Wise review 2024 – is it the best money transfer app?

11 min Read Published: 26 Jan 2024

Wise money transfer app reviewIn this review, we take a look at the multi-currency money transfer app Wise* (formerly 'TransferWise') including how it works, its key features and how it compares to other multi-currency accounts.

What is Wise?

Wise launched in 2011 with a vision of 'making international money transfers cheap, fair, and simple.' It was founded by two friends from Estonia, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann who learned when living in London the high cost of bank fees when transferring cash between currencies. Wise, originally known as TransferWise, started as a multi-currency account designed to slash currency conversion fees and offer its customers the transparency they deserve. It has since expanded with a debit card and business account. It was designed to facilitate "money without borders" embracing an increasingly globalised world.

Today, Wise serves more than 16 million customers helping them move more than £9 billion a month. The company estimates it saves its customers £3 million a day in fees compared to using high street banks. Wise has since partnered with other innovative fintech brands like Monzo, Bolt, and GoCardless. It has attracted famous investors like Richard Branson and the co-founder of PayPal.

Wise offers personal accounts and business accounts with attractive multi-currency features. Let's take a look at its key features and pros and cons to see whether it's the right account for you.

Wise key features

  • Multi-currency account
  • Personal and business accounts
  • Send, spend and withdraw money in up to 40 different currencies
  • Low fees when sending money abroad
  • Transparent conversion rates with real-time competitor comparison tables
  • Wise Interest feature with a 4.7% variable rate for GBP jars (correct as of 14.12.2023)
  • Wise Assets allows you to hold your money as stocks
  • Wise Jars allow you to set money aside for future use
  • Regulated by the FCA

How does Wise work?

Wise is a multi-currency account that allows you to hold and send money around the world in over 40 different currencies. You can also get a Wise currency card which allows you to spend abroad in over 150 different currencies with low currency conversion fees. There are also limited free ATM withdrawals while you're abroad. Limits vary depending on the type of currency you're withdrawing.

You can hold both a Wise personal and business account and it's easy to sign up for an account by downloading the Wise app*. You will need to provide your name, email, date of birth and address to sign up for a Wise personal account.

If you're opening a Wise business account you will be asked to provide your tax identification number and business registration address when opening an account. You may also be asked to provide additional documentation regarding your business.

Wise accounts

Wise offers two different accounts to its customers. There is the Wise account designed for personal use and then there is the Wise Business account for freelancers and businesses who operate with customers around the globe.

Wise account for personal use

The personal Wise account is designed for people who live, work, or travel abroad.  You can open a Wise personal account by downloading the Wise app* and registering for an account. Your Wise personal account allows you to hold more than 40 different currencies and make conversions using the mid-market exchange rate. You will also receive a debit card that you can then use in more than 160 different countries.

The Wise personal account also comes with Wise's interest and assets features. You can also use Wise's jars to save money in separate pots id different currencies. They work a lot like savings accounts, in that you're able to set money aside for specific occasions. However, you won't earn interest unless you enable the Wise Interest feature.

Wise Business account

The Wise Business account has all of the features that the personal account offers, like account details for major currencies, being able to hold more than 40 currencies, and the Interest feature. However, the Business account is designed for freelancers, companies, partnerships and charities in certain countries. If you're simply an employee working for a company abroad, you'd use the Wise personal account rather than the Business account.

The Business account comes with additional features including:

  • Accounting software connections
  • Batch payments
  • The ability to add team members
  • The ability to receive Stripe and Amazon payouts
  • Access to Wise's open API

The Wise Business account has more than 300,000 business customers using it to manage their finances and clients around the globe. Businesses that have international clients can easily set up account details in different currencies to allow their clients to pay in their local currency, for example.

Wise fees and charges

In the following table, we summarise some of the fees and charges you can expect to pay with a Wise account.

Feature  Fee 
Sign up for Wise* Free
Monthly subscription No fee
Wise debit card One-off payment of £7
Sending money From 0.42% (varies depending on the currency)
Currency conversion From 0.42% (varies depending on the currency)
ATM withdrawals £200 per month fee-free (max 2 withdrawals a month) 1.75% fee thereafter plus 50p charge per withdrawal
Account funding transactions 2%
Holding 40+ currencies Free
Investing 0.6% annual fee
Wise Interest 0.46% ( for GBP jars)
Getting currency account details (based on the following currencies: AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HUF, NZD, RON, SGD, TRY and USD) Free
Receiving money (based on the following currencies: AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HUF, NZD, RON, SGD, TRY and USD Free
Receiving USD wire payments 4.14 USD
Receiving CAD SWIFT payments 10 CAD

How much does it cost to transfer money abroad with Wise?

In the following table, we have provided examples of how much it costs to transfer money with Wise. The rates are correct at the time of writing and may differ depending on the currency you are transferring, the amount and when you are making the transfer.

