How to use the UK-issued Wise card abroad?

Gert Svaiko

Planning a trip overseas from the UK? You’ll need to find the cheapest and most convenient way to spend in multiple currencies. One easy solution is the Wise card, which lets you spend like a local in 150+ countries worldwide.

But how does the Wise card work abroad? If you’re thinking about signing up with Wise or already have and got a Wise card in your pocket, read on to find out everything you need to know.

We’ve put together a handy guide for UK travellers, so you’ll be able to start spending from the moment you land at your destination.


How does the Wise card work when travelling from the UK?

The Wise card works in much the same way as your bank-issued debit card. While you’re overseas, you can spend and withdraw cash with your card just like you would in the UK. You can keep an eye on everything with instant transaction notifications in the Wise app.

The card linked to your Wise account, just like a bank debit card is linked to a current account. Using your card, you can spend whatever is in your Wise balance.

So all you need to do before you travel is top up your Wise account with the money you expect to spend while you’re away. And you can always add more, using the Wise app to top up on the move.

But the Wise card does a clever thing that most debit cards don’t. When you spend, it automatically converts the currency from your balance into the local currency wherever you are. This means you don’t need to convert currency before you travel (unless you want to), as the card will do it for you.

Best of all, it does this at the mid-market exchange rate - we’ll explain this in more detail later on. There’s just a small, transparent currency conversion fee to pay.

Is it safe to use the Wise card on your travels?

Yes, the Wise card is safe to use when travelling abroad.

Your Wise card also comes with a number of security features as standard:

  • 2-factor authentication on all Wise accounts
  • Instant transaction notifications in the Wise app
  • Freeze or unfreeze your card instantly if it’s lost or stolen
  • 24/7 anti-fraud measures in place
  • Digital cards available for added security
  • No need to carry cash - just make withdrawals when you need to.

Where can you use the Wise card?

You can use the Wise card in 150+ countries worldwide, in most places where debit cards are accepted.

There are a very small number of exceptions - you can find the list of countries where your Wise card won’t work here.

Is the Wise card a travel card?

The Wise card is similar to a travel card, but it does have a few differences.

Like pre-paid currency cards, you can top up your Wise balance before your trip - ready for spending. But you don’t have to stick to just one currency, or even convert currency before you go. The Wise card is multi-currency and its auto convert feature will automatically convert your pounds to whatever the local currency is whenever you spend.

The Wise card can be managed through an app, is safe to use, is not linked to your bank account and is accepted worldwide - just like many travel cards.


How to use the Wise card abroad?

It’s really simple to use your Wise card overseas. Simply top up your Wise account and spend at shops, bars, restaurants or online, or use it for ATM withdrawals.

The Wise card is contactless, so you can just tap to pay wherever you see the contactless symbol. Or pop your card into the point of sale terminal and enter your PIN.

You can also add your Wise card to your Google Pay or Apple Pay digital wallet, so you can pay with just your phone.

An important thing to remember is to always pay in the local currency. Sometimes you’re given the option to pay in GBP, but this means the currency conversion might be done by the vendor or ATM terminal. This could result in poor exchange rates. Choose to pay in the local currency and your Wise card will ensure you get the best rates.

Wise card fees, rates and limits for UK residents

There are no subscription or other ongoing fees with the Wise card. But using a Wise card abroad does have some fees related to usage.

Here are the most important Wise card fees you need to know about - you can get a full rundown on the Wise UK pricing page.

ServiceWise card UK fee
Order a Wise card£7
Get a digital/virtual cardNo fee
Monthly/annual feeNo fee
Spend a currency you hold in your accountNo fee
Currency conversion fee when spending a currency you don’t holdFrom 0.43%
International ATM withdrawals- No fee for withdrawals up to £200 a month (2 withdrawals max)

- 1.75% + £0.50 after

Replace a lost or damaged Wise card£2.50
Replace an expiring Wise cardNo fee

The Wise card carries out all currency conversions using the mid-market exchange rate. This is known as one of the fairest rates you can get, as it has no mark-up or margin added on top. So, you’ll get more dollars, euros or yen for your pounds.

As for how much you can spend, there’s a monthly limit of £30,000. For ATM withdrawals, there’s a limit of £4,000 a month. These limits are also daily limits, so you won’t be able to spend or withdraw more than this in one day. Find out more about spending limits here.

Withdrawing cash from an ATM with the Wise card

Handily, the Wise card can also be used to withdraw cash overseas when you need to. You can withdraw up to £200 a month with no Wise fees, in a maximum of 2 withdrawals. After this, there’s a small fee of 1.75% + £0.50 to pay per withdrawal.

Like with spending, remember to choose to pay in the local currency rather than in GBP. This way, Wise will do the currency conversion and you’ll get the best rate.


Step-by-step guide to ordering the Wise card from the UK

Ordering a Wise card is easy and can be done with just your phone or laptop.

Here’s how to order a Wise card in the UK, step by step:

  1. Open the Wise desktop site or download the Wise app
  2. Click Sign up and enter your email, Facebook, Google or Apple ID to register
  3. Follow the prompts to add the required personal and contact information and to set a secure password
  4. Complete the verification step
  5. One your account is verified, tap the Cards tab in the Wise app
  6. Select the option to order your Wise debit card - you’ll need to add a currency balance to Wise and pay a one-time fee
  7. Your Wise card will arrive by post within 2-6 working days, and you can start using your Wise digital card right away.

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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