Sending and spending money overseas? Save up to 15x with your Wise multi-currency account and debit card.

Chee-Xuan Tang
02.08.21
6 minute read

An independent researcher compared Wise to 5 other Japanese bank accounts. They found that Wise is on average 7x cheaper to send, spend and withdraw money overseas. They found that we’re up to 4x cheaper for spending in foreign currencies. And our fees to withdraw ¥80,000 from an overseas ATM are up to 1.4x cheaper. There are no monthly fees, and no minimum balance with the Wise account. It’s also up to 14x cheaper to send money abroad.

What we researched

The research was carried out in July 2021 by market research agency, Alderson Consulting, with an in-market researcher in Japan, in conjunction with Wise. The data was gathered through publicly available pricing information and mid-market rate comparison data provided by Refinitiv, formerly known as Reuters.

The different fees recorded for this price comparison include:

  • Cost^ of ¥15,000 and ¥80,000 point-of-sale (POS) transaction (this is when your card is swiped at a register or machine at a store or restaurant or used to make an online purchase)
  • Cost^ to withdraw ¥15,000 and ¥80,000 from an ATM abroad in another currency every month
  • Cost# to send ¥15,000 and ¥80,000 abroad
  • Monthly account fees

^With regard to the cost of using debit cards overseas, there may be additional costs to the consumer where the bank applies a retail margin to the rate provided by Visa or Mastercard. In the interest of fairness, since it’s not possible to accurately determine these costs, we only compare the charges declared by the banks in their online documentation, or confirmed via social media.

#The costs collected are made up of both the foreign transaction fee and any exchange rate markup.

Research took place on transfers from JPY to BRL, CNY, EUR, KRW and USD routes. The providers compared were MUFG, Rakuten, Shinsei Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), and Sony Bank.

How we do it

When comparing Wise to the propositions of the specified banks, we remove the consumer-initiated advantages, like use of currency balances or currency auto-detection. In brief, we assume that the conversion takes place at the point of transaction. This is consistently applied across all propositions, including Wise.

"When comparing the cost to “Send” funds with banks, we have where possible used the customer journey on their websites to determine the Exchange Rate. Otherwise, we have used the TTS Sheet Rates published on the brands' websites.

For the fees, we used information taken directly from the relevant brand's website relating to the specified product or as guided by the brand i.e fee documents. Where there was any question of interpretation, we obtain further clarification via social media or customer channels before applying the fees reported.

For the remaining areas of comparison, “Spend” and “Withdraw”, we use information taken directly from the relevant bank’s website relating to the product in question or as guided by the bank i.e general fee documents. Where there is any question of interpretation, we obtain further clarification via social media or customer channels before applying the fees reported.

Research is undertaken over 5 working days (Monday to Friday) during standard trading hours and is currently updated every six months. It is acknowledged that brands may change their propositions during that period and therefore, the published results should be considered indicative and individual experiences may differ.

With regard to the cost of spending using debit cards overseas,** there may be additional costs to the consumer where the brand applies a retail margin to the rate provided by Visa or Mastercard.** In the interest of fairness as it is not possible to accurately determine these costs, we only compare the charges declared by the banks in their online documentation or confirmed via social media.

What we found out

It is up to 4x cheaper to spend ¥15,000 internationally with Wise compared to the 5 banks in Japan — MUFG, Rakuten, Shinsei Bank, SMBC, Sony Bank.

With regard to the cost of spending using debit cards overseas,** there may be additional costs to the consumer where the brand applies a retail margin to the rate provided by Visa or Mastercard.** In the interest of fairness as it is not possible to accurately determine these costs, we only compare the charges declared by the banks in their online documentation or confirmed via social media.

Note that even though MUFG does not charge a transaction fee, it charges a 3% administrative fee applied to VISA rate)

JPY → BRL: Wise debit card is on average 1.7x cheaper

Wise debit card: ¥214.50

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥0

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥462

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥600

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥450

Sony Bank wallet: ¥268.50

JPY → CNY: Wise debit card is on average 1.7x cheaper

Wise debit card: ¥187.50

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥0

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥462

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥600

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥450

Sony Bank wallet: ¥268.50

JPY → EUR: Wise debit card is on average 4x cheaper

Wise debit card: ¥90.00

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥0

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥462

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥600

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥450

Sony Bank wallet: ¥268.50

JPY → KRW: Wise debit card is on average 4x cheaper

Wise debit card: ¥90

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥0

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥462

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥600

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥450

Sony Bank wallet: ¥268.50

JPY → USD: Wise debit card is on average 4x cheaper

Wise debit card: ¥90

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥0

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥462

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥600

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥450

Sony Bank wallet: ¥268.50

It is up to 4x cheaper to spend ¥80,000 internationally with Wise compared to the 5 banks in Japan — MUFG, Rakuten, Shinsei Bank, SMBC, Sony Bank.

