Ria Money Transfer vs Wise - A Complete Comparison

Tommy Buckley

Looking to send money overseas from the UK? Perhaps you have family in other countries, have bills to pay on a holiday home or want to send an international friend a birthday gift.

Whatever your needs, there are lots of money transfer services to choose from here in the UK.

In this guide, we’ll be looking at two of the biggest names in the transfer world - Ria Money Transfer and Wise.

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We’ll be comparing the two on all of the most important factors, including fees, exchange rates and transfer times. This should help you pick the one that works best for you.

So, let’s get started with a little background on each provider.

Ria Money Transfer vs. Wise - an overview

Before we dive into specifics on fees, transfer times and the like, it’s useful to know a little about each company.

Let’s start with Ria Money Transfer. It’s a US-based transfer specialist, owned by Euronet Worldwide, Inc and launched in New York City back in 1987.¹

Today, Ria has a network of over 507,000 locations in 160 countries,¹ which enables it to offer cash payment and pickup services in person. However, it also offers a fast and secure online money transfer service.

Now, onto Wise. Launched as Wise in 2011, Wise is an international money transfer specialist. The company was founded with a mission to make it faster, cheaper and more convenient to move money between countries.

Based in London, Wise is known for its powerful online multi-currency account and debit card, and for offering mid-market exchange rates without any hidden fees. Approximately 16 million people and businesses use Wise worldwide.²

Features compared

Now, let’s compare the features on offer with both Ria Money Transfer and Wise, including how many countries and currencies are supported.

Ria is an international money transfer specialist, so it focuses on providing online and in-person transfer services. This means it doesn’t have a lot of extra services or features.

Key features of Ria Money Transfer include:

  • Online money transfers worldwide, for competitive fees and exchange rates
  • In-person cash collection at over 507,000 locations in 160 countries¹
  • Bill payment, mobile top-ups, prepaid debit cards, check cashing and money orders¹ (all services may not be available in all countries)
  • Dedicated mobile app, available from the Google Play Store and App Store.


Wise, meanwhile, offers many other products and features besides its fast, secure international money transfer service. This includes the following:

  • Fast online money transfers to 70+ countries, for low fees and mid-market exchange rates
  • An online multi-currency account for holding and converting 40+ currencies
  • A Wise debit card for spending in 150+ countries
  • Wise Interest, which when switched on offers returns on balances held in GBP, EUR and USD. Your money is invested in an interest-earning fund that holds government-guaranteed assets. (Capital at risk, returns not guaranteed).
  • Dedicated services for businesses, including payroll, batch payments and linked accounting tools
  • Wise mobile app, for sending and tracking transfers on the move.

Payment and delivery methods

One of the main differences between Ria Money Transfer and Wise is the range of delivery methods available.

With Wise, you can pay for transfers using your bank account, debit card or credit card. You can only send directly to a recipient’s bank account.

Ria Money Transfer doesn’t offer the option to pay using your bank account. In the UK, you’ll only have the option to fund transfers using your debit or credit card. If you live elsewhere, you may have the choice of other payment methods. For example, customers in Germany, Austria and Spain can use ‘buy now, pay later’ services such as Klarna.³

However, Ria does offer a wide range of delivery options compared to some other providers. This includes:⁴

  • Cash pickup, from a network of 507,000 locations in 160 countries¹
  • Bank transfers
  • Mobile wallets
  • Home deliveries.

Not all delivery methods are available in all countries, so you’ll need to check the options for your recipient’s destination before sending.

Ria Money Transfer vs. Wise - fees, costs and exchange rates

Cost is one of the most important factors to consider for anyone comparing money transfer providers. With many companies offering similar services, it often comes down to which is the cheapest. You’ll be looking for the lowest fees or the best exchange rates - or ideally, a combination of both.

So, how much does it cost to send a transfer with both Wise and Ria? Let’s take a look at the costs involved with both providers.

Is there a fee to sign up?

The great news is that neither Ria Money Transfer or Wise charge any sort of fee to sign up or open an account. There are fees for other things (which we’ll look at next) but it won’t cost you a penny to at least create an account.

Transfer fees

Most money transfer services charge an upfront transfer fee for every payment you send, but these fees can vary significantly.

Ria’s fees vary based on factors such as:⁵

  • Payment and delivery methods
  • The country you’re sending from and to
  • The transfer amount.

While it’d be handy to know a flat fee or percentage, you can easily check the fee for your specific transfer in advance on the Ria home page. Simply enter the amount you want to send and the country you’re sending to, and you’ll be able to see the fee and exchange rate. Plus, how much the recipient will get on the other end. You don’t need to have an account in order to do this.

Also good to know - Ria Money Transfer offers a fee-free initial transfer for new customers, on transfers of £50 or more made on the app or website.⁶ Any transfers made after that will be likely to incur fees.

With Wise, the fees work in a similar way. They start at just 0.43% and can vary depending on:

  • The amount
  • The currency you’re sending money to
  • Your payment method.

Wise fees are always available upfront, so you’ll know exactly what you’re paying before you send a transfer. And like with Ria, you can check the fee, exchange rate and estimated delivery time on the Wise money transfers page. Anyone can do this - you don’t need to create an account or sign in.

