Wise vs Xoom: Which One is Better?

If you need to send or receive international payments you may have heard of both Wise (TransferWise) and Xoom

Wise offers personal and business payments, and multi-currency accounts, to allow customers to send, spend and receive foreign currencies. Xoom is part of the PayPal group, and offers electronic funds transfers including bill payment and mobile phone reloads, around the world.

Wise (TransferWise) vs Xoom - The Important Bits

Wise

Safety: Based in the UK, licensed and well backed

Rates: Mid-market rate (real exchange rate)

Fees: Percentage based fee

Speed: 1-2 business days for most transfers

Currency conversion: Instant

Trustpilot rating: 133,796 reviews. Score 4.6/5 - Excellent 

Xoom

Safety: Based in the US, fully licensed, a PayPal Inc service

Rates: 1-3% markup added to the exchange rate

Fees: Up to $4.99, based on destination and currency

Speed: Most transfers arrive in minutes

Currency conversion: Instant

Trustpilot rating: 22,278 reviews. Score 3.8/5 - Great 

Learn more about Wise

Learn more about Xoom

Wise vs Xoom in three important ways:

 

  1. Wise is specialised in offering you international money transfer solutions, for both business and personal users; Xoom provides electronic funds transfer solutions including bill payment and mobile phone reloads.
  2. Xoom payments are only available for personal users; Wise targets both business and personal customers.
  3. Wise has also other features integrated, like multi-currency account and debit cards linked to the account; Xoom is specialised in digital payments.

Wise and Xoom features in more detail

Wise features

Xoom features

Fast online money transfers direct to your recipient’s bank accountSend money direct to a recipient bank account, debit card or mobile wallet
Free multi-currency accounts to hold 50+ currenciesPayments can also be collected as cash or home delivered - services vary by destination country
Send money to 80+ countries and get local receiving accounts for +30 countriesPay bills and reload mobile phone airtime
Spend with your Wise Mastercard in 200 countriesCurrency conversion uses the Xoom exchange rate which includes a markup
Accounts available for business or personal useSenders can be in the US, Canada, and select European countries
Set up exchange rate alerts and target rates to transfer when the time is right for youSecure service with a money back guarantee

Wise vs Xoom - Features Conclusions

Wise

Wise (TransferWise) launched back in 2011 as a low-cost international payment provider. By using different methods to regular banks, Wise was able to help customers move money between countries and currencies fast and for a lower fee, while still offering the real mid-market exchange rate. Payments are funded with a bank transfer or card, and delivered direct to the recipient’s bank account. These days, Wise also has personal and business accounts to hold and manage currencies, accept payments and spend using a linked debit card.

 

Xoom

Xoom was originally started in 2001, and later bought by PayPal in 2015. Xoom customers can send digital payments from a computer or mobile device, pay bills and top up mobile phones. With Xoom you’ll fund your payment electronically, but in some destination countries you can opt to have it delivered in cash to your recipient if you want to.

Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of both Wise and Xoom.

Wise

Pros

  • Low, transparent fees for transfers and mid-market exchange rate
  • Personal and business accounts and payments available
  • All accounts are opened and managed online, with no monthly service fees
  • Local receiving accounts to get paid from 30 countries for free

Cons

  • Online and mobile service only - no branch locations
  • Transfer fees vary by destination and payment method
  • No cash pick-up options

Xoom

Pros

  • Send money for cash collection or home delivery
  • Model your payment and see instantly how much it’ll cost and how much your recipient will get
  • Backed by PayPal - one of the world’s largest payment services
  • Pay with your PayPal balance or any payment method linked to your PayPal account

Cons

  • Senders must be in the US, Canada or some European countries
  • Services available including payout methods vary by destination country
  • No multi-currency account option or linked debit cards
  • Xoom can not be used for commercial purposes

