Wise Review

Wise (formerly TransferWise) is an extremely popular online money transfer app used by more than 16 million customers globally. They are a very low cost solution for sending money overseas, and also offer a multi-currency account that allows customers to send, hold, and receive multiple currencies.

But are they the right provider for your needs?

In this Wise review, we’ll take a look at some of the company’s key metrics, identifying their main strengths and weaknesses. We’ll evaluate our own experiences using their service, as well as analysing Wise’s thousands of verified customer reviews, the vast majority of which are positive.

After reading this review, you’ll have a clear understanding of whether or not Wise is the best international money transfer provider for you. But, broadly speaking, if you’re sending small amounts overseas, Wise will more than likely be close to, if not top of your shortlist.

Is Wise’s streamlined solution the right fit for your needs?

How did we review Wise?

Our first step in reviewing Wise was registering an account and processing a test transfer. To ensure our review was authentic, we were careful to not let our intentions be known to Wise. The goal of the test transfer was to gain insights into how user-friendly and efficient Wise’s systems were for international transfers. We focused our attention on the ease of the sign-up process and transferring funds, as well as utilising other features that Wise offers. We also analysed their:

  • Compliance and regulation
  • FX rates and fees
  • Service quality
  • Customer reviews
  • Australia-specific features and feedback

Our review factors in our findings in all these areas, which cumulatively produced our overall review score for Wise.

Key Information

Launched in Australia2014
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
OfficesUK, Australia, Estonia, Budapest, India, Singapore, USA
RegulationASIC (AU), and 68 additional licences across 45 countries
No. of customers16 million+
No. of currencies40
Transfer feesVariable fee from 0.38%
Customer reviews (Overall)4.2/5, 211,400+ reviews
Customer reviews (Australia)N/A
Annual trading volume£105 billion
Minimum transfer$0
Maximum transferVaries by currency (1.5 million AUD per transfer)
Online platformYes
Mobile appYes
Account managerNo

Pros and Cons

  • No fx markup – Wise is very cost effective, as you’ll always receive the mid-market rate and will only have to pay a small variable fee.
  • Speed – Wise likely offers the fastest international transfers in the industry, with more than 90% of transfers completed within a day.
  • Local accounts – Wise leverage local accounts across many countries to provide faster transfers and avoid intermediary or receiving fees.
  • No dedicated dealers – as an online only platform, the onus is on you to get everything right, without guidance from an expert.
  • Better orientated for smaller transfers – with no hedging tools or account managers, Wise are not optimised for medium/large transfers.
  • Funds being held – a small minority of negative reviews mention Wise holding customer funds for an extended period of time.

About Wise

Wise launched back in 2011 in the UK, and following an extremely successful first few years of business, their service became available to Australians in 2014. Over the last decade, Wise has grown rapidly in Australia and is now one of the country’s most successful money transfer providers.

Wise is an international powerhouse that has 10 million active customers and at the time of writing, they facilitate more than 1 million transactions every day. They boast a strong global infrastructure and have a lot of international accounts, meaning more often than not, customers avoid paying any intermediary or receiving fees.

Unlike a currency broker, Wise is an online only platform, and this streamlined offering is what allows them to offer one of the cheapest ways to send money overseas. As such, Wise has invested a lot into its app and digital platform, to ensure their systems are reliable and user-friendly. Wise is also one of the only publicly traded money transfer companies. They went public on the London Stock Exchange in July 2021, and were valued at £8.75 billion, which at the time, was London’s largest ever tech listing. Not only is this a great indicator of Wise’s success, it also means customers have full transparency in regards to company performance and how much Wise are profiting.

Wise Currency Exchange Services

One off & recurring international transfers

Transferring money abroad is a very simple process with Wise. There are many ways to fund your transfer including: your Wise balance, debit or credit card, Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Osko by BPAY. There are no minimum transfer limits but maximum transfer limits do apply and vary by currency. For AUD, you’re limited to AU$1.5 million per transfer. Wise does not offer forward contracts, so customers are unable to guarantee a rate for the future when setting up recurring payments. Instead, you will always get the live interbank rate at the time of the trade. So, when setting up your recurring payments, you can either set a fixed amount to send, or alternatively, set a fixed amount that your recipient will receive.

