Wise Review: Fees, Rate and Safety 2022

Wise is a financial technology company which was launched in Europe in 2011 to make it easier and cheaper to move money around the world. These days, Wise has over 12 million customers and a global footprint - including their APAC hub here in Singapore.

Wise helps customers send and receive payments worth over 100 billion SGD every year. But are they right for you? This Wise review will look at the fees and costs involved with using Wise, safety and regulation, delivery speed and how to get started sending and receiving low cost international payments with Wise Singapore.

Send money with Wise

Wise: Key points

Key features:

  • Send and receive payments from around the world with the real mid-market exchange rate with no markups and low, transparent fees

  • Open a Wise multi-currency account for yourself or your business, to hold and exchange 50+ currencies

  • Wise payments can be faster and cheaper than banks because they use their own payment network instead of the outdated SWIFT system

  • Wise was one of the first remittance companies in Singapore authorised to verify customers online for a fast, convenient service

Key stats:

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

  • Send payments to 80 countries, spend with your Wise debit card all around the world

  • 45% of transfers arrive instantly - the vast majority of payments arriving within 24 hours

  • Wise accounts can be used to receive, spend and exchange 54 international currencies 

  • Get local bank details for 9 currencies to get paid to your Wise account for free from 30 countries

  • Make international debit card withdrawals in 2.3 million ATMs globally

Pros:

  • In competitor comparisons Wise is often the cheapest service available, with low, transparent fees and no exchange rate markup

  • With 45% of transfers arriving instantly, Wise can be far quicker than your bank

  • Fully regulated and authorised by MAS and the appropriate regulatory authorities everywhere it operates

  • Set up and manage your account online or in the Wise app for convenience

  • Personal, business and enterprise level services available

Cons

  • No cash or cheque deposits or transfers

  • Fees and limits do apply, and can vary based on the destination country

  • No branch network - all customer service is online and by phone

Overall:

Wise is on a mission to bring down the costs of international payments, and make it easier and faster to send money around the world. To do this they’ve built their own payment network, and always use the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees for services. You’ll also be able to benefit from a personal or business multi-currency account which lets you get paid for free from 30+ countries, hold and exchange 50+ currencies, spend on an international debit card, and send money to 80+ countries around the world.

Go to Wise

How much can I save with Wise compared to a bank?

So is Wise really worth it? If you’re sending money abroad, a specialist international transfer service will almost always be cheaper than your normal bank. But how much you can save will vary based on the specific provider, the currencies and countries involved.

Wise publishes transparent comparisons with key competitors so you’ll easily be able to see how your payment would measure up. 

Here’s an example - let’s look at sending a payment online from your SGD account to a friend in the UK. We’ll look at a few different transfer values and compare against a major bank - UOB - and an alternative specialist service - OFX - to build a bit of a picture.

Send amount in SGD

With Wise your recipient gets:

With OFX your recipient gets:

With UOB your recipient gets:

1,000 558.29 GBP

553.55 GBP


(4.74 GBP less than Wise)

532.01 GBP


(26.28 GBP less than Wise)

5,000 2,793.54 GBP

2,769.69 GBP


(24.85 GBP less than Wise)

2,749.67 GBP


(43.87 GBP less than Wise)

10,000 5,587.36 GBP

5,559.39 GBP


(27.97 GBP less than Wise)

5,521.51 GBP


(65.85 GBP less than Wise)

Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research - 29 March 2022

In our comparison, your recipient will get more with Wise compared to both OFX and UOB. Often the reason you’ll save with Wise is because of the exchange rate used. Whereas other providers and banks add a markup - a percentage fee - to their rates, Wise uses the mid-market rate with a transparent fee. That means you’ll often find you can save even more with Wise when sending higher value payments.

See how much you can save - and get more comparisons over on the Wise website or app.

What is Wise?

Wise explains that its mission is built around 3 key principles:

  • Sending money internationally should be low-cost and fair

  • Sending money internationally should be easy

  • Sending money internationally should be fast

To achieve this, Wise has built its own payment network which lets customers send cheap, fast payments, through a secure and easy to use process. To connect with more customers around the world, Wise has also added extra services into its portfolio, and now has three focus areas:

Wise money transfer

You can arrange a Wise money transfer online or in the Wise app, and pay easily using a bank transfer, card or a service like PayNow. Your recipient doesn’t need to have a Wise account themselves as the money will be deposited into their bank account directly in the currency you choose.