Wise vs Xoom fees and exchange rates

ServicesWiseXoom
Setting up an account:
  • Personal users: Free
  • Business users: 31 USD
  • Personal users: Free
  •  Business users: Not available
International money transfer
  • Fees: Small fee, varies by currency
  • Exchange rate: Mid-market exchange rate
  • Fees: Costs vary by destination country, payment and payout method
  • Exchange rate: Xoom exchange rate which includes a markup
Card fees
  • Request a card: 9 USD 
  • ATM withdrawals: 2 withdrawals, to a value of 100 USD free/month; 2% + 1.50 USD per withdrawal fee after that
  • Online payment fees: Free to spend any currency you hold
  • Xoom does not offer multi-currency holding accounts or linked payment cards
Multi-currency account fees
  • Open an account: Free
  • Monthly fees: Free
 

Which provider offers a better exchange rate?

If you’re sending money to someone overseas, the exchange rate used can make a big difference to the costs and how much the recipient gets in the end. Let’s look at how Wise and Xoom set exchange rates.

Wise

Wise currency exchange uses the mid-market rate. There’s no markup or margin added to the rate you’ll find on Google, when you send money, convert within your Wise account, or spend with your Wise card.

Xoom

When you model a payment with Xoom you see the following message:

“In addition to the transaction fee, Xoom also makes money when it changes your send currency into a different currency.”

This means a markup - which is another fee - is added to the exchange rate provided by Xoom for customers.

A case study - sending 2,000 USD-GBP

To show how the Wise vs Xoom exchange costs work in real life, let’s work through an example - sending 2,000 USD to a friend in the UK, to be received in GBP.

Here’s how the transfer works out with both Wise and Xoom.

Xoom - 2,000 USD-GBPWise - 2,000 USD-GBP
Fees:
  • No fee for transfers funded with a bank transfer or PayPal balance
  • 13.31 USD
Exchange rate:      
  • Mid market rate + markup added
  • Mid market rate*
Recipient gets
  • 1,417 GBP
  • 1,472.11

 

*rate on the 7th of December, 09:00am (GTM+2)

Sending 2,000 USD to the UK - Wise vs Xoom

As you can see, there’s an upfront transfer fee of 8.80 USD with Wise, but the recipient gets more in the end compared to Xoom. That’s because Xoom adds a markup to the exchange rate which is an extra fee.

It’s also worth noting that for this particular transfer the Xoom fees if you pay with a card would have been significantly higher - over 60 USD.

The verdict: Wise offers a better exchange rate as all transfers use the mid-market rate with no markup. This can mean that even where the Wise transfer fee is higher than another provider, the recipient gets more in the end because of the higher rate used.

Learn more about Wise

Learn more about Xoom

Can I open a business account with Wise or Xoom?

Yes, you can open a Wise multi-currency account for businessXoom payments are only available for sending money to friends and family. You can not use Xoom for commercial purposes.

Wise business features

  • Hold 54 currencies and send payments around the world
  • 31 USD one time set up fee for full account access, then no monthly charge
  • Payments can be 6x cheaper than regular banks and 19x cheaper than PayPal
  • 50% of payments are instant or arrive in an hour
  • Invoice to local receiving accounts in 10 currencies to get paid easily from around the world
  • Cut admin time with batch payments
  • Integrate with QuickBooks or Xero accounting software
  • Give team members access

Speed

Feature

Wise speed

Xoom speed

Open an accountVerification usually takes about 2 working daysVerification can take 24 hours
Transfer timeExact time depends on the currency and country - transfers on popular routes may be instantMost transfers arrive in minutes - but some can take a few days
Converts moneyInstantInstant

Supported currencies

Wise

Xoom

Wise accounts can hold 54 currencies, and receive local payments in 10 currenciesXoom payments can be made to a broad range of counties - but payout methods do vary by destination. Model your payment online, or check the full list of Xoom partner locations if you want to make a transfer for cash pickup.

How each provider works

Both Xoom and Wise work online and through an app for easy mobile payments on the go. You can open your accounts with both providers online or in the app, by entering your personal details and setting up account security. You may also be asked to verify your identity and address by uploading images of a photo ID or driver’s license for example. 

