Wise vs XE: Which is better?
Both Wise (formerly TransferWise) and XE are highly rated international money transfer services.
Their strengths include easy and low-cost money transfer to pretty much anywhere in the world.
I have been using Wise for years and also have had an account with XE for about the same amount of time and while they have some similarities, there are some big differences.
- Wise doesn’t charge a markup on the exchange rate and charges a fee while XE does the exact opposite
- Wise’s customer service is online, while XE has online and “local agents” worldwide (this can be very important)
- Wise offers a multi-currency account and prepaid cards for personal and business use
So while they can both transfer money, there is a good chance one will fit your needs much better!
Let’s get stuck into it.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which may save you and do not cost any more. For more information, see my disclaimers here.
1. Wise vs XE: Quick Comparison
According to Trustpilot, Wise has a higher rating than XE, with an average of 4.4/5 compared to XE’s 4.1/5. For comparison, both companies have high ratings amongst their peers and leave most banks in the dust who usually struggle to get above 2.
|Trust||Very high with incredible transparency and commitment to continuous improvement. Wise is listed on the LSE. Regulated in the UK, the US, EU, India, Japan, Malaysia, etc. Dedicated fraud team, 2-factor authentication||Very high. XE is owned by Euronet Worldwide and listed on the NASDAQ. Regulated in the UK, US, Australia, Europe, NZ, NASDAQ-listed, state of the art fraud prevention technology|
|Fees||Low fee which depends on factors like currency and amount. Average for total fees is about 0.65%.Check your fees with the Wise Calculator. No need to calculate the fee built into the exchange rate as they offer the mid-market rate.||Mark up on the exchange rate + sending and receiving bank fees. Check your fees with the XE Calculator but don’t forget to include the fee built into the exchange rate.|
|Speed||0-5 business days||2-5 business days|
|Trustpilot Rating||Excellent – 4.4/5 with over 180,000 reviews (as of April 2023)||Excellent – 4.1/5 on Trustpilot with over 57,000 reviews (as of April 2023)|
|Full Review||Wise international money – review||XE international money transfers – review|
2. Wise vs XE: Top Features
|Countries and Currencies||Transfers in 40+ global currencies to 70+ countries||Send money to 65+ countries|
|Multi-Currency Account||Yes – 50 currencies||No|
|Personal or Business||Both||Both|
|Debit Card||Yes – use in 200 countries||No|
|Market Orders and Forward Contracts||No||Yes|
Beyond transfers, Wise does a lot more than XE including its multi-currency account and prepaid card which makes them a valuable addition if you regularly work with multiple currencies for travel or business.
Wise did however start as a transfer company and it is in the smaller bank-to-bank transfers (above $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD) where they hard to beat.
XE focuses on international money transfers, and is great choice for large bank transfers (above $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AUD). XE also enables you to do things like market orders for future transfers. But you can also send small amounts in cash with XE.
XE is available for both personal and business use and you also have a lot of flexibility with their Market Order and Forward Contract options.
According to XE about Market Orders, they say:
You can also take opt for a forward contract with XE:
Wise, on the other hand offers both affordable bank-to-bank transfers and a highly useful foreign currency account that also comes with a reloadable debit card Visa/Mastercard (for businesses, freelancers, and frequent travelers).
3. Wise vs XE: Pros and Cons
- Excellent choice for bank-to-bank transfers (below $7000 USD)
- Multi-currency account (50 currencies)
- Local receiving accounts in 10 currencies
- Prepaid debit card
- Not the best choice for large transfers (above $7000 USD)
- No cash transfers
- Great choice for large bank transfers (above $7000 USD)
- Forward contract options
- Cash pick ups available
- Fees not as transparent as Wise
- May not be as competitive for small transfers
- No multi-currency account
Wise and XE are both trusted and secure money transfer services but it is clear Wise is focused on solving the challenges for international people and small and medium business while XE is focused solely on international money transfers including larger amounts (above $7000 USD).
4. Wise vs XE: Third Party Reviews
Excellent – 4.4/5 with over 180,000 reviews (as of April 2023)
Positives (84% of reviews)
According to the user reviews, many people have been using Wise for years and love their consistent and reliable service.
Other factors include clear fee structure and low fees, ease of use for exchanging currencies, and their user-friendly app + website.
Negatives (7% of reviews)
Although Wise typically has a great customer service record, a handful of its users have expressed concerns.
Some users have also reported their dissatisfaction with the verification process, while others were aptly worried when Wise suddenly shut down their account.
Given that Wise is a regulated financial service, it is obligated to perform audits of transfers. And, if users breach the terms of service, their accounts may also be subject to closure.
What They Said
“I have been using Wise for years now, and have always had an excellent experience! My wise account has made overseas travel and my move to Australia so much easier. It allows me to continue to handle my finances with ease and without large fees for international transactions. I cannot recommend them more highly!”– Kane O’Neill
Excellent – 4.1/5 on Trustpilot with over 57,000 reviews (as of April 2023)
Positives (91% of reviews)
Many customers have highlighted that they found XE’s exchange rates reasonable and competitive compared to banks.
