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In its tenth anniversary celebration in 2021, TransferWise rebranded to Wise to reflect its expanded variety of offerings. Such include but are not limited to multi-currency accounts, debit and credit card products, regular comparisons/updates of competitor rates, multilingual customer service support, and transfer tracking.
Wise gives users access to both their web and mobile platforms, allowing them the convenience of using the platform’s easier user interface and the mobility to use and track currency exchange rates wherever they are. The platform is also very intuitive and simple to use. Add your payment information and the recipient’s banking info, and you are able to transfer money from your account to 50+ currencies in the world.
If you’re sending CAD to a Canadian bank account, you can also just enter the recipient’s Interac e-Transfer email address instead of their full banking details.
Wise Canada offers a unique feature where users can exchange different currencies and receive real-time feedback on the historical exchange rates between the two currencies. Wise also stands out for its transparency, providing you with a comparison of rates from other money transfer services before you initiate a transaction. They claim their fees are up to 8 times cheaper than traditional banks.
If you’re waiting to give your aunt back in India some money, Wise will advise you on the best time to do so in order to get the best bang for your buck. Just put in your desired exchange value and Wise will let you know when that exchange rate is available.
Is Wise Safe?
As an international company with offices located around the world and over 10 million customers using its services, Wise prioritizes customer safety, seeking approvals from regulatory bodies in multiple countries. In Canada, TransferWise Canada Inc. is a registered business with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).
And like many big financial institutions, Wise offers multiple means of keeping your account and transactions secure, including two-factor authentication, a dedicated fraud detection team, and safeguarding funds in separate accounts at major banks such as JP Morgan, Chase, Deutsche Bank, and Barclays.
How Does Wise Work?
Signing up for Wise Canada is straightforward, similar to any other online/mobile banking app. Once you provide the required personal identification information and verify your email, you get access to Wise’s user dashboard. After which, you can start sending money by inputting your banking information as well as the information of the transfer recipient.
Here you can either open a personal or business account and further specify whether you would like your money transferred to your recipient’s banking institution or to their Interac e-Transfer email. You can then set up your transfer currency and check out the fee and exchange rate being offered to you.
You can even see what other institutions are offering as well as the historic change of converting between the two currencies. Once you’ve decided that you’d like to continue with the transfer, you’re given several options to fund the transfer:
- Debit Card
- Credit Card
- Direct Debit
- Domestic Wire Transfer
- Online Bill Pay (Add Wise as Bill Payee)
Fees and processing times vary based on payment method. Once the payment is complete, you’ll receive a PDF receipt of the transaction.
Overall, the process is straightforward and transparent with the fees and exchange rates.
How Much Does It Cost to Send Money?
Wise fees are made up of a fund transfer fee based on your payment method as well as the Wise service fee.
1. Fund Transfer Fee – Varies depending on the payment method you choose and in terms of the cheapest methods:
- Under $450 CAD: Use Direct Debit
- Over $450 CAD: Use Domestic Wire Transfer or Bill Payment methods at a flat rate of only $0.95
2. Wise Service Fee – This is a variable fee that depends on the amount of money you’re sending. For many popular CAD transfers such as CAD to USD, EUR, and GBP, it is only 0.59%. There are some transfers with higher fees, such as CAD to INR, at 0.69%.
Exchange rates fluctuate as per the market, and it’s essential to call out that Wise charges customers the mid-market rate. Unlike other financial institutions and money transfer services, Wise DOES NOT make money on the exchange rate.
Wise vs. Canadian Banks, PayPal (Xoom), and Western Union
Wise is completely transparent by providing active comparisons to other transfer services when users are setting up an exchange. This gives users a comparison to the market within the Wise platform and usually reaffirms that they’re getting the best rate.
Wise makes a bold claim that they outprice PayPal, claiming a 19X cheaper service. And as crazy as it may sound, this is actually the case on many transaction markers to the EU and GB when trading Euros and GBP. With other options like Western Union, the comparison is a little less bold.
Where Can I Send and Receive Money With Wise?
With Wise, you can send and receive money to over 80 different countries. And you’re not limited to sending it to a bank.
The platform also allows you to share contact information with other Wise users and send money to them. Just make sure you’ve already put money onto your Wise app before sending.
How Long Does a Transfer Take?
Transfer times vary on the payment method:
- Debit Card: Pretty much an instant transfer, however, you need to have a Visa debit card.
- Credit Card: Also pretty much an instant transfer, however, beware that your credit card company will very possibly charge this as a cash advance.
- Direct Debit: The transfer should arrive in about 10 hours, Wise will debit the money from your bank account upon finalizing the transfer.
- Domestic Wire Transfer: Usually in less than 24 hours. This is the method I used for my transfer from Canada to India and it arrived in about 20 hours.
- Online Bill Pay: Usually in less than 24 hours. This is an interesting option, as you can add Wise as a bill payee in your online banking portal and send the money to them just as you would pay a bill.
What Is the Wise Borderless Account?
Wise has recently renamed their popular ‘Borderless Account’ the ‘Multi-Currency Account’. The name is quite self-explanatory, and although this account is protected by the safety precautions previously mentioned, it is not guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
This account allows you to:
- Hold 56 currencies as well as convert between them
- Receive payments in 9 currencies
- Send money as outlined above
- Connect a debit card to access your account funds directly
Wise Business Accounts
Aside from offering personal accounts, Wise also offers business accounts, exemplifying its versatility for the huge money transfer market.
The Wise Business account includes features such as invoice payments which are supposed to be much cheaper than PayPal. These payments also have a 50% rate of being instant and the rest arrive within an hour’s time. The business account also allows batched payments to pay your employees as quickly and simply as inputting their information into a spreadsheet. It also offers discount rates for mass-batched payments and is integrated with online sellers like Stripe for streamlined transfers.
Creating a Wise Business account is free, though you will have to pay a one-time fee of $42.00 CAD if you would like the additional feature of international bank details.
Other Popular Money Transfer Apps
Below are some alternative money transfer apps that rival Wise.
Wealthsimple Cash lets you effortlessly complete peer-to-peer transfers and makes it extremely easy to send and receive cash with a few swipes on your phone. Since it is a relatively new offering, they are constantly updating their promotions to encourage more users to sign up.
Venmo is a digital wallet that allows users to transfer money to one another. It’s a popular app among millennials as it is quick and easy to use. However, Venmo is not available in Canada. This leaves many Canucks frustrated, as they would rather use Venmo than traditional methods like cheques or bank transfers.
Zelle is a digital payment system that allows for instant bank-to-bank payments. The app is available in the United States and Mexico but not in Canada. Canadians who want to use Zelle must sign up for a U.S. bank account or credit card. You cannot make payment requests from within Canada, as Zelle is not available here.
Cash App is not available in Canada for sending or receiving money. Instead, there are a few different cash app alternatives. Some of the most popular include Wise, PayPal, and Wealthsimple. Each of these apps has its own unique features, so it’s important to compare them before deciding which is the best fit for your needs.
Paving the Way for Secure, Transparent, and Efficient Global Transactions
Wise has evolved into a robust and transparent global money transfer service, offering a wide array of services such as multi-currency accounts, debit and credit card products, and real-time rate alerts. With a user-friendly interface and competitive fees, Wise provides a convenient and secure platform for Canadians to send and receive money across borders. Its commitment to customer satisfaction, complete transparency, and 10 million satisfied customers worldwide solidify Wise’s position as a leading player in the international money transfer market.
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