TransferWise was established in 2011 and is a peer to peer payment provider. There are some very strong backers of the company, including Max Levchin (co-founder of Paypal), and Sir Richard Branson (founder of Virgin) who have been very instrumental in helping to disrupt the status quo of the business world. TransferWise is based in London and supports more than 300 currency routes all over the world.
How does the service work?
After you register (it is easier to do on a computer compared to a smartphone), next you are required to enter your bank account details and some personal details as well. That is basically it.
If you want to send funds from your country to another one, you will need to furnish a scan of some form of valid ID like a passport or drivers license. Check out the TransferWise website to find more detailed information on other countries. However, these days it is very common as part of anti-terrorism and international money laundering laws.
After you have the bank account details you can transfer money in between countries to anyone else or to yourself.
You can also use your debit or credit card in addition to being able to transfer funds from your bank account, although it does involve an additional charge and your credit card company most likely will charge interest on any withdrawn funds. For financially wise people is probably isn’t the best option. But debit cards are always free of extra charges.
Another feature that TransferWise offers is you may request money from someone, such as an overseas based customer. A request can be created which will then generate a link that can be sent to the payer. A TransferWise account does not need to be set up by the payer, but after that has been completed, they are able to use the link to directly pay into your account. This avoids all of the paperwork and high bank fees that are usually required when overseas payments are made.
Is it Secure? It definitely appears that it is
I conducted extensive research prior to handing over any of my money to a new organization. I found out that it is required that TransferWise be registered under all of the Financial Conduct Authority regulations that are in place in all of the different countries that it operates in. In the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the UK, TransferWise operates under their partner bank’s license and therefore meets these financial institutions’ licensing requirements. In addition, there are a number of different TransferWise review sites including Money Transfer Comparison and Trustpilot that provide user feedback that give consistently good reviews for TransferWise.
Aside for technical standpoint, TransferWise utilizes industry standard encryption for the company’s internet communications with your smartphone and computer.
Finally, how much does the service cost?
Compared with traditional bank transfers very little, and less expensive than other specialist transfer companies that I have previously used.
Although the fees are low, they do depend on the specific currencies that you transfer to and from, how much you are transferring, and what the current exchange rates are. However, it really isn’t as complicated as it may sound.
For instance, when transferring funds from the U.S. to Great Britain, on amounts up to $5,000 it is 1% and anything over that is 0.7% with a minimum $3 fee.
For your own specific requirements you would need to review the TransferWise fee page to confirm whether the fees were are providing you with here are current still.
I made an initial small transfer to test it out. I transferred 200 GBP into my Euro account. I received 231.66 EUR using TransferWise, which is a 1.17 exchange rate and my cost was 2 GBP.
If I had used my bank I would had had to send 210 GBP since they offered a 1.14 exchange rate and my cost would have been 21.29 GBP rather than 2 pounds.
It took less than one day from the time of the transaction to getting the funds deposited into my account. A regular bank transfer definitely takes at least a few days or more.
With much larger amounts of money the saving would be even greater.
I checked on xe.com for the mid-market exchange rates and TransferWise’s rate at the time was almost the same as the xe rate.
My requirements for cost effective, simple and safe transfers are definitely met by TransferWise. The next time that I need to transfer funds overseas I will use them again.
This review, as always, has been based on my personal experience. It should not be viewed as an endorsement of this company. As with all providers, be sure to conduct your own research and make sure the company meets your specific requirements.