Transferwise??? Never heard of it….
Until recently I had never heard of Transferwise either. Like most of us, if I needed another currency I would goto the bank order money, pay outrageous fees and then get told the rate I am buying the currency is about 5-10% less than what I had seen on Google that day. Thinking about how bad I am getting screwed, by giving the bank $1000 to convert they take their $40 fee, and then they also take even more money by undercutting the market rate of the currency. Recently becoming expats, we knew this was not going to work for us if we were going to convert Canadian to Malaysian Ringgit, or any other currency. Or if we had to transfer Ringgit back to Canadian, would it be even worse this way? We looked into different online options, and came across Transferwise over and over whether on Google or through different social media groups.
So what is Transferwise?
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 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 for free). 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.
Why should I use Transferwise?
Sending money is the catch where they make money and take their cut. However, it is pennies compared to the way the banks rips 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 get their cut. 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 over the outrageous delayed bank rates.
Who is Transferwise good for?
I would recommend this for anyone who is living abroad, expats, long term travellers 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. Also 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 as though you were in that country. I also haven’t mentioned, 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 applies for is on their website, and unfortunately being Canadian we are not able to get this….yet apparently it may be coming in the near future.
How do they know it is me and not someone else?
Transferwise has a very stringent process to allow you to set up an account. You have to send in a two-step ID verification, which includes verifying your address with the necessary documents, as well as verifying your identity. It says this takes 3-5 business days, but it only took about 1-2 when we set ourselves up. This is just to get the account set up, and then there is a second 2-step verification process when you send your first transfer (at least for Canada). We didn’t catch this until we were already abroad, so it proved a little difficult due to lack of access to all the needed documents and had to search what we had available online.
Would you recommend this?
We have sent one transfer so far, after some initial frustrations (due to our own fault) it was quite simple. We have also placed money into an account waiting for rates, as well set up all the banking information for the four international accounts like mentioned above. Getting set up is a bit of a process, but it is for your own security and safety and once everything is completed it is straight forward. I would totally recommend this, and will never use a bank again for converting money (unless that is the only option).
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.