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Transferwise Review 2019

Apr 2019

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What is Transferwise?

Transferwise logo

Transferwise is a digital bank established in 2011. It started by providing cheap international bank transfers at great exchange rates. Now with its Borderless Account, it offers a modern banking alternative.

As a rather new offering on the market, the Borderless Account lacks some of the frills the other neo-banks already have. However, Transferwise has a well-established reputation for providing a cheap and reliable service. For now, it is a great choice when most of your money is in a less popular currency. However, if you mainly receive your money in EUR or GBP, there might be better everyday banking options out there.

Transferwise-review-bank-card

Transferwise Review 2019
Transferwise pros and cons

Pros

  • The most number of currencies to top-up in and hold among all digital banks

  • The best customer service experience (even though it's not 24/7)

Cons

  • Doesn't have a banking license (no deposit guarantee, direct debits or standing orders)

  • No spending overview or budgeting tools

  • Microdeposits don’t work (an issue when doing a card check e.g. with PayPal)

  • Started charging a minimum transfer fee

Transferwise Review 2019
Transferwise fees

Account opening and maintenance fee

At Transferwise, account opening is free and maintaining your account is also free, with no monthly cost.

Card fees

Transferwise bank cards, including delivery, are also free.

ATM fees

Withdrawing money with Tranferwise from any ATM is free up to £200/month, but costs 2% above this amount.

Transfer fee

Transferring money in the same currency as your Transferwise account has a flat fee. This will vary depending on your currency. The international transfer fee is €0.5-2.0.

Currency exchange fee

Transferwise also charges a currency exchange fee for international transfers. This will vary between 0.35-2.00% of the exchanged amount, depending on the currency.

Top-up fee

Transferwise charges a top-up fee of 0-0.2%, with an additional charge for certain countries, e.g. 0.4% for Hungary.

Transferwise Review 2019
Transferwise vs. Revolut

  Transferwise Revolut

Multicurrency account

Yes Yes

ATM withdrawal fees (standard account)

£200 /month free, 2% after

€200/£200 /month free

2% after

International transfer fee €0.5-2.0

    
Free

(exc. SWIFT)

International transfer exchange fee

0.35-2.00%

0.5-2.0% on weekends

€6,000/£5,000 /month free, additional 0.5% after

Compare other digital banks

Transferwise Review 2019
Transferwise account opening

Opening an account at Transferwise is super easy: it takes only a couple of minutes via your phone, and you will receive your physical card in just a few days as well.

Transferwise countries

Transferwise is available in almost every country, 144 to be exact.

Check out this extensive country code list for available countries. EEA (exc. CY), AD, AE, AI, AM, AQ, AS, AU, AW, AX, BB, BJ, BL, BM, BN, BS, BT, CA, CC, CH, CK, CL, CN, CR, CX, DM, DO, FJ, FM, FO, GD, GE, GF, GG, GL, GP, GS, GY, HT, ID, IL, IM, IO, JE, JM, KN, KR, LC, MA, MC, ME, MF, MH, MN, MQ, MS, MY, NC, NF, NP, NR, NU, NZ, PE, PF, PH, PM, PN, PR, PW, PY, RE, SC, SG, SH, SM, SR, ST, TC, TF, TH, TW, US (exc. Nevada and Hawaii), UY, VA, VC, VG, YT

Transferwise currencies

When it comes to managing currencies there are differences in what currencies are available, what currencies they offer a current account in, what currencies you can hold in the app and what currencies you can use to top up your account.

Current accounts

These are available in 5 currencies: AUD, EUR, GBP, NZD and USD.

Currencies in the app

There are 44 currencies you can use between which to exchange money within the app: AED, ARS, AUD, BDT, BGN, CAD, CHF, CLP, CNY, CZK, DKK, EGP, EUR, GBP, GEL, HKD, HRK, HUF, IDR, ILS, INR, JPY, KES, LKR, MAD, MXN, NGN, NOK, NPR, NZD, PEN, PHP, PKR, PLN, RON, RUB, SEK, SGD, THB, TRY, UAH, USD, VND, ZAR.

Top-up currencies

You can top up your Transferwise account in 18 currencies: AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HRK, HUF, NOK, NZD, PLN, RON, SEK, SGD, TRY, USD.

Transferwise cards overview

Transferwise cards are available from Mastercard.

Transferwise Premium account benefits

Transferwise has no premium accounts.

Transferwise top-up methods

At Transferwise, you can use the following top-up methods:

  • Bank transfer

  • Credit/debit cards (only on desktop)

Transferwise Review 2019
Transferwise banking features

Transferwise offers features that are similar to that of high street banks. However, it still lacks plenty of additional features that other digital banks offer: 

  • Your spending is not categorized by the type of transaction (e.g. shopping, restaurants).

  • You cannot set monthly budgets.

  • You cannot send money to other users for free nor request money.

  • Smart savings are also not available, so for example you cannot round up the amounts you actually spend and store the difference as savings.

  • Savings cannot be stored separately from your main account balance.

  • It offers no interest on your savings.

  • You cannot set up direct debits.
  • Overdrafts are not possible.

  • Joint accounts are also not available.

  • There is no Apple Pay or Google Pay integration.

  • 3D Secure online payments are currently only available for cards issued in the UK or the EEA.

Transferwise Review 2019
Transferwise additional features

You can use Transferwise through your mobile app and it is also available on a desktop computer as a website. However, there aren't any additional features like loans, insurance, or investments at Transferwise.

Transferwise Review 2019
Transferwise customer service

You can contact Transferwise via:

  • Live chat: When tested, it connected immediately and could help with our issues.

  • Phone: The phone assistance was quick and helpful.

It is not available 24/7. All in all, we had a really good experience with Transferwise customer service.

AUTHOR

Gergely Korpos
Gergely Korpos
Co-founder, CPO
Gergely's aim is to bring more clarity into personal investing. He has 10 years of experience in financial markets with GE Money, KPMG and MOL. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and financial portfolio manager
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