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Close to celebrating their 10 year anniversary, Transferwise has recently changed their name to Wise to reflect their expanded variety of offerings, including but not limited to a multi-currency account, debit and credit card products, regular comparisons/updates of competitor rates, multilingual customer service support and transfer-tracking.
What’s neat about Wise Canada is that not only can you exchange in different currencies, but you can get real-time feedback on the history of the exchange between the two currencies.
On top of that, Wise send you alerts, via email or through their downloadable app, as to when the rate of exchange hits a particular value.
If you’re waiting to give your aunt back in India some money, but you’re wondering when the best time to do so in order to get the best bang for your buck, Wise will alert you.
Just select your desired rate and Wise will automate that and let you know when the exchange rate has hit the number that you’re looking for.
The best part though is that you see a comparison of what the rates are at many other money transfer services right before you initiate a transaction – complete transparency and a strong claim of fees that are up to 8x cheaper than traditional banks!
Wise also gives users access to their platform on both web and mobile.
You now have the convenience and mobility to use and track currency exchange rates wherever you are and the opportunity to have an easier user interface of a desktop web browser.
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 recipients Interac e-Transfer email address instead of their full banking details.
Is Wise Safe?
Wise is an international company with 16 offices located around the world and over 10 million customers using their services.
It is completely safe and reliable for Canadians to use Wise to transfer money globally.
In Canada, TransferWise Canada Inc. is a registered business with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)
Globally, you can find a full list of regulatory bodies here.
And like many of the big financial institutions, Wise offers multiple means of keeping your account and transactions secure, including a 2-factor authentication like you find on Wealthsimple, a dedicated fraud detection team, and keeping funds safeguarded by holding them 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 similar to any other online/mobile banking app and is extremely simple.
After providing personal identification information and an email to send confirmation to, you get access to Wise’s user dashboard.
Once you’ve opened the dashboard, you need to input 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 money transferred to your recipient’s banking institution or to their Interac e-Transfer email.
You can then setup 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.
And once the payment is complete, you’ll receive a PDF receipt of the transaction.
Overall, very straight-forward, very transparent in terms of what the fees are, what exchange rate I’m getting and what competitors are offering!
How much does it cost to send money?
Wise fees are very reasonable and made up of a fund transfer fee which is 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 which depends on the amount of money you’re sending.
For many popular CAD transfers such as CAD to USD, CAD to EUR and CAD to GBP, it is only 0.59%.
For my transfer of CAD to INR it was 0.69%.
Exchange rates fluctuate as per the market and it’s important 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 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.
Sometimes the savings with Wise are 10X to that of Paypal.
With other options like Western Union, the comparison is a little less bold.
However, Wise is completely transparent by providing active comparisons to other transfer services when users are setting up an exchange.
This gives Wise users a comparison to the market within the Wise platform and usually reaffirms that you’re getting the best rate.
Where Can I Send and Receive Money With Wise?
You can send and receive money to 24 different countries. And you’re not limited to sending to a bank.
Wise allows you to share contact information with another Wise user and send. Just make sure you’ve already put money onto your Wise app before sending.
See a full list of countries.
How long will it take for the transfer?
Transfer times vary on payment method.
1. Debit Card
Pretty much instant transfer, however you need to have a Visa debit card.
2. Credit Card
Also pretty much instant transfer, however beware that your credit card company will very possibly charge this as a cash advance.
3. Direct Debit
Should arrive in about 10 hours, Wise will debit the money from your bank account upon finalizing transfer.
4. 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.
5. Online Bill Pay
Usually in less than 24 hours.
This is an interesting option, 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 – In this Multi Currency Account, Canadians can hold 56 different currencies.
Although this account is protected by all of the great safety precautions mentioned earlier, it is not guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
The main functions of the account allow you to:
1. Hold 56 currencies as well as convert between them
2. Receive payments in 9 currencies
3. Send money as outlined above
4. And soon, a debit card to access your account funds directly
Visit the Wise website for more details on the Multi-Currency Account.
Wise Personal vs Business Accounts
Continuing on its versatility and huge market, Wise has two separate accounts for different needs: personal and business.
The 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 hours time.
The business account also allows batched payments to pay your employees quickly and as simply as inputting their information into a spreadsheet.
The Wise business account also has integrations with online sellers like Stripe for streamlined transfers.
Creating one is also free except if you would like the additional feature of international bank details (comes at a one-time fee of $42.00 CAD).
The business account also offers discount rates for mass-batched payments that the business account does.