This is the first installment of a new weekly post, where I will be examining the major news stories of the week following their publication. In this first edition, I am going to look at the decision by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to block the planned IPO of British fintech startup TransferWise.
Wise Review 2021 (formerly TransferWise) is the next generation subscription service that’s designed to make it easy to pay all your bills, get everything you need, and move your money when and where you want. Here’s what it can do for you:
In the recent years, the usage of mobile banking has increased dramatically. This has resulted in the need for more secure and convenient methods for transferring money to other people, such as bank transfers and digital wallets. In recent years, technology giant Google has come up with its own digital wallet called “Android Pay”.
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Wise (previously TransferWise) is a financial technology business based in the United Kingdom. They offer a variety of financial services, but they are well recognized for their low-cost currency conversion.
Wise allows you to send money to others in a variety of currencies at competitive rates. You can also use your Wise card to make low-cost international payments. However, you can use it as a bank account and store a variety of currencies in it.
But, in reality, how wonderful is it? Is it a good idea to utilize Wise? Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of Wise.
TransferWise provides a credit card with extremely reduced currency exchange fees.
Wise is a private corporation headquartered in London, England. They were one of the first fintech startups, having debuted in 2011. They began as TransferWise before changing their name to Wise in early 2021.
They began by primarily providing money transfer services at reasonable rates for currency exchanges. However, you can now hold multiple currencies in your account and instantly receive funds.
They had over 6 million customers in 2019. More than 10 million people will be using Wise by 2021. Wise users have more than 3 billion GBP in their accounts. Their services are offered in a number of countries, including the United States and the majority of Europe. The most astonishing figure is that Wise users transfer more than 5 billion pounds per month.
After a long wait, they went public on the stock exchange in July 2021.
Wise’s key selling point is its multi-currency account. Borderless was the name of this account before it was renamed in the multi-currency account. Wise has a business bank account as well. However, in this evaluation, I will concentrate on the personal bank account.
The main advantage of this account is that you can save up to 56 different currencies in it. As a result, you can not only pay in various currencies, but you can also keep money in them. So, if you receive money in EUR, for example, you can keep it and utilize it to shop in France. This is excellent since it provides a great deal of versatility.
When it comes to receiving money, you can even obtain local account numbers in ten different currencies. This entails receiving a unique EUR IBAN or USD routing and account number. People can contribute money directly to these accounts in your name, which is a fantastic feature.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to obtain a local Swiss personal IBAN. I’m not aware of any service that provides personal CH IBANs other than Swiss banks.
They do, however, have a free CH IBAN that you can use to fill up your account. If you wish to send money from your bank account to your Wise account for free, this is a terrific option!
Another fantastic feature of Wise is the option to send money to over 80 other countries’ accounts!
When you send or spend money, the system recognizes that you already have money in the correct currency. If you don’t have it, it will be converted for you automatically.
It’s also quite quick to send money. They accomplish this by maintaining local bank accounts in a variety of countries. As a result, when you send money from one nation to another, it is rapidly routed through Wise’s various bank accounts. This helps them to bypass middlemen. This has the dual benefit of allowing for speedier and less expensive transfers.
You can also receive a Mastercard Debit card with your account. If you want to travel with your account or get some cash, this is an excellent option. All payments made with this card will be processed in the same way as money is sent or money is paid online. It will either use your existing balance in that currency or convert for you automatically.
You may use your Wise account to pay with Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay, as expected. As a result, you can pay using your phone with ease.
They’ve even started offering a virtual Visa card. This means you can have many (up to three) cards in your account. It can be used on the web or with Google Pay / Apple Pay. This is fantastic in terms of security. You can create a new card, pay online with it on a site you don’t trust (or are testing for the first time), and then erase or freeze it. This is a fantastic feature!
A virtual card can also be used to avoid having to carry around a genuine plastic card. Your card can be found on your phone! These virtual cards function in the same way as Wise’s conventional physical cards.
Wise, as a whole, has a lot of fascinating features. You should have everything you require with you. These capabilities can be used in conjunction with your local bank account or even to replace it if Wise supports your local banking system.
