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TransferWise – BER Review

Transferwise International Money Transfers

  • Great exchange rates with low fees
  • Easy-to-use online platform and mobile App
  • Get local currency 'Borderless' accounts in GBP, EUR, USD, AUD, NZD
  • Borderless accounts link to Xero for easy accounting

TransferWise has been making waves in the global payments market since it came on the scene back in 2011 and is undoubtedly one of the best services for sending money across borders.

 

TransferWise – Independently Reviewed by Best Exchange Rates

Exchange Rates 4.5
Customer Service 3.5
Ease of Use 4.5

 

TransferWise: A Summary

TransferWise is undoubtedly one of the best services for sending money across borders.

TransferWise is an uncomplicated, industry-disrupting money transfer service that allows users to send money at the real exchange rate—an exchange rate without the usual markups applied by banks, which can be extremely costly.

TransferWise makes money by applying a small fee to each transfer, but this is always displayed up front.

TransferWise is available in more than 70 countries, covers more than 1300 currency routes and offers a fast sign-up and verification process.

 

Positive

  • One of the cheapest services around
  • Fast sign-up and verification
  • Broad coverage
  • Plenty of customer service options
  • Highly rated by customers

Negative

  • Transfers to bank accounts only
  • No dealers to discuss orders with

 

What Savings Can You Expect?

“TransferWise takes a machete to the hefty fees that banks levy to send money across borders.” — The Economist.

Savings on TransferWise money transfers are substantial relative to banks and traditional money changers, although the amounts saved will of course depend on how much is being transferred.

TransferWise advertises that its transfers are “up to 8 times cheaper” than those performed by banks, but what does that mean in real currency terms? How many dollars, pounds, francs or pesos are we talking about? Let’s take a look.

Using BER’s Foreign Transfers comparison table, below, we’ll pretend we’re sending 5,000 British pounds to the US. Given exchange rates at the time of writing, if sending via TransferWise, the recipient of funds would receive US$6,501 (rounded to the nearest dollar). If sending at the average bank rate, the received amount drops to only US$6,317, for a saving of US$184. If we bump up the transfer amount to £25,000, savings rise to US$1,026! Who wouldn’t want an extra thousand bucks in their pocket?

When compared with other FX specialists, TransferWise consistently ranks near the very top for savings on international payments, across a range of currencies and amounts.

Although TransferWise won’t be the absolute cheapest on every currency route, it will at least show you exactly how much you are being charged in currency terms before you make your decision, which is more than can be said for banks or traditional money changers, who hide all sorts of charges within the exchange rates offered.

 

Sending a LARGER foreign transfer? Shop-around with multiple providers: Get Quotes
Foreign Transfer Providers
Ratings & Reviews
Receive USD($)Exchange RateFee NZDTotal CostTransfer ServicesTransfer SpeedDeal Links
 
OFX logo
6,780 USD
Best Overall
0.6780^1.42%Bank Transfers - Online & Phone, Foreign Currency Accounts1-2 days
 
XE logo
6,838 USD
58 USD
0.683800.58%Bank Transfers - Online & Phone1-2 days
ASB Bank International Money Transfers
ASB Bank logo
6,644.35 USD
136 USD
0.6661253.4%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
HSBC logo
6,637.03 USD
143 USD
0.6647$153.5%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
Banks - Average Rate
ANZ Bank logo HSBC logo BNZ Bank logo ASB Bank logo TSB Bank logo
6,584 USD
196 USD
0.6618224.28%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
 
ANZ Bank logo
6,581.13 USD
199 USD
0.6593184.32%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
TSB Bank International Money Transfers
TSB Bank logo
6,540.93 USD
239 USD
0.6607$1004.9%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
BNZ Bank International Money Transfers
BNZ Bank logo
6,514.2 USD
266 USD
0.658$1005.29%Online, Branch, Bank Transfers2-3 days
 
OFX: Foreign Transfer NZD→USD
NZD amount:$10,000 NZD
Fee:0^ - No fees for BestExchangeRates users (normally $12 for smaller transfers)
Exchange Rate:0.6780 (1.42% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,780 USD
Total Cost:1.42%
Time:
Rate Fetched: Fri Mar 22 2019 22:06:56 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Transfer Speed:1-2 days
Services:Bank Transfers - Online & Phone, Foreign Currency Accounts
Rating:
 
