Wise GBP Account Review 
Wise customers can open a fully digital Wise account with a linked debit card which offers easy ways to hold, send, receive and spend pounds alongside US dollars. Plus, as Wise accounts have great international features, you’ll also be able to hold a balance in 40+ other currencies, get paid from others in around 10 currencies, and send money to 160+ countries.
Read on for more about how the Wise GBP account works, whether you want to hold pounds or another supported currency, including the fees, set up process, safety and more.
Wise GBP account key points
- Wise accounts can be opened and managed with just a phone or laptop
- Hold and spend pounds alongside 40+ other currencies
- Add money in pounds or any of around 20 supported currencies
- Switch your pounds to foreign currencies for spending, with the mid-market exchange rate and low conversion fees from 0.43%
- Get a linked Wise debit card to spend globally, with low cost currency conversion
- Send money to 160+ countries, often instantly
- Get local bank details to receive payments to Wise in pounds or up to 9 other currencies
- No foreign transaction fees when spending overseas
Pros and cons of Wise GBP account
|Pros and cons of Wise GBP account|
|Pros||✅ Personal accounts are free to open and maintain|
✅ Add money to Wise in pounds or another supported currency
✅ Spend conveniently with your Wise debit card
✅ Multi-currency features to hold 40+ currencies
✅ Mid market rate for all currency exchange
✅ Local bank details available to get paid in both pounds and foreign currencies
✅ Send money to 160+ countries, with low fees from 0.43%
|Cons||❌ 9 USD fee to get the Wise debit card|
❌ ATM fees apply: 2 withdrawals to the value of 100 USD/month free, then 1.50 USD per withdrawal
❌ Variable fees apply to convert currencies
What is a Wise GBP account?
If you’re in the US and frequently transact in pounds or frequently travel to the UK and are looking for a digital account you can use to hold, receive, send and spend pounds, the Wise GBP account can help. Wise GBP accounts can also be opened by customers based in other countries, although some of the fees and features you get may vary slightly. This guide will focus on opening a GBP Wise account in the US.
Wise accounts can be used to hold and exchange pounds as well as 40+ other currencies, and come with a debit card for international payments. You can add money to Wise yourself from your regular bank account or card, or give your local Wise GBP bank details to anyone else who’s sending you money. Once you’ve got money in your account you can make fast – or even instant – payments to others in 160+ countries, and spend with your Wise card internationally with no foreign transaction fees. Learn more: Wise multi currency account review
Wise isn’t a bank, it’s a financial technology company with a focus on making it cheaper, easier and faster to manage your money across different currencies. That means that while Wise doesn’t offer all the same services as a bank might, you will find some powerful international features such as currency exchange which uses the mid-market rate, and low conversion fees from 0.43%.
Wise GBP account details
Looking for a seamless way to handle British pounds (GBP)? Then the Wise GBP account might be your answer. This account equips you with local GBP account details, enabling you to receive pounds as if you’re living in the UK. While it’s important to note that this isn’t a traditional bank account, it essentially works in the same way.
When you initiate your Wise GBP account, you’ll receive:
- An Account Name
- An account Number: Standardised for transactions within the UK.
- Sort Code: A six-digit number crucial for domestic transfers in the UK.
To receive British pounds, all you have to do is provide these details to the person or business you’ll be receiving funds from. They can process the transfer through methods like the Faster Payments System (FPS), taking about 0-1 working days, or even through SWIFT, which generally takes about 4-5 working days. Remember, these details are strictly for GBP, so any funds sent in a different currency might bounce back to the sender.
One significant highlight is the ability to set up direct debits. By sharing your Wise GBP account information with companies, you give them the green light to make regular deductions – perfect for monthly subscriptions or utility bills in the UK.
For those managing finances in multiple currencies, the Wise GBP account is a great option. It allows you to hold money in an array of currencies (including GBP and USD), ensures smooth transactions, and handles conversions at the mid-market exchange rate without any sneaky charges.
