Instarem Vs TransferWise: The Ultimate Guide [2022]

Trying to choose between Instarem and TransferWise for your next international payment?

This Instarem Vs TransferWise review is exactly what you need. We’ll cover all you should know, including:

  • Key features compared
  • Which option is cheaper?
  • Is Instarem or TransferWise faster?
  • Which provider is safer?
  • Which gets better customer reviews?

Summary:

Instarem is a digital cross border payments company offering international transfers to personal and business customers.

Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) also provides fast, low cost international payments to bank accounts, as well as multi-currency account products for individuals and businesses.

Both Instarem and Wise offer well priced international transfers. Wise payments use the mid-market exchange rate with transparent fees, while Instarem uses an exchange rate markup and low or no transfer charge on popular currency routes. Which is best for you will depend on the specific payment you’re making.

Instarem operates in the US through a program sponsored by Community Federal Savings Bank. Wise is registered with FinCEN and authorized to operate in most US states. In some states Wise operates as a service provider to Community Federal Savings Bank.

Go To WiseRead Instarem Review

Instarem Vs Wise: side by side

FeatureInstaremWise
Send payments to55+ countries80+ countries, 50+ currencies
Multi-currency accountsNAvailable for 54 currencies
Debit card availableNY
Cash payout availablePhilippines onlyN
Earn reward pointsYN
Fully licensed and regulatedYY
Business servicesYY

So, to summarize: 

  • Wise supports payouts to more countries compared to Instarem
  • Wise has a multi-currency account and card to support 50+ currencies – Instarem does not have that option
  • Both providers offer payments to international bank accounts. Instarem also offers payouts for cash collection in the Philippines
  • Both providers have business services – Instarem offers business payments, while Wise has a business account which comes with payment services, multi-currency functionality and linked payment cards
  • Both providers are fully regulated and safe to use in the US

Both Instarem and Wise offer fast, cheap international payments. Wise covers more countries than Instarem and also has multi-currency account services for both personal and business customers.

When it comes to the cost of international transfers, Instarem and Wise are well matched. However, Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate which can make it easier to see exactly what you’re paying for your transfer. Which provider is best for you may simply come down to the availability of service in your destination country, and your personal preference.

Go To Wise
 

The important bits

InstaremWise
RatesExchange rates include a markupMid-market exchange rate with no markup
FeesFees vary by destination countryLow fees, varies by destination
Speed1 – 2 business days40% of payments are instant, 80% arrive in 24 hours
ServiceOnline and in appOnline, in app and by phone
SafetyFully regulated and licensedFully regulated and licensed
Reviews (TrustPilot)Trustpilot score: 4.5/5, Excellent rating, from 6,000+ reviewsTrustpilot score: 4.6/5, Excellent rating, from 143,000+ reviews

Rates: Instarem adds a markup to the exchange rates used, whereas Wise uses the mid-market rate with no markup

Fees: Both providers have variable fees which are based on the destination country.

Speed: Instarem payments usually arrive in 1 – 2 business days. Wise payments can be instant, with 80% arriving in 24 hours

Service: Both providers offer service online and in-app. Wise customer service is also available by phone.

Safety: Both providers are fully licensed and regulated

Reviews: Instarem and Wise both score an Excellent review rating on Trustpilot, although Instarem has a slightly lower score with fewer posted reviews

Pros and cons

InstaremWise
Pros
  • Low overall costs for payments on major routes
  • Entirely digital for convenient service
  • Cash collection available in Philippines
  • Send to 80+ countries
  • Transparent fees
  • Mid-market exchange rates
  • Multi-currency account and card available
Cons
  • Exchange rates include a markup
  • No multi-currency account
  • No branch network
  • No cash pay out or pay in option
  • No branch network
  • Accounts are not interest bearing

Go To Wise

Instarem Vs Wise: The verdict

Instarem international payments are cheap and can be set up entirely online or using the Instarem app for convenience. Wise payments are fast, arranged online or in-app, and offer the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees. Whether Instarem or Wise win for you will depend on where you’re sending money to, and how much you need to send.

In our cost comparison the overall costs of each provider were similar, although Wise nudged ahead on higher value payments. Wise also offers multi-currency account services for personal and business customers, which aren’t available from Instarem.

About Instarem and Wise

Instarem was founded in 2014 in Singapore as a digital cross border payments company.  These days, Instarem handles around 4 billion dollars of transfers a year, and has offices in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and around the world.

You can send payments to 55+ countries with Instarem.

Wise was launched as TransferWise back in 2011 as a low-cost international payment provider. Wise now has upwards of 10 million customers, and also offers personal and business accounts to hold and manage currencies, accept payments and spend using a linked debit card.

With Wise you can send payments to 80+ countries, in 50+ currencies.

How do they work?

Create an Instarem account online or in the Instarem app. All you need to get started is your email address, Google or Facebook ID. You’ll need to add your mobile phone number and get verified by uploading images of your proof of identity and address.

Once your account is set up, you can make an Instarem payment in just a few steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Select the currency you want to send to
  3. Enter the amount you want to send, or how much you want the recipient to get in the end
  4. Follow the prompts to add the recipient’s details, or select from your recipient list if it’s a repeat payment
  5. Fund the transfer and track your payment in the Instarem app

To use Wise you’ll need to create an account, and depending on the type of payment you want to make you might need to provide some ID for verification.

