7 Things You Need To Know Before Getting One
The TransferWise card can be used throughout the MasterCard network and enables multiple currency access either online or while travelling.
The real gold:
Linked to TransferWise’s Borderless account, you get instant and seamless access to your funds along with low and transparent conversion fees where required.
The Borderless account is like instantly having several bank accounts in different currencies with a card that can access them all seamlessly.
The truth is, it may not be for everyone, but in a few minutes you will know if it is right for you!
- Low conversion fees and no transaction fees for multiple currencies
- Free ATM withdrawals up to $250 per 30 days
- Automatically converts your currencies
- Accepted anywhere MasterCard is accepted
- No credit, works like a debit card.
- Available in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand.
- Local support may not be accessible from some countries
- You can’t deposit cash from an ATM
- No credit, you need to have the funds.
- Not yet available in Canada
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Click here to get the card and the app (opens a new tab).
- Is a TransferWise Card Right for You?
- How Does the TransferWise Card Work (or Not)
- TransferWise Card vs. Bank Debit Card: Main Differences
- How to Get a TransferWise Card
- TransferWise Card Countries
- TransferWise Card Fees and Limits
- Final Verdict
First things first – you need to have a TransferWise Borderless Account (opens a new tab) for personal or business use before you can get the card.
The card then gives you access to your Borderless balances at low to no fees when you’re traveling abroad.
It is right for anyone who spends multiple currencies, either online or in different countries.
Also great for international businesses if you link it to a TransferWise business account (review).
You can use the card either to withdraw cash from an ATM or spend in shops or online stores while benefiting from real conversion rates and low, transparent fees.
Here are some of its benefits:
- Zero ATM withdrawal fees up to $250 per 30 days. Any withdrawals after that will be charged a flat fee of 2% per transaction.
- Zero fees for paying with the currencies you hold in your Borderless account.
- Small conversion fees between 0.35% and 2.85% when you convert money.
- TransferWise will convert your money automatically at the real exchange rate (or mid-market rate) if you have an insufficient balance in a certain currency or if you’re spending in an unsupported currency.
If you are mostly interested in using the card and don’t need the ability to transfer money you might also like Revolut VS TransferWise.
The TransferWise card works like any other debit card; it lets you spend the money you already hold in your account.
However, it works way better than an average bank debit card (which may use dynamic currency conversion) if you are need to work in two currencies or more.
For example, you can spend money in any currency you already have in your Borderless account for free, which is a big plus when you’re abroad. If you don’t have sufficient currency in your account, they will automatically convert it from whichever balance in your account has the cheapest conversion fee.
Thanks to this method, the TransferWise card is very effective and easy when it comes to saving on exchange rates. In addition, you can also avoid expensive (and often hidden) fees when withdrawing money while abroad, by choosing to withdraw in the local currency and letting TransferWise to deal with the conversion.
You can track all your movements from the app or website; moreover, you can even freeze or permanently block your card from your app if it gets lost or stolen. If you choose to freeze it, you can unlock it anytime either from the app or website.
You can also replace a blocked card for free, by simply requesting a new one.
Does Not Work
The TransferWise card is a powerful tool for individuals and businesses alike but it is not tied to a real bank account which has other potential benefits like building your credit score and getting a loan.
You also do not earn interest and have the same array of services of a bank account (like different credit cards or several ways to pay others).
Finally in the event that TransferWise goes bust you are not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS in the UK) or similar in your country which acts like a kind of insurance for amounts you hold.
There are also other travel money cards you might like to consider.
The main difference and the greatest strength of the TransferWise card vs. a bank debit card is the possibility to use multiple currencies while spending a fraction of what a bank would charge you for the same services.
In fact, most banks that offer multi-currency accounts will only issue a card into the local currency.
This comes with a host of fees when spending in foreign currencies either abroad or online. Banks are also known for a adding a fat margin on top of the exchange rates.
