This is a comprehensive review of Wise. They used to be called Transferwise and have rebranded in the last few years. This article will be reviewing the transfer process, using their personal accounts, as well as using the Wise business accounts.
I have been using wise for several years now. Back then, they were called Transferwise and I would use them to send money from Australia where I was living back to the US where I could pay my taxes!
Now I have both a Wise personal account and a Wise business account to receive and send different currencies at the lowest possible rate.
Is Wise Legit? Is Wise Safe?
Wise is a perfectly legitimate company that I have used many times in the past and continue to use today.
You can check their validity on Trustpilot here.
Wise is an authorised Electronic Money Institution independently regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom.
This means we’re required by law to keep your money safe by storing it in a low-risk financial institution – in Europe this is in our UK account with Barclays, in the US this is in our US account with Wells Fargo
What is Wise?
If you’re confused about what exactly Wise is, it’s a Fintech company that allows you to transfer money from one currency to another at a very low rate.
The story of how they got started is a personal favorite of mine. Two friends from Estonia were living in London.
One of them was working for a European company and was being paid in Euros. The other was working for a British company and being paid in British Pounds.
The guy that was being paid in Euros was obviously living in the UK and needed to be able to pay his rent and his living expenses in pounds. His friend who was earning in Pounds had a mortgage back in Estonia that he needed to pay in Euros.
They decided to swap Pounds for Euros at the exact exchange rate without any fees involved. They didn’t have to deal with the fees their banks would charge them for transferring to a different currency or worry about getting a bad exchange rate from a currency exchange service.
They realized what a great business idea this was and Wise (then Transferwise) was born.
At its very essence, Wise is about helping international citizens of the world move their money at the best rate with the lowest fees as quickly as possible. They do this by holding money in multiple currencies around the world so that they can “trade” it with you just like they did with each other all those years ago in London.
Using Wise to Transfer Money to Different Currencies
The main reason most people use Wise, myself included, is to transfer money from one country to another.
For me, this started when I lived in Australia. As an American, I need to file my taxes regardless of whether I live in the United States or not.
So after filing my taxes, I owed the IRS a little bit of money and I needed to send it from my Australian Bank account over to my American bank account so that I could write a check and pay my taxes.
That’s when I found Wise. Back then it was called Transferwise and I loved how quickly and cheaply I could send money. I used it again when I lived in the UK for six months and again when I moved to Mexico.
Since moving to Lithuania, I actually opened a Wise Multi-Currency Account (more on that below). But I still recommend to all of my friends who need to make single transfers every now and again between countries to use Wise.
If you use this link to make your first transfer, it will be completely free (up to £500 or the equivalent in the currency you are transferring).
What Countries and Currencies Can You Exchange Into?
You can send money to countries across North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. There are more than 80 countries on the list which you can find here.
Review of Wise Personal Multi-Currency Account
I opened the Wise Personal Multi-Currency Account about four months ago when I first moved to Lithuania.
The main reason I wanted to open the account was so that I could hold Euros in an account. I needed to be able to easily pay my rent and bills via bank transfer to my landlord and I didn’t want to pay international fees every time I sent money over from my US bank account.
Of course, I could have opened a Lithuanian bank account once I got my residency. But I was drawn to the Wise account because it offers the option to hold money in several different currencies including US dollars, British Pounds, Euros, and Australian Dollars to name a few.
Transferring Between Currencies Easily
Since we are so close to the UK and I knew we would be visiting a few times in the next year or so, I thought it would be wise (see what I did there?) to open this account and be able to move money between these currencies at the lowest possible rate.
This means that I can receive money in Euros into this account just like I would if I had a bank account here in Lithuania without being charged any fees. I can pay my rent and bills (which costs me 28 cents), and then for a very low fee and at an amazing rate, I can change some of those Euros into pounds and then spend them using the debit card that they gave me as if I had a British bank account.
Receive Money Like a Bank
Although not technically a bank, the account functions just like a bank account. You get a UK sort code, account number, and IBAN. You get a US bank account and routing number. You get a Euro SWIFT code and account number.
There are accounts available for Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and Singaporean Dollars. You can hold money in Turkish Lira, Romanian Lei, and Hungarian Forint.
All of these currencies are available to you as if you held a bank account in each of these countries, making paying for items in those currencies easier and cheaper than ever before.
Besides having account details for all of these currencies, you can also simply hold and convert into 54 different currencies.
Great Travel Card
This account is great not only for people who live abroad and want to be able to spend easily and cheaply in multiple currencies, but also for frequent travelers.
If you don’t have the ability to open a Schwab checking account (the best bank account for Americans who travel in my humble opinion), then this is the second-best option. This account is like opening up a travel account that allows you to spend in local currency without incurring fees every time you spend.
You pay a small fee when you transfer money to a different currency and then you can use the card just like a local debit card, swiping and tapping all over town.
Whether you’ve got a trip to Italy and want to be able to eat your weight in pasta without thinking about exchange rates or you’re planning a trip to Canada and don’t want to keep working out the exchange rate when you spend on your credit card (and then come home to an insane bill because of the fees they’ve added on for exchanging currencies with every spend), this is an amazing card for all international travel.
Find out more about the Multi-currency account here.
Review of Wise Business Account
After testing out the Personal account on Wise, I decided that I wanted to try using their business account as well.
As a digital content creator, I have the privilege of being able to work with companies from all over the world. It’s incredible and in the last few years I’ve been able to work with so many wonderful small businesses and interesting people.
However, getting paid by these international companies can often mean that one of us loses out. I’ll give you one guess who that usually is (hi, it’s me).
I usually end up getting paid in the currency of the country that they are in. This means if I work with a company from Spain, I get paid in Euros. If I work with a company from the UK, I get paid in Pounds.
I used to use Paypal for this and even just to receive a payment, I usually get charged a percentage on the amount that I receive. Then on top of that, when I want to actually send the money from my Paypal account into my US bank account, I have to exchange the currency from Euros or Pounds into US Dollars before I can send the money to myself.
If I want to receive that money within 24 hours, I have to pay a fee on top of that. Otherwise, I have to wait 3-5 business days to receive that money. Usually, that’s not a huge deal, but it’s something worth knowing about.
With this Wise business account I can receive money in Euros and what I love, is that I can actually simply keep it in Euros and then spend those Euros through the account without needing to transfer it to Dollars.
Of course, I can also exchange it for Dollars and then use them that way. I can also exchange them for Pounds and use those when I have business expenses in the UK.
It functions much like the Wise personal account, but I can use it for my business, which is a huge relief now when I agree to work with international companies.
Read more about the business account here.
Watch My Wise Review Video
If you prefer to listen to the benefits of using wise, check out my review of Wise and all of its accounts in this video.