Wise uses a different payment network to your regular bank. That cuts out the intermediaries typically involved in cross border payments, making them faster and cheaper. Wise payments cover 80+ countries - just enter either the amount you want to send, or the amount you need the recipient to receive on the Wise website or app. You’ll then instantly see the fees and exchange rates which apply.

Great for: anyone sending one off and regular payments abroad direct to a recipient’s bank account 

Send money

Wise multi currency account and card

Open a personal or business Wise multi-currency account to hold 54 currencies and send payments to 80 countries easily. Access everything you need on the move, including seeing all your balances and transactions in the Wise app. You’ll also get local account details in 9 currencies: SGD, GBP, EUR, USD, CAD, AUD, NZD, HUF and TRY. Use these details whenever you need to receive a payment in these currencies - your sender can make a local transfer to your account, which is usually free for them, and always fee free for you to receive.

Open and verify your account online or in the Wise app, and you’ll also be able to get a linked international debit card to spend and withdraw cash in 200+ countries. Add money to your wise account and convert it to the currencies you need - or let the card automatically convert from the balance that’ll be cheapest for you when you spend overseas. 

Great for: people and businesses sending and receiving frequent international payments.

Open your Wise account

Wise Business Account

Wise business and enterprise clients can access all the great features of low-cost international payments, and multi-currency accounts, as well as getting some extra business-friendly perks.

Use your Wise business account to send and receive international payments, with local bank details for 9 currencies to allow you to get paid for free from 30+ countries. If you need to pay employees, contractors or suppliers you can make batch payments to save time - just upload a single file to pay out to multiple recipients at once, in the currencies you require.

Other time saving features include profile management tools to let you add team members to your account and set and manage their permissions, integration with cloud based accounting software and a powerful API to let you automate payouts and workflows.  

Great for: businesses of all sizes, from freelancers/sole traders, to large corporates and enterprise level customers.

How does Wise (TransferWise) work?

We’ve mentioned that Wise uses a different payment system to normal banks when moving money across borders. Here’s how it works.

Banks and many international payment specialists usually use the SWIFT network to send payments abroad. In this system, your money is passed between 1 - 3 intermediary banks, like someone taking a series of connecting flights, before it gets to its destination. Each intermediary can deduct a fee when they process the payment - and of course, having so many middle men involved can also slow your money down.

To cut out inefficiencies, Wise has a different approach. By operating a network of its own accounts across all the countries it operates in, Wise can move money faster and cheaper. When you want to send money you’ll just make a local transfer or PayNow to the Wise SGD account. Wise can then pay out the equivalent amount to your recipient, from the local Wise account in the destination country.

No money technically crosses any borders, and there’s no need for any intermediaries to be involved. That avoids surprise costs - allowing a more transparent payment structure.

Is Wise (TransferWise) safe?

Wise is a fully regulated provider, making it a safe way to send money. In Singapore, Wise is authorised by MAS, and operates industry leading practices to keep customer money safe. Here are some key facts about Wise safety and security: 

  • Regulated by MAS in Singapore, and other global regulators, like the FCA in the UK, and FinCEN in the US 

  • Customer funds are safeguarded away from Wise’s operating capital and in leading financial institutions

  • Regular process audits keep everything working smoothly

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

  • Automatic and manual  fraud prevention systems running in the background 24/7

Wise (TransferWise) pricing

Wise was created to challenge banks, and provide a better service for customers sending money around the world. To achieve this, Wise has transparent fee and pricing principles, which you can learn about here. In short, Wise aims to:

  • be radically transparent

  • charge as little as possible

  • make premium the new normal

  • lower fees over time

If you need to send higher amounts you may even be able to benefit from additional discounts which are automatically applied to your account - more on that coming up later. Here’s how Wise fees work.