Wise’s key benefit is that it is far less expensive than regular banks. As a result, we must pay close attention to their pricing. I’ll accept GBP as payment. Fees will be paid in your local currency if you have another account. These fees will be transferred to your native currency and rounded up. As a result, they are essentially the same in every country.
A Wise account is completely free. You can hold any currency and obtain local IBAN or account numbers in a variety of locations for free!
You will be charged a 0.40 percent fee on your assets if you have more than 15’000 EUR in your account. As a result, keeping a large sum of money in your Wise account is not advised.
It’s free to add money to your account as long as you submit a currency that your account can accept. You’ll have to pay currency conversion costs if you don’t. Except for wire transactions in USD, receiving money on your account is likewise free (they cost 7.50 USD).
To obtain a Wise debit card, you must pay a one-time fee of 5 GBP. However, there will be no annual cost. Spending money with the card is free as long as you have the relevant cash on hand. You’ll have to pay currency conversion costs if you don’t (keep reading for details).
You can even use the card to make a cash withdrawal. You are allowed two ATM withdrawals every month, up to a total of 200 GBP. You will be charged 0.50 GBP per withdrawal if you make more than one. If you withdraw more than 200GBP, you will be charged a 1.75 percent fee on the amount you remove. As a result, I would strongly advise against withdrawing too much money with Wise.
The currency conversion is the part of Wise that costs money. Regrettably, they have a convoluted price structure. You will be charged a set and variable cost for each conversion. The variable fee is calculated as a percentage of the total. Only the variable cost will apply to conversions made within your own account. However, even if you don’t convert the currency, transferring money will cost you the fixed price.
They do not, however, include a table listing all of the fixed and variable fees. They appear to be changing on a very regular basis. They do, however, provide a fee calculator.
As of July 2021, below are a few examples:
- If you send 1000 EUR to someone in the UK, the cost is 0.50 + 4.08 = 4.58 EUR.
- If you send 2000 CHF to someone in USD, the cost is 1.09 + 8.56 = 9.65 CHF.
- 6.28 + 52.69 = 58.97 USD charge for sending $10,000 USD to someone in INR
In general, you may expect to spend between 0.40 and 0.80 percent. This is a great deal. When compared to Swiss banks that charge between 1% and 2% for even the most common currency pairs, Wise can save you a lot of money.
However, there are some instances where the variable price is much higher. Converting from AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) to USD, for example, will cost you 3.46 percent in variable fees. This is quite costly. As a result, don’t assume that everything with Wise is cheap.
Wise fees are, on the whole, very reasonable. They aren’t completely free like some of their competitors, but they are inexpensive and reliable. At the interbank rate, the base rate is also quite good. As a result, their currency conversions will be fantastic!
Is Wise a secure platform?
It is critical to know if your money is safe before investing any amount of money in a financial business. We’re mostly curious in what would happen if Wise went bankrupt.
It’s worth noting that Wise has been profitable for four years in a row. This is a fantastic outcome for such a young company. It’s critical because many fintech firms, such as Revolut, are losing money. And their profit is rapidly increasing.
Wise is not a financial institution. As a result, they are unable to directly hold your funds. They are required to place their users’ money in financial institutions. This also means that money is not protected by deposit insurance. In Switzerland, for example, if a bank fails, you are protected up to 100,000 CHF. TransferWise does not provide this level of security.
Wise, on the other hand, protects its users’ money. It means that all user deposits are held in separate bank accounts from Wise’s corporate bank accounts. Creditors would have no right to the money in the event of bankruptcy.
The money is held in various banks in each country. Wise is spreading across a number of banks. They do, however, invest consumer funds in government bonds. Customers should not notice a significant difference in terms of danger because governments in most nations are rather safe. In the event of bankruptcy, however, it may take longer to recover the funds.
Customers’ monies in the United Kingdom, for example, are placed in cash in six separate banks across three nations. In the UK and the US, 52.68 percent (as of June 2021) is invested in government bonds.
Overall, I believe it is secure to keep money in Wise accounts. There is a risk (as there usually is), but it is manageable.
