- 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
E-commerce has exploded in recent years fueled by dropshipping and the pandemic. Amazon and Shopify are running shoulder to shoulder in their global race for customers, enabling small and independent merchants to open up shop on their platforms.
I’ve run stores on both platforms and can tell you that a solid business bank account can save you a lot of money in this thin-margined world.
There’s nothing worse than seeing a good chunk of your money disappear into thin air after successfully running ad campaigns and attracting paying customers. And that’s exactly what’s happening when dealing with multiple currencies and customers from around the globe.
Before we dive deeper into our Wise for e-commerce review, here’s our short verdict:
Wise is a great alternative to your PayPal or bank account for receiving FREE payments from marketplaces like Amazon, Shopify, or Etsy. With support for Stripe and easy integration, there are no valid reasons why you’d pay huge fees to banks for YOUR hard-earned money.
Like many successful fintech companies, Wise is based in London but was founded by two Estonians – Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus in 2011. 2021 marks their 10-year anniversary and more than 10 million personal and business customers from 170 countries.
With more and more sales now done online, Wise has addressed the need for a new kind of banking that streamlines payment processes while charging minimal fees.
The Wise E-commerce business account is a multi-currency account that allows you to easily invoice international clients and receive payments from Stripe and Amazon for free, saving you money.
In 2021, the company rebranded from TransferWise to simply Wise in an effort to inform its potential users that it’s more than a money-transferring service – it’s a comprehensive personal and business bank account that can save you a pretty penny.
How does Wise work?
The two founders devised an ingenious plan to cut down their own banking fees while working in London for Skype and Deloitte, respectively. Kristo was paid in pounds but had a mortgage in euros, and Taavet was paid in euros but needed pounds because he lived in London.
Kristo would therefore top-up Taavet’s UK account with his pounds and Taavet would put his euros into Kristo’s Estonian bank account thus inventing a simple workaround to pay fewer fees if any.
They believe that sending money should be:
- As fast as sending an email,
- Stress-free – no matter how far the money is traveling, and
- That it should be low-cost and fair.
They founded TransferWise, a fair and low-fee money transferring service. Later on, the company added a multi-currency account, a debit card, and a business account to complement its money-transfer service.
The company itself has a bank account in multiple countries 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 to you from the Wise account in your country. No money had to “cross borders” and no extortionate fees had to be applied.
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.
How to open a Wise E-commerce account
Opening a Wise E-commerce account is free and takes a few minutes. You’ll need to provide some personal information, business information, and a verified ID and proof of address.
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
Once your ID is verified, you can send and receive payments, and you’ll be able to get free local banking details for the UK, USA, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. This means you can receive payments in each country’s currency, avoiding fees for currency conversions.
There are over 55 other currencies in which you can also store money, and there is a small conversion fee – but the real exchange rate is used when converting, which beats many of its rivals.
Why is Wise so special?
The main attractions to this Wise E-commerce business account are the flexibility and savings you can enjoy when selling internationally, compared with other payment methods.
Using a traditional bank account can be slow and complicated, while online rivals charge higher fees, which are often less clearly calculated. The Wise E-commerce account is up to 19 times cheaper than other major financial services.
The flexibility comes from the ability to be paid in 10 different currencies with local bank details and store up to 56 different currencies that you can use to send and receive money in over 70 countries.
While other challenger banks like Revolut may offer similar things, Wise uses the real exchange rate for each currency, so you get to keep more of your earnings.
Finally, by including financial management software, plus the ability to use the open API to set up automated payments, Wise can make managing your budgets much easier in the future.
Pros & cons
- No recurring fees
- Easy invoicing
- Free debit card
- Transparent money transfers
- Spend in any currency
- Receive money from Amazon and Stripe without fees
- Xero integration
- Send money to 70+ countries
- Receive and hold 55+ currencies
- 2% fee for ATM withdrawals above £200
- £16 one-off fee to start receiving money
- Wise card not available in many countries
- No cash or cheque deposits
You can send money to your Wise account online from other accounts and receive payments for free. As there are no bank branches associated with Wise, you can’t add cash to your account.