They also loved XE’s customer support and the user friendly process for setting up a transfer.
Negatives (9% of reviews)
The negative reviews highlight some common issues with the service:
- Poor communication
- Cancelled transactions, and
- Transfer delays
As a regulated service, XE may flag transfers that trigger a need for more information – this is especially true of larger transfers.
Generally most issues are resolved however in some cases, they may also cancel the account.
What They Said
“I have been using XE Trade for my currency conversions for 17 years now, since first buying a property in Spain. Once the account is opened it is very easy to transfer money into your designated foreign bank. Exchange rates are updated minute by minute and I have found their exchange rates to be reasonable.”– Peter Cunningham
Both Wise and XE are known for their consistently good service and like other services that transfer money they have a lot of checks and balances to ensure your money is safe.
The negatives for both are relatively limited. Most they relate to meeting regulators needs and can often be avoided by understanding their terms when you sign up.
5. Fees and Other Costs
- No mark up on the exchange rate
- Very low service fee (0.65% on average)
- Personal accounts are free to open and handle
- 3% fee for transfers funded by cards
- No or minimal hidden fees
Wise has local bank accounts in all the countries they operate so sending and receiving banks don’t charge fees.
Fees applicable for opening a business multi-currency account and ATM withdrawals above the monthly limit.
- No service fee
- Low mark up on the exchange rate (usually 0.5%-2%)
Sometimes sending and receiving banks may charge a fee
Agents may charge fees for cash pick ups
Wise is very affordable with their low percentage fee and no mark up on the mid-market rate. And they actively ensure there are no surprise hidden fees.
XE doesn’t charge a transfer fee but keeps their mark up on the exchange rate low (with the percentage potentially decreasing as the amount increases), which makes sending large amounts with them pretty inexpensive – even with the fees charged by sending and receiving banks (rare).
6. Transfer Speeds
- Transfers funded by a debit or credit card: from a few hours to a day
- Bank-to-bank transfers: 0-5 days (a lot depend on the countries involved and their banking systems)
- Wise gives you flexibility to speed transfers up
Transfer speed on XE depends on:
- Currency pair
Usually, some currency pairs are exchanged faster than others. For example, USD to EUR transfers are completed in 24 to 48 hours, while others are processed in 1-4 days.
Wise can be faster in some cases, especially when you set up your transfer with a debit or credit card.
XE’s transfer speed is also competitive considering they can transfer up to $500,000 per transfer. And some popularly traded currency pairs are also processed faster.
Delays are usually caused by the sending and receiving banks rather than Wise and XE.
7. How they Work
- Get verified with a Govt. approved ID (driving license, passport, etc.)
- Choose your primary currency and link your local bank account and cards
- Log into your online dashboard ot the Wise mobile app
- Go to Send Money on the website or Send on the mobile app
- Type in the amount and enter your details
- Next, fill out your recipient’s details
- Wise will show you fees for available sending methods (bank transfer or card transfer)
- Select your preferred mode and hit send
- You’re automatically signed up for a multi-currency account when you sign up for a Wise account
- Choose additional currencies to hold or manage
- You can also set up receiving accounts in 10 other currencies
- Apply for your MasterCard debit card and activate it upon receiving. You have complete control over the card from the app
- Sign up for an account with XE (Personal or Business).
- Get verified with relevant personal or business documents
- Log in to your account and enter your currency pair to check the rate.
- If the rate looks favorable, you can proceed. If you’d like to wait, you can set up a rate alert.
- If you decide to proceed, enter your details, recipient details, and fund the transfer
- Confirm the amount and rates
- Hit send and download the app – XE sends notifications at every step
Sending over $50,000 per month? XE will assign a personal account manager to help you save on fees in the long term.
Overall, both the sign up and transfer process are straightforward with Wise and XE.
However, note that either service can ask for more verification documents in case you’re using their platform for the first time, the transfer is larger, you’re sending money to a different recipient.
Verdict – which is better?
With 1 win for Wise and 6 ties, it can be difficult to pick a clear winner.
But you can pick a clear winner because XE and Wise work best for different needs.
We believe Wise is excellent for smaller bank-to-bank transfers below about $7000 USD. But they’re also a great option if you’re a growing global business, freelancer, or frequent traveler – their multi currency account and prepaid debit card can make your life easier.
XE shines for large international bank transfers above about $7000 USD, and more recently, small cash transfers to many locations worldwide. So if you’re looking for a comprehensive money transfer solution, XE is a great choice.
Which is better Wise or XE?
A lot depends on the amount you are sending. In general, Wise is efficient and inexpensive for smaller amounts while out of the box XE is designed for larger amounts.
How do fees differ for Wise and XE?
Wise shows the mid-market rate and then has a fee attached while XE has their fee built into the the exchange rate. Both are inexpensive compared to traditional methods of transfers.