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.
If you need to send money overseas, one of the quickest and cheapest ways to do it is with an online money transfer service.
There are lots of them out there, including Sendwave and Wise. But which is better?
To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together a guide to Sendwave vs. Wise. We’ll compare everything from fees and rates to transfer times and security.
Before diving into a comparison of facts, figures and fees, let’s run through a little background on each provider.
Launched in 2014 and owned by Chime Inc, Sendwave is a money transfer company based in Boston, MA. It also has offices in the UK and Belgium in the EU.
Sendwave provides an international transfer app, offering fast and convenient transfers worldwide. Features include:
- Easy signup
- Fast, simple transfers through a user-friendly app
- 24/7 support
- Option to sign up for Sendwave Pay and get an international debit card, as well as interest on your balance.
|💡 Read more about the company in our full Sendwave review.|
Wise is another money service business, which is based in the UK but operates worldwide. It has an online 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.
When shopping around for a good transfer company, cost is likely to be right at the top of your priorities list.
You’ll want to know about the upfront transfer fees charged by both Sendwave and Wise.
Sendwave doesn’t have a list of fees available, as the cost can vary depending on the destination, amount, currency and delivery method. You should be able to check the fee (as well as the exchange rate) on the Sendwave app before you send.
For some destinations, such as Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Bangladesh, there’s no upfront transfer fee at all.¹
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.
You can check fees for your transfer here.
Sendwave may not charge an upfront transfer fee, but it isn’t completely free to use the service.
Like many similar transfer apps and services, Sendwave adds its own small margin to the mid-market exchange rate.¹ Also known as the interbank rate, this is considered to be one of the fairest rates you can get.
This is how Sendwave makes its money, but it does mean the transfer is more expensive for you.
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
Want a better idea of how much the fee and exchange rate can
affect the overall cost of an international transfer?
Let’s do a quick example, and imagine you want to send $1,000 USD to a friend or family member living in the Philippines.
Here’s how much it’ll cost with both Sendwave and Wise:
|Provider||Transfer fee||Exchange rate||Recipient receives|
|Wise²||$8.42 USD||56.0777 - mid-market rate||55,605.53 PHP|
|Sendwave³||$0 USD||54.57||54,570 PHP|
(Fees as of 10/08/2023. The pay-in method to fund the transfer is ACH.)
Sendwave supports transfers from the US to:
- The Gambia
- The Philippines
- Sri Lanka
A handful of other countries are supported too, for payments sent via methods such as mobile wallets. You can check the full list here.
|💡Wise, meanwhile, lets you send to 70 countries worldwide. It also has additional global services, such as letting you spend on the Wise card in 150+ countries, and letting you hold 40+ currencies in your Wise account.|
With Sendwave, you’ll have a choice of delivery methods depending on destination. This includes bank accounts, mobile wallets and even cash in some locations. You can only pay for your transfer using a card.
With Wise, transfers are delivered directly to the recipient’s bank account. Payment methods include:
- Debit card
- Credit card
- Connected bank account
- Wire transfer.
Need your transfer to arrive quickly? It’s a good idea to check out estimated transfer times before choosing a provider.
Sendwave promises “fast and convenient money transfers”³ but it doesn’t specifically state how long it’ll take. You should be able to see the estimated delivery time in the Sendwave app though.
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.
Transaction speed claimed depends on individual circumstances and may not be available for all transactions.
Lastly but just as importantly, let’s talk security. Is it safe to use Sendwave and Wise?
Sendwave is licensed by the New York Department of Financial Services, and offers security measures such as:⁴
- Encrypted data and transfers - using an industry-standard 256-bit encryption connection
- Two-factor authentication to protect access to your Sendwave account
Wise also takes security extremely seriously. As well as being strictly regulated, it has the following security features:
- 2-factor authentication and HTTPS encryption for extra-secure transactions
- Commitment to keeping your personal data safe.
So, which is better - Sendwave or Wise? Both offer a similarly fast and convenient money transfer service, but there are a few differences between the two providers.
Sendwave only delivers to a limited number of countries, while Wise offers transfers to 70+ countries. Both charge low fees, but Wise possibly has the edge due to those margin-free exchange rates. This means more of your money reaches your recipient.
Wise also offers many more multi-currency services, including an account and debit card. This makes it ideal for travelers, expats, international students, digital nomads and anyone else who lives an international life.
Sendwave and Wise are both digital transfer providers offering similar services. Wise is based in the UK, while Sendwave is US-based. One of the main differences between them is the number of countries you can send to, as well as the exchange rates on offer.
You’ll need to compare all available options to find the right service for you. But when it comes to getting the best exchange rates, Wise is hard to beat.
Wise has higher transfer fees than some other providers, but the margin-free exchange rate still could make it a better option for lots of transfers.
Sources used for this article:
- Sendwave - What are your fees and rates?
- Wise - Send money
- Sendwave - Home
- Sendwave - How secure is Sendwave?
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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