equal to the rate of the day, it’s very close to that.
In terms of fees themselves, they are up to 10 times less high than with your bank.
This comes to the fact that unlike normal banks, they don’t actually change the money.
Transferwise case Study
The best way to make my point is by showing you how it actually works and how much it would cost.
Here is an example of a transfer with Transferwise:
Let’s say you want to send £1000 and get euros.
Today’s official rate is 1.19026 (as you can see below).
With Transferwise, you will get an exchange rate of 1.19019
This is from far the best rate you can get compared to the other providers.
Transfer does charge you £1.84 in fees. Depending on what kind of accounts you have in your bank, you might have no fees or way higher fees (such as £20).
But even with that small fee, your guaranteed exchange rate is so good compared to the others that it will save you at least £50!
Is Transferwise safe?
This is a question that is often asked and the answer is yes! Transferwise is 100% safe!
They developed a very different concept compared to what was on the market. Technically speaking, we send the money to them and wait for them to send it back so it’s normal to wonder whether they will do that or keep it. But that’s something you have nothing to worry about.
Transferwise is fully licensed and authorised. They follow a strict set of rules set by regulatory agencies in every single country they operate in, including the FCA in the UK to FinCen in the US.
All of that in order to keep your money safe! I have been using them for years and never had a single issue! Also, you will see that it’s not something people complain about either. That would ruin their business if they would keep our money!
Transferwise has over 6 million customers and every single one of them can attest how safe Transferwise is.
If that was something you were worried about, you can be reassured, Transferwise is safe!
Is Transferwise safe for large amounts?
As previously mentioned, Transferwise is completely legit and safe. If you want to send a large amount, there is nothing to be worried about, it’s safe.
Transferwise will also require more documents if you try to send more than £20,000. This is for security purposes and something we can only be happy about at the end of the day.
What about Transferwise business accounts?
If you are a freelancer and want to be able to pay and be paid in other currencies, this will be ideal! You can open a Trasnferwise borderless account. This multi-currency business account is perfect to avoid fees and manage your money easily.
You can transfer money as you would with a personal account but can keep track of it from a business perspective.
You can open local bank accounts in how many currencies you need. You will need to add a tiny bit of money on it first to get your accounts numbers but once that’s done you can use it as normal. This means you can pay your supplier with ease and communicate your bank details to your customers.
It’s very handy if you deal with various currencies. It’s also a great option to offer your customers as they will want to save on currency fees as well!
Everything is easily accessible from Transferwise mobile app or website.
Finally, you can also request a Transferwise Business debit card. It’s a MasterCard and it comes in very handy! The process is very easy and you will receive it within a few days.
Who should use Transferwise?
Clearly, some people don’t need Transferwise. If you never go abroad and don’t need to receive or send money abroad, why would you? But if you are reading this Transferwise review, you probably do.
To give you a bit of background, I am from France. I went backpacking for a year in Australia and Asia. I currently live in the UK (for the past 4 years). I worked for 3 months in the USA. I travel to a foreign country about once a month.
Long story short, I need to juggle between currencies a lot. I used two main currencies (GBP and Euro), two minor currencies (AUD and USD) and occasional currencies for my travels (ZLY, DHR…).
Exchanging currency has always been an issue and a big deal for me. This is why I reviewed every single way to exchange and transfer international money.
That having been said, you don’t need to be in this situation. Even if I were to only travel abroad once a year, Transferwise would be worth it.
People who live abroad
If you live abroad, Transferwise is a must-have. It will make your life so much easier.
I live in the UK and the Transferwise app and card are so helpful. I always have at least a few euros on my card so I can buy myself a coffee when I get to the airport in France. Or pay the first round of drinks with my friends 😉
The awesome thing about Transferwise is that I never worry about money transfers now. I know it’s so quick and easy that I generally do my transfer right before boarding the plane! By the time I get home, my euros have arrived!
As an expat, you will use the card a lot but also the money transfers. Generally, when we move abroad, we always have to transfer money from our home country. Transferwise can also come in handy if you are buying a car or a house. I use it for everything!
People who travel a lot
If you travel a lot and exchange currencies often then you definitely need Transferwise. It will make your life way easier! The great thing about it is that you don’t have to worry too much about how much you are exchanging. No matter how much you have left, you can exchange it back into another currency. This makes it very easy for you to juggle from one to another.
People who go abroad for their holidays
You don’t need to be a big traveller to use Transferwise. At the end of the day, nobody likes to waste money on bank fees. Transferwise offers amazing rates, very very close to the current market exchange rate. This means that even if it’s only once per year, you will still save money on fees. Also, as previously mentioned, the app is great and will help you keep track of your budget.
Freelancers and small businesses with customers or suppliers abroad
As a small business, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customer to pay you. With Transferwise it is very easy. As you will have a set of local bank accounts, you can just communicate your bank details provided by Transferwise. There is nothing you need to worry about anything and your clients can pay you with ease!
FAQs about Transferwise
What’s the story of Transferwise?
Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus created Transferwise because of their own needs. Back then, one was paid in GBP and needed Euros, the other one was paid in Euros and needed GBP.
They realised that they were saving way more money by exchanging these currencies between themselves rather than going through the normal process. For the same amount of their original currency, they would get way more of the other.
This is how Transferwise was created. Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
Is Transferwise worth it even I only use it once a year
It’s free to have a Transferwise account and card. This means that even if you only use it once, it will save you money. There is no minimum amount to make it worth it. It’s worth it from the first time you use it.
If you only use it once a year you will still save money.
Final thoughts on Transferwise
This is my honest review of Transferwise. I really love it. I’ve been using it for years and it made my life so much easier.
I travel and I was so tired of giving money away to banks to exchange money. Transferwise was a game changer and I want to give you the possibility to experience that as well! 🙂