Is Wise safe? 2022

Wise is a financial technology company which launched over a decade ago in the UK. Since then, Wise has become known for its low cost international payments and flexible multi-currency accounts for individuals and businesses. If you need a better way to manage your money across currencies, Wise could be right for you. But you may well be wondering: is Wise safe?

The good news is that Wise is a safe provider to choose. Over 11 million people already trust Wise with their money - and customers love the cheap, secure and fast payment options available. This guide has all you need to know including how Wise is regulated, how Wise keeps customer funds safe and how to get started with your own Wise account.

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Quick summary

  • MAS licensed in Singapore - overseen by regulatory bodies around the world

  • Thorough account verification checks 

  • Industry leading authentication processes

  • Customer funds are safeguarded in leading financial institutions

  • Regular audits and checks to ensure customer safety and security

  • Automated and manual processes to prevent fraud, running 24/7

Is Wise safe?

Wise is a safe provider to use. In Singapore, Wise is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) - and as a global business, Wise is also subject to regulatory checks and licensing requirements in a range of other regions around the world. Here are some key stats to consider:

  • Year founded: Founded in London in 2011

  • Regulation: Wise is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

  • Number of customers: 11+ million customers

  • Amount transferred: In the first quarter of 2022, Wise helped 4 million+ customers move the equivalent of 35 billion SGD

How is Wise regulated?

In Singapore, Wise is authorised by MAS as a major payment institution under the Payment Services Act 2019 (PSA). This means that Wise must follow strict rules about keeping customer money safe, including safeguarding funds at leading financial institutions, away from Wise’s own operating capital. To maintain an MAS licence, Wise is also subject to regular audits and checks to ensure all processes continue to run smoothly and securely. 

It’s good to know that Wise was one of the first remittance companies in Singapore that was authorised to verify customers entirely online, following consultation with MAS about the processes involved.

Is Wise as safe as traditional banks?

Wise is not a bank. It’s a financial technology company - and although it has a range of flexible account products and options, it doesn’t offer the full suite of services a bank might. You can’t get a credit card or a loan for example. 

Because Wise doesn’t offer the same range of services as a traditional bank, it’s licensed in a different way. However, for the services it offers, Wise is just as safe as a traditional bank - and usually much cheaper, too.

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How does Wise keep your money safe?

Wise is a fully regulated provider and operates industry leading practices to keep customer money safe. In fact, Wise was built with customer security in mind. Here are some key facts about Wise safety and security: 

  • Regulated by MAS in Singapore, and numerous other global regulators around the world

  • Customer funds are safeguarded in leading financial institutions

  • All accounts and customers must be verified before use

  • You’ll be able to manage, block and freeze your card in the Wise app

  • Process audits are completed regularly and keep everything working smoothly

  • Advanced data protection and 2-step authentication processes are used

  • A range of 24/7  fraud prevention systems operate on all accounts

Is Wise safe to transfer money?

Wise is a safe provider to choose if you need to send an international payment. As well as having advanced security on all accounts, Wise operates both automatic and manual systems to prevent fraud and keep your money safe. That makes it as safe as a bank, with payment services which are usually cheaper and faster.

Is Wise safe to keep money with?

Yes. Wise safeguards money according to global and MAS standard practices. When you deposit money with Wise it is held in a leading financial institution, separate to Wise’s own funds. That means it’s safe, and can not in the normal operation of business be accessed by Wise or Wise’s partners.

Is Wise safe for large amounts?

Wise is a safe provider for large amounts and high value transactions. Accounts are secured and payments are processed using industry leading processes to ensure customer safety.

It is worth noting that personal customers in Singapore may find there are some limits on some transactions made from their Wise account, because of the Payment Services Act (PSA). This legislation places caps on the amount of money you can hold in a personal e-wallet account, and also the value of certain transactions you can make in a rolling 12 month period. Not all transaction types are impacted by these limits - check the details of your Wise account to learn more.

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Is Wise business account safe?

The Wise business account is as safe as an account offered by a traditional bank - but probably cheaper and more flexible when it comes to international and cross-currency transactions. Wise business accounts are not subject to PSA transaction limits - in fact many Wise business customers use their accounts for high value payments safely on a regular basis.

Is Wise legit?

Wise is different to a traditional bank. That might have you wondering: is Wise legit? 

It’s natural to want to understand why Wise can offer services at a lower cost than regular banks. But the answer is pretty straightforward. Providers like Wise which operate online and through mobile apps don’t have the same overheads as regular banks. This means an instant cut in costs, which can be passed on to customers. 

Just as importantly, Wise has invested in technology and building new processes to make it more efficient to move and convert currencies - which again brings down the overall costs of services. 

Finally, Wise is on a mission to make international payments cheaper - and eventually free - with transparent pricing which gets lower over time. This overarching aim drives ongoing investment in new technology and ideas to bring better, and cheaper, services to customers.