Whichever provider you choose, you’ll be guided through the account registration process with onscreen prompts. It’s not always necessary to get verified right away - that depends on the type and value of transactions you’ll be making - so you’ll be notified of the steps you need to take once you start the account registration process.

Availability

Wise services are available in a broad range of countries - you’ll find a handy tool on the Wise website which lets you select your country from the dropdown list to see a summary of the services and account types on offer.

Xoom can be used by people in the US, Canada, the UK and most countries in the European Economic Area. Payments can be sent to a broad range of countries through partner locations around the world.

Which service is the safest - Wise or Xoom?

Both Wise and Xoom take steps to secure your money, no matter where you’re sending it.

There are anti-fraud teams and technologies to protect payments, and customer funds are safeguarded in compliance with standard financial regulations. You can secure your accounts in both cases through additional layers of security, and you’ll be able to monitor transactions and transfers in real time by logging in online or in the provider app.

Wise

Wise uses 2-factor authentication, anti-fraud tools and technology, and is fully regulated at both state and federal levels as required. Learn more about Wise security over on the Wise website.

Xoom

Xoom is backed by PayPal which - as one of the biggest online payment providers in the world - has cutting edge security for account holders. Keep your Xoom account secure with sensible measures, and only use the service to send payments to people you know and trust. 

Sending a transfer for cash collection means the money could be in the recipient’s hands in minutes - and then can’t be easily tracked down. This does mean that phishing and scams come up where fraudsters try their luck on services like Xoom, so you’ll want to be sure you’re using the service only for payments you’re sure about.

Payment options

Wise is a specialist in online and mobile payments.

Xoom is also great for digital payments - but unlike Wise you’ll also be able to choose to have your money sent for cash collection at a location near to your recipient.

This can be especially handy if you need to get money quickly to a friend or family member who can’t access a bank account.

Here are the pay in and payout options available for both Wise and Xoom.

Wise

Pay in:

  • Bank transfer
  • Card
  • Apple Pay

Pay out:

  • Bank account

Xoom

Pay in:

  • Bank transfer
  • Card
  • PayPal

Pay out:

  • Cash collection
  • Cash delivery
  • Bank account, mobile money account or debit card
  • Bill payment
  • Mobile phone reload

Min & Max Amounts

Wise

  • Transfer money abroad - individual countries may impose limits, model your payment online or in the app to check
  • Receive money - unlimited in most cases. Some users will have a 1,000,000 USD/day receiving limit
  • ATM withdrawals - set and manage your own limits in the Wise app
  • Card payments - set and manage your own limits in the Wise app

Xoom

  • Transfer money abroad - Xoom account limits vary by level, with limits for cash pickup payments and bank transfers, over 24 hours, 30 days and 180 days. Daily limits range from 2,999 USD to 50,000 USD
  • Receive money - in the US, Xoom recipients can get between 15,000 USD and 75,000 USD per day based on account level
  • ATM withdrawals - not applicable
  • Card payments - not applicable

Customer support Wise and Xoom

Wise

Service: 27/7

Phone: Phone lines available

Live In-App chat support available

Website help: www.wise.com/help/

Website contact: www.wise.com

Xoom

Support: Phone service available 9am - 9pm Eastern

Phone: yes

Live In-App chat not available

Email: Yes

Website contact: www.xoom.com

Wise vs Xoom - which one is better?

While there is an overlap in the services on offer from Wise and Xoom, they probably suit different customers and different situations. Choosing an international payment provider will require some research, as there’s not one best provider for everyone. Use this guide to start figuring out if Wise or Xoom may be best for your payment, including looking at costs, coverage and convenience. 

Final verdict:

You might want to choose Wise if you want a multi-currency account with low-cost ways to hold, send and spend foreign currencies. Wise is also a better bet if you’re a business customer.

Xoom has some limits in terms of who can open an account - but if you’re based in the US and need to get a cash payment to someone fast, it can be a better bet.

Learn more about Wise

Learn more about Xoom

More about Wise and Xoom

By Ileana Ionescu Updated November 8th, 2021