TransferWise review – is it the best way to send money abroad without it costing a fortune?
Have you ever had that moment when you suddenly realise you need to send money abroad but you haven’t got a clue how to do it?
Great, this TransferWise review is for you!
Perhaps you need to send money abroad to support your family, or to pay a foreign mortgage, or maybe it’s to convert your salary into a more favourable currency?
Would you know which company to use for the lowest fees and best exchange rate?
If you’re looking for the best value international money transfer company for fair exchange rates and low fees, it would be a good idea if it had these features:
- close to market exchange rates
- minimal fees
- no minimum limit on amount being transferred
- good reviews
- FCA regulation
Whilst checking quite a few money transfer comparisons I noticed that TransferWise’s low fees, excellent exchange rates and price match guarantee make it an obvious choice.
TransferWise is the best value international money transfer company
TransferWise’s whole ethos is to save you money with minimal fees and a fair exchange rate, and that’s exactly what you need.
Using its mobile app or website, TransferWise international money transfers are convenient, quick and reliable
TransferWise is UK registered and fully FCA authorised for international money transfers.
Its transparent exchange rates and fees clearly show the amount being transferred, and it uses real mid-market exchange rates – much more generous than the rates offered to us by banks and most other money transfer providers.
Minimal fees to send money abroad
Fees vary according to which currency is being converted, but are always minimal and deducted prior to exchange. For example:
- on a GBP transfer up to £200, TransferWise charge just £1
- if sending more than £200, then the fee’s 0.5%
UPDATE: as of March 2016 TransferWise has increased its minimum fee to £2 on transfers to GBP (previously, the minimum fee was £1)
Even with a small fee being charged, the amount being transferred is still greater than having used a bank as the exchange rate is so much better – plus there’s a price match guarantee.
You’ll save a lot of money in fees alone by using TransferWise instead of your bank to send money abroad
PRICE MATCH GUARANTEE: TransferWise guarantees to beat any competitor’s rate (in real terms – the maximum amount of foreign currency paid out/received for currency pairs and exchange routes available at TransferWise at the time of the claim being made) and will refund the difference in fees plus a little extra to make sure you get the best price. Please read Price Guarantee Terms & Conditions for further information.
To use Transferwise you’ll need to transfer money from an account in your own name via bank transfer, debit card, credit card or, if you’ve got a Euro account, SOFORT.
You can either state the amount you’d like to exchange in the recipient’s currency, or use the available exchange rate. In each case, TransferWise protects your money by putting the transfer on temporary hold if the exchange rate suddenly plummets from that originally shown.
Once payment clears, within 1 to 4 days its peer-to-peer system matches your money in the recipient’s currency. That amount is then paid from TransferWise’s own account, as a local transfer.
Every stage of the transfer process is tracked by email and shown with the expected date of completion, and confirmed exchange rate. TransferWise emails the recipient when the money’s been deposited into their account. This all leads to smooth, seamless international money transfers.
At the time of writing, you can only transfer money between bank accounts in different Countries. You can’t yet transfer between a sender’s and recipient’s bank account in the same Country. However, its Customer Services department advised me that TransferWise is looking into providing this feature at a later date.
TransferWise mobile app
If you’ve got an internet connection, you can use the TransferWise iOS and Android mobile apps to easily send money abroad.
The app features:
- check exchange rates and transfer fees
- send funds via debit card for conversion
- check transfer status or cancel transactions, if needed
- invite friends to TransferWise via Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS or link
- provide personal ID documents for account verification, if applicable
- set up fixed target amount payments to recipient
- set up new transfers with previously used details
- iOS users can pay using Apple Pay
My experience with TransferWise
I’ve used TransferWise to send money abroad, for quite a while now. I’ve always found its customer service to be helpful and efficient, with regular email updates whenever the situation required further action.
Its website and mobile app are intuitive and easy to use, with a straightforward registration process.
