Hi, I’m Quinn Askeland. In 2016, I started Transumo after experiencing expensive, slow, and frustrating international transfers and payments through banks. My mission is simple: to help others simplify and reduce the cost of transfers and payments. Fortunately, today, there are excellent alternatives for international money transfers and payments. See My Full Bio.
I have been using Wise on a weekly basis for many years now and on the surface it is pretty clear they take safety seriously. But nothing is perfect and we wanted to dig deeper and see what we could find.
And there is much more to safety and security than just what is on the surface.
We will explain all the important issues you should be thinking about like reliability, website security, scam potential, customer reviews (especially the negative ones), the Apps and if Wise is safe for large money transfers.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
1. Is Wise Reliable and Trustworthy?
When we analysed good and bad customer reviews in our Wise review, we found that a handful of negative reviews come from Wise freezing transfers or accounts.
The reality is this is temporary and can actually help to prevent you losing money to fraudsters.
Money Arrives – as Promised
Over the years, Wise has built out more and more partnerships with banks and card networks around the world. This means they can transfer locally instantly in many cases.
They are also way more efficient like improving the way they make financial crime checks which can slow up transfers.
These improvements make Wise transfers some of the fastest in the industry and get faster based on their mission updates and our experience using them.
You might also like How Wise Transfers Work.
2. Wise Website Security
When it comes to answering the question, “Is Wise Safe?” we need to consider safety in terms of security and not just the safety associated with segregating your funds from Wise’s own funds.
As a licensed institution in many countries, Wise gets audited a lot for compliance including security.
They are very proactive in their security measures.
Wise Security Includes
- HTTPS and 2FA (two-factor authentication)
- Important notifications
- 24/7 security team
- Storing information securely for compliance
- Fraud team
Wise is regulated by authorities such as Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (USA), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (UK), National Bank of Belgium (Europe) as an Authorised Payment Institution, the Australia Securities and Investments Commission (Australia), Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (Canada) and Financial Customs and Excise Department (Hong Kong).
It is also regulated in India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UAE.
3. Wise Customer Reviews
Wise gets great reviews on most review sites, but they are not perfect and it is the negative reviews where a lot can be learned.
It is no surprise to us they are rated 4.5/5 on Trustpilot with over 160,000 reviews, which is considered “Excellent.”
When you analyse the reviews we found 94% are positive, with just 6% negative. This compares favourably with their direct competitors and especially banks which often score 2/5 or less. Try yours for fun.
But what we found is a large proportion of negative reviews relate to unexpected freezes.
From a safety and security point of view (as the positives show) this can be seen a a good thing because it almost always relates to keeping peoples money safe.
- Easy to use
- Great rates
- Fast transfers
“Easy app to use. Clear instructions, exchange rate and charges without loads of other blurb. The transaction went through and the money had been converted and transferred into my chosen account within minutes. Great service.”— Carol W
“I recently fell for a scam where someone tried to transfer a significant sum of money from my account with a card and the transfer was denied because you (Wise) realised that I never make a transfer with a card but always via my bank. thank you.”— Simi Bedford
“Used our Wise card on a recent trip to Canada & US. It was so useful – paid Hotels, restaurants, bars, car hire etc with it, easy to load with currency and to change back when your trip is over. 100 % recommend”— David White
- Unexpected freezes
This can be distressing if you’re trying to send money in an emergency – however, in most cases, Wise does this to prevent theft or fraud. For an example of this, have a look at the second review in Positives.
Wise has an internal team that manually checks every transfer and steps in if they notice red flags in transfers that don’t match your usual activity patterns, for example, an unusually large transfer, a different payment method, etc.
In such cases, Wise puts the transfer on pause and notifies you. If you approve the transfer, they may ask for additional documentation to double check that the transfer is indeed being processed with your consent.
This is rare, but the good news is that Wise’s customer service team is always responsive and helpful should you ever face these issues.
4. Are Wise Apps Safe?
As we have shown, when it comes to security Wise does a lot to prevent hacks, fraud and scams.
And apps are really just a part of their business.
While no app is perfect, importantly Wise does seem very attentive to their Apps.
Wise App Safety Measures
5. Is Wise a Bank?
No, Wise is not a bank and the money you hold is not insured by government protection schemes.
This is where the rubber hits the road on the question: Is Wise Safe?
However as part of regulation, Wise holds your money with major banks which is separate from its own accounts. Banks like like Barclays (UK), JP Morgan (USA), etc. depending on the location.
To take things a step further, Wise encourages you not to hold large amounts with them and have limits for how much you can hold (varies by currency).
If you go over the limit, you need to pay a fee. This encourages their multi-currency users to use Wise as a checking account, while holding the majority of their money in a high street bank account.
Here’s how much you can hold in each currency:
- USD — $18,000
- AUD — $23,000
- EUR — €30,000 (new accounts)
- GBP — £13,000
6. Safe for Large Money Transfers?
The fact that Wise is highly regulated and audited regularly. As best we can tell they have a secure website and apps. As extra protection they also have a proactive team for security, theft and fraud detection.
This means Wise is very safe for large transfers.
However, that doesn’t mean they’re the ideal choice for large transfers.
We think when you’re sending large transfers over $7000 USD abroad, you need to speak to a human more easily than the mostly online business model of Wise has.
$7000 USD = £4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD
For example, issues can crop up with banks and we think easily accessible phone support is essential.
And for that, we recommend a services like OFX who offer 24×7 phone support, no transfer fees when you use one of our links, and services like being able to lock in a favorable rates for future transfers.
See more in our Wise Review
Wise seem to have taken all the measures you could possibly imagine to keep your money and information safe whether you’re sending funds abroad or using their multi-currency account.
The company he heads is one of the best in the business and we personally feel very safe using them.