- No monthly fees
- Really cheap transfers
- Ability to invoice customers
- Spend anywhere with no hidden fees
- Xero integration
- Business Mastercard
- Receive and hold 55+ currencies
With TransferWise changing their name to Wise, we decided to have another look at their business account to see what’s new and how it can help to save money for your business. But before we start this Wise Business account review, here’s our short verdict:
Wise is a great option for businesses making transactions around the world and holding money in different currencies. It can save your business plenty of money with its renowned low-fee transfers for paying freelancers, contractors or importing from overseas.
If you’re a freelancer, see what Wise can do for you in our Wise Freelancer account review.
Since its launch in 2011, Transferwise has become a global favorite among transfer services, with over 10 million transfers completed to 80+ different countries.
2021 marks their 10th anniversary and their name changed to simply Wise as they’re not focusing only on transferring money anymore.
Due to the increase in competitors, the company has upped its game accordingly with some flashy new features alongside its reliably competitive rates.
Wise has boosted its Business account for the global market, allowing invoices and wages to be paid in tens of currencies with real exchange rates.
How does Wise work?
Wise got started in London after two good friends, Taavet and Kristo, that were originally from Estonia decided that they’ve paid enough fees to big banks for money transfers and exchanges.
They used a “loophole” to get the money in the currency that they needed almost instantly and without huge fees.
From their website: “Taavet put his euros into Kristo’s Estonian bank account, and Kristo topped up Taavet’s UK account with his pounds. Both got the currency they needed almost instantly, and neither paid an extra cent on bad exchange rates or unreasonable charges.”
And their company works in a similar way but on a larger scale. The company itself has bank accounts in multiple countries around the world and when the person from another country is sending you money, the money doesn’t go straight into your bank account but rather the Wise-owned account in that country.
The money that you get is transferred from a Wise account and not the bank account keeping the fees much much lower. The amazing thing is that the transfers are equally fast or even faster than normal bank transfers.
How to open a Wise business account
To open a Wise business account, you’ll need to go to their website and enter your email, password, and your country. You’ll also need to get verified by using a photo ID, proof of address, and a photo of you holding that ID. You’ll then need to tell them more about your business and yourself.
The information you’ll need to share about your business is:
- business registration,
- where you’re located,
- the industry you’re in,
- any online or social presence,
- name, date of birth, and country of residence for all legal business owners and directors
They’ll also need personal information about you to verify your identity. If you’re not a director of the company, you may need to include additional information to confirm that you are authorized to act on behalf of the business.
If you’re opening account details, you’ll need to pay a one-time set-up fee.
Why is Wise so special?
Wise is used by people and businesses around the world that need cheap and fast money transfers and that is something that Wise does and does great. No lean company likes to leave money on the table for someone else to scoop up, and that’s exactly what banks do.
Their Business account was made with the global market in mind, allowing invoices and wages to be paid in tens of currencies with real exchange rates.
Pros & cons
- No recurring fees
- Easy invoicing
- Free debit card
- Transparent money transfers
- Spend in any currency
- Receive money with low fees
- 2% fee for ATM withdrawals above £200
- £16 one-off fee to start receiving money
- Wise card not available in many countries
- Free account setup
- One time fee of £16/€23/$31 to start receiving money
- No monthly fees
- 0.40% annually to hold more than €70,000 in EUR balance
- Free debit card
- 65p fixed fee to send money (varies by currency)
- 0.33%-3.56% to convert a currency using your card
- Free ATM withdrawals up to £200/30 days, after that 2%
Mid-market exchange rate
Banks and other money transfer services and institutions use the mid-market rate when they trade between themselves, but they rarely pass it on to you.
This is the “real” rate that is in the middle of the asking price and the selling price. It’s the fairest rate out there since that’s the rate the market naturally sets.
This is also the rate that Wise gives you when sending and receiving the money to and from people or businesses. Wise pulls this rate from Reuters, which updates it in real-time while the trading market is open.
To check what is the mid-market rate at any given moment and its 30-day graph see the Wise website. You can even set alerts to your desired rate.
Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate for all its transfers, whether personal or business, which means you can expect the rate to match most high street banks and other transfer services.
While personal and business exchange rates are the same, business accounts, allow for a higher maximum transfer amount.
Making transfers with Wise business
Sending money with Wise, or making international payments is easy and similar to other financial institutions that do the same service. You need to have some basic information that you’ll have to share with Wise in order to successfully transfer the money.
For example, you’ll naturally need to provide the amount that you’re sending. Next, you need to provide the countries of origin and destination as well as currencies. You also have to tell Wise recipient’s name, address, and bank details.
There is another option to send the money though. It’s especially helpful if you only have the recipient’s email address.
