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 used the Wise card for a few years and now I have found it to be reliable and easy to use. The app is a critical piece of the puzzle because you will find it is the control centre for the card where you can pretty much do everything you can think of. But in this review, I show you the good and the bad along with some alternatives.
- The Wise debit card lets you manage your money better if you work, travel, or do business overseas.
- It is safe to use, as you can freeze and unfreeze your card anytime on your app, set limits and create virtual cards
- The fees and limits for withdrawals depend on your location.
- You can pay with it in-store or online, link it with Apple Pay and Google Pay and take out cash from ATMs worldwide.
Disclosure: This post may contain offers and affiliate links to save you money and it also helps us to keep providing the best information. For more information, see our disclosures here.
On Trustpilot, Wise (formerly Transferwise) and the Wise card have an impressive rating of 4.2/5 from over 196,800 reviews in 2023. 83% of reviewers rated Wise as excellent (5 stars), while an additional 7% consider Wise as great (4 stars).
The Wise Multi-currency card is more than a travel money card that saves you fees on international payments.
Here’s the deal:
- You can hold, manage, and convert between 40+ currencies
- Spend in 170+ countries
- The card is linked to the Wise Multi-currency account, which you can also use to transfer money to 170+ countries
Sounds pretty cool doesn’t it?
In this Wise debit card review, we’ll take a closer look at whether this debit card is the right option for you.
1. Who is the Wise Card for?
The Wise card is available for both personal and business use and is linked to your Wise Multi-currency Account (review).
It’s a great option for frequent travelers, expats, growing global businesses, and freelancers who work with international clients.
The Wise debit card is available in the UK, the US, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Canada, Brazil and most of the EEA – check if you can get one here.
With the multi-currency account and card, you can:
- The card allows you to spend in over 160 countries
- Receive your salary, pension, tax benefits (for US citizens), etc.
- Pay your utility bills or mortgage without the currency conversion fee
- Hold up to 40 currencies and spend like a local when relocating or traveling abroad
- Get paid like a local with international bank details in 10 currencies (USD, CAD, GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD, SGD (Singapore dollars), TRY (Turkish lira), RON (Romanian lei), and HUF (Hungarian Forint)
- Spend online without foreign exchange fees
- Withdraw money from ATMs at home and abroad
2. When the Wise Card Works (and When It Doesn’t)
2.1 When the Wise Card Works
The Wise debit card is attached to the Wise multi-currency account, which lets users hold, manage, and convert between 40+ currencies.
The card and the multi-currency account work seamlessly – you can spend in any currency you hold and even withdraw money from ATMs (up to a limit) without any currency conversion fees.
The business account can let you receive money in 9+ major currencies (USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD and more) like a local – which is very helpful if you run a global business or freelance with overseas clients.
One of the biggest perks of the Wise multi-currency account is how affordable money transfers can be.
Wise (formerly Transferwise) was founded with the mission to keep international bank transfer fees low and transparent.
To date, they’re the only money transfer service to provide transfers at the mid-market or interbank rate (explained simply).
And they’ve pledged to bring even more affordability and transparency to international transfers with their Nothing to Hide campaign.
The Wise multi-currency card is a great asset for both big and small businesses.
You can use the cards to tackle business expenses, create cards for team members (And set spending limits), pay overseas vendors and suppliers affordably, manage tech subscriptions and more.
2.2 When the Wise Card Doesn’t Work
Accounts unexpectedly frozen
The Wise debit card and multi-currency account are regulated in many countries – and Wise frequently audits user accounts in case of any red flags or for breach of service terms (for example, sending business payments from a personal account, transferring above a certain limit, etc.)
They do this to protect your money, but they may freeze your account while sorting things out.
This can be quite annoying – distressing even – if you keep all your money in your Wise account as a traveler, expat, freelancer, or business.
While a frozen account is rare, we recommend having a backup source of money – such as an overseas bank account with a high street bank as an expat or business.
Currently, Wise offers customer problem resolutions mostly via email – which can be slow, inefficient, and time-consuming.
From miscommunication to unexpected delays, Wise’s customer service can be an issue on an otherwise fantastic service.
I have personally had a few issues now and the responses I get are sometimes very generic. Also others in my team have had issues. I think this is likely just growing pains and compliance but our experiences are not isolated. Over the years, Trustpilot has also seen them go from 4.7/5 in 2021 to 4.2/5 in 2023.
