CurrencyFair vs Wise (ex.TransferWise) in Australia. Which is for you?

Roberto Efflandrin

With global borders opening up, sending money overseas is becoming more common. Whether it’s sending help to family or friends or buying something only made abroad, you need an efficient and cost-effective method to do this.

Sure, you could probably do these transactions from your traditional bank account, but that may not be the fastest or cheapest way. Wise (formerly Transferwise) and CurrencyFair are 2 alternatives.

We’ll look at what both offer and then compare their fees, exchange rates and online reviews.

💰 Wise provides you the mid-market exchange rate and low transparent transfer fees shown upfront.

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Wise money transfers

Table of Contents

(Transfer)Wise vs CurrencyFair introduction

Wise (formerly called Transferwise) and CurrencyFair are international online financial technology companies. They both specialise in offering money transfers globally, quickly and cheaper than many of their competitors..

Before we compare the 2, here’s a brief look at what each company provides to Australians.

Who is CurrencyFair?

Established in Ireland in 2010, CurrencyFair is a global online payment and foreign exchange service. Since its inception, it has looked after over 150,000 customers. It currently offers transfers in 20 currencies, including Australian dollars.

In 2021 CurrencyFair merged with Australian company Assembly Payments to create Zai. It provides integrated financial services to mid-market and enterprise-level business customers.¹

Who is Wise (ex Wise)?

Wise, formerly known as Transferwise, began in 2011. Its goal was to make money without borders, the new normal for everyone. In 2016 it expanded into Australia, where it’s regulated and holds Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) number 513764.

Wise offers international money services to both personal and business customers.

CurrencyFair vs Wise — Main product offerings

To choose which is the right product for you, we’ve broken down the main product offerings for Australians from both companies.

CurrencyFair² Wise
International money transfers at pay now rates International money transfers at mid-market rates
International money transfers at choose your own rates Wise Account for personal or business customers allows you to hold money in over 50 currencies. \ \ You get 10 local currency accounts for receiving money and it can all be accessed with a debit card.

As seen on 13 November 2022

The two differences between them is that CurrencyFair has a marketplace option where you can choose your own rate.

Wise on the other hand provides a dedicated account allowing you to receive and hold funds to use for payments at your leisure.

CurrencyFair vs Wise — Fees

Fees are among the most common ways people compare financial service products. Both CurrencyFair and Wise are transparent with what they charge and provide the breakdown at the time of the transaction. They are as follows:

CurrencyFair³ Wise
Fixed fee based on the currency supplied at the time of the transfer request Variable fees starting at 0.41%. Shown upfront. See pricing page

As seen on 13 November 2022

The easiest way to compare this is to view an example of sending AUD from Australia to the United Kingdom, to be received in GBP.

To send $1000 AUD to the UK in GBP

Transfer fee = 2.50 GBP (4.42 AUD)

Exchange rate = 0.5636 GBP to 1 AUD

Receiver will receive = 561.10 GBP

To send $1000 AUD to the UK in GBP

Transfer fee = $5.14 AUD

Exchange rate = 0.5662 GBP to 1 AUD

Receiver will receive = 563.27 GBP See pricing

As seen on 13 November 2022

As you can see, even though CurrencyFair has a lower transfer fee, its markup on the exchange rate makes this amount higher.³ The end result is that the receiver gets more GBP with Wise.

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

Meet Wise

CurrencyFair vs Wise — Exchange rates used

The other deciding factor on how to transfer internationally is based on the exchange rates the financial service provider uses. Some companies add markups and others use transparent rates. Here’s how CurrencyFair and Wise differ.

CurrencyFair³ Wise
Mid-market rate plus a markup (typically 0.45%) Mid-market rate and no markup or adjustment
CurrencyFair Marketplace*

As seen on 13 November 2022

*Marketplace is an option by CurrencyFair where you determine the exchange rate you’d like to sell at. If a buyer matches your rate, the exchange takes place. This activity only happens if there is a like-minded buyer. There are no guarantees that CurrencyFair can action the transaction.⁶

The benefit of Wise over CurrencyFair is that Wise uses the transparent mid-market rate and doesn’t apply markups.

CurrencyFair vs Wise — Supported currencies and routes

Here’s how CurrencyFair and Wise compare regarding the number of countries and range of currencies available.

Service CurrencyFair² Wise
Sending money currencies 20 currencies Up to 53 currencies available for transfers
Countries Send money to 150 countries You can send money to 80 countries

As seen on 13 November 2022

CurrencyFair may have more countries available to receive funds, but Wise can make transactions in more than double the number of currencies.

Read more: OFX vs Wise (ex.TransferWise) in Australia

Money transfer speed

One of the main benefits of using an international transfer service is that it’s generally faster than doing it via a bricks and mortar bank.

