7 Things You Need to Know Before Getting One
In the next few minutes, you will know if the Borderless Account from TransferWise is a good option for your needs.
Great for some, but not everyone, as you will see.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
- Local bank account numbers in five currencies (personal or business)
- Hold over 40+ currencies
- Easy to send and receive payments
- Transparent fees
- Some transaction limits
- Not available in all countries
- Not a bank account
Get the real exchange rate (opens a new tab) -this means very low fees.
Sending or receiving international payments has traditionally incurred hefty fees and hidden charges, even if you have a multi-currency bank account through a bank.
Fortunately though, there is a way to fight these charges. TransferWise’s Borderless account promises to let you make as many transactions as you like in over 40 currencies and at a fraction of your usual bank costs.
But it is not perfect as we will explain.
You might be also interested in our TransferWise Review.
Is the TransferWise Borderless Account Right for You?
The borderless account allows you to hold and exchange 40+ currencies with 4 sets of international bank details for allowing payments in GBP, EUR, ESD and AUD. To keep fees much lower than banks they also use the real exchange rate for currency exchange.
Let’s dive in!
1. What is a Borderless Account? (not actually a bank account)
2. How to Open an Account? (and how to avoid problems)
3. Fees (the real story)
4. How to Use Your Borderless Account (for best results)
5. Limits and Restrictions (you should know about)
7. Bottom Line
The Borderless account is a virtual multi-currency account that lets you keep over 40+ currencies, but the biggest perk is that you can convert them at the real exchange rate whenever you need and it whatever currency you need.
This translates into no or very low fees which, by the way, are all transparent.
The borderless account is easy to link to a TransferWise debit Mastercard and gives you the possibility to get personal account numbers and bank details in USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, and NZD.
You will then be able to use these details to receive direct payments from friends, businesses, or customers from around the world.
The debit Mastercard comes with associated benefits including:
- No fees for payments made in any currencies you hold in the account
- Free ATM withdrawals up to $250/£200 per 30 days
- Small conversion fees between 0.35% and 2.85%
As you can expect, you can use the debit card in all places where Mastercard is accepted.
Opening a Borderless account starts here by opening a TransferWise account if you don’t have one already.
TransferWise runs Borderless and their money transfer service (review) is awesome and in highly recommended.
Creating the account is also easy; all you need is an email address and a password.
TransferWise will ask you to verify your identity as part of their standard procedure.
This procedure is in place because the company is officially regulated by the financial bodies in multiple countries around the world – further proof that the service is legit and there is nothing to be concerned about.
Once your TransferWise account is all set up and running, follow the steps below to activate your Borderless account:
- Log into your account and click the Balances tab in the left-hand menu
- Click Add a balance
- Select the desired currency and click Open your [currency] balance
That’s it; you’ll get a local account number and bank details in the currency of your choice. At the moment, you can only get local account details for USD, GBP, AUD, EUR, and NZD, but the company aims to activate other currencies in the near future.
One thing to remember is that the Borderless is a personal account. TransferWise also assists businesses, but in this case, you will have to register your business first.
The Borderless account is available to users in almost all countries, except for a few countries in Africa, Asia, and a few states in the US (Nevada and Hawaii).
The USD bank account details are also limited to only some countries, due to TransferWise bank partner requirements.
You might also like our TransferWise Vs. PayPal Comparison.
Getting to the most important bits, what are the fees you can expect?
TransferWise brags with its cheaper, quicker, and easier current account options, but is it reality or just marketing?
According to research conducted by Consumer Intelligence (CI), the Borderless account really is cheaper than traditional bank accounts.
To reach this conclusion, CI compared the Borderless account to 21 current bank accounts in Europe, the UK, USA, and Australia.
The results highlight that the Borderless account is much more convenient than a bank multi-currency account for consumers who move between countries, for those who make or receive many international payments, and even those who make many domestic or international payments via debit card.
In detail, the study concluded that the Borderless account is up to 12 times cheaper than a personal account in Australia and the US, up to 9 times cheaper in the UK, and up to 4 times cheaper in Europe.
Cheaper, though, doesn’t mean that the account comes free. You will still have to pay for the following:
- Sending or withdrawing money
- Adding money to your account
- Converting between currencies in your account
These fees vary based on currency and type of transaction, but you can always check how much you’ll pay via the convenient TransferWise price checker.
There are also some fees associated with the debit card, in case you have one.
These fees include:
- A conversion fee between 1 and 2.85% if you’re spending in a currency other than those you have in your Borderless account.
- The MasterCard rate if you’re spending in a currency that is not yet supported by TransferWise. In this case, the company will automatically convert the amount to GBP or USD, depending on where you live.
- A 2% withdrawal fee if you exceed $250/£200 per month. You will be charged a conversion fee if your balance in the desired currency is insufficient.
We already mentioned that the Borderless account gives you access to local account details for five various currencies.
- British pounds (GBP)
- US dollars (USD)
- Australian dollars (AUD)
- New Zealand dollars (NZD)
- Euros (EUR)
While you’ll be able to use each account like a local, they all come with advantages and some limitations. Here’s what you should know about each of them.
