Transferwise - What is it?
Transferwise is an online service that allows you to send/receive money, transfer/convert money, get paid internationally, and hold money in a multitude of currencies with minimal to no bank fees.
I bet you are asking, how can they offer no bank fees, and why aren’t the banks doing this? I don’t know why the banks aren’t, maybe because they are greedy and need to find even more ways to take our hard earned money.
Transferwise also allows you to hold up to 40 different currencies at once, so you can convert your local currency easily when rates benefit you the most. You can get local bank details in US Dollars, British Pound, Australian Dollar, or Euros (again all included for no charge).
You get an account number, as well as necessary details, such as SWIFT, BIC, ABA, and routing number so you can receive money as a form of payment. You can send money to 50+ countries using your borderless account, and even direct wire money into someones account.
Should I use Transferwise?
Sending or converting money is the catch where they make money and take their cut. However, it is pennies compared to the way banks rip you off. First off, you get the posted rate that you would see on Google, and once you start the transfer, the rate is guaranteed for 24-48hrs depending on the currency.
Transferwise then takes a small percentage of the amount transferred as a fee, and this is how they make their money. For example, recently we transferred $2000 Canadian direct from Canadian debit to our Malaysian account. It took about 48 hrs to receive, but total fees were only around $19!
I will take this any day when comparing it to the standard banks, as the banks usually give you a bank conversion rate, and then a fee. For this amount at a traditional bank, the fee was around $45 and the rate was about 10% less than what we saw on Google.
So in my opinion, if you are travelling or using different currencies regularly, I would suggest TransferWise.
Who is Transferwise Good for?
I would recommend this for anyone who is living abroad, expats, long term travellers, freelancers etc. Or even if you have loved ones abroad, they may need emergency funds, and this is a quick easy way to get money to them if needed without using services like Western Union.
Freelancers, like mentioned above, you can have a borderless account with no fee. The bank details are given to you for US, Australian, British, and Euro accounts so you can receive money and be paid in a currency that is convenient for your employer.
The UK and some European countries are able to get a Transferwise Mastercard Debit. This allows you even easier access to your money when needed, and the card is accepted anywhere that accepts Mastercard. The full list of countries this is available for is on their website.
Unfortunately at this time, being Canadian we are not able to get the Mastercard Debit.
How do I sign-up for Transferwise?
Registration is fairly straight forward but it can take a bit of time. Since you are dealing with money, security is extremely important. Basically, you will sign-up or register for an account.
You will then need to provide a photo I.D along with some bills to prove your identity. The process from start to finish can take upto a week or two, depending on how quick you are to respond.
Once your account and identification are verified, you will then be able to start sending or receiving money.
Would I recommend Transferwise?
I absolutely would recommend Transferwise. We have used it to send money from Malaysia to Canada, and vice versa. We have also used it a number of times to pay for diving vacations, as some of the dive shops we used accepted the transfer (in Euros too).
Note: I am not endorsed, being paid nor affiliated with Transferwise at this time. (I will be looking into potential affiliation in the future). I wrote this based on my experience and knowledge to help others save money while they travel the world or are living abroad.