8 Things You Must Know – Only One Winner
Wise (formerly TransferWise) and XE are trailblazers for international money transfers.
Their strengths include easy and low-cost money transfer to pretty much anywhere in the world.
But here’s the thing: WorldRemit and Remitly despite the similarities are clearly better than the other in the eight all important categories we identified.
The best option for YOU will depend on your specific needs.
Here is a time saver!
To help, at the end of each section we award a winner in each of 8 important categories. (See Winner)
Even better 🙂
These are not the best options in every situation and we will suggest alternatives where it makes sense!
Let’s get stuck into it.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Both TransferWise and XE offer exclusive accounts for business transfers. But for this article we’re only considering the personal accounts.
- Who Can Get One?
- Costs and Fees (+ Hidden Fees?)
- Ways to Send Money
- Payout Methods
- Transfer Speed
- Reviews (inc. Negative Ones)
- Customer Service and Support
It may seem like TransferWise and XE money transfers are fundamentally similar services – international money transfer at affordable rates.
But there are many moving parts when you transfer money overseas (for example – how you fund your account, where you’re located, which currency you’re transferring, the payout method, etc. ) and how a service provider is structured to handle these makes a huge difference in actual amounts transferred as well as the transfer experience.
We make it simple!
In a nutshell: Both are first rate – especially in the customer service department and keeping fees low. TransferWise is super transparent on fees, has more funding methods and an extensive local bank account network. Meanwhile XE handles 170 currencies with English, Spanish and French telephone support.
Also don’t miss: “Where Neither is Best” below in this section (especially when it comes to larger transfers).
With TransferWise one reason we awarded it the best “Money Transfer Company for amounts under $7000 USD/ £4500 GBP/ ” is it’s ridiculous transparency on fees (click to see) you can see up front before you transact.
XE money transfers meanwhile enables you to set up transfers to over 170 countries in 60+ currencies so for travellers or digital nomads it may be a better choice.
TransferWise does however have the game changing Borderless account (review) which gives you things like a pre-paid visa card and the ability to be paid in different currencies using local bank account details. With TransferWise you can also send money from 59 countries to 60+ countries worldwide.
Still not 100% – no worries, you will be soon!
Where Neither is Best
Money transfers above $7000 USD/ £4500 GBP/ €4500 EUR other services tend to reduce fees in percentage terms as amounts rise and most importantly have excellent customer service for larger amounts. OFX (review) (Worldwide) and TorFX (review) (Australasia & Europe) reduce the fees in percentage terms as the amounts rise.
To decide between the two: OFX balances online with telephone support while TorFX focuses on telephone service mostly.
|TransferWise is available in 59 countries and lets you send money to 60 countriesIf you travel frequently or need local bank details in a foreign currency, you can get the TransferWise Borderless card in the UK, Europe, Australia, NewZealand, and US.||XE is most popular in Europe, but it’s also available in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand.XE offers money transfers to 170 countries world wide.|
TransferWise is available in many regions that XE is not, but their sending regions are limited compared to XE.
And, while you can’t sign up for XE in many countries that TransferWise services, XE supports money transfers to many sending countries that TransferWise doesn’t cover.
So, in this case, it all comes down to where you’re located and where you want to send money.
|The total fee on TransferWise depends on the currency you’re transferring, the amount, and the method of funding your transfer. Typically TransferWise charges a percentage fee and lets you transfer money at the interbank or mid-market rate.|
TransferWise fees range between 0.6-1% of the transfer amount, with the fees going down after USD 10,000 or equivalent.
|XE charges a small transfer fee and a margin on the interbank exchange rate, which is about 0.3-1.2% of the transfer amount. |
But wait, there’s more.
XE’s transactions are processed through the SWIFT network. This means, in most cases banks at either end charge a fee when you fund the transaction with a bank transfer as well as when the money is deposited in the receiver’s bank account.
This inevitably drives up the cost of the transfer and reduces the amount your recipient gets.
TransferWise has a low, transparent fee structure so you exactly know what fees you’ll pay and the amount your recipient will get. The currency convertor widget on their homepage gives you an exact break down of the total fees. Plus they have local bank details in all the areas they operate you never have to worry about unexpected deductions.
There are no hidden fees on TransferWise. Although card transfers may cost more than bank transfers, the total fee is displayed before you initiate a transfer.
Although not hidden, XE charges a small transfer fee in addition to the margin on the exchange rate.
However the potential for bank fees at either end often drive up the cost of the transfer. Most users overlook this little detail and end up being disappointed.
But hey, if you want to make the most of what each service offers, here’s what might work for you:
TransferWise’s low and transparent fee structure makes it cheaper for smaller transfers (less than USD 100) while XE’s service may be ideal for larger transfers (above USD 1000) as their margin reduces when the transfer amount goes up.
|With TransferWise, you can send money internationally in 20 currencies (includes most major currencies like USD, AUD, GBP, EUR, etc) and initiate local transfers in 30 other currencies (for example, Chinese Yen, Argentine Peso, Bangladeshi taka etc.).Check out the full list here.|
Want local bank details in GBP, USD, EUR, AUD, etc, as well as hold and manage 50 currencies? If you sign up for TransferWise Borderless (account), you get all these perks. You can also transfer money and get paid like a local in your chosen currencies.
|XE supports international and local transfers in 60+ currencies.The most popular currencies traded on XE are USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, INR, JPY, MYR (Malaysian Ringgit), SGD (Singapore Dollar), and CNY (Chinese Yuan).|
XE seems to be the hands down winner here with transfers to 170 countries in 60+ currencies. Even regulated currencies like CNY, which TransferWise only supports for local transfers, can be easily exchanged with XE.