JPY → BRL: Wise debit card is on average 3x cheaper

Wise debit card: ¥1,144

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥0

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥2,464

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥3,200

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥2,400

Sony Bank wallet: ¥1,432

JPY → CNY: Wise debit card is on average 2x cheaper

Wise debit card: ¥1,000

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥0

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥2,464

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥3,200

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥2,400

Sony Bank wallet: ¥1,432

JPY → EUR: Wise debit card is on average 4x cheaper

Wise debit card: ¥480

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥0

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥2,464

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥3,200

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥2,400

Sony Bank wallet: ¥1,432

JPY → KRW: Wise debit card is on average 4x cheaper

Wise debit card: ¥480

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥0

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥2,464

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥3,200

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥2,400

Sony Bank wallet: ¥1,432

JPY → USD: Wise debit card is on average 4x cheaper

Wise debit card: ¥480

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥0

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥2,464

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥3,200

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥2,400

Sony Bank wallet: ¥1,432

It is free to withdraw ¥15,000 internationally with Wise compared to the 5 banks in Japan — MUFG, Rakuten, Shinsei Bank, SMBC, Sony Bank.

JPY → BRL: Free withdrawal with Wise

Wise debit card: ¥0

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥110

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥462

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥600

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥450

Sony Bank wallet: ¥488.50

JPY → CNY: Free withdrawal with Wise

Wise debit card: ¥0

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥110

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥462

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥600

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥450

Sony Bank wallet: ¥488.50

JPY → EUR: Free withdrawal with Wise

Wise debit card: ¥0

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥110

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥462

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥600

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥450

Sony Bank wallet: ¥488.50

JPY → KRW: Free withdrawal with Wise

Wise debit card: ¥0

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥110

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥462

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥600

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥450

Sony Bank wallet: ¥488.50

JPY → USD: Free withdrawal with Wise

Wise debit card: ¥0

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥110

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥462

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥600

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥450

Sony Bank wallet: ¥488.50

It’s up to 1.4x cheaper to withdraw ¥80,000 internationally with Wise compared to the 5 banks in Japan — MUFG, Rakuten, Shinsei Bank, SMBC, Sony Bank.

JPY → BRL:

Wise debit card: ¥2,019

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥110

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥2,464

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥3,200

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥3,200

Sony Bank wallet: ¥1,652

JPY → CNY:

Wise debit card: ¥1,875

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥110

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥2,464

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥3,200

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥3,200

Sony Bank wallet: ¥1,652

JPY → EUR:

Wise debit card: ¥1,355

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥110

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥2,464

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥3,200

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥3,200

Sony Bank wallet: ¥1,652

JPY → KRW:

Wise debit card: ¥1,595

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥110

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥2,464

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥3,200

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥3,200

Sony Bank wallet: ¥1,652

JPY → USD:

Wise debit card: ¥1,355

MUFG Visa debit card: ¥110

Rakuten Visa debit card: ¥2,464

Shinsei Gaica Flex: ¥3,200

SMBC Prestia Global Pass: ¥3,200

Sony Bank wallet: ¥1,652

It’s up to 15x cheaper to send ¥15,000 internationally with Wise compared to the 4 banks in Japan — MUFG, Rakuten, Shinsei Bank and SMBC.

Sony Bank’s exchange rates were not available to us during this research and has therefore, been excluded from the send money research. Market data points for the CNY currency route were unavailable on this occasion from Refinitiv. Hence, we do not have data comparing prices to send money to China from Japan.

JPY → BRL: Wise is 7.9x cheaper

Wise upfront fee: ¥360.00

Wise exchange rate markup: ¥0

Average bank upfront fee: ¥1,750

Average bank exchange rate markup: ¥1,076.74

JPY → EUR: Wise debit card is on average 15x cheaper

Wise upfront fee: ¥145.00

Wise exchange rate markup: ¥0

Average bank upfront fee: ¥2,050.00

Average bank exchange rate markup: ¥142.08

JPY → KRW: Wise debit card is on average 3x cheaper

Shinsei Bank and SMBC do not offer money transfer service to South Korea.

Wise upfront fee: ¥333.00

Wise exchange rate markup: ¥0

Average bank upfront fee: ¥2,750.00

Average bank exchange rate markup: ¥513.05

JPY → USD: Wise debit card is on average 9x cheaper

Wise upfront fee: ¥212.00

Wise exchange rate markup: ¥0

Average bank upfront fee: ¥2,050.00

Average bank exchange rate markup: ¥110.05

It’s up to 6x cheaper to send ¥80,000 internationally with Wise compared to the 4 banks in Japan — MUFG, Rakuten, Shinsei Bank and SMBC.

JPY → BRL: Wise is 6x cheaper

Wise upfront fee: ¥1,298.00

Wise exchange rate markup: ¥0

Average bank upfront fee: ¥1,750

Average bank exchange rate markup: ¥5,747.37

JPY → EUR: Wise debit card is on average 5x cheaper

Wise upfront fee: ¥553.00

Wise exchange rate markup: ¥31.28

Average bank upfront fee: ¥2,050.00

Average bank exchange rate markup: ¥757.56

JPY → KRW: Wise debit card is on average 5.8x cheaper

Shinsei Bank and SMBC do not offer money transfer service to Korea.

Wise upfront fee: ¥946.00

Wise exchange rate markup: ¥0

Average bank upfront fee: ¥2,750

Average bank exchange rate markup: ¥2,736.46

JPY → USD: Wise debit card is on average 4.3x cheaper

Wise upfront fee: ¥619.00

Wise exchange rate markup: ¥0

Average bank upfront fee: ¥2,100

Average bank exchange rate markup: ¥569.79

Wise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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