Wise fees

Wise fees can be split into 2 costs:

  • Fixed fee: covering the fixed costs associated with the transaction. For major currencies this can be in the region of 0.50 - 0.60 SGD

  • Variable fee: covering the cost of the currency exchange. For major currencies this can be in the region of 0.44% to 0.54% of the transfer value

You’ll always see the fee upfront before you make your payment. Here are some cost examples for sending 1,000 SGD to some popular major currencies:

Sending SGD to:

Fixed fee

Variable fee

Total fee

AUD0.49 SGD4.38 SGD (0.44%)4.87 SGD
BRL1.54 SGD12.56 SGD (1.27%)14.10 SGD
CAD0.56 SGD4.48 SGD (0.45%)4.04 SGD
CHF0.61 SGD4.77 SGD (0.48%)5.38 SGD
EUR0.36 SGD4.38 SGD (0.44%)4.74 SGD
GBP0.50 SGD4.38 SGD (0.44%)4.88 SGD
INR0.52 SGD5.37 SGD (0.54%)5.89 SGD
JPY2.40 SGD5.16 SGD (0.52%)7.56 SGD
USD0.62 SGD4.38 SGD (0.44%)5 SGD

Wise exchange rate

The exchange rate you’ll get with Wise is the same as the one you’ll find on a currency converter tool or with a Google search. It’s the mid-market exchange rate without any markups or hidden fees.

Instead of bundling fees by hiding them in the exchange rate used, like many banks and alternative providers, Wise uses the real rate so you can see easily exactly what you’ll pay for the services you use.

Wise multi currency account and debit card fees

There’s a full rundown of the Wise international account and card fees here. Let’s look at the key details:

Service/fee type

Wise multi-currency account fee

Open accountFree
Get local details for 9 currenciesFree

Hold 50+ currencies

Free
Get a Wise debit card10 SGD for first card, 4 SGD for subsequent replacements
Spend with your Wise cardFree
ATM withdrawals

First 2 withdrawals/month, the the value of 350 SGD are free


1.75% + 1.50 SGD per withdrawal fee after that

Convert currencies within your accountLow fees and the mid-market exchange rate
Send payments to other currencies from your accountLow fees and the mid-market exchange rate
Receive payments to your account 

EUR, GBP, AUD, NZD, RON, HUF, TRY & SGD payments are free


USD bank transfer and ACH payments are free


USD wire payments - 7.50 USD

Open your Wise account

Sending large amounts with Wise

Both individuals and businesses can use Wise safely to send high value payments. In fact, you may qualify for an automatic discount on the variable fee applied to your payment. Discounts are applied once you send more than 100,000 GBP - about 175,000 SGD - within a month. You won’t need to take any action to get the discounted rate, making this a convenient way to save even more.

If you need to send high value payments often it’s good to know that the default limit for transfers is usually the currency equivalent of 1 million SGD per transfer.

When you send high value payments with Wise - or any other financial organisation for that matter - you’ll often need to provide some extra paperwork for verification purposes. This might mean uploading a bank statement and evidence showing the source of the funds being sent for example - the Wise team will guide you through what’s needed based on the payment type and value.

Learn more about high value transfers with Wise here.

How long does Wise take?

As of the first quarter of 2022, 45% of Wise's international transfers are instant (delivered in less than 20 seconds), while around 80% are delivered within 24 hours.

How long it takes for your money to arrive depends on the country and currency you’re sending to. However, when you arrange a payment with Wise you’ll be shown an estimated delivery time so you know what to expect, and you’ll be able to track your transfer in the app if you need to.

Wise Pros

  • Mid-market exchange rate currency conversion 

  • Low, transparent fees for transfers and account services

  • Online and in-app services for ease

  • Multi-currency account and card services

  • Fast and secure transfers to 80 countries

  • Business and enterprise level services available

Wise Cons

  • No cash or cheque transfer options
  • Fees and limits apply, and can vary based on the destination country

  • Account verification requirements are in place
  • No branch network 

How does Wise work?

Using Wise is easy. All you need is your smartphone or computer. Here’s what to do:

  1. Log into your account

  2. Type in how much you want to transfer, or how much you need the recipient to get

  3. Confirm the type of payment

  4. Enter the recipient’s details - bank account number or email

  5. Check over the details

  6. Add a reference or message for your recipient

  7. Fund your payment using one of the listed options - usually PayNow, card or bank transfer

  8. Confirm and your money will be on the move

Get a full guide to sending money with Wise here.