So, if you’re juggling financial commitments between the US and the UK, a Wise multi-currency account could be a good fit.
Can I open a Wise GBP account in the US?
Yes. Wise operates in the US, and you’ll be able to open a Wise GBP account in the US with a local proof of address and ID document, or you can check out the details for opening a Wise GBP account locally wherever you are, on the Wise desktop site.
How to open a GBP account in Wise
Follow these simple steps to set up your GBP account with Wise:
- Step 1: Register
- Quickly create your Wise account online or through the Wise app. All you need is an email address, or you can sign up using your Google, Facebook, or Apple account.
- Step 2: Verify Your Identity
- You’ll be prompted to confirm who you are. Just upload a picture of your ID and a selfie. If you’re using your smartphone, it’s super easy with guided prompts. Don’t worry if you don’t have everything ready; you can pause and come back later. And if you’re stuck, the Wise team is there to help.
- Step 3: Open Your Currency Balance
- After verification, it’s time to open your desired currency balance. Just log in, click ‘Open a balance’, find the GBP (or any other currency you want), and select it.
Once you’ve set up your GBP account with Wise, it becomes a versatile tool in your financial arsenal. You can hold pounds, receive payments from others, or pay businesses abroad without the fuss of traditional banking. The idea is to make dealing with pounds as straightforward as dealing with dollars, right from the comfort of your home or anywhere in the US.
How can I activate a GBP account in Wise?
Open your Wise account online or by downloading the Wise app. All you’ll need is your normal ID document and a proof of address for verification purposes.
Here’s how to activate your Wise GBP account:
- Download the Wise app, or open the Wise desktop site
- Register with your email address, or an Apple, Google or FaceBook account
- Follow the prompts to enter your personal details
- Upload your ID documents for verification
- Once your account is verified, tap Open in the app homepage
- Select Currency Balance and tap GBP to open your GBP account
- Top up your balance, complete any required security step, and start transacting
When is a Wise GBP account needed?
Wise GBP accounts are especially helpful for anyone who needs to hold, send, receive, spend and exchange both pounds and foreign currencies. You can use your Wise GBP account to receive money in pounds, or top up your account yourself from your regular bank account, and then spend with no foreign transaction fee when you travel or shop online in foreign currencies.
If you’re planning a holiday you can use Wise to set your spending budget in advance, by topping up in pounds and converting over to the currency or currencies you need before you travel. Or just let the Wise card automatically convert for you at the point of spending. In either case, you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate with no markup added, plus low fees from 0.43%, which can cut the costs compared to spending with your normal bank card overseas.
US business customers can also open a Wise account to send and receive payments in pounds alongside other currencies, making it easier to connect with contractors, customers and suppliers based overseas. You can use local Wise bank account details to get paid through PSPs and marketplaces in up to 10 currencies, or simply add the details to your invoices to make it convenient for customers to pay in their preferred currency.
How does the Wise GBP account compare?
|Wise GBP account||Revolut GBP account||HSBC GBP account|
|Availability in the US||Available to personal and business customers||Available to personal and business customers||Personal customers in eligible states|
|Global usage||Y||Y||No global transfers to Mexico|
|Conversion fees||From 0.43%||All accounts offer some fee free conversion||–|
|Exchange rate fees||No fees; mid-market exchange rate||Fair usage fee of 1% for Standard and 0.5% for Plus plans applies to any additional exchange.|
Out of hours, weekend and exotic currency fees may apply
|Varies; live rates during market hours|
|Other fees||9 USD fee to get a card||No-fee standard accounts available for personal and business customers|
Paid plans available for up to 16.99 USD/month for personal customers and 149.99 USD/month for business clients
|No account opening or transfer fees; exchange rate markups apply|
|Linked Debit Card||Y||Y||Y|
|Best Features||Supports 40+ currencies|
Local receiving account details for 9 currencies
|Supports 30+ currencies|
Budgeting and saving tools available
|Hold 8 currencies in one account|
Manage everything securely from your phone
The Wise GBP account offers impressive flexibility, with GBP alongside 40+ other currencies, plus mid-market exchange rate for currency conversion. Revolut’s GBP account offers some fee-free conversions, supports over 30 currencies and provides budgeting and saving tools, while HSBC’s global account lets you set up a GBP account and hold up to 8 currencies, all while managing everything from your phone.
