15 Alternatives to Wise (formerly TransferWise)

wise formerly transferwise homepage

Article summary:
15 alternatives comparison table
What are hidden currency exchange fees?
How does Wise (formerly TransferWise) Work?
What do we use for international transfers?

Wise (formerly TransferWise) is a relatively new transfer company that is funded by Sir Richard Branson in the UK and has been taking the world by storm. Most services have a hidden currency conversion fee; however, Wise has a fixed declared fee that is usually between 0.5-1% of the transfer.

Let’s check out some Wise alternatives below:

Alternative Hidden Conversion Fee* Benefits compared with Wise (formerly Transferwise)
CurrencyFair* 0-0.5% They have a marketplace that allows you to trade directly with other participants so the overall fee can be lower than other options especially for large amounts
Ria Money Transfer 0.3-1% Recipient can get the money in cash; however, this is mostly for sending from the US
OFX 0.5-1% Fees can be lower for large transactions and some currency pairs
Western Union 1-3% Can pay via credit card and receive the money in cash
Payoneer 1-3% They have a debit card where the recipient can receive money from an ATM
PayPal 2.5-4% Convenient
MoneyGram 1-3% Recipient can get the money in cash
Banks 1-5%
Xoom 0-5-1%
WorldRemit 1.5-2%
Transfast 1-2%
OrbitRemit 1-2%
Paysera 1-2%
Skrill 5%
Travelex 10-20%
  • The hidden currency fee varies a lot for each currency pair, so this is really a rough estimate. Also note, several of the services listed above do declare the fee, so it’s not exactly a hidden fee. However, even for services that do declare the fee, it is not always easy to find or understand.
  • There are many more options that are available for specific currency pairs and are not listed above.
  • Five free transfers with CurrencyFair.

What are hidden currency exchange fees?

Most transfer services and banks charge a hidden fee when transferring money between currencies. This is a fee but they mostly do not declare it, so it’s a hidden fee. Let’s check out a specific example:

As of the date of writing this blog post, the rate on Western Union for transferring US dollars to Indian Rupees is 67.336

The true rate (called the interbank rate) is 68.1775

You can see this on a site like Bloomberg.

The difference between these two rates is 1.2%. So, in this case, Western Union is taking a 1.2% hidden currency conversion rate fee on this currency pair.

Unfortunately, this makes it very difficult to compare currency conversion services because they do not declare the hidden fee in most cases.

How does Wise work?

With Wise, formerly TransferWise, you make a local bank transfer to Wise, they exchange currencies, then they make a local transfer to the recipient on the other side. This means, for example, that you cannot pay with your credit card for the service. Why not? If you pay via credit card, it costs at least 1% in fees, a fee that Wise is going to have to pass on to you. This service is trying to reduce the fees as much as possible so charging you for Credit Card fees would increase the rate of the service.

You can currently use Wise to transfer FROM the following currencies:

Euro, Pounds Sterling, US dollars, Australian dollars, Swiss Franc, Canadian Dollars, Polish Zlaty, Swedish Krona, Norwegian Krone, Danish Krone, Hungarian Florint, Czech Koruna, Bulgarian Lev, Romanian Leu, New Zealand Dollars, Japanese Yen, Brazilian Real, Singapore Dollars.

Wise can SEND to all of the above currencies and the following additional currencies:

Indian Rupee, Hong Kong Dollars, Malaysian Ringgit, Philippine Peso, Pakistani Rupee, Moroccan Dirham, Thai Baht, Emirati Dirham, Ukrainian Hryvna, Indonesian Rupiah, Colombian Peso, Georgian Lari, Turkish Lira, Mexican Peso, and South African Rand.

What do we use in our company for international transfers?

We have over 60 contractors in 18 different countries, so we have a real need for international transfers. We basically use two different services:

  • Wise, formerly TransferWise – yes, we use Wise also in-house because we find it one of the lowest cost methods available. Their system is based on local bank account transfers, which makes transfers abroad cheaper than what banks or other providers charge. They charge a small upfront fee between 0.5% and 2% for transactions, depending on the route.
  • Payoneer – this is the most convenient method we have for sending and receiving to multiple countries. This service also offers users the ability to withdraw money on a debit card at an ATM. This is very different from the way that Wise works where the recipient must receive money via their local bank account.
Try Time Doctor FREE for 14 days