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

Exchange rates

Alongside the upfront transfer fee, it’s also important to check the exchange rate you’re being offered for your transfer. This can make more difference to the overall cost than you may think.

Some providers add a margin or mark-up to what is known as the mid-market rate. This is considered to be one of the fairest rates you can get. By building in this margin, banks and other transfer providers are able to make money from the transaction.

Unfortunately though, it makes the transfer more expensive for you. This is because more money is lost in currency conversion, and less of your cash reaches your recipient on the other end.

Ria Money Transfer offers competitive exchange rates, but is likely to add on a small margin of its own.⁵ Wise only ever uses mid-market rates, with no hidden fees and no margins or mark-ups added on top.

A quick price comparison

To give you a better idea of the impact both fees and exchange rates have on the cost of your transfer, let’s do a quick price comparison.

Imagine you want to send £500 to a friend in France (EUR). Here’s how much your recipient will receive with Ria Money Transfer and Wise - with both fees and exchange rates taken into account.

For the sake of this example, we’ve assumed you’re a new customer with Ria Money Transfer, so have factored the promotional offer of a fee-free initial transfer.

ProviderTransfer feeExchange rateRecipient receives
Ria Money Transfer⁷£0 (normally £8)1.13€564.15 EUR
Wise£4.431.14916 - mid-market rate€569.49 EUR
  • Correct at time of researching - 27-Oct-2023

From this example, you can see the big difference the exchange rate makes to the overall cost of the transfer.

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Even though Ria Money Transfer doesn’t charge a fee (based on the new customer offer), Wise still comes out on top. With Wise, more of your money reaches the recipient.

Ria Money Transfer vs. Wise - how to send a transfer

Although cost will be top of your priorities list when choosing a transfer service, it’s also worth considering ease of use. So which service is the most user-friendly?

Both Ria Money Transfer and Wise let you send money online and in a dedicated mobile app.

They also match each other on the fee and exchange rate calculator available on their respective websites. All you need to do is choose your destination/currency, tap in the amount you want to send and check the costs.

With both providers, you’ll need to create a free account before you can send your transfer.

The only real difference is the payment and delivery methods, which differ slightly between Ria and Wise.

Ria Money Transfer vs. Wise - transfer times

So which is quicker to send money overseas - Ria Money Transfer or Wise? If you need your money to arrive in a hurry, you’ll be looking for a speedy service.

With Ria, the time it takes for your payment to arrive depends on the payment method. If you fund your transfer with a credit or debit card, it can take as little as 15 minutes to 6 hours for the payment to be processed.⁹

Similarly with Wise, the transfer time varies depending on factors such as where you’re sending to and the payment method.

It could take up to 2 working days, although Wise says that most payments don’t take that long.¹⁰ In some cases, such as the example transfer of £500 to France we ran through above, your money could arrive in as little as 2 hours.⁸


Ria Money Transfer vs. Wise - Security

Last but by no means least, it’s time to look at security. You’re sending money online to another country, so you need to make sure it’ll arrive safely. It’s also important that your card or other payment details are protected.

You’ll be pleased to know that both Ria Money Transfer and Wise have measures in place to protect your money and your confidential data.

Ria Money Transfer uses security features such as:¹¹

  • Extended Validation SSL certification to keep your account safe
  • Account verification processes using sophisticated modelling, so that Ria can identify suspicious transfers early
  • World-class security experts working 24/7 to monitor money transfers
  • Protected payment info - your payment details are never stored on Ria’s servers, so they can’t be compromised.

Wise also takes security extremely seriously. As well as being strictly regulated in the UK and all the countries in which it operates, Wise has the following security features:

  • 2-factor authentication and HTTPS encryption for extra-secure transactions
  • Commitment to keeping your personal data safe.
  • Real-time spending notifications for the Wise card
  • Dedicated anti-fraud team working round the clock
  • Robust data protection measures.

It’s also good to know that both providers are regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

And both are well reviewed by customers over on TrustPilot.

Ria Money Transfer has a 4.4 rating out of 5, based on over 13,000 reviews.¹² Wise meanwhile has a 4.2 score out of 5, based on a whopping 196,462 reviews.¹³

And there you have it - a full comparison of Ria Money Transfer vs. Wise, pitting the two against each other on all the things that matter.

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We’ve looked at fees, exchange rates, transfer times and much more. It’s all so that you have all the info you need to shop around, compare providers and choose the best one for your needs.

Sources used:

  1. Ria Money Transfer - About Ria
  2. Wise Newsroom - Wise unveils new look as it reaches 16 million customers
  3. Ria Money Transfer - Help - What are my payment options?
  4. Ria Money Transfer - Help - What are the delivery options when I send money?
  5. Ria Money Transfer - Help - FAQs on fees and exchange rates
  6. Ria Money Transfer - Promo
  7. Ria Money Transfer - Home
  8. Wise - Send money
  9. Ria Money Transfer - Help - How long do transfers take?
  10. Wise - Help - How long does a transfer take?
  11. Ria Money Transfer - Security
  12. TrustPilot - Ria Money Transfer
  13. TrustPilot - Wise

Sources last checked on date: 27-Oct-2023

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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