Wise Vs. Revolut 2021 (Complete Guide)

wise vs revolut

The battle of Wise vs Revolut is a fierce one and has been fought ever since Revolut was founded in 2015. Wise, or TransferWise at the time, was founded a few years earlier in 2011. That means that 2021 marks its 10th year on the global market. 

Both companies have made an impact in the world of digital banking even though they’re not even regarded as banks in most cases but as e-money institutions.

Wise and Revolut have made a name for themselves by offering fair and transparent financial products that were a breath of fresh air in the stale banking world. 

Today, we’re taking a look at some main points of interest for customers regarding the safety of their deposits, traveling benefits, fees, savings, and business accounts. But first, here’s our short verdict:

In the Wise vs Revolut comparison, the winner is definitely the user as either app you choose is offering cheap international transfers, no debit card charges abroad, and all-around transparency. While Revolut might have some issues with blocking its users’ accounts lately, it does offer more features, especially in its paid accounts.

Wise vs Revolut infographic

wise
  • No recurring fees
  • Transparent money transfers
  • Charges as low as possible
  • Multi-currency account
  • Spend in any currency
  • 3-D Secure authentications
  • Easy to signup
  • Free account setup
  • No monthly fees
  • Free ATM withdrawals up to £200/30 days, after that 2%
  • £5 to order a debit card
  • Sign up for Wise here or read our full review here first. 
  • Wise Multi-Currency account
  • €7/$9/£5 to order a debit card
  • One time fee of £16/€23/$31 for business accounts
  • 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%
  • $7.50 to receive USD wire transfers
revolut
  • No monthly fees
  • Apply online in minutes
  • £1000 – unlimited no-fee currency exchange
  • Investing in crypto, stocks, and commodities
  • Multi-currency account
  • Debit and virtual cards
  • Free Junior account(s)
  • Donations with no fees
  • Earn interest
  • up to £200/m no-fee withdrawal
  • £4.99 for the card
  • Sign up for a Revolut account here or read our full review here first. 
  • Revolut Standard
  • ATM fees are free up to £200, then a 2% fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No-fee currency exchange up to £1,000, then 0.5% fee
  • 2.5% crypto exchange markup and 1.5% commodities markup

Wise vs Revolut money transfers

Wise

Wise boasts on their website that they’re charging as little as possible for their money transfers and that they show you their transfer fees upfront. But is that true? 

If you were to send a €1,000 to let’s say Australia, how much would you have to pay and how much AUD would the recipient get?

First of all, there are three transfer types:

  • Fast transfer (send from your debit card)
  • Low-cost transfer (send from your bank account)
  • Easy transfer (send from your bank with online payment)

So, for our example, the fast transfer would cost €8.63 in fees, low-cost €4.57, and easy transfer €5.77. It says that the guaranteed rate for the next 82 hours is €1 = A$1.555. The recipient would therefore get A$1,541.93 in 4 hours with the fast transfer, A$1,548.51 in three days with the low-cost transfer, and A$1,546.64 in 4 hours with the easy transfer. 

Revolut

Let’s have a look at Revolut now. Revolut does not charge you for transferring money within your foreign exchange allowance limit, which for their free account is a £1,000 equivalent. So, for our €1,000 transfer to AUD, we’re not paying any fees. The recipient will get A$1555.05 at their exchange rate of €1 = A$1.556.

There are some caveats with Revolut. There are no fees for transferring money to other Revolut users or non-Revolut accounts in the SEPA region. And from the 23rd of April, Revolut does not charge you for transferring money within your foreign exchange allowance limit. 

But, if you make a cross-currency transfer that exceeds the foreign exchange allowance you’ll be charged 0.5% on that amount.

For payments outside the SEPA region, Standard and Plus customers do not have a fee-free international payment allowance

For international transfers in the local currency of the recipient country, users exceeding their allowance will be charged 0.3% of the transfer value, with a minimum fee of £0.30 and a maximum fee of £5.

International transfers in currencies other than that of the local recipient country will be charged a flat fee of £3 when sending USD, GBP, EUR, or CHF, or a flat fee of £5 for all other currencies.

If you upgrade to Revolut Premium or Revolut Metal, you can get unlimited free outbound transfers, and 1-3 free SWIFT transfers per month. 

When your money is in transit, it might be processed by an intermediary bank that might also deduct a handling fee even if the transfer is unsuccessful. 

The great thing is that both companies have transfer calculators on their websites so you can decide upfront which company to use for your transfers. 

TransferWise vs Revolut security

Wise

  • Real-time notifications
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Bug bounty program
  • 3D Secure

Revolut

  • Fingerprint identification
  • Disposable virtual cards
  • Sherlock anti-fraud system
  • Customizable features
  • 3D Secure

Both Wise and Revolut offer the latest security features in their apps and payments systems. You can choose what types of payments your debit card will be able to do, and in case you misplaced it, you can easily freeze it. 

As Wise and Revolut aren’t registered as banks in most places, your deposits aren’t insured by governments but are safeguarded in separate accounts in big banks. This fact does make your money secure enough.