Funding methods

You’ll be shown the available funding methods for your specific transfer when you set up the payment. Usually these are:

  • Bank transfer

  • Credit or debit card

  • PayNow

  • Wise account balance

Funding your Wise international payment by bank transfer or PayNow will usually be the least expensive option. If you’re sending under 1,000 SGD you can even make a PayNow payment without needing to manually enter any details at all - just  scan the Wise QR code on their desktop site. Learn more about how to send your Wise payment using PayNow here.

Payout methods

Wise payments usually arrive directly in the recipient’s bank account. However, Wise does support other payout methods on some payment routes. You’ll see your options when you set up your payment. 

How to create an account

Creating a Wise account is easy, and can be done entirely online.

  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

What documents you'll need

Wise was one of the first remittance services to be authorised by MAS to verify customer accounts online. That means it’s really easy to get verified - especially if you have Singpass. 

If you have Singpass you can use Myinfo to pre-fill all your personal data onto the application form when you set up your Wise account. It’ll take just a moment. If you’re an Employment Pass holder with an active Singpass account you can also use it, but you’ll need to additionally add a proof of address document. You’ll be guided through the process by the onscreen prompts when you register your account.

If you don’t have Singpass you can upload copies of your documents instead. Again you’ll need to follow the onscreen prompts, and can get in touch with Wise customer support if you need help. If you need to stop while verifying your account you can simply save and exit the process and come back to it later.

Usually for a personal account you’ll need:

  • 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, here.

How long does verification take

Verification may be done instantly - this is often the case if you’re using Singpass and Myinfo to add all your personal information. If you manually upload your documents, verification can still be done on the same day in some cases - or certainly within a couple of working days.

Wise (TransferWise) limits 

Wise payment limits are set by currency. Usually you’ll be able to send high value payments as an individual of up to 1 million SGD. 

If you’re sending in a different currency the limits are normally around 1 million GBP or the currency equivalent - that’s about 1.75 million SGD.

Check the details for Wise limits for your currency here

Supported currencies

Wise supports 54 different currencies and lets you send to over 80 different countries. 

Wise regularly updates the countries and currencies available for payments - for the latest info check here.

Wise (TransferWise) reviews

Trustpilot aggregates customer reviews of businesses so you can see whether previous customers got a good service or not before you choose a provider to use.

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. Here’s what one has to say:

“BEST, FASTEST and CHEAPEST way to send money internationally. So quick and efficient - so I appreciate that I don't have to work through the sluggishness of my banks anymore to send money abroad.”

The ease of use and speed of delivery times also gets highlighted by happy customers:

“The website is easy to use and the transfers are cheap and speedy.”

Of course, not all Wise reviews were as glowing. At the time of writing, 1% of respondents gave Wise a Poor review, and 5% gave a Bad review. 

Where customers have been dissatisfied with Wise service it’s often because verification checks on high value payments have taken time to complete. 

Is TransferWise a bank?

Wise is not a bank. Wise is a financial technology service, which in Singapore is regulated by MAS as a Major Payment Institution. 

For the services it offers, Wise is as safe as a bank. Wise follows strict rules around keeping customer funds safe, and uses similar fraud detection tools and security technologies to banks. Your money is held separate to Wise’s own operating capital for safekeeping, which makes it easier to return customer funds in the unlikely event Wise ran into difficulties.

Wise accessibility

You can use Wise from your desktop, or get the app with an Apple or Android device. Wise has customer support in a range of languages, and a handy FAQ section online where you can get answers and troubleshooting support for common problems.

Wise (TransferWise) customer service

Wise is intended to be easy and intuitive to use, so you can transact as you need to without any specific support. However, if things go wrong or you have questions, there’s help at hand. For fast customer support log into your account and use the in-app and online chat feature. You can also use email and social media channels.

Contact channel

Wise availability

Personal chat supportLog into your account online or in-app
Phone supportLog in and visit the Wise help page to get the best phone number for your account type and query
Email

You can also log into your account to message Wise support about specific payments more easily - just click on the payment you’d like to query to get support options

Wise (TransferWise) alternatives

The best provider for your needs will depend on the type of transactions you make, and your personal preferences. Compare Wise to a few to pick the perfect match - here are some to consider. 

