Recently, I flew to Sweden for a weekend. However, my flight actually arrived in Copenhagen. I decided to wander around the city on a whim before crossing the border.
After landing and trying for a train ticket to the city, I discovered that although I had Swedish currency, I hadn’t thought of getting any Danish. Oops.
I had some money to convert at the airport. The exchange rate took a large hit. Although it was a bad mistake, this is a common one made by travelers.
It’s not easy to withdraw or exchange foreign currency. It can be quite costly, even though it is a privilege.
I was thrilled to discover Wise (formerly Transferwise ), a well-respected online bank and money transfer company. It seemed like a true traveler’s dream.
The company’s basic principle is to offer a simple, low-cost, easy way to send, spend and receive foreign currencies. There are no bad exchange rates or high bank fees. It was established by Taavet Hirikus and Kristo Kalman, two Estonians.
You can send money in 60+ countries, hold funds for 40+ currencies, and access your bank account details in order to receive funds up to half a dozen currencies including USD, GBP or EUR.
Residents of over 22 countries can withdraw or spend these funds virtually anywhere in the world using a Wise debit card.
I have been trying it all.
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What is wise?
Wise is a smart bank that converts money. This can make it up to 8x easier to use than high street banks.
Instead of one international transfer, the company says that two local transfers take place. The company does not charge any international fees by doing this.
Wise will, for example, send you dollars to your USD account in the US and your euros to your euro account in Germany if your wish is to convert dollars to euros. This saves the company cash as the converted cash won’t be sent overseas, and it will pass these savings on to its customers.
Wise also uses the real, mid market exchange rate. That’s the same rate banks use for trading between themselves. This rate is much better than what banks offer their customers. It’s also the same rate you’ll find at your local currency exchange kiosk. Wise promises to never mark it up.
How smart work
Wise is a great way to get started if you don’t know what it takes. You can simply go to the website and input how much you want to transfer. The transparent fee along with the conversion amount will be displayed to you.
To actually send the money, an account must be set up. You can use Facebook, Google, or your business email address to create an account.
Wise is the best because everything is upfront and without hidden costs or dodgy exchange rate. Instead, Wise charges a flat fee plus a percentage based on your chosen currency and payment method.
For more information, visit the pricing Page. Transferring money by bank is the most common and cost-effective method of sending money. But, it’s also possible to pay with a debit or credit card.
A payment typically takes one to two working days (sometimes even much less), which is much faster than the many days required by banks. All payments will be notified by email.
Travelers will love the Borderless Account
Wise also offers an additional feature for people who travel often or are earning money in other currencies: a “borderless account”.
The multi-currency account you can create is free. It is currently available for residents of the United States, Canada (USA), Australia, New Zealand or Singapore.
After you choose your preferred currencies, you will receive the necessary bank account numbers. Wise gives you current bank details for the UK, US, Australian and New Zealand. You can then receive money in any of those currencies regardless where you live.
Your borderless account can be used to hold numerous currencies, and it is easy to move money between them. A single page allows you to view each account’s current balance. Wise converts money using its mid-market rate and charges a percentage.
Wise debit card: Buy at the Real Exchange rate
Once you have a borderless account you can request a Canadian bank card. One-time setup fees of PS5 and the local equivalent are required.
Wise was something I used a lot to send and receive money so I was eager to try out the card. I’ve had to pay my fair share of bank fees, including high fees when I ran out of cash abroad. This was my dream come true, being able to use money in multiple currencies without worrying too much about the exorbitant rates.
It seems to be working so far.
The Wise debit cards can be used wherever Mastercard logos are displayed, as well as with Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. No cost if you’re using a currency you already have in your bank account. Wise can convert your balance to the least expensive currency if it is not. A small fixed fee is charged in addition to the 0.35-1 % you’ll normally pay. for more information on the company’s fee structure.
Wise Card users can withdraw the equivalent to up to PS200/$250 from an ATM overseas every 30 days. After that, the Wise ATM Fee currently stands at 2%.
It’s as easy as any other debit-card to use this card. It has contactless and “chip-and-pin” capabilities, which make it a valuable tool for speeding up transactions on low-value cards.
My Wise Debit Card has helped me travel to many countries. It’s not only easier and more affordable, but it also helps me manage my budget. I would simply set aside a certain amount and use my card for every transaction.
All my transactions are listed in the app and online at the end. They also include the name of where I spent my money. Card payments are now the norm in many places, so it’s much more convenient to use my card rather than fumbling with cash.
Get on the Move with a Mobile App
Without wishing to go overboard on this service, I will just mention the convenience of the mobile app.
It’s particularly useful when paired to the Wise Mastercard. Once you’ve purchased something with the card, you get an alert on the mobile application letting you know. This is both great for security and budgeting. It tells you how much you spent and how many you have left in the currency account.
Wise will notify you every time funds enter your Wise account. You’ll love it if you are a freelancer, or a business that receives regular payments via Wise.
Other than your spending, all transactions can be seen on your smartphone. It is easy to convert or send money using the app. You can even find your PIN in the app if it is lost or forgotten.
Is It Safe to Use?
The company guarantees your money is safe. It’s also regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority, as well as various US state authorities. It is a serious enterprise with over 5 million customers and a monthly turnover of more than 4 billion dollars.
While you can email or phone with any questions, there isn’t a branch to go into if you have a problem. This might be an issue for some, especially if the company slows down in responding to questions. Personally, I have had issues with this. However, most people seem to not have this issue, as the majority of reviews are positive.
The company’s track record is also very poor compared with other banks. As a result, my experience so far was very positive. However, I don’t keep much in my borderless account. Instead, I transfer it in as and whenever I need.