Finally, let’s see what Wise users have to say about it.
Let’s start with the TrustPilot reviews for Wise. At this time, there are over 120’000 reviews with an average rating of 4.6. This is a fantastic result! Wise is rated Excellent by 85 percent of users (5 stars). And only 4% of people think it’s bad (1 star).
The majority of the good feedback is focused on:
- Transfers are completed at a good pace.
- The transfer fees are transparent.
- System that is simple to utilize
- Excellent client service
Negative reviews, on the other hand, are critical of:
- Problems with cancelled accounts and the requirement to authenticate accounts on a frequent basis
- Some transfers took longer than anticipated.
Overall, the negative feedback is unconcerneding. The account deactivations, on the other hand, are concerning. TransferWise is well-known for deactivating many accounts. They will terminate your account if you breach the terms of service, and they will usually not tell you why. In most cases, they should reimburse your money as soon as possible. However, it appears that returning the funds takes longer than expected.
We can also check at the App’s Google Play reviews. There are over 125K reviews, with a 4.4 average rating. Positive feedback is primarily focused on transfer speeds and exchange prices. The majority of the negative reviews are concerning the app’s latest updates. There are also some new complaints concerning account deactivation and transfers taking too long.
Finally, let’s have a look at the App Store reviews. There are only roughly 21K reviews here, with an average rating of 4.7, which is another outstanding outcome. Good customer service, quick and inexpensive transfers, and an easy-to-use app are all mentioned in the positive ratings. The most of the negative feedback is concerning account deletion.
Wise appears to be incredibly popular among users. The majority of users are pleased with the speedy and inexpensive transfers.
Account deactivations, on the other hand, appear to be a problem. Either they should make it more transparent or they should repay the funds more quickly. However, even if it only affects a small number of individuals, it is still concerning in its current state.
To summarize the benefits of Wise, consider the following:
- Excellent rate of currency conversion
- You can keep a variety of currencies in your account.
- Can pay for goods and services in another country at a lower cost
- Money can be transferred to other accounts in different currencies at extremely reasonable rates.
- You have the ability to hold more than 50 currencies in your account.
- Local accounts are available in ten different currencies.
- Can perform operations both on the website and on a mobile device
- There are no charges for account administration.
- They have a lot of transparency when it comes to how they handle money.
- You can make up to three virtual Visa cards.
- Excellent feedback from customers
Let’s take a look at some of Wise’s drawbacks:
- A convoluted pricing structure
- Currency exchanges can be costly in some cases.
- Free withdrawals are limited.
- After the free withdrawals, there are expensive withdrawals.
- Switzerland has no personal IBAN.
- A concerning number of accounts have been terminated.
TransferWise provides a credit card with extremely reduced currency exchange fees.
In general, I enjoy TransferWise’s offer. They have a good reputation and offer competitive rates for money transfers in different currencies. It’s also a wonderful way to pay without paying a lot of fees when you use it abroad with their card.
Wise is the ideal account to use if you need to move money between currencies on a regular basis. When compared to Swiss bank accounts, the disparity is enormous!
And, obviously, if you travel a lot or live in a lot of different countries, a Wise account may be really useful.
This is not a good option for your local Swiss bank because you do not have a personal local CH IBAN. A decent Swiss bank account is still required.
There are actually better options for spending money abroad. Neon, for example, will provide you with free international payments. It will, however, much outperform your bank credit card.
If you’re curious how this compares to Revolut, I’ve put together a Wise vs Revolut comparison.
Also, if you want a short overview of Wise, this video is excellent:
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The author of thepoorswiss.com is Mr. The Poor Swiss. He realized he was falling into the lifestyle inflation trap in 2017. He made the decision to reduce his spending while increasing his income. This blog chronicles his journey and discoveries. In 2019, he plans to save more than half of his income. He set a goal for himself to achieve financial independence. Here’s where you may send a message to Mr. The Poor Swiss.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is Wise safe for money transfer?
Wise is a safe and secure platform for money transfer.
Is Wise safe to use?
Wise is safe to use.
Is Wise com trusted?
Wise.com is not a trusted source of information.
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