With this account, you will get:
- An account holder name (your name on TransferWise)
- British account number
- Sort code
The account accepts local faster payments, BACS and CHAPS payments, but it doesn’t accept international wire and SWIFT transfers. You will be able to use this account to receive payments from friends and family, a salary, pension, or payments from third parties such as freelancing sites or Amazon, but you won’t be able to receive international payments from outside the UK nor direct debits.
Perhaps the most complicated of all, the USD account is not available in all countries where Borderless is supported. If you do have the chance to get your hands on one though, the account comprises:
- Account holder name
- Account number
- Wire routing number
- ACH routing number
The account accepts both wire and ACH payments, as well and international wire and SWIFT payments from most countries in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, China, Canada, Philippines, UK, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.
The account doesn’t accept direct debits, and it is set as a checking account despite not being a checking account.
If you are new to routing numbers, you should give your payer the following:
- ACH routing number for slower transfers, which are usually free or very This is the method used by most online platforms and employers, and the payment may take up to 3 business days.
- Wire routing number for faster same-day payments. These usually cost around $20-$30.
You should pay attention to which number you give your payer, as using the wrong one will result in a refund to the sender.
If you make transactions in Australia, the AUD account gives you the possibility to receive cheap local payments without being a resident. The Borderless account will give you:
- Account holder name
- Account number
- BSB code
You will be able to use the account to receive local AUD transfers, but you cannot accept SWIFT, over-the-counter and cash deposits. Furthermore, TransferWise doesn’t yet accept transfers from Self-Managed Superannuation Funds or Australian Superannuation Funds.
You will also be unable to accept direct debits or international payments from outside Australia. However, you will be able to use the account for domestic payments as well as payments from marketplaces, including Amazon.
Similar to the other accounts, the NZD Borderless account gives you a full local account including:
- Account holder name
- Account number
With this account, you will be able to accept local bank transfers in NZD, but not international wire or SWIFT transfers. The account doesn’t accept direct debits yet, nor international payments from outside New Zealand, except for the marketplaces.
The European Union comprises 27 countries at the moment, and most of them adhered to the unique EU currency, Euro. Therefore, you will be able to use your EUR account in all countries that have adopted the currency.
Nevertheless, you won’t get an account for each country in the European Union, but rather a sole account issued in Germany. It comprises:
- Account holder name
- BIC/SWIFT code
It accepts SEPA bank transfers within the European Union as well as SWIFT in EUR currency. This means that if you want to accept money from a EUR account issued anywhere in the world, you will be able to do that. However, the account doesn’t accept any other types of international payments nor direct debits, at least not yet.
You can use the account to receive local payments from friends and family, salaries, wages, pensions, and payments from marketplaces.
Also, keep in mind that TransferWise will also provide proof of account ownership if required and PDF statements for all five currency accounts mentioned above.
It could seem unbelievable that TransferWise offers currency accounts for very low to no fees, so it’s legit to believe these accounts could be limited.
Surprisingly though, the company applies no fees to receive and hold payments in your Borderless accounts for as long as you like, with the exception of the USD, an account that still has no fees for receiving payments, but that comes with daily and annual transaction limits.
It’s useless to say that this comes as great news for anyone who receives payments in various currencies and wants to save them. You won’t be paid any interest, but at least you’ll have easy access to your money and low conversion fees whenever you need them.
Now, getting back to the USD, an account that comes with personal and business limits, these are:
- Personal USD accounts have a daily transaction limit of $250,000, and an annual limit of $1,000,000.
- Business USD accounts come with a daily limit of $3,000,000 and an annual limit of $5,000,000
However, these limits only apply to payments you receive from someone else or from your normal USD bank account.
They don’t apply if you add currency to your Borderless account via the TransferWise Add USD option nor if you convert money to USD from any other currency you hold in other balances.
Furthermore, the yearly limit applies to a 365-day period regardless of the actual length of the calendar year.
See the comparison between TransferWise and CurrencyFair.
TransferWise is a rather new financial service capable of revolutionizing traditional banking. Yet, many people find it sketchy, mainly due to their low fees and the “to good to be true” promises.
If you have any safety concerns, know that TransferWise is regulated by the FCA in the UK, ASIC in Australia and uses trusted local banks to store your money.
This means that the company doesn’t actually hold your money, and if it becomes insolvent, there is some assurances you will still get your cash back from the banks where they are stored.
However, if the bank where TransferWise stores your money becomes insolvent, you are not guaranteed a return in the same way you might be covered by a bank in your country. So there are potential extra risks over a bank account, although it is good to know there are also some safeguards.
The TransferWise Borderless Account solves most of the traditional multi-currency account issues. It’s accessible to almost everyone; it’s easy to use, has few fees, and no hidden costs.
Say goodbye to account maintenance fees and costly transfers between currencies.
It is ideal for international students, freelancers, and sellers on marketplaces.
It may not be a real bank account and may have some limits, but it’s definitely worth a try if you get paid in multiple currencies.
If you only want to transfer money from one currency to another, know that you can use TransferWise even if you don’t have a Borderless account. Just sign up and start enjoying the beauty of transparent fees and low-cost transfers.