Going abroad and in need of foreign currency? In this article, we'll explore where to exchange currency - from good deals to the places you should avoid.
Need to make an international transfer? You could use your bank, but a faster, cheaper and more convenient option could be an online money transfer service.
There are lots to choose from, including Paysend and Wise. Both of these UK-based services offer transfer services to customers here in the US.
But which is better? To help you decide, we’ve put together a guide to Paysend vs. Wise. We’ll compare the two on everything from fees and exchange rates to transfer times.
Before we dive into comparing the facts and figures, it’s useful to know a little background on each provider.
Launched in 2017, Paysend is a financial technology company based in the UK - although it operates globally. It has an online international transfer platform and app, both of which aim to make it easy for people and businesses to send money between countries.
- Fixed, transparent fees - with transfer fees, exchange rates and receivable amounts displayed upfront
- Choice of simple transfer methods
- Fast transfers - many arriving instantly
- Global 24/7 support.
Wise is another money service business, also based in the UK but operating worldwide. It offers a multi-currency account, international money transfer services and a debit card.
Features for personal customers include:
- Bank details in 10 currencies
- The option to hold, send, spend and convert 40+ currencies at once
- Send money overseas with low and transparent fees,
- Order a Wise card for a one time fee of just $9 - for use in 150+ countries
- Mid-market exchange rates on all transactions.
Cost is bound to be the first thing you look for when choosing an international transfer service.
So, let’s start by looking at the upfront fees charged by both Paysend and Wise. If you keep reading, we’ll also give you an example of how these fees (along with exchange rates) affect a real-life transfer.
Paysend charges a fixed, flat fee of $2 per transfer.¹ This is for all transfers where the recipient gets their money in the local currency, no matter the destination or how much you’re sending. However, transfers to bank accounts are fee-free.²
Wise fees vary depending on the currency, amount and your chosen payment method. But they’re always low (starting from just 0.43%) and completely transparent.
So you’ll see exactly what you’ll pay and how it affects what the recipient gets, right from the start. And there’s never any hidden fees.
Alongside the upfront fee, it’s always a good idea to check out exchange rates for currency conversion when you’re sending money overseas.
Paysend claims that its exchange rates are “extremely competitive”³, and as close as possible to the mid-market exchange rate. Also known as the interbank rate, this is considered to be one of the fairest you can get.
However, it’s likely that similar to some other providers, Paysend will add its own small margin to the exchange rate. This enables the company to make a profit on the transfer.
Wise, on the other hand, always sticks to the mid-market exchange rate. This means no margins, mark-ups or hidden fees. It ultimately means that more of your hard-earned dollars make it to the other side.
To give you an idea of how much both the fee and exchange rate can
affect the overall cost of an international transfer, let’s do a quick example.
Let’s imagine you want to send $1,000 to a friend or family member living in Germany.
Here’s how much it’ll cost with both Paysend and Wise:
|Provider||Transfer fee||Exchange rate||Recipient receives|
|Wise⁴||$6.82 USD||0.907350 - mid-market rate||€901.16 EUR|
|Paysend²||$2 USD||1.1188||$892.00 EUR|
(Fees as of 10/08/2023 - Payment method is ACH.)
When choosing an international transfer service, you’ll want to know that your chosen destination (and its home currency) is supported.
Paysend supports transfers to 100+ countries from the US², while Wise lets you send to 70 countries worldwide.
However, Wise also has additional services, such as letting you spend on the Wise card in 150+ countries, and letting you hold 40+ currencies in your Wise Account.
Paysend offers transfers to bank cards and accounts, as well as digital wallets (depending on destination). In some cases, you can use a mobile number and send via Paysend Link.⁵
You can pay via:
- Debit card
- Bank account.
With Wise, transfers are delivered directly to the recipient’s bank account. Payment methods include:
- Debit card
- Credit card
- Connected bank account
- Wire transfer.
How quickly will a global payment arrive with both Paysend and Wise? If you need the money to get there urgently, this is an important thing to check.
Paysend transfers are usually processed and delivered to the recipient instantly.
However, it can potentially take up to 3 working days for transfers to arrive.⁶
With Wise, it all depends on the currency and chosen delivery method. Some transfers arrive in a matter of minutes or hours, while others take a few working days. The great news is that you can check how long your transfer will take here on the Send Money page.
Now, is it safe to send money with Paysend and Wise? And what security features do they both offer? This is really crucial, especially if you send large amounts or make regular transfers.
Paysend is a licensed money transmitter in the US and in the other countries where it operates. It offers what it describes as “bank grade security”⁷, which includes measures such as:
- Compliance with Anti-Money Laundering standards
- Paysend app safeguarded by passcodes or biometric login.
Wise also takes security extremely seriously. As well as being strictly regulated, Wise has the following security features:
- 2-factor authentication and HTTPS encryption for extra-secure transactions
- Commitment to keeping your personal data safe.
So, in the battle of Paysend vs. Wise - which is better? Ultimately, it all depends on what you’re looking for.
Paysend is a great option for making a fast online transfer, perhaps as a one off. But if you travel a lot, have a business in another country or have friends and family overseas, Wise offers many more multi-currency services. This includes an account, debit card and the option to send transfers online or in the Wise app.
Both offer clear, transparent pricing on transfers, but Wise possibly has the edge due to those margin-free exchange rates. This means more of your money reaches your recipient.
Yes, Paysend operates in the US even though it’s a UK-based company.
You’ll need to try it out to see how Paysend works for you. But it’s reassuring to know that it has an ‘Excellent’ score of 4.3 on TrustPilot, with over 32,000 customer reviews.⁸ This is a positive sign that previous customers think Paysend is a good service.
Sources used for this article:
- Paysend - Terms of Service
- Paysend - Send Money from US to Germany
- Paysend help - Exchange rates
- Wise - Send money
- Paysend - Help - Paysend benefits
- Paysend - Help - Delivery time
- Paysend - Home
- TrustPilot - Paysend
Sources checked on 10-Aug-2023.
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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