Multi-currency account

Wise offers a multi-currency account, advertised as ‘a universal account for sending, spending, and receiving money like a local.’ This account has several features that are relevant for international transfers. You can send and hold a total of 40 currencies with Wise. The ability to hold foreign currency means you can wait until there’s a favourable currency swing to convert your funds into your domestic currency. You can even set rate alerts that will automatically trigger this conversion for you. Wise also allows you to set up account details and IBANs for 9 different popular currencies, making them a great way to receive international transfers also.

Business FX services

Wise offers all of its services to business and personal users. There are no monthly fees for a Wise business account, just a one off registration fee of AU$22 and a $22 fee each time you open a new currency account to receive and hold money. Wise’s multi-currency account lets you send, hold, and receive a number of foreign currencies.

Is there a Wise App?

Yes, Wise has a very popular app available to both Apple and Android users. It’s had more than 10 million downloads and is very highly reviewed. 4.8/5 on the App Store, based on 55K+ reviews. 4.7/5 on Google Play, based on 800K+ reviews. This is important for a provider like Wise, as they’re an online only money transfer service. Meaning a huge part of their reputation depends on the quality of their app and digital platform. The Wise app accommodates its multi-currency account service extremely well, allowing users to instantly convert and move funds between various accounts. Throughout the positive reviews, customers frequently praise the ease of the sign-up process, as well as the speed and ease of completing overseas transfers. One customer claimed to have “saved over a thousand dollars using Wise instead of my bank on just one transaction”. Conversely, frustrations were expressed in several of the less favourable reviews about the 2-step verification being triggered an excessive number of times. The Wise app has more than 10 million downloads and is very highly reviewed.

Wise Fees & Exchange Rates

Wise’s exchange rates and fee structure differs from that of currency brokers. Many leading money transfer companies charge no fees for international transfers. Instead, they offer an exchange rate slightly worse than the mid-market rate, and so this fx markup contributes to their profits. Wise effectively does the opposite. With Wise, you will always be offered the mid-market rate, with no fx markup. In absence of adding an exchange rate margin, Wise charges a small variable fee. This fee varies depending on the currencies being exchanged and the total transfer amount. As a general guide, the table below shows a variety of transfer amounts and associated fees for an AUD to USD transfer. Figures correct as of March 2024.

Seeing as the ‘big four’ Australian banks typically charge in the region of 2.5-5%, you can potentially make huge savings by choosing Wise for your next international transfer. If you’re looking to transfer large amounts overseas, then it’s worth comparing Wise’s total cost with some of the leading currency brokers’. For larger international transfers, there’s a chance that a company like OFX or SendPayments will be able to beat Wise on cost. You can easily check Wise’s rates and fees online using their currency calculator, you don’t even need to register beforehand.

What about intermediary fees?

Wise has numerous settlement accounts that allow them to process payments locally in 75 countries. This means that the majority of Wise transfers never actually have to cross a border. Wise will most often receive the funds from the sender’s country, and will pay out the money from a local account in the beneficiary’s country. By bypassing the SWIFT network, you’ll rarely be subjected to intermediary fees when sending money abroad with Wise.

Is Wise Safe?

Yes, we can confidently say that Wise is a safe and trusted provider.

Wise is regulated in all of the countries in which it operates, including the ASIC in Australia. Fortunately, Australia has some of the world’s strictest laws relating to money transfer companies. As such, Wise is also legally required to hold a valid AFSL licence and be AUSTRAC registered.

Given Wise is a publicly traded company, they offer greater financial transparency and also likely face added scrutiny, which is also reassuring for potential customers. Wise has dedicated compliance and anti-fraud teams working around the clock to help keep customer money safe.

You can also take confidence from Wise’s fantastic online reputation as a reliable provider, which is based on more than 1 million reviews.

Wise Reviews

Generally speaking, Wise is very highly reviewed, with 82% of verified customers awarding them 5-stars. With that said, Wise narrowly misses out on an ‘Excellent’ Trustpilot rating, falling just short at ‘Great’. A contributing factor is the 8% of customers that gave Wise a 1-star review.

So let’s look at some common themes throughout these reviews, both good and bad.

Terms that frequently appear in the positive reviews are exactly what customers should be looking for in an international money transfer provider: simple, reliable, safe, transparent, and fast. Many customers also praise Wise as being the cheapest provider compared to their bank or other alternatives.