: 4.8/5.0
Reviews:
 
XE: Foreign Transfer NZD→USD
NZD amount:$10,000 NZD
Fee:0
Exchange Rate:0.6838 (0.58% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,838 USD
Total Cost:0.58%
Difference:
58 USD more than using OFX
Time:0:45 Local
Transfer Speed:1-2 days
Services:Bank Transfers - Online & Phone
Rating:
 
: 3.5/5.0
Reviews:
 

ASB Bank logoASB Bank

ASB Bank: Foreign Transfer NZD→USD
NZD amount:$10,000 NZD
Fee:25
Exchange Rate:0.6661 (3.15% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,644.35 USD
Total Cost:3.4%
Difference:
136 USD less than using OFX
Time:0:45 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

HSBC logoHSBC

HSBC: Foreign Transfer NZD→USD
NZD amount:$10,000 NZD
Fee:$15 NZD (.15%)
Exchange Rate:0.6647 (3.36% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,637.03 USD
Total Cost:3.5%
Difference:
143 USD less than using OFX
Time:0:45 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

Banks - Average Rate

Foreign Transfer NZD→USD
NZD amount:$10,000 NZD
Fee:22
Exchange Rate:0.6534 (5% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,584 USD
Total Cost:4.28%
Difference:
196 USD less than using OFX
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
ANZ Bank: Foreign Transfer NZD→USD
NZD amount:$10,000 NZD
Fee:18
Exchange Rate:0.6593 (4.14% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,581.13 USD
Total Cost:4.32%
Difference:
199 USD less than using OFX
Time:0:45 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
 
: 3/5.0
Reviews:
 

TSB Bank logoTSB Bank

TSB Bank: Foreign Transfer NZD→USD
NZD amount:$10,000 NZD
Fee:$100 NZD (1%)
Exchange Rate:0.6607 (3.94% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,540.93 USD
Total Cost:4.9%
Difference:
239 USD less than using OFX
Time:0:45 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

BNZ Bank logoBNZ Bank

BNZ Bank: Foreign Transfer NZD→USD
NZD amount:$10,000 NZD
Fee:$100 NZD (1%)
Exchange Rate:0.6580 (4.33% from mid-rate)
USD amount:6,514.2 USD
Total Cost:5.29%
Difference:
266 USD less than using OFX
Time:0:45 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Transfers
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 
 

 

Are TransferWise Exchange Rates Guaranteed?

Yes, for a fixed time.

After creating your money transfer order, TransferWise will lock in the displayed exchange rate for a 24 or 48-hour period, depending on the currencies in question. As long as TransferWise receives your funds within that window, it guarantees that the receiving account gets exactly what was shown at the time you created the transfer order. In all cases, you will be told for how long your guarantee is in place at the time you create the order—this will be shown next to the exchange rate.

Should you fail to provide funds quickly enough, TransferWise will amend your transfer order to reflect the new mid-market exchange rate, which might be to your benefit or detriment.

As for weekends, when most banks don’t process transfers, these are ignored. For example, if you create a EUR to GBP transfer (a 48-hour rate guarantee) at 5pm on a Friday, TransferWise will guarantee the exchange rate so long as funds are received before the same time on Tuesday.

The exception to the above comes with GBP payments. Because most banks in the UK do process transfers on the weekend, TransferWise will include weekend days. For example, a GBP to EUR transfer (a 24-hour rate guarantee) created on Friday at 5pm will be guaranteed until 5pm on Saturday.

 

How Long Will My Transfer Take?

After TransferWise receives your funds, these will usually arrive at the destination bank account within two business days (many transfers will be same-day), although it can take longer depending on the currencies involved (additional security checks may be required), on the time of day you make your transfer and on the timing of national holidays.

Before you confirm any order, TransferWise gives you a chance to review it, and this review includes the “should arrive by” date.

 

Is TransferWise Safe?

Readers will be pleased to learn that TransferWise is a highly regulated firm. As of 2019, it is regulated by financial authorities in the US, UK, EEA, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and Canada.

Importantly, in order to meet the requirements of regulators, TransferWise must separate your money from theirs, which means that in the highly unlikely event that TransferWise goes to pot, your money will be returned.