Which provider and account is best for you will depend on your personal preferences and how you’ll want to transact. Picking a digital provider or neobank can be a good option as you’ll be able to manage all your transactions online or in an app, with no need to visit a branch in person.
Fintech providers like Wise and Revolut are helpful if you’d like to hold multiple currencies in one account, and spend globally with a linked debit card. Other international US banks with full banking licences, like HSBC, can also be a good pick if you’re looking for a range of services including overdrafts and loans, which may not be available from fintech options.
Wise GBP Account fees
Here is an overview of Wise fees:
|Wise GBP account|
|Create account||No fee for personal customers, business customers pay a one time charge of 31 USD for full account features|
|Account monthly fee||No fee|
|Fee to receive payments in GBP||No fee with local account details|
|Fee to spend a currency you hold||No fee|
|Exchange rate||Mid market rate, low conversion fees from 0.43%|
|Send payments||Transparent fees from 0.43%|
|Fee to receive card||9 USD for personal customers, free first card on the business account|
|ATM fees||2 withdrawals to the value of 100 USD/month free, then 1.50 USD per withdrawal|
|Virtual cards**||No fee|
*Information correct at time of writing, 5th September 2023
** Wise virtual cards are not yet available for US residents.
Wise GBP exchange rate
One of the most helpful features of the Wise account is that you can use it to hold not only pounds, but a broad selection of 40+ other currencies, too. Whenever you switch from one currency to another – to send a payment or spend on your card for example – you get the mid-market exchange rate with no markup, and a low conversion fee from 0.43%.
There’s no foreign transaction fee to pay when spending overseas – whereas with banks you’ll often find an extra charge of around 3% added for spending in a foreign currency when you travel or shop online with an international retailer.
Overall, this can mean using Wise for your foreign currency transactions can work out cheaper compared to sticking with your bank.
How does the Wise GBP account work?
Here’s how to create and use a Wise GBP account with just your phone or a laptop:
- Account Creation: Download the Wise app or visit the Wise desktop site, register with a few personal details and add an image of your ID and proof of address documents – once your account has been verified you can start to transact.
- Fund Transfers: Add pounds or any of around 20 supported currencies to your Wise account online or in the Wise app. You can pay by bank transfer, with a card, or with a mobile wallet like Apple Pay.
- Sending and Receiving Payments: Send transfers to 160+ countries, in 40+ currencies. You can also receive payments to your Wise account in 10 currencies, including GBP. There’s no fee to receive GBP transfers to your account.
How to receive GBP in your Wise account
Navigating the intricate corridors of international finance can be daunting, but with Wise, receiving money from anywhere in the world gets a lot simpler. By sharing your Wise account details with friends, companies, or clients, you can effortlessly receive payments just as you would with a regular bank transfer.
Receiving through Bank Account Details:
Available Currencies: You can currently acquire account details for receiving in USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD, MYR, CAD, HUF, RON, TRY, and SGD, with more currencies set to roll out in the future.
- Launch your Wise account and select the currency you want to receive your funds.
- Choose for the ‘Receive’ option. Mobile users can locate this under the ‘More’ tab.
- For first-timers, click on ‘Get account details’ and complete the necessary requirements.
- Share these details with the individual or entity sending you money.
- Once processed, the funds will appear in your account balance.
- There’s typically no charge to receive payments through your Wise account details. The sole exceptions are US dollar domestic or SWIFT wires, which carry a fee of $4.14, and CAD SWIFT transactions at 10 CAD.
Receiving Through Payment Requests:
For those who prefer a more proactive approach, Wise also allows users to request payments. These requests can be made in the currencies for which you hold account details, including euros. The payer can then fulfil this request either from their Wise balance or directly through their bank account.
