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TransferWise Review

TransferWise Review & Tutorial

Written by LouiseElizabeth

16th April 2020

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In this TransferWise review, I’ll show you a great high street bank alternative, where you can send your money abroad, fast and cheap. You can exchange your funds at the real market rate and TransferWise claims to be 9 times cheaper than UK high street banks with no hidden fees.

What is TransferWise?

TransferWise is a money transfer platform allowing users to send, receive and spend money internationally. With Transferwise you can send money abroad, get paid in other currencies and spend abroad using their debit Mastercard.

When exchanging your funds, it’s at the real Interbank rate and they state that they are 9 times cheaper than the UK high street banks with no hidden fees or sneaky charges on top like you find with most banks. The rate that you see is like the rate you’ll find on Google.

With TransferWise people can send you local money direct to your account. And you can create local accounts with a click of a button for up 5 accounts, such as the likes of US Dollars, Aus Dollars, EUR or GBP. And all at zero fees.

The company launched in 2011 and with the help of investors such as Richard Branson and Paypal founds Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, now have over 7 million customers moving 4 million dollars every month.

Transferwise Review - All you need to know about Transferwise

Borderless Accounts

A foreign currency account allows you to send money around the world, avoiding pricey exchange rates set by banks. By creating a foreign currency account you can get paid with your own bank details. Meaning that you can receive money for free with your own US, UK, EU, Poland, Australia, and New Zealand bank details.

This could be great for freelancers working multi-nationally or ex-pats needing to send money back to their home countries. You can also hold more than 50 currencies at once and can convert between them in second.

Bordless Accounts
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TransferWise Supported Currencies

TransferWise supports more than 50 different currencies, allowing users to send to any of the currencies on TransferWise. Further down in this TransferWise review, I provide a step by step guide to exchanging your currencies within the platform.

Transferwise Supported Currencies

TransferWise Debit Card

With the TransferWise Debit Card you can pay in any currency, anywhere. It will simply take the funds from your account. Or if you dont have enough of the right currency, it’ll automatically convert teh balance with the lowest fee. The card has 30 day cash withdrawal limits, depending on your location and you will be charged 2% for anything over this limit.

The Mastercard debit card is currently available for users with a multi-currency account in the UK, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and most of the EEA, and people with a multi-currency account in the US. You can also use your TransferWise card with Apple Pay.

Spend abroad TransferWise Debit Card

TransferWise Fees

The fees that you will pay with TransferWise will vary depending on what you are doing. Because of the variables, this can be complicated. However, TransferWise fees are very transparent and also shown upfront so there are no nasty surprises. And you can calculate how much you will pay on their website using their Fee Calculator.

There are fixed fees for the following;

  • To send money (which varies by currency),
  • Convert currencies
  • Add money to your account
  • Convert a currency using your card
  • ATM withdrawals over £200/per month

And you can select from 3 different types of money transfers; “Low Cost Transfer”, “Fast and Easy Transfer” or “Advanced Transfer”.

TransferWise Fees

Where Is TransferWise Located?

Although the company was founded by Estonians Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus the company is actually based in London.

Is Transferwise Safe?

Although TransferWise is not a bank, in the UK TransferWise is fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Under FCA regulations, TransferWise holds all customer funds separately from the money used for the everyday running of the business.

Although every country is different, you can check out how its regulated in each country here.

They also use HTTPS encryption, and 2-step login to protect all your transactions and make sure your communications with them are secure. They state that they never misuse or sell your data. And have real live people who watch over every transaction, and confirm every customer’s identity. 

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TransferWise Review Step By Step Guide

To sign up for an account, simply click onto this link (and you’ll also get a free international transfer of up to £500). You’ll need to enter your email address, create a password and country of residence. And you’ll also need to confirm your email address.

How to Open a Balance

To be able to get all the benefits of a TransferWise account, the first thing you’ll need to do is “Get Started” or “Open a Balance”.

