Wise vs CurrencyFair
Not sure whether to use CurrencyFair or Transferwise (now called Wise) for your next international payment? This guide has you covered. We’ll run through all you need to know about CurrencyFair vs Wise including:
- A full side by side feature comparison
- Which provider is cheaper?
- Which is faster?
- Which is safer?
- Which gets better customer reviews?
Summary: CurrencyFair supports payments to more countries than Wise, and has a novel feature allowing you to set your own exchange rate for peer to peer transfers. Based on our comparison, the costs of sending money with Wise and CurrencyFair are fairly similar. However, Wise has more transparent pricing, and may be able to offer a faster delivery time. Both providers are licensed by global bodies in the countries they are registered and offer services in.
CurrencyFair Vs Wise: side by side
|Send payments to||150+ countries, 20+ currencies||80+ countries, 50+ currencies|
|Multi-currency accounts||Available for 20+ currencies||Available for 54 currencies|
|Debit card available||No||Yes, Wise International Debit Card|
|Peer to peer currency exchange||Yes||No|
|Fully licensed and regulated||Yes||Yes|
|Open a business account||Yes||Yes, Wise Business Account|
So, to summarize:
- Wise supports more currencies, but CurrencyFair offers more receiving countries
- CurrencyFair’s multi-currency account supports 20+ currencies while the Wise multi-currency account offers 50+ currencies
- Wise has a debit card on offer for customers - CurrencyFair does not have that option
- CurrencyFair offers peer to peer exchange services - Wise does not
- Both providers are fully regulated, and offer both personal and business services
CurrencyFair and Wise have similar features - both offer international payments to bank accounts and both have their own multi-currency account - what separates the two is speed and pricing.
Wise can be faster, and has a more flexible multi-currency account. Wise exchange rates don’t include any margin. CurrencyFair has a bank beating rate - but it does include a small margin of around 0.45% on average.
The Important Bits
Wise (formerly TransferWise)
Rates: Mid-market exchange rate with no markup
Fees: Low fees, varies by destination
Speed: 45%+ of payments are instant, 80% arrive in 24 hours
Service: Online, in app and by phone
Safety: Fully regulated and licensed
Reviews (TrustPilot): 4.6 star, Excellent, 134,329 reviews
Rates: On average customers pay 0.45% for an instant transfer.
Fees: A fixed fee of the currency equivalent of 3 EUR applies.
Speed: Varies by destination, can take a day or two
Service: Online, in app and by phone
Safety: Fully regulated and licensed
Reviews (TrustPilot): 4.6 star, Excellent, 5,329 reviews
Rates: Wise uses the mid-market rate, whereas CurrencyFair offers customers the option to set their own rate for a peer to peer transfer, or arrange a payment with the CurrencyFair rate which includes a small margin
Fees: CurrencyFair has a 3 EUR fee for transfers; Wise has variable fees which are based on the destination country
Speed: CurrencyFair transfers may take a day or two to arrive while Wise payments can be instant
Service: Both providers offer multilingual service in a range of languages, online, in-app and by phone. Wise has more languages covered than CurrencyFair.
Safety: Both providers are fully licensed and regulated
Reviews: Both providers score Excellent review ratings on Trustpilot - but Wise has significantly more listed customer reviews showing
Learn more about Wise
Learn more about CurrencyFair
Pros and cons
CurrencyFair Vs Wise: The verdict
Whether CurrencyFair or Wise win for you will depend on the specific services you need.
If you want to make a peer to peer payment - where you set the exchange rate you’ll accept and wait for another customer to match it - CurrencyFair could be a good fit.
If you’re looking for an instant payment, Wise has more transparent pricing as there’s no exchange rate markup to worry about. Wise payments can also arrive faster than CurrencyFair, depending on the destination country.
And while both providers offer multi-currency accounts, the CurrencyFair account is more about holding and converting currencies, whereas the Wise international account - with its linked debit card - has more functionality. If you want to make ATM withdrawals when you travel or shop online with international retailers, go for Wise.
About CurrencyFair and Wise
While CurrencyFair already offers business accounts to small businesses, it has also teamed up with Australian company Assembly Payments to launch Zai, its service for mid-market and enterprise level customers.
Wise was launched as TransferWise back in 2011 as a low-cost international payment provider. These days, Wise 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?
To transfer money with CurrencyFair you’ll need to first register and verify your account. You can then make a payment online or in the CurrencyFair app:
- Set up the payment by entering the amount, the pay in currency, and the payout currency
- Enter your recipient’s details
- Choose how you’ll deposit funds to your CurrencyFair account - this is usually a bank transfer
- CurrencyFair will convert the money once it arrives and pass it on to your recipient
To transfer money with 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. Once your account is up and running make payments online and in the Wise app:
- Log into your account
- Type in how much you want to transfer, or how much you need the recipient to get
- Enter the recipient’s details - bank account number or email
- Check over the details
- Fund your payment using a card or bank transfer
- Confirm and your money will be on the move
Wise transfers are made through Wise’s network of local bank accounts, so they arrive faster and don’t incur intermediary fees. When you want to pay for your transfer in dollars you’ll send the money to Wise’s local US account. Then Wise will make a payment of the equivalent amount in your preferred currency, from their account in the destination country. No money actually moves across borders, so it’s faster and cheaper than traditional international payments.