TransferWise borderless solves this issue to an extent, especially if you’re a digital nomad or travel frequently.
|On TransferWise, the available funding methods depend on where you’re located and the currency you’re transferring.In most cases, you can fund your transfer with a credit card, debit card, bank transfer, or SWIFT payments, or other location-specific methods like SOFORT or iDEAL.|
Check out the very helpful currency specific guides before setting up a transfer.
|On XE, you can only fund your transfer with a bank transfer, which can be quite limiting. But you do get phone support when initiating a transfer.|
TransferWise supports many ways to fund a transfer, which offers a lot of flexibility to their users. Funding methods also affect the transfer speed (See “Transfer Speed” below) and the total transfer fee (as discussed above in “Costs and fees”).
|TransferWise only supports transfers to bank accounts.||XE also only supports transfers to bank accounts.|
If your recipient has a bank account, you can’t go wrong with either TransferWise or XE.
|On TransferWise, the transfer speed depends on how you fund your transfer and your chosen currency.Transfers funded with a credit or debit card are generally processed within a few hours (sometimes even minutes). But these transfers can are also more expensive with the added card fees charged by your provider (built into TransferWise fees).|
Transfers funded by a bank debit take about 2-4 days to arrive.
|XE tries to process their transfers on the the same day, if you’re transferring a major currency. But in most cases transfers usually take 2-4 days to arrive.|
Both TransferWise and XE try to process their payments fast, usually on the same day. Although TransferWise has a near-instant payment option when transfers are funded with a credit card, the higher costs (credit card charges) can discourage users from choosing this option.
|TransferWise has over 86,0000 on Trustpilot and is rated 4.6/5 on Trustpilot.|
86% of users had an “excellent” experience and 8% had a “good” experience while transferring money with TransferWise.
Users love their competitive rates, simple fee structure, and the stellar user experience of setting up a transfer, from start to finish.
But here’s the thing: 3% of users had a “bad” experience with the service, and we were keen to uncover why.
We discovered that the main causes of dissatisfaction were transfer delays and unexpected account suspensions.
Don’t worry though – TransferWise takes their customers’ issues very seriously and any road blocks are usually sorted out quickly when you get in touch with their customer service team.
|XE is rated 4.7/5 on Trustpilot with over 36,000 reviews, which is amazing.We noticed that 86% had an excellent experience and 10% had a good experience.|
What people loved most was the fast transfers, great rates, and helpful customer service.
However, 2% of users rated the service “one-star,” and we were determined to find out what issues they faced.
After digging deep into hundreds of reviews, we narrowed it down to money transfer delays and unexpected fee deductions.
XE aims to complete transfers within the same day and the hold ups are usually at the receiving bank’s end (for compliance audits).
The unexpected deductions turned out to be the fees charged by the banks at either end – when funding the transaction as well as when they were deposited in the receivers’ account.
While XE does mention it on their website, it would be helpful if they collaborate with the banks and build these deductions into their fees.
Check out our full review of XE here.
Some rare bottlenecks aside, it’s usually a breeze to transfer money with either TransferWise or XE. And unlike most of their competitors, their customer service teams are always helpful if you happen to get stuck at any stage.
We did award TransferWise a winner in this category due to its extensive local bank account network which apart from reducing frustration – lowers the often hidden costs.
|They offer multilingual phone support, email support, and live chat (live chat may be offline sometimes, depending on their workload).|
TransferWise also has a great FAQs section with country-specific guides, which is immensely helpful for digging into the nitty-gritties of a transfer.
|You can reach XE on phone or email and their multilingual customer service team would be happy to help you out.XE doesn’t have a live chat feature and their FAQs section could do with an upgrade.|
But they’re easy to reach on the phone and always helpful, which is reassuring.
Both TransferWise and XE are known for providing excellent support to their customers in need.
TransferWise has it all – mail, live chat, phone, and a comprehensive FAQs section. XE, on the other hand, has a helpful customer service team who are quick to assist users over email and phone, which is pretty rare in the industry.
Wise (was TransferWise)!
With 5 ties, 2 wins for TransferWise, and 1 win for XE, it’s safe to say that both services are excellent options for international transfers.
TransferWise has a transparent fee structure and is available in most countries. Don’t forget, with Wise Multi Currency Account (optional), you can get even more currencies to trade and transfer, locally and internationally (as well as a pretty sweet Mastercard debit card that is great for travelling and paying for stuff online).
See the latest for TransferWise and get the fees you pay upfront (Usually works out to less than 1%).
However XE goes further when it comes to worldwide coverage for money transfers. This is backed up by excellent customer service and multilingual support.
At the end of the day, which service is best for you may ultimately comes down to your needs, specifically – where you’re located and which currency pair you want to exchange.