To be fair, many other services have also lost their rankings over this same time frame so more difficult compliance may be to blame or perhaps Trustpilot changed its scoring system – or both.
That said, I still think they are #1 for small transfers and light years ahead of banks but in some situations I also believe some alternatives may be better.
3. Wise Card Safety & Security
Wise is a big, trusted company with millions of users and is highly regulated in many different countries.
While all this regulation appears dull (safety is best when it’s boring), it helps because each country has its own rules and needs.
Wise is registered with many financial institutions such as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (USA), and the UK Financial Conduct Authority (UK) amongst many others including Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UAE.
Beyond extreme regulation, the company itself seems very serious about its safety and security.
And they have some great ways to be proactive, for example:
- You can create virtual debit cards (up to 3 at a time) to keep your account safe while spending online.
- You get real-time notifications for all account activities – from money transfers to payments.
- You can freeze and unfreeze your debit card anytime if you lose it, set spending limits (great for both individual use and if you’re issuing to team members), etc.
However, it must be said:
The Wise debit card is used with the Multi-Currency Account that allows you to hold over 40 currencies.
But these funds are not insured like the funds held in your bank.
They do say, “We keep your money in low-risk financial institutions like JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, and Barclays.”
So we’d say the Wise card and associated multi-currency account is safe.
4. Wise Card Features and Benefits
The Wise prepaid card is available in many countries (the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, most of EEA, Australia, New Zealand, and many Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, etc.) and supports usage in 160 countries (online and offline).
This makes it a great option for frequent travelers who want to explore the world, expats who have moved abroad, as well as businesses who are expanding their global presence.
Personal and business use
If you already have a Wise personal account, it’s easy to adapt to a business account whether you’re freelancing or building a larger business.
You don’t have to shop around for an alternative – both the personal and business accounts are pretty robust when it comes to the features they offer.
Robust card controls
Whether you want to freeze your card in case you misplace it, set spending limits for employees (or yourself as a personal user), or manage direct debits and subscriptions – you can easily control it all from the Wise app.
Free ATM withdrawals
Need access to cash quickly while traveling? The Wise travel money card lets you withdraw up to £200 GBP/$100 USD/ 350 AUD / 350 CAD / 200 EUR / 350 NZD / 350 SGD etc. for free.
You can withdraw more but there are fees applicable (about £0.50 GBP + 1.75% of the amount per withdrawal)
Shop safely with virtual cards
Your Wise prepaid card account lets you set up virtual cards (up to 3 at a time) which adds another layer of security when you’re making online purchases.
Integration with Apple Pay and Google Pay
The Wise debit card integrates with both Apple Pay and Google Pay for easy contactless payments as well as seamless online payments.
5. Wise Card Fees and Limits
|💳Card issuing fee||$9 USD / £7 GBP/ €7 EUR/ $8.5 SGD/ $14 NZD /$10 AUD/ $0 CAD|
|💱Currency Conversion fees||From 0.43% (0.63 on average) (fees vary by currency)|
|💰Fees for spending in currencies you hold||No fee|
|🏧ATM withdrawal fees||Varies by location|
For the UK/Europe: 2 free withdrawals of up to 200 GBP every month. Beyond that, there is a 0.5 GBP charge for each withdrawal. Plus, there is a 1.75% fee on the portion of your withdrawal that exceeds 200 GBP.
For Australia, New Zealand, or Singapore: 2 free withdrawals of up to 350 AUD/NZD/SGD per month After that, there is 1.5 AUD/SGD/NZD per withdrawal plus a 1.75% fee on any amount you withdraw above 350 AUD/SGD/NZD
For the US: 2 free withdrawals of up to $100 USD per month. After that, there is 1.5 USD per withdrawal and a 2% fee on any amount you withdraw above 100 USD
For Japan: 2 free withdrawals of up to 30,000 JPY per month Beyond that, there is a 70JPY per withdrawal plus a 1.75% fee on any amount you withdraw above 30,000 JPY
|💲Sending and receiving fees||Varies by country.|
For example in the US and Canada, you will pay about $4.14 USD for wire transfers and $10 CAD for Canadian SWIFT Transfers.
The card also has daily, weekly, and monthly spending limits that vary by country – check them out here.