CurrencyFair Vs Wise Fees
CurrencyFair allows a couple of different transfer types - peer to peer payments, and instant transfers. If you choose a peer to peer payment you’ll set your own exchange rate and wait for another customer to match it - this may mean you’re paying a fee in the form of an exchange rate margin.
For other transfers, CurrencyFair has 2 different fees:
- Exchange rate markup: This is usually around 0.45%
- Transfer fee: This is 3 EUR, or just over 3 USD, depending on the live exchange rate at the time you place your transfer
One of the fees that CurrencyFair uses is an exchange rate markup - which is a fee wrapped up in the exchange rate being offered. That’s pretty standard across providers - and CurrencyFair do highlight this in their pricing page. However, in general rate markups do make it harder to work out the true cost of your payment.
Wise fees don’t include any charges added into the exchange rates used. Instead you’ll see a couple of different transparent costs:
- Fixed fee: covering the fixed costs associated with the transaction. For major currencies this is usually in the region of 4 USD - 5 USD
- Variable fee: covering the cost of the currency exchange. For major currencies this is from as low as 0.41% of the transfer value
CurrencyFair Vs Wise: which is cheaper?
Choosing an international payment specialist is almost certainly cheaper than sending money using your bank. However, as fees and rates do vary, it still pays to compare a few providers before you pick. Let’s look at how a few different payments from CurrencyFair and Wise work out. This table looks at how much in USD it’ll cost you to send a payment to a friend in GBP or EUR:
|Amount & Currency||CurrencyFair||Wise||Winner?|
|USD>1000 GBP||1,222.65 USD||1,222.88 USD||CurrencyFair|
|USD>5000 GBP||6,101.05 USD||6,111.46 USD||CurrencyFair|
|USD>1000 EUR||1,034.09 USD||1.033.41 USD||Wise|
|USD> 5000 EUR||5,160.09 USD||5,164.57 USD||CurrencyFair|
*Fees and rates correct at time of research - 14 August 2022
As you can see, on all our comparisons, the differences are marginal - so choosing between these providers may be a question of personal preference and how fast each provider can get your money where it needs to be, rather than cost. More on the speed of each provider coming right up.
CurrencyFair Vs Wise: which is faster?
CurrencyFair show their payment process in 2 steps -
Send in - where you send money in pounds to fund your account
Send out - where CurrencyFair send out the payment to your recipient
It can take 1 - 2 business days for your payment to reach CurrencyFair if you’re sending in USD - and then it can take another day or two for the payment to reach your recipient’s account.
45%+ of Wise payments get to their destination instantly, and well over 80% arrive in 24 hours. However, the exact delivery time will depend on where you’re sending money to, and how you want to pay. You’ll see an estimated arrival time when you set up your payment.
Both CurrencyFair and Wise are fully licensed and regulated, and use both smart technology and dedicated service teams to keep customer money safe.
CurrencyFair was founded in Ireland, and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, the FCA in the UK, and the appropriate regulatory bodies in other countries it operates in.
Wise is regulated by FinCEN in the US, the FCA in the UK, and other global regulatory bodies around the world. Read our full Wise safety guide to learn more.
Ease of use
- Creating an account: Create your account online or in app with both CurrencyFair and Wise
- Making a transfer: Both providers allow customers to fund payments with a bank transfer. CurrencyFair may also allow other funding methods depending on the currency you’re using but does not support card payments. Wise typically allows bank transfers, card payments and Apple Pay payments.
- Ways to send money: Send payments to your recipient’s bank account directly with both CurrencyFair and Wise
- Languages: CurrencyFair services are available in English, French and German, with multilingual customer support. Wise offers 15 languages, plus multi-lingual support services.
- Minimum & maximum amounts: Sending limits can vary by destination country, and based on your account type.
CurrencyFair supports 20+ currencies on major payment routes which cover over a hundred different countries. Wise supports 50+ currencies, and lets you send payments to over 80 countries.
Both CurrencyFair and Wise have some interesting features which will suit different customer needs.
CurrencyFair has its peer to peer payment exchange which is pretty unique. With this you can choose the exchange rate you want to sell currency for, which may mean you get a good deal if you’re matched with the right customer.
When it comes to international payments, Wise and CurrencyFair were similar in terms of price in our comparisons. However Wise wins on transparency, and can often offer a faster delivery speed compared to CurrencyFair. Wise also has more currency options which can be a bonus.
Finally, Wise has its international account which has more functionality than the CurrencyFair equivalent. If you want to spend while you travel, make ATM withdrawals and shop online with international retailers with no foreign transaction fees, the Wise multi-currency account is the account for you.
Learn more about Wise
Learn more about CurrencyFair
Is CurrencyFair or Wise cheaper?
CurrencyFair and Wise offered similar pricing in the comparisons we ran. Wise can be more transparent in its pricing, as it offers the real exchange rate with no markup, and low transfer fees which are clearly split out. Compare both to see which is better for your specific transfer.
Is CurrencyFair or Wise faster?
CurrencyFair payments are likely to take a day or two - the exact delivery time will depend on where you’re sending money to. Wise payments can arrive instantly, with most being delivered within 24 hours.
How many currencies do CurrencyFair and Wise support?
CurrencyFair supports 20+ currencies and Wise supports 50+ currencies.