- 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
- 0.33%-3.56% to convert a currency using your card
- Free ATM withdrawals up to £200/30 days, after that 2%
Wise business card
The Wise E-commerce business account comes with a free, contactless debit Mastercard, which means you can withdraw up to £200 a month in cash from ATMs worldwide before incurring a fee, and make payments in physical as well as online shops.
Pay your business expenses in the currency of the country you’re buying from to save on conversion fees. You can also pay invoices, buy inventory, and handle payroll with the real exchange rate in over 70 countries — for way cheaper than PayPal.
How to protect profit when selling abroad
Everyone that’s selling products or services to an international audience needs to think about currency conversion and transfer fees. As you might be aware, these can add up to an eye-watering amount very quickly.
If you connect a payment gateway with a Wise Business account, you’ll be able to withdraw payments in global currencies such as USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, TRY, HUF, RON, PLN, SGD, and NZD from payment gateways fee-free.
Simply transfer your balance from your chosen payment gateway to your Wise Business account where you can hold multiple foreign currencies, and withdraw to your local bank account.
The best thing is that all currency conversions that Wise does, use the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees. This can work out much cheaper than using your regular bank or an alternative like PayPal, resulting in more profit for you.
You can avoid paying high currency conversion fees on major e-commerce marketplaces and platforms like Amazon, Stripe, Woocommerce, Shopify, and even Etsy.
How do I link Stripe to Wise E-commerce account?
You can link your EUR, GBP, USD, AUD, NZD, SGD, RON, PLN, and CAD account details with Stripe.
- Log in to your Stripe Dashboard
- Open Settings in the left-hand menu
- Click Bank accounts and scheduling
- Click Add a bank account
- Enter your Wise account details. You can find these by going to Home and choosing the balance you’d like the account details of
How do I link Amazon to Wise?
Wise account details are compatible with Amazon US, Amazon Europe, Amazon UK, and Amazon Australia.
- Go to Settings > Account Info > Payment Info > Bank Account Info
- Add or replace bank details. If you’re replacing existing bank account details, select Replace. If you’re adding new bank account details, select Assign.
- Select Add new deposit method.
- Select the bank location. This is the country listed under the address of your balance in Wise. For example, the GBP balance is in the UK, and the USD balance is in the US.
- Add your bank account details.
- Verify your bank account details. This is the account number you used when initially setting up your Amazon seller account.
- Save your details by clicking Set deposit method.
- Done. Now you can withdraw your earnings into your Wise account.
Many non-US residents are using the Amazon US Marketplace. Amazon will ask you for tax verification. Simply sign the document stating that you are a non-US citizen and not a taxpayer there. Your payments and new product postings will stay pending until you sign the document and send it back to Amazon.
Invoicing and payments
There are many different ways to pay your invoices like wire transfers, debit or credit card payments, or you can use PayPal. All of them can include hefty fees that may not be apparent straight away and might give you an oh no! Surprise when you look at your statement.
With Wise, you can pay suppliers all over the world in their own currency, transparently and with fewer fees at the mid-market exchange rate. You won’t get surprised by foreign transaction charges, and you’ll be confident you’re getting the fairest rate.
You can either use the Wise Mastercard or do an international bank transfer. You can also schedule invoice payments for a future date to get ahead of your to-do list.
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.
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 Australia, by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
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?
Your Wise account is not a bank account but an e-money account. This means that you won’t earn interest on your deposit, you can’t get overdrafts or loans and your deposits aren’t insured by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), or other deposit protection schemes that you may get with a bank account.
This doesn’t mean that your money isn’t safe, quite the contrary. More than 10 million personal and business customers over a span of 10 years can attest to that.
Wise follows a strict set of rules set by regulatory agencies in every single country that they operate in, from the FCA in the UK to FinCen in the US. The company is 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.
Additionally, all of your data is encrypted, and card payments are processed via a secure debit card processor.
There are many contenders in the business bank account field but arguably none that offer extraordinary low fees for transferring money and receiving different currencies like Wise offers.
Here are some other great business bank accounts that we’ve reviewed recently:
The bottom line
The Wise E-commerce business account set out to simplify international selling and has achieved this. With a straightforward signup process, low fees, high transparency, and the ability to store 55+ currencies, plus useful financial management software included, the E-Commerce account can help you manage and grow your online business with as little stressing over money as possible.