Review & Rating
Wise is a London-based financial technology company founded in early 2011 by two Estonians: Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus (Skype's first employee). Formerly known as TransferWise, the company rebranded in February 2021 to reflect the significant expansion of its product offering beyond simple money transfers. Having become profitable just 6 years after being founded, the company has since been exploring various expansion options. Nowadays, Wise offers its users multi-currency accounts, a debit card, and has a business account proposition.
Wise Multi-currency: Pros and Cons
- An ability to receive money in >10 different currencies and to hold it in over 50! Ever wanted to diversify your funds into rubles, yen and zloty? Well, you definitely can with Wise!
- Sending money to over 50 countries using a single account is insanely convenient for a truly global business or a "digital nomad" freelancer without borders.
- Lowest money transfer fees on the market. Comparing with competitors like Remitly, WorldRemit and MoneyGram, Wise consistently ranks as the service with the lowest fees.
- No one-off or monthly fees. So there is virtually zero reason to not get an account with Wise, even if it's just for super-niche use cases.
- Mid-market exchange rate offered for fx transfers and very transparent pricing shown to users makes it a very "honest" service with no surprises.
- No support for cash or cheque payments. No big deal in the 21st century, yet there are some nasty corner cases where you'd want your account to have that option available.
- Direct debits are not supported. Which basically means you can not use your Wise Multi-currency account as your sole banking solution. Same goes for lack of credit/overdraft or interest rate on your savings account.
- No travel insurance. This is quite niche, but seems to be a standard thing for banks to offer nowadays.
Beginning in mid-2017, Wise started offered a new product: the Wise Multi-Currency Account and its associated multi-currency debit MasterCard. This exciting product works seamlessly with Wise's regular money transfer services, offering the same low fees and fx rates, but with the additional perks that go along with having a more-or-less completely functional bank account.
Even though you can use your Wise card in your own country with zero hassle, its benefits start to truly shine whenever you need to pay in a foreign currency, be it online or in-person at a point of sale while traveling. Given Wise’s experience with foreign currency exchange, using the debit card allows you to take advantage of rock-bottom low fees when spending in a non-Euro country.
At the end of the day, it's very easy to dismiss Wise's offer only because it's not a "real" bank account. However, you do need to keep in mind that when signing up with Wise, you instantly get:
- EU IBAN + SWIFT/BIC details of yours
- UK-based account number and sort code
- 7 more account details (US, AUS, NZ, PL and more!)
You can then easily spend these in any currency, anywhere in the world. Meanwhile, you can diversify your funds by spreading them out over 50 different currencies - all at no monthly cost! It truly is a unique service and we highly advise you to check out Wise's website to learn more about it as you can potentially save a lot of money!