I could find reports of blocking their customers’ accounts for long periods of time for both Revolut and Transferwise, now Wise. Their fraud and security algorithms would simply block a person’s account and deposit with often no way of communicating with the company.

Revolut explicitly says that their customer support can’t help you as they are left in the dark during the investigation.  

While both companies offer high-end security solutions, sometimes an innocent user can fall into a Kafkaesque situation. 

Traveling

We’re only reviewing Revolut’s free account here because Wise only has a free account. This means that Revolut is missing many excellent features of its paid Metal account for instance which is great for traveling.

Wise Multi-Currency

  • 2 free ATM withdrawals up to £200/30 days, after that 1.75%
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • A small fee to convert currencies

Revolut Standard

  • ATM fees are free up to £200, then a 2% fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No-fee currency exchange up to £1,000, then 0.5% fee
  • The free account is missing all the travel benefits of paid accounts

Basically, both cards or apps are great for traveling abroad and you’ll be saving money by using any of the two MasterCards. TransferWise and Revolut do charge a fee if you go over £200 equivalent within 30 days, but that’s easily bypassed by taking cash from home or paying most of the things by app or card. 

Saving

Wise

  • Saving Jars
  • No interest rate

Revolut

  • Savings Vaults
  • Up to 0.65% AER on USD and 0.40% AER on GBP, paid daily

Jars vs Vaults? TransferWise vs Revolut? In this case, vaults are the winners as Revolut offers more options and flexibility, not to mention a savings rate on your deposit but only for paid accounts.

You can easily open as many jars or vaults as you want to. The difference is that with Revolut, you can put money into vaults not only by one-off payments, but also by recurring payments, and by rounding up your transactions.

Revolut is a clear winner here.

Business Account

wise
  • 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
revolut
  • No monthly fees
  • Connect to QuickBooks, Xero, FreeAgent
  • A £3 fee applies per international payment
  • A 0.4% markup applies for each FX
  • Spend like a local in 150 currencies
  • Multi-director access
  • Funds are safeguarded with a tier-1 partner bank

Revolut has four different tiers of business accounts, and three of those are paid memberships with more perks and features. Wise only offers a free account that is already a good deal.

Bot Wise and Revolut business accounts are great for making international payments to freelancers, for example, vendors, and marketplaces. 

They integrate with different accounting tools and make it easy for you, the business owner or manager to invoice and make payments, in-store or online. 

Wise offers their business MasterCard for free while the free Revolut business account charges for their business card around £49 or equivalent in a different currency.

Both business accounts are good for SMIs and for making a lot of international money transfers and payments, as well as payroll.

Junior Accounts

Many digital banks like Starling, Monzo, and yes, Revolut, offer accounts for kids and/or teenagers. Unfortunately, Wise isn’t one of them. Maybe in the future, they do roll out one, but for now, Revolut is a clear winner here as it offers a comprehensive Junior account and even a dedicated Revolut Kids app.

Investing

As you might have concluded already, Revolut is a jack of all trades as it’s offering plenty of services that its competitors aren’t. Investing is one of them as Revolut is offering you to invest your hard-earned money into crypto, stocks, and commodities. 

Although it sounds good at first, the issue here is that you only get exposure to these kinds of investment vehicles. We’ll use Bitcoin as an example. 

Yes, you get to buy, HODL, or sell BTC, but you don’t actually own it as you can’t move it outside of the Revolut platform and into your crypto wallet. You can read more about it in our dedicated Revolut crypto review

Wise on the other hand did offer Bitcoin purchases up to 2013 when it dropped them citing pressure from banking providers. They could have been frontrunners in the crypto world by now but hindsight is 20/20. 

Customer service

Customer service is almost always a touchy subject when talking about digital banks as they’re expanding so fast that it’s hard to keep up with hiring customer support agents across the world. 

Wise seems to be a bit better in this regard as its customer service is more responsive to customer demands. Revolut still has a way to go to reach a satisfying level of support.

Both companies do offer an extensive help section on their websites with nearly all questions regarding their service and platform being answered. This should be your first stop when encountering a problem with the app or with a money transfer for instance.

Customer Reviews

Revolut has a 4.4-star rating on Trustpilot out of almost 80,000 reviews at the moment of writing this comparison with 75% of reviews regarding Revolut as excellent and 9% as bad.

Wise on the other hand has a 4.6 rating out of 115,000 reviews on Trustpilot with 85% of customer reviews saying that it’s an excellent service and only 4% that it’s bad. 

Both companies are actively replying to negative reviews there and trying to sort out their customers’ problems. 

Verdict

Wise and Revolut are both still expanding rapidly and onboarding many new users during the epidemic. The world is inching closer to a cashless society whether we like it or not and both companies are perfectly in line with that philosophy with their amazingly low-fee money transfers and free card payments. 

Revolut does offer more features even in its free account and even more so if you’re willing to pay for a Revolut membership, but the question remains – do you really need all those features. 

Whether you choose Wise or Revolut, you really can’t go wrong with any of the two personal or business accounts.