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 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.
Both Wise (formerly TransferWise) and XE are highly-rated international money transfer services.
Their strengths include easy and low-cost money transfers to pretty much anywhere in the world.
- 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.
|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
|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.
|0-5 business days
|2-5 business days
|Great – 4.2/5 with over 203,000 reviews (as of January 2024)
|Excellent – 4.3/5 on Trustpilot with over 65,000 reviews (as of January 2024)
|Wise international money – review
|XE international money transfers – review
2. Wise vs XE: Top Features
|Countries and Currencies
|Send money to over 160 countries. Hold money in over 40 currencies.
|Send money to 65+ countries
|Yes – hold over 40 currencies
|Personal or Business
|Yes – spend in over 40 currencies in over 150 countries
|Market Orders and Forward Contracts
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 (hold over 40 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
4. Wise vs XE: Third Party Reviews
Great – 4.2/5 with over 203,000 reviews (as of January 2024)
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 – 4.3/5 on Trustpilot with over 65,000 reviews (as of January 2024)
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
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
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.
7. How they Work
- Sign up for a personal or business account.
- 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.
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.