Make payments easily online and in the Wise app:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Type in how much you want to transfer, or how much you need the recipient to get
  3. Enter the recipient’s details – bank account number or email
  4. Check over the details
  5. Fund your payment using a card or bank transfer
  6. Confirm and your money will be on the move

Wise transfers don’t work the same way as a normal bank wire does – which is why  they arrive faster and don’t incur intermediary fees. You’ll fund your transfer in USD by sending the money to Wise’s local US account. Wise will then make a payment of the equivalent amount in your preferred currency, from their local account in the destination country. No money actually moves across borders, so it’s faster and cheaper than traditional international payments.

Go To Wise

Wise vs Instarem Fees

The amount you pay for a Wise international transfer will depend on the value of your payment and the way you pay for it. However, Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate which means it’s always easy to see exactly what you’re paying before you commit. Typical costs for Wise international transfers include a small fixed fee and a variable fee which can be around 0.25% – 0.35% for major currencies.

You’ll see the cost of your Instarem payment when you set it up online or in the Instarem app. You may pay a couple of different fees – the transfer fee and an exchange rate markup. The transfer fee is transparent and often low, especially for popular currency routes. However, the exchange rate markup is trickier to spot as this is an extra fee which is added to the rate applied for your transfer.

Markups are usually a percentage fee on top of the mid-market rate, which means that they can mount up quickly for high value payments. The markup used will depend on the currency involved, and can be up to 1%.

Instarem vs Wise: which is cheaper?

Using a specialist international payment provider is almost always cheaper than relying on a regular bank. However, it’s still worth comparing a few options before you get started as different providers have different features and fees. Let’s take a look at how Instarem vs TransferWise measure up on fees for a few example payments.

Amount & CurrencyInstaremWiseWinner?
USD>1000 GBP1,350.44 USD1,350.46 USDInstarem
USD>5000 GBP6,752.19 USD6,749.76 USDWise
USD>1000 EUR1,123.34 USD1,123.63 USDInstarem
USD> 5000 EUR5,616.72 USD5,616.04 USDWise

*Rates and fees correct at time of research – 31st January 2022

In our cost comparisons there’s not much of a difference between Instarem and Wise. Because Wise doesn’t add a markup to the exchange rate used, their pricing is more transparent and can be better value for larger payments. However, Instarem just had the edge for the smaller payments we modeled. Check out both before you decide which is best for your next international transfer.

Instarem Vs Wise: which is faster?

Instarem payments are delivered to recipient’s bank accounts directly and can arrive in 1 – 2 business days. You’ll be able to track your payment online or using the Instarem app to see how it’s getting on.

Wise payments can arrive in seconds on some currency routes, and most transfers arrive within a day. You’ll see the estimated delivery time when you set up your transfer, and can always track it online or in the Wise app.

Safety

Both Instarem and Wise are safe providers which are licensed and regulated in all the countries they operate in.

Instarem is a trading name of NIUM Inc, which offers services in the US through a program sponsored by Community Federal Savings Bank. It’s also regulated by other global bodies and has robust processes in place to keep customers and their money safe.

Wise is registered with FinCEN and licensed as a money transmitter in most US states. In some states Wise operates as a service provider to Community Federal Savings Bank. Like Instarem, Wise has been built with customer security in mind and has a broad range of manual and automatic processes in place to prevent fraud and keep client funds safe.

Ease of use

  • Creating an account: Instarem and Wise accounts are opened and operated online or using an app.
  • Making a transfer: Both Instarem and Wise international payments can be made online or in-app.
  • Ways to send money: Instarem transfers can be funded by ACH (direct debit). Wise transfers can be funded by bank transfer, credit or debit card.
  • Languages: Instarem support is primarily offered through live chat services online and in-app, or by email. Wise offers global support in a range of languages, online, using the app, and by phone.
  • Minimum & maximum amounts: Instarem has a minimum transfer limit of 1 USD. Maximum transfer limits may vary by payment type and destination country. Wise limits depend on which currencies you send to and from, and how you pay. However, you can make several smaller transfers if your ideal transfer amount exceeds the limit for the specific payment.

Supported currencies

Instarem international payments can be sent to 55+ countries.

With Wise you can send money to 80 countries and hold and convert 54 currencies in your Wise account.

Conclusion

Both Wise and Instarem offer international transfers for individuals and businesses. Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees, while Instarem adds a markup to the exchange rate. However, overall in our comparison the costs of each provider were similar.

On balance, Wise has a couple of advantages compared to Instarem – a greater number of destination countries available, and the Wise multi-currency account which lets you receive, hold and spend in a range of foreign currencies.

If you’re not sure which provider to choose for your next payment, compare the costs of both Wise and Instarem to see which is best value for your specific transfer.

Go To Wise
 

FAQ

1. Is Instarem or Wise cheaper?

In our cost comparison Wise and Instarem were similar overall on price – but Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate which can mean it’s easier to see exactly what you’re paying for your transfer, and can work out to be cheaper on high value payments.

2. Is Instarem or Wise faster?

Instarem payments may take 1 – 2 business days to arrive. Wise payments can arrive instantly, with most being delivered within 24 hours.

3. How many currencies do Instarem and Wise support?

Instarem international payments can be sent to 55+ countries around the world. Wise customers can send payments to 80+ countries, and hold and manage 50+ currencies in their Wise accounts.

By Ileana Ionescu Updated March 28th, 2022