We’ll dive into the detail on one of them - Revolut - in just a moment:

  • Western Union - domestic and international payments arranged online or in person via an agent, payouts to bank accounts or for cash collection. Western Union does support more countries compared to Wise, but the overall costs for online payments tend to be higher.

  • PayPal or Xoom - send instant payments at home and abroad. Overall costs tend to be higher compared to using Wise, and if you choose PayPal your recipient will also need to set up a PayPal account to get their money.

  • Revolut - open an online international account to send and hold multiple currencies from the same account. Revolut accounts have handy features like savings vaults and budgeting features, and junior accounts can be set up for kids - but you’ll need to upgrade to a fee paid account to access some of the features on offer.

Wise vs Revolut

Revolut - which landed in Singapore in 2018 - is another popular provider of international accounts and money services. Let’s see how the features of both Wise and Revolut measure up side by side:

Wise features

Revolut features

Fast online money transfers direct to your recipient’s bank accountFast online money transfers direct to your recipient’s bank account
Set up exchange rate alerts and target rates to transfer when the time is right for you3 tiers of multi-currency account, including a free Standard plan 

Free multi-currency accounts to hold 50+ currencies

Hold and exchange 28+ fiat currencies plus crypto
Transfers use the mid-market exchange rate without a markup

Revolut card for easy withdrawals and spending in 150 currencies 


Send money to 80+ countries

Budgeting and money management tools in app
Spend with your Wise Mastercard in 200 countries

Revolut Junior accounts for kids


Get local receiving accounts for 30+ countries

Metal account holders could earn cashback on card spend
Secure, fully regulated payment serviceSecure, fully regulated payment service
Website, app and support in 14 languagesService currently available in Europe, the US, Australia, Japan and Singapore

And if you’re still not sure about the benefits and drawbacks of each, here are some pros and cons to consider, too:

Wise pros

Revolut pros

Low, transparent feesCryptocurrency trading available

Transfers to 80+ countries

Transfers to 28 countries
All personal accounts are free to open, with no service fee

Some free transactions available - details vary according to account plan

Local receiving accounts to get paid from 30 countries for freeJunior accounts for kids available

Wise cons

Revolut cons

Online and mobile service onlyMore expensive during weekends
Transfer fees vary by destination and payment methodAccounts are not available globally
International transfers can’t be made in cash, or for cash collectionTo get the full range of features you’ll need to pay a monthly fee of 19.99 SGD
Accounts are not interest bearing

Accounts can hold and manage only around  28 currencies - check the ones you need are available

Conclusion

Wise operates in a different way to banks, which means you can hold, send and exchange currencies for less. International payments are cheaper and faster than using a bank, and provide the real exchange rate with low, transparent fees. If you travel often, work for international clients, run a business with a global footprint, or just love to shop online with retailers based abroad, you could save with Wise.

Go to Wise

General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions. We compare currency exchange and money transfer services in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. We only display reputable companies which we have researched and approved.

FAQ

How much does Wise cost?

Wise transfers have low transparent fees and use the real exchange rate with no markup.

How long does Wise take to transfer funds?

45% of Wise payments are instant, 80% arrive within 24 hours.

Is Wise safe?

Wise is regulated by MAS in Singapore, the FCA in the UK, FinCEN in the US, and other appropriate regulatory bodies elsewhere in the world.

How does Wise apply exchange rates?

Wise used the mid-market exchange rate with no markups or extra fees added.

Does Wise have a mobile app?

Yes. Get the Wise app for both Android and Apple phones.

How does Wise work?

Wise international transfers are arranged online and in-app, and deposited directly into recipient bank accounts. Because transfers are processed through Wise’s own payment network, the fees can be lower than with other providers.

How many currencies does Wise support?

Hold 54 currencies in a Wise account and send payments to 80 countries.

General advice: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own personal situation and requirements before making any financial decisions. We compare currency exchange and money transfer services in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. We only display reputable companies which we have researched and approved.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 28 April 2022