Wise vs TorFX

In this guide, we’ll compare the world-leading money transfer specialist Wise with distinguished UK and Australia based currency broker TorFX.

We’ll pit their services against one another, using key money transfer metrics like speed, safety and cost. By the end, you’ll grasp their similarities and distinctions. Ultimately allowing you to discern when they suit your needs and when they do not.

Wise vs TorFX: Pros and cons

CompanyProsCons
Transparent, low fees
200,000+ reviews on Trustpilot
Publicly traded on London Stock Exchange
Multi-currency account
Poor reviewed customer service
Fees have increased on major currencies
No cash transfers
No hedging tools
Personalised service
Rated 4.9/5 from 7,000+ reviews
Multiple industry awards
Highly-experienced staff
No cash-delivery services
Only available in UK, EU & Australia
Worse rates on small transfers
No multi-currency account

Wise vs TorFX: Where can you send money to?

With ToFX you can send 30+ currencies to 120 countries. Wise has slightly better capabilities in this department. With Wise, you can send 40 currencies to 140 countries.

By industry standards, both companies offer a comparatively low amount. Significantly less than the 100 currencies that Xe can handle. Saying this, both Wise and TorFX cover all major currency routes and it’s only very exotic currencies that you’ll have to look elsewhere.

You can see what currencies either provider handles prior to registration. Simply check their website.

See the Wise help centre for a full list of countries you can send money to. Give TorFX a call if you plan to send money to a remote country.

Wise vs TorFX: Side-by-side

 WiseTorFX
Founded20112004
CredibilityHighly-credible, publicly traded and transferring over £100b annuallyHighly credible, owned by Currencies Direct
SafetyFully regulated and licensedFully regulated and licensed
Customer Reviews200,000+7,000+
Customer Rating4.2/54.9/5
App Reviews35,000+ App store
700,000+ Play store
20+ App store
400+ Play store
App Rating4.6/5 App store
4.7/5 Play store
4.0/5 App store
4.1/5 Play store
CostTransparent fixed fee + small variable fee charged as a % (similar to margin)No fees on any size transfer and margin added to the mid-market rate
SpeedOften instant, sometimes 2 working daysUsually 1-2 working days
Service– Online
– App
– Online
– App
– Personal account manager to call anytime
Functionality– Bank-to-bank transfers
– Wise-to-Wise transfers
– Scheduled transfers
– Rate alerts
– Multi-currency account
– Wise currency card
– Bank-to-bank transfers
– Market orders
– Forward contract
– Regular payments
– 24/7 transfers
– Rate alerts
Go to WiseGo to TorFX

History / credibility

Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is a world-renowned online and mobile money transfer company. Trading since 2011, Wise was originally founded on the basis of a peer-to-peer currency exchange model.

I.e. customer A has a requirement to send money from the UK to France and customer B has a requirement to send money from France to the UK. By allocating each customer’s money accordingly, you can avoid costly currency exchange through the banks. However, unmatched currency flows and operational challenges meant this soon had to be dropped.

Nowadays, Wise is known for being an online provider with totally transparent fees that seeks to move “money without borders”.

In July 2021, Wise became the first FinTech company to float on the London Stock Exchange. You can readily view their quarterly and annual performance in their investor relations centre and see for yourself how financially sound they are.

The company has a market value of over £8.5 billion and transfers over £100 billion annually. 

They launched in Australia in 2016 and have won a number of Australia-specific industry awards since.

TorFX was founded in 2004 in the charming seaside town of Penzance, Cornwall. This means TorFX has been reliably managing international money transfers for 20 years.

Expanding beyond its UK roots, TorFX opened an international office in the more exotic seaside locale of Australia’s Gold Coast. The company’s distinctive office locations contribute to its high staff retention rates, supporting a team of seasoned dealers who expertly assist customers throughout the transfer process.

TorFX has secured over 20 industry accolades, including recognition as the international money transfer provider of the year and awards for outstanding customer service.

Owned by the money transfer giant Currencies Direct, the group collectively handles more than £10 billion annually in foreign exchange and international payments.

Safety

Wise and TorFX are fully licensed and regulated in all territories in which they operate. 

For customers in the EU, TorFX is regulated through its parent company, Currencies Direct, who are registered and authorised by the Bank of Spain. In the UK, both Wise and TorFX are regulated as an electronic money institution. 

In Australia, both Wise (licence no. 513764 ) and TorFX (licence no. 226484) hold an Australian Financial Services Licence. TorFX is regulated by ASIC for foreign exchange dealings, while Wise holds a broader regulation by ASIC as a Purchased Payment Facility (PPF) provider. This simply means they’re under careful regulated scrutiny and must comply with all relevant regulations.

ASIC regulated firms must manage your money in line with the ASIC Client Money Reporting Rules 2017.

It’s important to note, however, that neither provider issues loans and thus does not operate under the APRA’s Financial Claims Scheme, which protects customer funds up to $250,000.

We advise contacting both firms directly to understand what can happen to your money in the unlikely event that either company faces financial difficulties.

Customer reviews

A quick glance on the net and you’ll find thousands of reviews for both Wise and TorFX.