Currency conversion fees: While it is hard to say up front exactly how much you will have to pay in conversion fees, you can use the convenient Wise Fee Calculator (no sign-up needed) to check out all fees before spending or sending.
6. How to Get the Wise Debit Card
The Wise Debit card is available in the UK, the US, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Canada, Brazil and most of the EEA.
First – confirm the card is available in your country.
- Sign up for your Wise multi-currency account and verify it with the relevant documents.
- Apply for the card once signed up. You’ll be asked to fund your multi-currency account with a small fee ($20 USD/£20 GBP) to apply as well as pay the card-issuing fees (see Wise Card Fees (above) ).
- Once you receive your card (takes 3 days to 3 weeks, depending on your location), activate it and set your PIN. (When you’re traveling, enter your 4-digit PIN even if the ATM asks for a 6-digit PIN)
- The card is accepted anywhere MasterCard (or Visa) is accepted.
The card works like a regular debit card and can be used for contactless payments in stores, online payments, and ATM withdrawals worldwide (fees applicable).
7. Wise Alternative Cards
Is Wise your only option for a prepaid debit card or travel money card?
Not at all – Revolut (review) also offers accounts that come with prepaid debit cards that work globally.
There are others depending on where you live but Revolut is Wise’s closest competitor if you live in the UK, EU, Australia, Canada, New Zaland and the US.
Here’s a quick low down of the Wise debit card’s best competitor – Revolut.
Learn more in our in-depth article – Wise vs. Revolut (review).
8. Wise Card Reviews (including Negative Ones)
- Easy to use
- Low Fees
- Works everywhere
I’ve spent years messing around getting travel money. I now have the Wise app, and a physical card so that I can get cash out when I’m on holiday. I just back from a trip across France and Spain, and no issues using my card or on Apple Pay
Easy to top up via the app. Handing, the app gives a real-time balance. Love not getting charged by my bank for using the debit card abroad!”– Ian on Trustpilot
I used wise cards for when parents visited me in Australia, giving them the freedom to roam without cash. Then I recently used my wise card to travel to Europe. The card worked flawlessly in the UK, Spain and Italy. Local currency (AUD), good exchange rates at the moment of each purchase (and all fees totally transparent). Worked well with two different car rental companies (Alamo in Spain, Drivalia in Italy). Also used it in the UK to take trains and subways using their contactless option. FLAWLESS!– Mauro Vechi on Trustpilot
- Customer service
- Malfunctioning card/Frozen account
“They couldn’t fix my debit card to work abroad. I am stuck abroad to my home bank’s card and have to pay extra fees.
Their support is useless, all they say “rest assured, it is being dealt”
But the reality they are not dealing with anything otherwise I wouldn’t have this problem for this long.”– Ulas on Trustpilot
Overall, most of the reviews are positive for Wise (formerly Transferwise) and the Wise card – rated 4.2/5 on Trustpilot with 195,216 reviews (as of September 2023).
However, the card doesn’t work in some remote locations and payments above Wise’s limits can get your account flagged and frozen.
That’s why we recommend carrying a backup card or registering for an overseas account eventually when you travel, move abroad, or start a global business.
9. Verdict – Is the Wise Card Worth It?
That would be a resounding yes.
- more currencies to hold,
- more locations for registration, and
- more currencies to spend in.
Plus, we also get to enjoy affordable bank-to-bank transfers to 170+ countries. It’s our top choice for small money transfers abroad.
However, Wise is not perfect. As discussed in the When the Wise Card Works (and When It Doesn’t) (above) sometimes, accounts can get frozen for security reasons, which can be a hassle if you need to access your money urgently. That’s why we recommend having a backup (above), just in case.
Nonetheless, you’ll find the Wise debit card a great companion for your travels (like we did!). You just need to pay a one-time fee to order the card, and then enjoy the benefits of spending like a local wherever you go. No bad exchange rates, just peace of mind and more savings for your travels.
Is the Wise Card Worth it?
Absolutely! It’s a great debit card for travelers, freelancers, or business owners who are growing globally. As Wise debit card user, you can enjoy affordable international bank-to-bank transfers with no hidden fees at the mid-market exchange rate.
Is Wise transfer safe and legit?
Yes, it is safe and legit. Wise has preventive measures to protect your data and money. It is also regulated by financial authorities in the country where it operates. However, you must be aware of its pros and cons to evaluate its service better.