The most common issue in Wise’s negative reviews, is customers’ funds being held by Wise for an extended duration, neither reaching their destination nor being returned to the sender. Wise is continuing to respond to many of the negative reviews, highlighting that funds are never intentionally held for the company’s personal gain. This frustration highlights why using an app only provider is not always ideal, particularly if you’re transferring large sums. When experiencing delays, not having a dedicated account manager to provide updates on your transfer may lead to confusion, which can quickly turn to frustration.

However, overall, Wise has received more than 1 million reviews across its app platforms and Trustpilot, and for the most part they are extremely well reviewed. More than 80% of Trustpilot reviews awarded Wise 5-stars.

How Does TorFX Work?

Create an account

After comparing alternative providers, once you’ve decided that Wise and the rate they’re offering suits your needs, your first step is registering a new account. You can do this via their website, or using the Wise app. The ID verification stage will vary between users, but this can most often be completed pretty quickly. For anti-money laundering purposes, extra security measures may be taken to verify your identity, so you’ll need to wait for someone from the Wise team to review your details.

Confirm the details of your trade

Remember, you won’t have an account manager for support here, so it’s down to you to ensure that all of these details are entered correctly. Enter your total transfer amount, along with the sending and receiving currency. Wise will instantly share a rate, associated fees, how much the recipient will receive, and approximately how long the transfer should take. Wise will guarantee the offered rate for a set period of time, no less than 2 hours, which should provide you more than enough time to complete the next steps.

Enter your beneficiary’s details

Depending on the transfer route and currencies involved, Wise will automatically present you with the relevant input fields that you need to complete for your new recipient. Expect to provide details like the bank’s name and address, as well as the recipient’s full name. You’ll also need some sort of international bank identification code, which will vary based on the destination country. Examples include: BSB (New Zealand), IBAN (UK and Europe), Routing number (USA). The order of steps 2 and 3 may vary based on whether you’re funding the transfer from an external source, like your personal bank account, or if you’re using funds that are already in your Wise multi-currency account.

Sit back

You can now simply relax as you wait for your funds to arrive with your beneficiary. Wise also provides some basic information so you can track the status of your transfer. Once you’ve registered with Wise, sending money abroad is a quick and easy process.

How long does a Wise transfer take?

Wise is well positioned to offer extremely fast international transfers, boasting a global network of more than 70 partners. For popular routes, Wise can most often send your money either the same day, or even as an instant money transfer. They also have some impressive stats to back this up. As per Wise’s 2023 annual report, 93% of all Wise transactions are completed within a day, 76% in less than one hour, and more than 55% of all transfers are instant! This is extremely impressive given the amount of transactions Wise are handling. It undoubtedly makes Wise one of the fastest ways to send money internationally.

When to Use Wise for Money Transfers

Wise offers a very low cost and streamlined solution for international money transfers. Their multi-currency account is also available to personal users, which is a benefit that is fairly rare amongst alternative providers.

But that doesn’t mean they’re always the best way to get your money overseas. For medium-large sized transfers, the absence of a dedicated account manager is something to be very wary of. As was discussed briefly in the ‘Reviews’ section, whilst complications are rare, when they do occur, it can potentially take a long time to get an explanation or resolution.

The last thing you want is to be left in limbo when you’re transferring thousands of dollars. Not to mention that having an fx expert to guide you through a larger transfer can potentially save you even more. As well as offering dedicated account managers, currency brokers also have hedging tools that you can leverage for added peace of mind and to guarantee rates for the future.

So, here’s a good guideline of when to use Wise. For smaller transfers, Wise will often be the cheapest and fastest method, and will almost certainly be far cheaper than using your bank. We recommend using Wise for all transfers less than AU$20,000.

Our Verdict

Wise has become a global force in the international money transfer industry, with an impressive rise spanning across two different decades. They’ve done this by crafting a service that is true to their principles of being cost-effective, simple, and transparent. The result? One of the cheapest and fastest methods for sending small amounts of money overseas. Customers have let their satisfaction be known, which has earned the brand a very strong online reputation.

Compared to using a traditional bank, Wise will most likely save you a significant amount of time and money. However, service is one area where Wise falls short when compared to the industry’s leading currency brokers.

By choosing Wise to send money abroad, the onus is on you to get everything right. No guidance from an fx expert, nor do you have a set of fx tools at your disposal to help you get the most out of your transfer. For smaller transactions, this likely won’t be an issue. For anything else, take a look at our comparison tool to check out some of MoneyTransferAustralia’s top rated currency brokers.