Instarem vs Wise: what's the best option for you in the US?

Gabriela Peratello

If you need to send a payment abroad you might be considering both Instarem®¹ and Wise as non-bank alternatives which can help you send money online or with your phone.

But what’s the difference between Instarem vs Wise? This guide walks through all you need to know.


Instarem vs Wise in the US: quick overview

Here’s a quick head to head of Instarem vs Wise to give a peek of what we’ll look at in this guide:

Key features

Send payments to 60+ countries

Earn reward points as you spend

Personal and business services

Send payments to 160+ countries

Hold and exchange 40+ currencies in a digital account

Get a linked debit card for spending and withdrawals

Personal and business services

Main feesVariable transfer fees and exchange rate markups²

Currency conversion from 0.42%*

9 USD card order fee

Great forEarning reward points when you send payments overseasFlexible international account with options to send, spend, hold, exchange and receive foreign currencies
Speed1 - 2 business daysPayments may arrive quickly or instantly³
Trustpilot rating4.2 star, Great rating, from 8,000+ reviews⁴4.2 star, Great rating, from 210,000+ reviews⁵

Instarem vs Wise: key features

We’ve got the highlights, let’s introduce Instarem vs Wise in a little more detail.

Instarem features

Instarem specializesin digital money transfers and has over one million customers⁶. Annually, Instarem supports international payments worth 6 billion USD, with payments from the US to a broad selection of countries.

Here are a few of the important Instarem features you’ll want to know about:
  • Payments can be set up online or in-app

  • Send payments to 60+ countries

  • Variable transfer fees which depend on the currency and payment method

  • Exchange rates may include a markup

  • Pay by card, ACH or wire

  • Earn InstaPoints which you can redeem as discounts against future transactions

  • Personal and business services available - terms and conditions vary

Instarem is easy to use online or in their app. You’ll need to set up and verify an account first, but this can be done with your computer or phone.

Instarem is part of the international money specialist group Nium, and offers services in the US through their partnership with Community Federal Savings Bank. It’s a safe provider to use.

Wise features

Wise has been around since 2011, and serves over 16 million customers across many different countries and regions globally.

Wise started out as an international transfer service and has added in new features over time, including a multi-currency account and card, with ways to pay and get paid in foreign currencies.

Here are some of the important Wise features:
  • Open a digital multi-currency account to hold 40+ currencies

  • Send payments to 160+ countries

  • Get a linked debit card to spend in 150+ countries

  • Payments and accounts can be managed online or in-app

  • Variable transfer fees which depend on the currency and payment method

  • Exchange rates use the mid-market exchange rate

  • Pay by card, with Apple Pay, Google Pay, using ACH or wire

  • Personal and business services available - terms and conditions vary

Wise is a digital provider with a fully online and in-app registration, verification and onboarding process. It’s also safe and easy to use.

Wise is licensed as a money transmitter in most US states - in other states and territories, Wise offers services through partnership with Community Federal Savings Bank⁷.

Wise has handy features to freeze and unfreeze your card, view your balance and get transaction notifications in its app - plus lots of digital security measures to keep customers safe 24/7.

Instarem vs Wise: fees and costs

Instarem and Wise both offer international outgoing payments. However, Wise also has a few more features, including ways to receive and hold payments, and a card to spend and withdraw internationally. Let’s look at how the fees for Instarem vs Wise work out:

ServiceWise cost*Instarem cost
Send international paymentsVariable fees from 0.42%Variable fees based on destination and payment type
Exchange rateMid-market rateVariable markup is added to the mid-market exchange rate
Receive international payments

Free to receive money in AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HUF, NZD, RON, SGD, TRY, USD (non-wire)

Receive US wire - 4.14 USD

Receive CAD SWIFT payment - 10 CAD

Card order fee9 USDCards Unavailable
Make ATM withdrawals in the US and abroad

Up to 2 withdrawals to the value of 100 USD/month for free

1.5 USD + 2% after that


Note: Wise will not charge you for these withdrawals, but some additional charges may occur from independent ATM networks

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

Instarem vs Wise: pros and cons

Still not sure? Let’s look at some pros and cons of each provider to help you decide.

Instarem pros vs cons

  • Send to 60+ countries

  • Earn rewards which you can use for a later discount

  • Safe and trusted provider

  • Variable fees

  • Exchange rates include a markup

  • No multi-currency account or card option

What are the benefits of Instarem? Instarem offers digital payments which you can set up online or in the Instarem app, and pay with card, wire or ACH. It’s easy to use and a safe provider.

What are the disadvantages of Instarem? Instarem has variable fees and exchange rate markups, which may push up the costs of your payment. There’s also no way to receive or hold foreign currency payments, and no debit card - making it a bit less flexible compared to Wise.

Wise pros and cons

  • Send payments to 160+ countries with the mid-market exchange rate

  • Hold and exchange 40+ currencies and receive payments from others in a selection of currencies

  • International transfers can be fast or instant³

  • Variable transfer fees apply

  • Some card fees apply, including a 9 USD card order charge

What are the benefits of Wise? Wise is a flexible, low cost option if you need to send international payments, but are also looking for options to receive, hold, exchange and spend foreign currencies easily and with mid-market exchange rates.

What are the disadvantages of Wise? Wise is not free to use. While currency conversion is pretty cheap, fees do apply, and there’s a card order fee if you want an international debit card.

Instarem vs Wise: which has the best availability in the US?

Both Instarem and Wise are available in the US, to customers who are 18 or over, and can provide the ID and verification documents needed for registration.

In terms of service availability, Wise supports international payments to more countries compared to Instarem - supporting 160+ countries compared to Instarem’s 60+. However, both are worth comparing if they serve the destination you want to send to.

Compare both Instarem and Wise to see if either is a good fit for you, based on the specific transfer or transaction you need to make.


  1. Instarem
  2. Instarem FAQ - how much does it cost to send money
  3. 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
  4. Trustpilot - Instarem
  5. Trustpilot - Wise
  6. Instarem About us
  7. Wise - how is Wise regulated

Sources checked on 03.19.2024

*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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