Transferring money with only the recipient’s email
Wise will send your recipient an email where they can accept your transfer. Then, they can enter their bank details themselves. This is handy if you don’t know their details, or they’d prefer not to tell you.
They have 5 working days to accept the transfer or Wise will refund your money back to you and cancel the transfer.
Discounts based on monthly volumes
Wise will charge you less in fees when you send amounts above 100,000 GBP (or equivalent in your currency). You’ll get a cheaper fee whether you’re sending a one-off large transfer or multiple transfers over a month.
For example, a £100,000 transfer will incur a 0.35% fee, £200,000 a 0.30% fee, a £1,000,000 a 0.22% fee and so on.
Transferring large amounts of money
If you’re sending a large amount of money from your Wise Business account, Wise might ask you for some documents depending on whether you’re sending money from your business revenue, investments, from a loan, or something else.
The documents have to show the following things, among others:
- your business name
- transaction dates
- transaction amounts
- the senders
- the recipients
Wise Business card
Although you don’t need a physical card to spend money with Wise, it is handy to have one and you can connect it with Google and Apple Pay. Team members can all have their own cards on your Wise Business account as well.
Wise business cards are customizable in a way that you can put a spending limit as well as turn on or off contactless, online, and in-store payments for each individual business card. That way you can control your employee spending.
If you’re wondering how much does this cost, the first one is included in your setup fee of £16/€23/$31. Each additional card for team members is £3.
Wise business cards are very much international and can be used worldwide enabling your team or your employees to pay like locals wherever they are and at the real exchange rate with no hidden fees.
If you’re going to withdraw more than £200 over 30 days from an ATM, you’ll have to shell out 2% in fees.
The only countries where the card won’t work are Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Palestinian Territories, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
In addition to your physical card, you can have up to 3 virtual cards at one time.
Wise Business mobile app
The Transferwise Business app scores highly with users. Its clean, bright interface makes it easy for users to review all their transfers and recur a payment with a click. It is Apple Pay and Google Pay enabled, and you can now add card details via your camera instead of entering them manually.
If you don’t already have an invoicing or accounting tool, Wise lets you make one-off payments, recurring payments, and even mass payouts with excellent rates with their batch payments tool to create and send up to 1,000 payments with just one transfer.
If you have employees or freelancers at home or abroad, it’s easy to send them domestic and international payments. And the best thing is that they’ll get paid in their local currency without recipient fees.
The recipient doesn’t need a Wise account to get their money. It goes right to their local bank account. And all you need is the recipient’s bank account details or email address.
Wise is opening up and offering businesses like yours to take advantage of the same platform that they’re using. It can be applied to many use cases:
- Generate payments from invoicing software
- Get real-time notifications on platforms like Slack
- Automate invoice payments, recurring transfers, standing orders, or payroll
- Simplify expense reporting
- Track exchange rates and automate conversions
Once you get a sandbox account you’ll be able to start testing and building with their API straight away.
Wise can make your Wise Business account act like a local bank account in the UK, US, Eurozone, Australia, and elsewhere.
You can use this option to start selling in any currency on Shopify or Stripe for instance. To pay your business expenses online or in-store without conversion fees, or to receive payments and set up direct debits.
You’ll get everything that you need for effective banking abroad. Local sort codes, routing, or IBAN numbers are at your fingertips and can be used as you would any bank account numbers.
How is Wise regulated?
Wise is regulated in different countries where it operates by government regulations and/or national banks. For instance, in the European Economic Area (EEA), Wise is regulated by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) as an Authorised Payment Institution, with passporting rights across the EEA.
In the United States, Wise is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and in the UK it’s authorized as an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.
Is my money safe with Wise?
Although Wise isn’t licensed as a banking institution, they’re also not making any speculative plays with your money like big banks are. Yet, they still have to abide by government institutions and laws considering e-money and payment organizations.
That means safeguarding your money in separate accounts in other reputable institutions that they can’t touch or use and is, therefore, safe if something were to happen to the company.
To conclude, although your deposits aren’t insured by government institutions, the money is kept safe and safeguarded in other ways.
Wise has also been around for more than 10 years and more than 10 million personal and business customers in 170 countries have used Wise. They also have around 115k reviews on Trustpilot with a score of 4.6. Their customers reportedly save $1.5 billion every year.
Since Wise popped up 10 years ago, there were many old and new competitors trying to compete with them. Perhaps the two most notable ones are PayPal of course and Revolut.
They both have their own perks and features that attract businesses but neither offers the low rates for transferring money as Wise does.
Read our Revolut for business review here.
The bottom line
Wise for business might not offer all the cool features that some of its competitors do but it does one thing excellent and that is sending and receiving money internationally at a low cost and without hassle.
You’ll know exactly how much you’re sending or getting and this amount of transparency and simplicity is refreshing. Its integration with Xero and the ability to automate payments make it a highly efficient and value for money transfer service.