All my TransferWise international money transfers have been sent and received without a hitch. It’s certainly been a lot cheaper and more convenient than using my bank
As an added bonus, TransferWise randomly gives its customers free payment transfers up to £3000 as a surprise thank you for being a customer.
For best value and more information, use my TransferWise link to set up your account and start sending international money transfers in just a few minutes.
Other Companies for International Money Transfers
The list below is by no means exhaustive but represents some of the companies that I researched for international money transfers, as at March 2015.
They didn’t meet my search criteria mainly due to their loaded exchange rates and excessive fees.
Do check their websites and user reviews for current information, if required.
Scroll to the end of this section to find out why I still chose TransferWise having compared the “best of the rest”.
Electronic bank transfer
In general, banks charge about £25 per overseas electronic transfer. Although those with overseas branches sometimes provide international money transfers free or for a lower fee – albeit you’ll still have to accept their higher exchange rate.
- HSBC online transfers are free if the currency is being transferred overseas to another HSBC account, and just £4 if it’s to a non-HSBC account;
- with a CitiGold account, Citibank online will process all SEPA (Euros) transfers free of charge, and the first eight CHAPS/SWIFT transfers in each month, free of charge too (there’s a £15 charge for nine or more online CHAPS/SWIFT transfers, or £25 if arranged in branch/by phone).
Bankers drafts are guaranteed by the bank (as you’ve already paid the bank the equivalent amount) rather than by your personal bank account. They are a form of paper cheque which you can post or hand to the payee.
The fee per bankers draft varies between £15 and £30, depending on which bank you use. However, they’re not widely available as some banks have decided to phase them out as bankers drafts are considered a slower, less secure method of payment compared to debit cards or electronic banking.
PayPal is great to use when paying for goods and services as banking details are kept secure and separate from the recipient. However, when using PayPal for international money transfers there is a charge of between:
- 0.3% to 2% (depending on where you’re sending the money) if funding the transfer from your bank account or PayPal balance; or
- 3.4% to 7.4% plus a fixed fee based on the currency received, if funding the transfer from your debit or credit card.
Western Union charge a fee for international money transfers. It adds a “margin” to the interbank exchange rate which differs depending on whether you pay the funds by bank transfer or credit/debit card.
World Remit transfers money online to 110 destinations. Recipients have any or all of these options to receive money, depending in which Country they reside: bank transfer, cash pickup or mobile airtime. The transfer time varies between instant and 1 to 3 days. Again this depends on the recipient’s Country.
CurrencyFair began in 2010 when three banking expats had the idea to give everyone access to the interbank exchange rates. CurrencyFair is very similar to TransferWise in that it provides peer-to-peer international money transfers and offers good exchange rates.
Why I choose TransferWise to send money abroad
At the time of my comparison, I found that World Remit’s and CurrencyFair’s exchange rates and fees are less favourable than TransferWise, although still lower than the banks’ fees. For instance when transferring £200 GBP to USD, the conversion at the time of writing would have given the recipient:
- £3.43 more if I used TransferWise instead of CurrencyFair; or
- £1.72 more if I used TransferWise instead of World Remit.
However, when transferring a larger amount, CurrencyFair was better. For instance, when transferring £2,000 GBP to USD, the conversion at the time of writing would have given the recipient:
- 35p more if I used CurrencyFair instead of TransferWise; or
- £17.64 more if I used CurrencyFair instead of WorldRemit.
Although there’s a huge difference between the conversion amounts of CurrencyFair and WorldRemit, you’ll notice that the TransferWise amount doesn’t differ by that much.
I don’t regularly transfer large amounts of money so the 35p difference isn’t a deal breaker for me, especially as TransferWise always has a price match guarantee.
It has the best exchange rate for the amounts I usually send and, as at December 2015, there are 25,759 great Transferwise reviews for customer service.
Feel free to use my TransferWise link if you don’t want to pay ridiculous fees and unfair exchange rates.
Note: this review is a general resource and does not constitute professional advice. PeasOnToast.co.uk is not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority with whom you should seek financial advice.
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