Leave a reply

  • Jack Crompton

    I used to use Transferwise, but their site has become far too complicated and is non-inyuitive: it no longer recognises me or the people I want to send money to. Their support centre is completely useless and the chat facility takes forever.
    UpVote Reply 3 Upvotes
  • Rachs

    I have used Remitly and Western Union a number of times and both have been a good experience. Also ICICI money2India a few times to transfer money to India, it turns out little more expensive.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Patricia

    I am having the worst time with TransferWise fixing the account problem I call " Looks like you already have an account with us" loop in which I am stuck. This problem started in March and has not been fixed. I called the 1-888-870-2221 number (from Alaska) and I get a message indicating the number is disconnected. I would really like someone there to fix this issue, OR I need to find another money transfer option to a bank account in Korea.
    UpVote Reply 2 Upvotes
  • Russell Neilson

    Transferwise has verified my business's 4 times this year, but still chooses to freeze accounts and inbound payments and always on a Friday night or weekend when there is no customer service or staff to accept telephone calls or reply directly Very very poor service from Transferwise.
    UpVote Reply 14 Upvotes
  • Aman

    Remitly and Xendpay could be quite competitive as well.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Joan

    WorldFirst fee are below 0.5% since last year, might be a good time to try it out.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Benzion Weiss

    Is there any such company that takes american express as a payment
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
  • Leonardo

    It says CurrencyFair fee is 0-0.5% and Trasferwise 0.5-1%. But if you check both sites you gonna see that CurrencyFair offering free transfer is more expansive then Trasnferwise charging it. Which means they have hidden fees or hold the price that interests them. Trasnferwise is unbeatable, as they update the exchange constantly.
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
  • Ayan@Transferwise

    Transferwise is like a hero to me. It enables me to send money to my families abroad even at total lockdown. there, I was able to send them money to buy foods.
    UpVote Reply 1 Upvotes
  • Julia

    Hey guys. Try StealthPay money transfer. They are really awesome.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • jun master

    is there any site that can provide local bank account like transferwise ?
    UpVote Reply 3 Upvotes
  • Dan Jones

    Good luck with RIA. They never finish my online transfer requests, then triple the rates (or more), demand I go to some sketchy 'partner' (usually a pawn shop in a really bad part of town) to 'verify who I am'*, then refuse to escalate what is clearly false advertising to anyone in their upper management. As far as I can tell by their highly unprofessional behavior toward me on multiple attempts to send money overseas, they are run out of a boiler room somewhere and lack any business ethics. Transferwise, Remitly, OFX and others have always honored the advertised rates and fees on their sites when I've dealt with them. *RIA knows full well who I am, my ID was fully verified. It is an excuse to shake me down for more fees.
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • JG

    In my view the best alternatives are missing in that list: I would add Revolut where you pay 0 fees and also has a payment card (or an fixed annual fee if you need larger transactions), as well as Interactive Brokers, a trading site allowing currency conversion for 0 fees too. Another 0 fee alternative is Lykke. And lastly, if you want a real bank (with a deposit protection), you can open a current account with Lloyds International (Jersey banking licence) which I believe also offers spot rates without additional fees on major currencies, or Dukascopy Bank (has a Swiss and a European banking licence) which has a digressive fee schedule. However, for most of these services you need to have two bank accounts in your name denominated source and target currency.
    UpVote Reply 8 Upvotes
    • JoSh

      Revolut is great but TransferWise is even better: 1. Free payment card (MasterCard Debit) with free payout on any ATM / Apple Pay / etc. 2. You can have an international multiple currency account for up to 40 currencies with TransferWise. Which gives you account numbers for all currencies you select. You can use the DebitCard with those currencies. 3. Real Time Exchange Rate and Transfer Time Options (Sending from Europe to Africa in 5 Minutes)
      UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
    • J.R. Ewing

      Thank you! Your comment just was a big help for me, because i already wanted to have a revolut prepaid-card, and also wanted transfer money with transferwise. But i was scared from the transferwise registering, and did not know, i can also transfer it with revolut.
      UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Mark Finch

    Thank you for the information. it helped me
    UpVote Reply 0 Upvotes
  • Clare

    Hey - just so you know TransferWise do have a debit card/account available for recipients. I store about 5 currencies on mine that I can withdraw cost-free at any time.
    UpVote Reply 6 Upvotes
13 More Comments