About Author: Hi, I’m Quinn Askeland. In 2014, I started Transumo after experiencing expensive, slow, and frustrating international money transfers and payments through banks. Once I discovered how to manage my own international currencies much better, I became driven to help others improve their transfers and payments. Fortunately, today, there are many excellent options. See My Full Bio.
I have been using Wise for several years. Wise is great for smaller transfers but CurrencyFair is a great competitor because like Wise they keep the fees low and have reliable services. Wise however transfers at the mid-market rate plus a variable fee, while CurrencyFair adds a mark-up on the exchange rate and a has a fixed rate.
In this comparison of Wise and CurrencyFair I will cover the fees in more detail, uncover the best features, speed, and customer feedback including a deep dive into the negative reviews.
So you can choose the right option for your needs.
Let’s get into it!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and savings on transfers if you use some of the links! For more information, see our disclosures here.
1. Quick Comparison
Wise (was Transferwise) and CurrencyFair are both reliable and have “Excellent” Trustpilot ratings of 4.3/5. Wise has 91% positive out of 194k reviews, while CurrencyFair has 92% positive out of 6.7k reviews.
|High – Excellent Trust pilot reviews and highly regulated service
|High – Excellent Trustpilot rating and Level 1 credit rating by Dun & Bradstreet
|Personal and Business
|Personal and Business
|Currencies and Countries
|40+ global currencies, transfers to 150+ countries
|20+ global currencies, transfers to 150+ countries
|Multi Currency account
|Yes – supports 40+ currencies
|Yes – supports 20+ currencies
|Low percentage fees, mid-market exchange rate
|Low percentage fees, flat service fee, and intermediary fees (if applicable)
|Great – 4.2/5 with over 203,000 reviews (as of January 2024)
|Great – 4/5 on Trustpilot with over 7,000 reviews (as of January 2024)
2. Pros and Cons
- Send to over 160 countries
- Affordable transfers at the mid-market rate
- Transparent fees with no margin on the exchange rate
- Bank-to-bank, card-to-bank transfers, and mobile wallet-to-bank transfers (available in some countries)
- Can fund transfers with credit and debit cards in most countries
- Multi-currency wallet (with Wise multi-currency account (review)
- Debit card (free international ATM withdrawals of up to $100 USD. T&Cs apply.)
- Licensed and regulated service
- Available for personal and business
- Bank details in all supported countries to keep transfer costs low
- No cash transfers
- Online-only customer service
- Phone support during office hours
- Accepts registration from 60+ countries and supports transfers to 150+ countries
- Business hours phone support
- Dedicated payment services for small businesses and large enterprises
- Extremely competitive fees for sending small amounts (bank-to-bank transfers)
- Local bank accounts in most supported countries to keep costs low
- Licensed and registered service
- Available for personal and business account
- Multi-currency account is not robust
- No cash transfer
3. What Others Say – Third-Party Reviews
Great – 4.2/5 with over 203,000 reviews (as of January 2024)
Reviewers said that Wise offers efficient and reliable international transfers.
Many users also mentioned that Wise is great for managing multiple currencies and their app is easy to use.
Unexpected account blocks
Reviewers also complained about blocked accounts – often without any explanation.
Wise does this if they spot any red flag account activities or if a user violates any service terms.
While we get that this is meant for safety and compliance, it can be distressing.
Reviewers were also dissatisfied by the customer service – they said emails and chats were not sufficient for solving their problems. Especially since the response timelines and quality of support were not satisfactory.
What They Say
I generally don’t write reviews for apps and companies that are just doing their job. That being said, I’ve been regularly using Wise for at least the last two years and I’m really grateful for how simple, easy and quick the process is. The fact that it generally also has the lowest fees in comparison to Western Union and other apps makes it a company I feel comfortable working with and recommending.– Samuel on Trustpilot
Great – 4/5 on Trustpilot with over 7,000 reviews (as of January 2024)
CurrencyFair users love their fast and low-cost transfers – more competitive than other services and high street banks.
Customers love how they can send money fast, get the best rates, and not deal with any hassle. They also say CurrencyFair is very trustworthy and the support team is awesome.
After trawling through the negative reviews, we found that the top issues were frozen accounts and poor customer service.
Generally these issues are ones that are quite common and certainly not a cause for major concern because as a regulated financial services provider, CurrencyFair needs to audit transfers for compliance and to prevent theft, fraud, and money laundering activities.
So frozen accounts – though disheartening – are quite common in the money transfer industry.
What They Say
I tried a few money transfer companies before finding CurrencyFair and, once I used them, I have not used anyone else. I regularly move money and the service they provide is easy to use, secure and fast. I love the fact that you can set your own Exchange Rate if you in no hurry or, do an immediate exchange if you are. Great service, highly recommended.– Tracy Evans on Trustpilot
4. Real Costs and Fees (Including Hidden Fees)
- Transfers at the mid-market rate
- Low percentage service fee (0.66% of the amount on average)
- Sending large amounts – pay less when you send more (above £100,000 GBP / $100,000 USD / €100,000 EUR / $100,000 AUD / $ 100,000 CAD or equivalent in your currency)
Receiving fees applicable for some locations (for example, wire transfer fees in the US) but these are optional.
- CurrencyFair can charge of up to 0.53% on top of the mid-market currency exchange rate which is very competitive.
- Fixed fees depend on the transfer method and they charge a % on top of the mid-market rate + a fixed fee of €3 EUR / £2.50 GBP / $4 AUD / $4 USD / $4 CAD or equivalent to your currency.
Intermediary banks may charge fees for sending in non-local currencies but usually not.
5. Transfer Speeds
- Transfers funded by a debit or credit card: from a few hours to a day
- Transfer funded by Apple Pay or Google Pay (available in some countries): near-instant
- Bank-to-bank transfers: 1-5 days (a lot depending on the countries involved and their banking systems)
- Usually 2-5 days – but varies by location
- For example, SEPA payments are completed in 1-2 days
- Non-SEPA transfers or transfers to exotic locations can take up to 5 days
6. Safety and Security
- Licensed and registered service under the European Communities (Payments Services) Regulations 2009 (Eur) through Ireland. Also regulated by ASIC in Australia and FCA UK.
- Customer funds held separately
- Continuous auditing, logging, backups and safeguarding of data to prevent malicious attacks
- 256-bit encryption on website and app
- Two-factor authentication
7. Wise vs CurrencyFair: For Business
- Business multi-currency account – hold, manage, and convert between 40+ currencies
- Local receiving accounts in 10 currencies – send and receive money with no fees
- Integration with accounting software like Xero and other apps
- Bulk payments
- Business debit cards
- Business multi-currency account – send and receive 20+ currencies
- Dedicated services for small businesses and large enterprises
- Process payroll and get paid by clients
- Integration with accounting software like Xero
With 4 wins for Wise and 4 ties, Wise has a slight edge due to its transfer speed, multi currency account and better business functionality. Wise also has no hidden fees, no markup on mid-market rate, and more widely available than CurrencyFair. You can see the exact amount your receiver will get on the Wise calculator here – with no sign-up required.
But if you’re not a frequent traveler, freelancer, or growing international business, CurrencyFair can be better and they have phone support if you need it.
And for a limited time only, you can get 10 transfers for FREE when you use CurrencyFair.
In the end, the best way to decide the best service for your money transfer needs is to compare their features (above), fees (above), transfer speeds (above), and customer feedback (above) to evaluate their service performance.