One thing about TransferWise is that it’s on a mission to bring transparency to finance, for people without borders. Now that they charge as little as possible, and always show you upfront. So, no hidden fees, no bad exchange rates, and no surprises.
Since their first transfer, in 2011, they’ve helped over 6 million people send money to more than 70 countries. And in order to do business in all of the countries they operate in, they’re registered with numerous financial authorities, all over the world.
In reality, the platform uses an HTTPS encryption, and 2-step login to protect all the transactions. Making sure that all your communications with the platform are secure. And as such, it’s safe to mention that they’ll never misuse or sell your data.
In addition, they’ve real-live people who watch over every transaction and confirm every customer’s identity. In that case, you too can join over 8 million people who get the real exchange rate with TransferWise. Now that they’re on average 8x cheaper than leading UK high street banks.
But, before you start using the platform, it is important that you know what it really is, how it works, and how to start using it as I will illustrate below.
What is TransferWise?
TransferWise is an online account that lets you send money, get paid, and spend money internationally. With a TransferWise account, you can send money abroad, get paid in other currencies, and spend abroad on the TransferWise debit Mastercard.
More often, banks and other financial providers often set their own, unfriendly exchange rates. It means that you pay more than you need to, and they pocket the difference.
At TransferWise, they never markup the exchange rate. Meaning that you’ll always get the real mid-market exchange rate — as you’d find on independent sources like Google, XE, Yahoo Finance, or Reuters.
Unlike most banks, TransferWise uses the real exchange rate for sending money — just like the one used by Google or Reuters. Combine that with a low, upfront fee, and you get international transfers that are cheap, fair, and transparent.
How sending money with TransferWise works
First of all, you’ll enter an amount and tell the platform where it’s going. Tell the platform who you’re sending to, and what currency they need. But, if you’re sending a lot of money, they might need to run a few identity checks.
Secondly, you can pay in by card or make a local bank transfer. For instance, you can pay into the TransferWise bank account in the country you’re sending from. Whereby, you’ll see the fees upfront, and they’ll convert your money at the mid-market rate.
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Lastly, your recipient gets paid into their bank account. In that case, the TransferWise account in your recipient’s country pays the money straight into their account.
As such, your money never crosses borders. And according to TransferWise:
We always move your money as quickly as possible, and you’ll see how long we think your transfer will take before you confirm it.
When you actually finish setting up your transfer on TransferWise, your estimate might change.
The reason for this is simple – the more information they have about your transfer, the more accurately they can tell you how long it’ll take.
It all depends on four things:
- The countries you’re sending from and to – Every currency and country is different. Converting your money can take a maximum of 2 working days, but it’s very rare that it takes that long. How quick your transfer arrives depends partly on how quickly your recipient’s bank can process your money.
- How you pay – Some payment methods are quicker than others. For example, card payments are normally instant, while bank transfers take longer. You’ll see how long each payment method takes when you set up your transfer.
- What time you pay for your transfer – They can only handle your money during normal banking hours. And things may take a little longer if the country you’re sending to has a national holiday.
- Security checks – They might need to see your ID before you send money. They call this process verification, and it helps them keep you and your money safe. Verifying your ID could add extra time to your transfer. In order to see whether you’re verified, visit their personal verification page.
That in mind, you can start right away if you Get my free account.
How much does it cost?
Well, well! As I mentioned earlier, it’s very cost-friendly. The platform only charges you a low service fee and uses the real, mid-market exchange rate for conversion. Bearing in mind, the fee is taken from the money that you send to them.
Then thereafter, the rest is converted and sent to your recipient. With that in mind, for more details about their pricing, you can see the full breakdown of fees for your transfer route on their pricing page.
When it comes to their mid-market rate (also known as the interbank rate, and spot rate), the important thing to remember is that there is only one real exchange rate.
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Sometimes, the real exchange rate is the midpoint between the buy and sell rates on the global currency markets — which constantly fluctuates.
Similarly, the rate that TransferWise uses is the same rate you’ll find on Reuters, Google, finance.yahoo.com, etc. And since they use a peer-to-peer system for many of their online money transfer, they simply take in rate data from these sites.
In the end, it helps them to apply it whenever converting your money. With some currencies, they do offer a guaranteed rate. Whereby, you can see more information on their dedicated mid-market rate page.
What is TransferWise borderless account?
Basically, your borderless account for TransferWise is a bit like having local accounts all over the world. Only that it’s a multi-currency account that lets you keep money in over 50 currencies. And then converts between them at the real exchange rate whenever you need.
That’s cool to start with right? On top of that, you also get your own personal account numbers and bank codes for 5 currencies. May it be USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, and NZD (with more on the way).
For instance, you can get a UK sort code and account number. By using the sort code and account number, anyone in the UK can use it to send you pounds. Eventually, with zero fees, you’ll get paid as if you are living there. And Oh! It’s completely free to set up.
Is it cheaper than other high street banks?
Of course, in a word, it’s a BIG YES! With TransferWise, you’ll get the real exchange rate (the one you see on Reuters, Google, and Yahoo), and you pay a small fee.
Not to mention, the service is fair, transparent, and costs far less than high street banks and other currency exchange services. But, I don’t usually pay a transaction fee!
Obviously, this is what many have been led to believe. You can watch the video tutorial below to learn more about its ‘people without borders‘ slogan.
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a free transfer. Your nasty surprise is hiding away in an unfair exchange rate. Whether you’ve been told it or not, on average you’re losing around 5% in fees.
But, fortunately, the good news is that; TransferWise is built specifically to free people from those fees. And finally, all its transactions are so transparent and fair in matters of finance. Therefore, it’s about time!
Other Alternative Ways to Send Money Internationally
Among many other money transfer services, Safaricom M-Pesa was originally introduced in Kenya as an alternative way for the unbanked population of the country to have access to financial services.
Keeping in mind, Safaricom is the largest mobile phone operator in Kenya as of 2016 and it launched its M-Pesa services in 2007. It’s also important to realize, M-Pesa is a blend of two entities where M means mobile and Pesa means payment in the Swahili language.
You can read more about it in details from this article. Whereas, below are other options to learn about or try using other than TransferWise;
As can be seen, there are more best ways to send money internationally out there than you previously thought. Whichever means that best suits you, it all comes with your preferred choice.
An international money transfer isn’t only available at banks. In fact, you’ll likely pay lower costs and get your money faster by using one of these licensed money transfer companies.
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Having said that, do you know of any other platform that you think we might have missed? Please, feel free to share your inputs in the comments section or even Contact Us for more help.
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