How to use the GBP account abroad
Because you’ll be able to view and manage your Wise account with just your phone, you can easily keep an eye on your finances when you’re abroad.
Use your linked Wise card to spend and make withdrawals, and get an account overview and instant transaction notifications in the Wise app. You’ll also be able to add money to your account, switch between currencies, and send easy, fast, local and international payments.
Learn more: How to use Wise card abroad
What is the eligibility for a Wise GBP account?
This guide focuses on getting a Wise GBP account in the US – but you can also open a Wise account to hold, send, spend and receive pounds from a broad selection of other countries too. To open a Wise account in the US, you’ll need a proof of ID and address, and you’ll also need to be over 18. Check all the details for your location on the Wise desktop site.
Who is it good for?
You might want to open a Wise GBP account for local and international spending. Wise GBP accounts are good for:
- US customers who travel and want to spend with no foreign transaction fees overseas
- International customers looking for a way to receive and hold pounds
- Anyone who shops online with international retailers
- People who need to pay bills overseas, such as a mortgage on a holiday home
- Freelancers and contractors getting paid in pounds or foreign currencies
- Business owners who want to manage their money across currencies digitally
Is a Wise GBP account safe to use?
Yes. Wise isn’t a bank, but it’s overseen and regulated by FinCEN in the US. Plus, as a global company, Wise is also overseen and regulated by a range of other bodies overseas, which means it’s safe to use in the US and abroad. Wise also uses Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) which adds an extra layer of security.
Learn more: Is Wise safe to use?
Wise GBP accounts are available to customers in the US and most other countries globally, for customers with a valid proof of address and ID. If you’re not in the US, check out the Wise desktop site for details of account features and fees wherever you are, as they can vary slightly.
The Wise international debit card is issued on either the Visa or Mastercard network, and can be used in 160+ countries, wherever you see your card’s network logo.
Other available currencies
Wise accounts can hold, send, spend and exchange pounds alongside 40+ other currencies, including US dollars. You’ll also get local bank details to get paid in pounds and 9 other currencies.
Wise GBP account limits
There’s no limit to the amount of money you can hold in your Wise GBP account, and most Wise international transfers are uncapped, or have maximum limits set at around 1 million USD or the equivalent. However, for security, Wise does have various card limits which can be adjusted in the app. These limits are based on type of spending, including single transaction and daily maximum caps.
Wise GBP account alternatives
As we saw earlier, Wise isn’t the only option for a powerful GBP account in the US. You could also consider a multi-currency digital euro account from providers like;
- Revolut – Revolut’s GBP account offers some fee-free conversions, supports over 30 currencies and provides budgeting and saving tools.
- HSBC – HSBC’s global account lets you set up a GBP account and hold up to 8 currencies, all while managing everything from your phone.
Which account suits you will depend on your personal preferences and how you expect to transact.
Wise GBP accounts are available to customers in the US and a broad selection of other countries globally. You’ll be able to hold and receive pounds, with 40+ other currencies also supported. That can make a Wise GBP account particularly suited to US residents who frequently transact in GBP, travels a lot, or people who shop online and pay in foreign currencies. You can add money to your account in pounds, and manually or automatically convert to the currencies you need for spending, with the mid-market exchange rate, no foreign transaction fee, and low conversion costs from 0.43%.
FAQs – Wise GBP account
How do I open a GBP account with Wise?
Register for a Wise GBP account online or through the Wise app using a local US proof of address and ID. Then all you need to do is tap to open a GBP balance within the Wise app, to start spending, sending and receiving pounds easily.
What is the account limit for Wise in GBP?
You can send up to 5 million GBP per transfer.
How do I add a GBP to Wise?
Open a Wise GBP account, and simply log in and tap Add to top up in pounds from your bank account or with a card or mobile wallet. You can also get local GBP account details, and give them to anyone who needs to send you money in pounds.