TransferWise deploys a number of measures aimed at protecting your account; these include a 2-step login and Transport Layer Security encryption to protect transactions and all communications with the company. TransferWise also monitors accounts and customer profiles for unusual activity.

 

How Can I Send and Receive Funds?

For the majority of currencies, you will need to send funds to TransferWise from a bank account. For some currencies, you will be offered alternative funding methods including debit and credit cards (Visa, Mastercard and Maestro), Apple Pay or Android Pay, and if you are in one of the participating European countries, SOFORT. Be aware that alternative funding methods may incur additional charges.

A TransferWise limitation is that funds must be paid into a bank account.

 

Transfer Limits

Transfer limits will only affect a small minority of TransferWise customers (the send/receive limit for euro transfers, for example, is €1.2 million). In all cases, TransferWise will tell you when you’ve exceeded its limits via an error message at the time you create your transfer order.

Transfer limits are unique to each currency, so for further information either contact TransferWise or search within the company’s online Help Centre. Be sure to check limits for both currencies since TransferWise will apply the lowest of these.

 

Customer Service

TransferWise offers email support and 13 national phone lines for support in your language.

Be aware that TransferWise phone support is not available 24/5. Each of the local phone lines will be available on business days only and for its own unique hours; these are displayed after you select your region on TransferWise’s ‘Contact Us’ page.

A slight knock on the Customer Service front is that TransferWise’s Live Chat feature seems to be continually unavailable.

BER research indicates that roughly 75 percent of TransferWise users who had cause to contact customer service were happy with their experience, which is in line with the industry average.  Roughly a quarter of those with issues claim that customer service was unsupportive or that emails weren’t replied to, though this is impossible to verify.

 

TransferWise Borderless Account (Multi-Currency)

Another impressive service offered by TransferWise is the borderless account. This allows users to hold and convert funds in 40 different currencies, and make and receive payments in those currencies with the same excellent exchange rates (the real, mid-market rates) and low fee structure that comes with TransferWise’s basic money transfer service. The account costs nothing and there is no minimum balance.

Regardless of where you’re living in the world, with the borderless account you’ll receive local GBP, EUR, USD, AUD and NZD bank details—you’ll get a personal account number, SWIFT and sort code, and everything else needed to receive funds in those currencies with no fees whatsoever!

Users in the UK and European Economic Area can also apply for a multi-currency Mastercard debit card linked to their TransferWise borderless account, with contactless payment functionality. When travelling with the card, users can choose which currency to pay in and will always receive the mid-market exchange rate on all spending.

TransferWise levies no transaction fees on Mastercard payments, no matter where you are in the world, and for every 30-day period the company offers free cash withdrawals at overseas ATMs on the first GBP200 withdrawn or local currency equivalent, beyond which you’ll be charged a static 2 percent. Be aware that for overseas cash withdrawals TransferWise customers might incur charges from local banks but this is no different to anybody else and you’re usually warned of these before you withdraw.

For a more in-depth look you can read our BER Review – TransferWise Borderless Account.

 

What Do Users Think of TransferWise?

As of February 2019, user reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

On one popular review site, more than 85 percent of the 57,000 TransferWise users gave the company a 5-star rating; only 3 percent said they had a “bad” experience.

Recurring themes within reviews relate to things like “fantastic service,” “awesome rates,” “super fast” and “easy transfer.”

As with anything, though, some users won’t like the service due to their own unique circumstances. For example, some are left disappointed that TransferWise don’t offer same-currency transfers (e.g. USD from a US account into USD in an oversees account), but the overwhelming majority of TransferWise customers are thrilled with the service.

 

TransferWise Smart Global Transfers

Visit TransferWise and Save

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4 Reviews for “TransferWise – BER Review”

  1. Avatar Estefania Diaz Clavijo says:

    5 star customer service and service. Thanks for revolutionizing worldwide bank transfers! 😀

    4
  2. Avatar gg says:

    Great experience !! Quick and easy to use !!!

    4.3
  3. Avatar Sue S says:

    If you want to transfer funds from one country to another, this service is great – and much easier and much better value than having a normal bank do it. And when I have needed help the staff on the Chat function and on the phone have been super-helpful.

    4
  4. Avatar BER Team says:

    Quick, easy and straightforward . Great for sending smaller amounts quickly

    4.3

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