At Wise, 45% of transfers get actioned instantly, which means within 20 seconds.

With CurrencyFair, it’s a case-by-case situation. For example, sending AUD to a EUR account usually takes 1 business day. Sending to a Thai account can take 1–4 days. Keep in mind with CurrencyFair, you cannot send AUD to beneficiary accounts outside of Australia.

Here are some examples of major currency transfers from AUD to:

EUR 1–2 business days 5 hours
GBP Same day to 1 business day seconds
USD 1 business day Up to 3 business days
SGD Same day to 1 business day seconds
NZD 1–3 business days 3 hours
THB 1–4 business days seconds

As seen on 11 November 2022

As you can, except for USD, Wise appears to be faster for most major currency transfers.

Remember that the receiving financial institution could face delays in processing the transfer due to things like⁸:

  • funds availability
  • national holidays delaying the receiving institution from processing
  • approval by Wise’s proprietary verification system
  • the recipient’s local bank transfer times
Note: The speed of transaction claim depends on funds availability, approval by Wise’s proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners’ banking system, and may not be available for all transactions.

Transfer pay in and pay out payment methods

Here are the ways you can pay money to CurrencyFair and Wise and how your recipient can access it.

Pay in options Bank transfer
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Pay ID
  • Wise account transfer
  • Bank Transfer
  • Poli service
Pay out options Bank account (including Wise account) Wise account

Bank account transfer

As seen on 13 November 2022

For now, CurrencyFair can only accept deposits in Australia via bank transfer. Wise may be a better option if you prefer the flexibility of paying money via cards or Poli.

Pros and cons of using these services

Now that we’ve covered the products, fees, and exchange rates, here’s a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each provider.

CurrencyFair Wise
Pros Choose your own rate

Low upfront transfer fee with a small exchange rate markup

Send to 150 countries

Mid-market exchange rates

Low, transparent fees

Multi-currency accounts available to hold 50+ currencies

Cons Payment in by bank transfer only Transfers can’t be paid for or collected as cash

What about safety?

CurrencyFair Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 94 147 506 410) is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), CurrencyFair holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL Number: 402709). CurrencyFair holds money in segregated customer accounts held in Tier 1 international banks.¹⁰

Wise Australia Pty Ltd holds a limited authorised deposit-taking institution licence (limited to providing purchased payment facilities) in Australia under APRA. We are also supervised by ASIC under our Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) (AFSL number: 513764). On top of this, Wise has dedicated compliance teams and systems working around the clock to keep our customers’ money safe.

Online reviews for CurrencyFair and Wise in Australia

Don’t just take our word for it. Let’s see how the customers of both CurrencyFair and Wise feel about their products and services.

CurrencyFair reviews¹² Wise reviews¹¹
Trustpilot Australia review: 4.5/5 star rating from just over 6,000 reviews and 84% giving 5 stars. Trustpilot Australia review: 4.5/5 star rating from just over 178,000 reviews and 84% giving 5 stars.

As seen on 13 November 2022

When it comes to customer satisfaction, both CurrencyFair and Wise rate highly with 4.5/5 stars. Wise, however, has a considerably higher number of reviews.

Customer support and contacts

It’s important for a financial services provider to be contacted. Here we break down the multiple ways Australians can contact CurrencyFair and Wise.

CurrencyFair Wise
Call 02 8279 8642 Via the Wise mobile app or website here
Online help section here Online help section here
Email support (at) (replace (at) with @ symbol) Via Wise’s dedicated Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page
Automated chat bot (not live) here

The wrap

To decide which international payments provider is the best for you, consider what you need.

If making transfers using the transparent mid-market rate is your preferred option, choose Wise.

For those who would like to select your own rates if you believe the market can meet them, CurrencyFair may be the better choice.

If the majority of your transfers are to the US, then currently, CurrencyFair appears to be faster. However, if you are making payments in various currencies, Wise is the better choice.

Join over 13 million customers currently enjoying Wise. It’ll only take a few minutes to register and see what’s inside.

Open your Wise account in minutes 🚀

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.


  1. CurrencyFair about us
  2. CurrencyFair products
  3. CurrencyFair fees
  4. CurrencyFair example transfer AUD to GBP
  5. Wise example transfer AUD to GBP
  6. CurrencyFair marketplace
  7. CurrencyFair transfer times
  8. Wise transfer times - The speed of transaction claim depends on funds availability, approval by Wise’s proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners’ banking system, and may not be available for all transactions.
  9. CurrencyFair payment options
  10. CurrencyFair safety
  11. Trustpilot reviews for Wise
  12. Trustpilot reviews for Currencyfair

Sources checked on: 13 November 2022

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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