But it’s Wise that really comes into its own here. The firm has over 200,000 Trustpilot reviews, which is more than any other payment provider. Wise nets a 4.2/5 rating across these reviews and it has to be said this is really pretty good given the huge sample. 

They’re most often praised for providing a smooth and seamless experience that makes it easy to move money across borders. But, there are some complaints about bad customer service and tricky compliance procedures.

Approximately 90% of Wise reviews are positive, 2% are neutral, and 8% are complaints.

TorFX, with just over 7,000, has a tiny fraction of the number of reviews compared to Wise.

Indeed, all providers are frankly dwarfed by the number of Trustpilot reviews that Wise has. Still, it’s a pretty substantial number for a specialised currency brokerage service and exceeds that of many other competitors. TorFX boasts an impressive 4.9/5 rating, equaling Currencies Direct as an industry leader in this regard.

Clients frequently praise the simple service and straightforward communication with their dedicated TorFX account manager. The primary grievances centre around TorFX’s regulatory processes and the requirement for additional documentation prior to arranging a transfer.

Around 96% of TorFX reviews are good, 1% are indifferent, and 3% are adverse.

Cost

Wise and TorFX have slightly different pricing models.

When executing a currency transfer with TorFX, you incur costs through transaction fees and an ‘FX spread’ that is applied to the interbank rate. This is how about 95% of the money transfer sector operates.

The FX spread is the primary concern (since it can significantly impact the cost). Being a ‘concealed’ fee, its calculation requires you to determine the difference between the rate they provide and the actual mid-market rate.

The good news is that TorFX charges zero payment fees for individuals (only businesses). But, to generate a quote for an FX rate, you either have to register for an account or contact a member of the TorFX team. 

Basically, TorFX is not very transparent and it’s important that you calculate this margin yourself. That’s not to say you can’t bag yourself a good rate though. For large transfers, you should find TorFX to be very competitive.

On the flip side, Wise is completely transparent about the fees you’ll incur.

With Wise, you’re charged a fixed fee which varies depending on where you’re sending money to/from how urgently you want to make the transfer, plus a ‘variable fee’ which is calculated as a percentage of the overall transfer.


The fixed fees are much cheaper than those charged by banks but they will start to quickly add up if you’re making frequent transfers. In terms of the variable fee, this means you do actually get the mid-market rate with Wise and this cost is then visibly deducted.

It works in just the same way as an FX margin but it’s a completely transparent way of doing it. You can see for yourself exactly how much Wise will charge by using their pricing calculator. There’s no need to register an account, just navigate to the pricing section on Wise.com.

As a general rule, Wise rates are consistent no matter how much you send, but TorFX has better rates the more you transfer.

It’s always advisable to compare quotes to secure the most favourable deal.

Speed

When you send money from one Wise account to another, it’s practically instant. Being frank, you’d struggle to get any faster. When both the sender and receiver have Wise accounts it’s a pretty seamless experience.

But in terms of transfer speed to external bank accounts, both companies offer comparable timeframes. External transfers often depend on intermediary banks and the SWIFT network in order to reach their destination. With both providers, major currencies are usually finalised within 1-2 business days, though some currencies may require up to 4 business days.

International transfers may encounter delays for various reasons. Factor in plenty of time, regardless of your chosen provider.

Service

Wise offers a super streamlined online platform and money transfer app. You have the option to sign up via either method, and once you’re registered, it’s a breeze to manage beneficiaries, initiate transfers, and track their progress.

Their app is highly rated on both Apple and Android, netting scores of 4.6/5 and 4.7/5, respectively.

What’s more, you can easily manage a multi-currency account that allows you to hold, receive and spend in any number of currencies. You’ll also have a Wise debit card where you can spend from your account balance across the globe.

The downside is the service. You can contact Wise by phone or email. Customer feedback suggests that email response is slow and when you speak to a member of staff on the phone, they’re only there to troubleshoot system issues.

You don’t get to speak to a currency expert to discuss a suitable strategy and you can’t place trades over the phone. You also can’t access hedging tools like a forward contract.

So, depending on your circumstances, Wise isn’t the most flexible.

TorFX also has an online platform and money transfer app, but its app has a tiny sample of reviews, particularly on Apple (which has just 20). 

They are much more oriented towards facilitating transfers via telephone with their skilled team of account managers. You’ll receive bespoke guidance on the best currency tools to utilise and how the market has been trending on your currency pair. It’s particularly apt if you’re transferring a large amount but there are no minimum transfer requirements to access the service.

Remember, they have secured the Moneyfacts Best Customer Service award in six out of the past eight years.

Wise vs TorFX: Summing up

Fundamentally, Wise is better suited to low-value transfers. The online-only service offers transparent fees that will beat just about any other provider when you’re sending a small amount.

All major currencies are covered, the Wise multi-currency account makes sending and receiving money easy, and the Wise debit card allows you to spend these balances around the globe.

But, when sending large sums, I’d much prefer access to an account manager that I can readily contact throughout the process. This is where ToFX stands out. They possess the joint highest customer review score in the industry and have received numerous accolades for their customer service. 

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