For GBP and EUR transactions, you can typically choose between low-cost transfers or fast transfers. With low-cost transfers, you need to send the money to Wise as a separate transaction via a manual bank transfer, for example. This type of transaction can take longer to process but doesn't cost as much.

Fast transfers, on the other hand, allow you to send money abroad quickly by using your card details or Apple or Google Pay. While it's more convenient for the customer, it costs Wise more to process this type of transaction which is why the fees associated with it are higher.

Currency  Transfer type  Fees  Total fees 
1,000 GBP Low cost transfer £0.32 fixed fee + an additional £4.01 if recipient is outside the UK £4.33
1,000 GBP Fast transfer £0.32 fixed fee + an additional £4.20 (0.42%) variable fee + an additional £4.01 if recipient is outside the UK £8.53
1,000 EUR Low cost transfer €0.44 fixed fee + an additional €3.55 if sending Euros outside of the SEPA region €0.44 inside SEPA or €3.99 outside SEPA
1,000 EUR Fast transfer €0.44 fixed fee + an additional €4.70 (0.47%) variable fee + an additional €3.55 if sending Euros outside of the SEPA region €5.14 inside SEPA or €8.69 outside SEPA
1,000 USD Connected bank account (ACH) $1.30 ACH fee and $2.92 for Wise's fee $4.22
1,000 USD Wire transfer $3.52 wire transfer fee + $2.92 for Wise's fee $6.44

This table assumes that you're transferring money abroad but in the same currency. For example, you might be transferring money to a GBP account otherwise based in Australia.

How much does it cost to convert money with Wise?

In the table below, we have provided examples of the conversion fees and rates Wise offers. Wise believes in using the "real" exchange rate which is based on the midpoint between the buy and sell rates on the global currency markets. It updates its rates in real-time using data from Reuters.

As you can see, the conversion fees below vary based on the currency you select. These figures are correct at the time of writing and are based on the low-cost transfer option.

You send  Recipient gets  Wise's fees 
1,000 GBP 1,164.36 EUR £4.49
1,000 GBP 1,269.13 USD £4.64
1,000 GBP 105,763 INR £5.75
1,000 GBP 4,645.74 AED £6.27

Is Wise cheaper than using a bank?

The good news is that Wise's commitment to transparency means they provide a real-time comparison table that shows you the best conversion rates on the market right now as well as the fees charged by those providers. If there are cheaper options than Wise, this is highlighted and it's then up to you whether you want to proceed with Wise or go elsewhere for your transfer.

For example, with the conversions in the table above, Starling* and Revolut worked out cheaper than Wise for the GBP to USD conversion. Revolut worked out cheaper for all conversions. However, conversion and transfer speeds were often slower with cheaper competitors. This was indicated in the comparison table on the Wise website when we requested quotes for the figures above allowing customers to decide whether they want to go elsewhere for their transaction.

You can also use Wise's rate tracker to work out the mid-market exchange rate for various currencies over a period ranging from 48 hours to 5 years. This gives you a little more context and helps you work out whether you're getting a good deal. If you believe the exchange rate isn't offering good value based on mid-market data, you can set up an alert through Wise and get a notification when you feel the exchange rate offers better value.

Saving with Wise

Wise recently launched its Wise Interest feature that allows you to earn variable interest on your USD, GBP, or EUR accounts if you enable it. However, with Wise Interest, your capital is at risk. So this isn't guaranteed interest you might receive on your current account with your other bank. Instead, with Wise Interest, your money is invested in a fund that holds government-guaranteed funds. It's technically a low-risk investment as you'd only lose money if interest rates go negative or the government defaults; both scenarios are unlikely, but it's still worth considering whether this is a risk you're comfortable with.

If you decide it's right for you, and you want to change your GBP Wise account to a Wise Interest account, you can do so via the app. The variable interest rate at the time of writing is 4.7%, however, it tracks the Bank of England base rate closely, so fluctuations are likely. There is a 0.56% annual fee but interest is paid out on your balance daily and you can use it right away. You can toggle between holding your balance as Cash, Interest, or Stocks within Wise.

Investing with Wise

You can choose to hold your money as stocks with Wise if you wish. This is also known as the Assets feature. If you choose to hold your money as Stocks, Wise will invest it in the iShares World Equity Index Fund which is managed by BlackRock and tracks the MSCI World Index. This is a relatively low-risk investment as your money is spread across many different companies such as Apple, Tesla, and Microsoft.

The fund fee for the Wise Stocks feature is 0.40% if you're based in the UK and 0.45% if you're based in the EEA. You get instant access to your money and can spend up to 97% of your balance whenever you need to do so.

Is Wise a bank?

Wise isn't a bank. Instead, it's an Electronic Money Institution regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This means it can't offer certain features such as overdrafts and loans, for example. In addition, Wise doesn't lend out its customers' money to people or businesses.

Is Wise safe?