Linked to the Borderless account, the TransferWise card comes with no fees whatsoever as long as you’re spending in a currency you’re already holding in one of your accounts. The company will charge you the real (or mid-market) conversion rates with a small fee when you don’t have enough currency, and you’ll even get free withdrawals from any ATM in the world up to a certain threshold.
The bank debit card on the other hand is linked to a real bank account which has other benefits as we discussed when it “Does Not Work” above.
Getting a TransferWise card is very easy if you live in one of the eligible countries.
Just follow these quick steps.
- Signup to TransferWise if you haven’t done so already and get a Borderless account by choosing your first currency.
- Verify your Borderless account (it usually involves submitting a form of ID and a selfie).
- Order your TransferWise card from the website or app. You will be asked to add $20/£20 or your currency equivalent to confirm your identity, but you’ll be able to use the amount once you get your card, which is issued. The card itself costs $7 USD / £5 GBP/ €6 EUR/ $10 SGD/ $10 NZD and free in AUD.
- Activate your card once you get it, either from the website or from the app. Now, memorize your pin or choose one, depending on your country.
- That’s it! Use your MasterCard debit card from TransferWise anywhere in the world. Look up for the MasterCard logo to know where it is accepted.
One of the biggest limits of the TransferWise card – and biggest drawbacks of the Borderless account – is its availability.
The card is currently available in the UK, USA, Australia, NZ and EEA countries, except for Greece.
Customers in Canada and other countries will still have to wait for it.
One of the greatest strengths of this card is affordable, transparent fees.
Here is what you’ll pay:
|Card issue||The card itself costs $7 USD / £5 GBP/ €6 EUR/ $10 SGD/ $10 NZD and free in AUD (once only)|
|Spending currency available in your account||Free of charge|
|Spending currency unavailable in your account||0.35%-2.85% conversion fee|
|Spending any unsupported currency||0.35%-2.85% conversion fee|
|ATM withdrawals||2% after the first £200/30 days|
|Withdrawals in currency unavailable in your account||0.35%-2.85% conversion fee|
Although it is hard to say up front how much you will have to pay in conversion fees, you can use the convenient Fee Checker to check out all fees before spending or withdrawing.
Besides fees, the card also has default and maximum limits; these limits are set in GBP for the UK and EU customers and in USD for the US customers.
Check them out in the table below:
|Transaction Type||Single Payment Limit||Daily Limit||Monthly Limit|
|Chip and PIN||Default: £2,500 / $1,000|
Max: £10,000 / $2,000
|Default: £3,000 / $1,000|
Max: £10,000 / $2.000
|Default: £10,000 / 5,000|
Max: £30,000 / $10,000
|ATM Withdrawal||Default: £1,000 / $250|
Max: £1,000 / $1,000
|Default: £1,500 / $250|
Max: £1,500 / $1,000
|Default: £3,000 / $1,500|
Max: £4,000 / $4,000
|Contactless (UK/EU only)||Default: £500|
|Magnetic Stripe||Default: £300 / $1,000|
Max: £1,200 / $1,500
|Default: £400 / $1,000|
Max:£1,200 / $1,500
|Default: £1,200 / $1,500|
Max: £6,000 / $6,000
|Online purchase||Default: £1,000 / $1,000|
Max: £10,000 / $2,000
|Default: £1,000 / $1,000|
Max: £10,000 / $2,000
|Default: £2,000 / $2,000|
Max: £30,000 / $10,000
|Apple/Google/Samsung Pay (US only)||Default: $200|
The TransferWise card comes as an awesome solution for anyone who wants to spend in multiple currencies. It’s way more advantageous than a traditional bank debit card when you’re abroad or if you’re making online purchases from international sellers.
It is ideal for frequent travellers and businesses, giving you the opportunity to extend the benefits of your Borderless account (review).
The only thing TransferWise could improve is the card’s availability, introducing it to more countries and currencies. If it is already available in your country, you are about to save yourself a good deal on fees and things will be easier from now on.