Advertiser Disclosure

​TransferWise Money Transfer Review

Feb. 8, 2019
Banking, Money Transfer
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

TransferWise
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.5 / 5.0

4.5 stars out of 5

Where TransferWise shines:

  • Cheap transfers from one bank account to another.
  • Top-of-the-line web experience with detailed FAQs.
  • Variety of payment methods.
  • Same-day delivery option.

Where TransferWise falls short:

  • Its bank transfers tend to have slower delivery times than other providers.
  • Cash deposit is difficult and may cost you.


Where TransferWise shines:

  • Cheap transfers from one bank account to another.
  • Top-of-the-line web experience with detailed FAQs.
  • Variety of payment methods.
  • Same-day delivery option.

Where TransferWise falls short:

  • Its bank transfers tend to have slower delivery times than other providers.
  • Cash deposit is difficult and may cost you.


Where TransferWise shines:

  • Cheap transfers from one bank account to another.
  • Top-of-the-line web experience with detailed FAQs.
  • Variety of payment methods.
  • Same-day delivery option.

Where TransferWise falls short:

  • Its bank transfers tend to have slower delivery times than other providers.
  • Cash deposit is difficult and may cost you.

TransferWise

at TransferWise

The money transfer startup TransferWise offers cheap ways to send money from the U.S. to over 70 countries. The exchange rates are some of the best you’ll find. You can fund a transfer in various ways, such as with bank account or card, but recipients need to have a bank account. The highly rated mobile apps and website provide helpful cost calculators and other information to make transfers convenient.

Best if: You want low costs and a solid web experience when sending money internationally.


TransferWise earns 4.5 out of 5 stars for transfers from the U.S. to four countries: India, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom. See more details below in the four categories used to rate TransferWise.

Transfer costs: 5.0/5.0

5.0 stars out of 5

Upsides:

No rate markups: Unlike banks and other providers, TransferWise doesn’t charge an exchange-rate markup on its transfers. It targets the midmarket rate, which fluctuates minute-to-minute.

The midmarket rate, also called the interbank rate, is the exchange rate that big banks use to swap currencies among one another. Most providers give customers an exchange rate that’s the midmarket rate plus an additional percentage, or markup, to make a profit on the transfer.

Example: If the midmarket rate for U.S. dollars to Mexican pesos is 20 pesos per dollar, then a 2% markup means the provider is giving you 19.6 pesos per dollar. For a $500 transfer, that’s the difference between 10,000 pesos from the first rate and 9,800 pesos from the second. And the higher the markup, the less your recipient gets in their currency.

Low fees: The fixed cost to many countries is a combination of a flat amount around $1 and a percentage slightly less than 1% of the transfer amount. Credit card fees are higher. Using an ACH transfer from your bank account or a debit card tend to be cheaper. If you pay with a wire transfer to TransferWise, your bank will likely charge you (for more details, see wire transfer fees at over 40 banks).

Downside:

Not always the best deal for larger transfers. Some providers have no fees and offer competitive rate markups, which can make some transfers cheaper than TransferWise’s.

Speed offerings: 4.5/5.0

4.5 stars out of 5

Upside:

Delivery within minutes is possible for transfers using a debit or credit card.

Downside:

Transfers funded with bank accounts can take over a week, since each step can take days: TransferWise receiving, converting and delivering your money abroad. But for the four countries we analyzed, the average total time is up to three business days.

Transfer methods and options: 4.0/5.0

4.0 stars out of 5

  • Sending channels: TransferWise’s website and mobile app.
  • Payment options: Bank account (ACH or wire transfer), debit card, credit card, Apple Pay.
  • Delivery options: Bank account only. Some providers have cash pickup locations abroad that make it easier for recipients who don’t have bank accounts.
  • Transfer limits: No minimum; maximums for most Americans are $15,000 for the first transfer using ACH ($20,000 after that) and $1 million per transfer when funded with a bank wire transfer.

» Want a better place to stash your savings in the U.S.?  Check out NerdWallet’s best high-yield savings accounts

Customer experience: 4.5/5.0

4.5 stars out of 5

Upsides:

Straightforward website. The homepage has a cost calculator that makes it easy to see fees and rates, and FAQs online are well-organized and helpful. Rates for transfers from U.S. dollars are guaranteed once you start setting up a transfer, and you can click to cancel transfers that haven’t been converted yet.

Easy setup and login. You can register for TransferWise by using an email address, or syncing up your Google or Facebook account, which isn’t typical for a transfer provider.

High app ratings. Users rate TransferWise’s iOS and Android mobile apps above 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Downside:

U.S. phone support isn’t 24/7. You can reach customer service by phone only from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET on weekdays.

TransferWise

at TransferWise

» Ready to take the next step? TransferWise’s online and mobile services generally make sending money abroad easy and cheap. Compare it to other ways to send money internationally, especially if speed for bank transfers is important.


METHODOLOGY

We analyze seven providers that work in the U.S., mostly focusing on major players in the international money transfer industry, based on market research, experts, cost analysis and U.S. internet traffic. Providers considered: MoneyGram, OFX, Remitly, Ria, TransferWise, Western Union, and Xoom (owned by PayPal).

Fees and exchange rate markups mentioned are based on the analysis linked below.


How we rate money transfer providers