Wise isn't protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means if it goes bust, you won't benefit from FSCS protection and so won't be eligible for compensation up to £85,000. That being said, there are other mechanisms in place to keep your money safe with Wise.

In the UK, Wise uses the process of safeguarding to keep your money safe. This means it holds your money in cash with other leading commercial banks. It also invests in secure liquid assets like government bonds. Around 60% of your money is held in UK government bonds, while 40% is held in banks. Your money is held in a separate account from the money used to run the business as well.

The only difference is if you use the Wise Assets feature. This is an investment service where your funds are still held in different accounts, but customers are also eligible for FSCS protection.

Wise customer reviews

Wise is rated as 'Great' on the customer review website Trustpilot with a rating of 4.2 out of 5.0 stars from over 205,000 reviews. 83% have rated it 5 stars while 7% have rated it 1 star. Those who rated it 5 stars cited fast and easy transactions, low fees and great customer service. Those who rated it 1 star cited problems with account closures, problems with customer service and cancelled payments. As with all accounts, it is important to do your research before opening an account and read any T&Cs carefully.

Wise pros and cons

Below, we've summarised the key pros and cons associated with using Wise.


  • Multi-currency account options
  • Debit card for spending in 160 countries
  • Currency tracker to ensure you get the best rate
  • Limited free ATM withdrawals while abroad


  • No FSCS protection
  • No banking licence
  • No overdraft or loan facility
  • Fees can be higher than its competitors

Alternatives to Wise

There are lots of app-based challenger banks and multi-currency accounts that offer features similar to Wise and offer low-fee spending abroad. Below, we look at three Wise alternatives to help you decide which option works better for you.

Starling Bank

Starling Bank* is a popular option for people travelling abroad. It's a licensed app-only challenger bank that offers banking options for personal and business users alike. While it doesn't offer multi-currency accounts, it uses the Mastercard exchange rate and doesn't add transaction fees when paying abroad. Fee-free cash withdrawals abroad are included too, although limits apply. Starling is rated 'Excellent' on TrustPilot with a score of 4.4 out of 5 based on more than 38,000 reviews. You can find out more about Starling in our review.


Monzo is an app-only challenger bank just like Starling Bank. It offers many of the same features, including the Mastercard exchange rate without additional fees when paying abroad. It also offers limited fee-free cash withdrawals abroad. Monzo is an attractive choice for customers looking for an FSCS-protected account that offers attractive spending features while abroad.

Unlike Wise, it doesn't offer multi-currency accounts. However, it recently partnered with Wise to allow its users to make international payments abroad in more than 35 different currencies. Transfers happen via the Monzo app but are powered by Wise via their Faster Payment option. It's rated 4 out of 5 on TrustPilot based on more than 30,000 reviews. You can find out more about Monzo in our independent review.


Revolut is a multi-currency account that works similarly to Wise. With Revolut, you can make fee-free payments in more than 150 currencies based on the interbank exchange rate. As with Wise, you can withdraw a limited amount of cash while abroad, after which fees apply. Revolut offers some of the best exchange rates on the market and can work out cheaper than Wise. It's worth noting, however, that Revolut charges additional fees on weekend when making international payments. The app is currently rated "Great" on TrustPilot with a 4.2 out 5 rating based on more than 147,000 reviews. You can find out more about Revolut in our independent review.

Wise vs Starling Bank vs Revolut vs Monzo

The table below sums up the key features on offer from Wise, Starling Bank, Revolut, and Monzo.

Wise* Starling Bank* Revolut  Monzo 
UK registered bank account cross tick cross tick
FSCS protection cross tick cross tick
Multi-currency account tick cross tick cross
Fee-free spending abroad cross tick tick tick
Fee-free cash withdrawals abroad tick tick tick tick
Exchange rate Mid-market Mastercard Interbank Mastercard
TrustPilot rating 4.2/5 based on 205,000 reviews 4.3/5 based on 38,720 reviews 4.2/5 based on 147,000 reviews 4/5 based on 30,000 reviews

It's worth keeping in mind that limits apply in some cases. For instance, while all providers above offer fee-free cash withdrawals abroad, there are typically monthly limits in place after which fees apply. The same applies to providers that offer fee-free spending. As such, it's important to do your own research and make sure the limits on offer by these providers fit in with your spending needs while you're abroad.


Wise* offers multi-currency accounts and low cost, transparent international transfers and conversions so you can make the most of your money across the globe. Whether you're planning to work with international clients in different countries or simply travel abroad, Wise's business and personal accounts have plenty of features that can help you manage your money efficiently. It might not always be the cheapest option for spending abroad, but its commitment to transparency means that it always tells you if there are cheaper alternatives when you request currency conversions. This means you're always in control and can make an informed choice.

With features like Wise Interest, you can put your money to work and earn daily interest as well. While Wise isn't a bank, it safeguards your money to ensure it's safe and it's regulated by the FCA too.


If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following links can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses or take advantage of any exclusive offers – Starling Bank, Wise.