Customer reviews on Trustpilot

Trustpilot is a great place to start when you’re trying to check if a service provider is safe and offers a good customer experience. By pulling together thousands of customer reviews about different providers, Trustpilot offers live data and feedback to help you check if a service is legit.

At the time of writing, Wise has an Excellent score on Trustpilot, of 4.6 stars out of 5, with just under 150,000 reviews posted. 

Where security comes up as a concern in negative reviews, this is usually because of anti-fraud checks Wise has carried out on customer accounts. These may mean that you’re required to provide additional documents before a transaction can be processed, to comply with local and international legislation. While these checks can be time consuming and frustrating, they’re required of all financial institutions - a bank would likely have to do the same.

Can you get scammed on Wise?

Unfortunately, scammers and criminals are constantly looking for new ways to profit from vulnerable people. Just like they target traditional banks, they may also try to access customers through Wise.

Usually taking sensible precautions is enough to keep your Wise account safe. Use a strong password which you keep private. Never leave your account logged in at a public computer. Don’t give out any account details over the phone. Being aware of your account safety, and acting with caution at all times makes good sense and can be an important part of keeping your Wise account safe.

It’s reassuring to know that Wise also has fraud prevention measures running in the background which look out for suspicious transactions. If anything looks wrong you’ll be notified so you can check your account is secure. 

Can I avoid falling victim to a fraud?

In most cases you’ll be able to keep your Wise account safe by using common sense measures. However, if you are worried that you’ve been a victim of fraud there are a few steps you should take:

  • Block or freeze your Wise card using the Wise app

  • Log into your Wise account online or in the app and use the chat function to report the problem - the Wise team may be able to stop the transaction before it completes

  • If the fraud can’t be prevented you’ll have to report it to the police. Wise will provide the information needed by the authorities to follow up your case 

Is your personal data safe on Wise?

Wise needs to collect some personal data from and about customers to create and operate accounts and provide services. Wise may also collect data for marketing or product improvement purposes, and to comply with local and international law.

You can get the full Wise privacy policy online to read all the details. In short, Wise stores customer data securely and will only collect, store and use it in line with applicable laws and regulations including the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (PDPA). In line with this legislation, Wise has physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to keep all customer data safe.

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What personal data does Wise collect?

Wise collects a range of required personal data from customers. This can include:

  • Information you give them such as your name and contact details

  • Information collected from you, such as your IP address and the way you use Wise services

  • Information collected from third parties, for example, Singpass in the account verification process.

Much of the data collected is required for practical purposes to allow transactions to be processed, or to comply with law. However, there are some areas you can opt out of - for example you can ask Wise not to contact you for marketing purposes by simply changing your marketing settings within your account. 

Wise may be required by law to retain some information about you. Typically this is to comply with anti money laundering and countering the financing of terror legislation. The length of time that data is retained will depend on the specific information and the applicable laws both in Singapore and any other relevant jurisdictions. However, Wise will not hold customer data for any longer than is necessary for practical or legal purposes.

How to get started on Wise?

You can create your Wise account entirely online. Here are the simple steps to take:

  1. Register with your email address, or an Apple, Google or FaceBook account

  2. Follow the prompts to enter your personal details 

  3. Use Singpass or upload your ID documents for verification

  4. Once your account is verified you can start sending payments

Verification is an important step in keeping Wise accounts safe - but thanks to Singpass this step can be done entirely online for many Singapore customers.

If you’re a Singaporean citizen or PR and have Singpass you can use Myinfo to pre-fill all your personal data into your application for instant verification. If you have Singpass as an Employment Pass holder you can also use it, but you’ll need to additionally add a proof of address document. 

If you’d prefer, you can upload copies of your documents manually for verification.

The paperwork needed is usually the following if you’re a personal customer:

  • A valid ID document like a passport or NRIC - driving licences are not accepted

  • A proof of address like a utility bill or bank statement in your name

  • Information about how you’ll use your account

For a business account you’ll normally need:

  • ID and address documents for the account owner

  • Information about the business including address, industry and registration number 

  • Names, date of birth, and country of residence for directors and shareholders who own 25% or more of the business

Get the full guide to getting verified with Wise in Singapore.

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Conclusion

Since its launch over ten years ago, Wise has become known for cheap, secure and fast international payments as well as flexible multi-currency account options for individuals and businesses. As a provider working across multiple countries, Wise is regulated both in Singapore by MAS, and a range of other global bodies. That means you’ll know your money is safe no matter what currency you’re holding a balance in.

As well as safeguarding customer funds, Wise has a range of manual and technological processes in place to make sure accounts are secure. These include 2-factor authentication for account access, account verification steps, and automatic and in-person fraud checks running around the clock.

FAQ

Is Wise safe?

Yes. Wise is fully regulated and also has a range of security measures in place to keep customer accounts safe. These include thorough account verification and security processes and anti-fraud measures.

How is Wise regulated?

Wise is a safe provider which is regulated by MAS in Singapore and a range of other global regulatory bodies in other countries and regions.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 14 April 2022