If you havent already setup your Personal Profile, you will be requested to do so at this point. After this has been completed you can “Select the Currency” you’d like to open first.

You’ll then be prompted to order your debit card if you haven’t done so already. Follow the instructions on the screen and then your account will be created.

Opening a balance with TransferWise

You will then need to select “Get Bank Details“. At this point, because your balance is zero you will be prompted to “Add GBP“.

How to Add Funds to TransferWise

To be able to get a bank details. you’ll need to add funds into your account. If this is the first time you are adding funds, you’ll be prompted to do this when you click onto the “Get Bank Details” button. Alternatively, you can reach this by clicking onto “Add GBP“.

how to add funds from TransferWise

You’ll then need to enter the amount you’d like to add, select the currency and click onto “Next“.

There are then a few options of how you would like to transfer your funds;

  • Low Cost Transfer – Manual Bank Transfers or Authorise Funds from your Bank Account
  • Fast and Easy Transfer – Debit or Credit Card
  • Advanced Transfer – Swift Transfer

Choose your preferred method and click onto “Continue to Payment“.

Follow the instructions on screen for your method. If you have selected a bank transfer, ensure that you made a note of the reference as this will be used to map your transaction to your TransferWise account.

If this is the first time you have added funds, you will be prompted to upload your photographic ID.

How to Create a Foreign Currency Account

Before you can exchange your funds in TransferWise, you will first need to create a foreign currency account to exchange your funds into.

Firstly, you will need to “Open a Balance“.

You will then be prompted to select a currency for your account. If you want to create an account with local bank account details, you can select either GBP, EUR, USD, PLN or AUS from the dropdown. Alternatively, you can create an account without bank details in more than 50 different currencies.

Banks with Foreign Bank Details Abroad

If the account has been created with Local Bank Details, you can then retrieve these details from the “Balances” section. Otherwise, your foreign currency account will just show under “Balances” ready for funds to be exchanged into.

How to Exchange Currencies

To exchange into a particular currency, the first thing that you will need to do, is open a foreign currency account/balance for the currency you wish to convert to.

Click onto the currency that you wish to convert and click onto the “Convert” icon.

You’ll then need to enter how much you would like to convert and the currency you’d like to convert to. Only currencies where you have an “Open Balance” will appear from the list.

When you are happy with the rates and fees you can “Continue”.

Cheap Currency Conversions with TransferWise

How to Send Funds with TransferWise

To send funds, locally or internationally click onto the balance that you’d like to send and click onto “Send“.

Sending Funds Locally

Select “Local” and enter the amount that you like to send.

The balance fee and any associated discount will then show on screen. You can then click onto “Continue“.

How to send a local transfer

You’ll then be asked who you are sending the funds to, and you can select from “Myself“, “Someone else” or a “Business or Charity“.

Then next screen will ask you to enter the recipient details such as the bank details, sort code, etc.

You’ll then need to review the details before confirming.

Sending Funds Internationally

Select “International” and enter the amount that you would like to send.

You’ll then need to select the “Currency” from the dropdown that your recipient will be receiving.

The balance fee and any associated discount will then show on screen. You will also see your Guaranteed Rate at this stage. This amount is guaranteed for a period of 24/48 hours.

When you are happy you can click onto “Continue”.

cheap ways to send money internationally

You’ll then be asked who you are sending the funds to, and you can select from “Myself“, “Someone else” or a “Business or Charity“.

Then next screen will ask you to enter the recipient details such as the bank details, sort code, etc.

You’ll then need to review the details before confirming.

How to Get a TransferWise Mastercard

To get a TransferWise card, just click on the “Debit card” tab on the website, or the select “Account” within the app, and you’ll then see the option to “order” the card.

Once your card has been received, you’ll then need to activate it with a 6 digit code which will be available on your card.

TransferWise vs Revolut

If you are interested in finding an alternative money exchange platform, Revolut is another great alternative.

Revolut Review & Tutorial

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