Can I use Wise as a bank account?

Gabriela Peratello

With a Wise Account you can hold a Balance in any of 40+ supported currencies, send payments to 80+ countries, and spend around the world with your linked Wise card.

You’ll also get local bank details for up to 9 currencies — including USD, GBP, EUR and more, to receive convenient local payments from overseas.

But how does the Wise Account really work? If you’re wondering: can I use Wise like a bank account — or can I use Wise as a business bank account, read on.

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the Wise Account

Can you use Wise as a bank account?

No, you cannot use Wise as a bank account, because Wise is not a bank, it’s a Money Services Business.

However, with the Wise Account you’ll get some features which are similar to those available from bank accounts, such as the option to hold a balance, send and receive payments, and spend with a linked card.

This means you can use Wise for many day to day financial transactions and even as a primary account depending on your needs.

Pros and cons of using Wise as your primary account

We’ll run through some of the similarities and differences between a Wise Account and a bank account in more detail next — first, a quick overview of the pros and cons of using Wise as a primary account:

✅ Pros❌ Cons
  • Available for personal and business customers

  • Send and receive payments conveniently

  • Get a linked Wise card for in person, online and mobile spending

  • Great range of multi-currency and international options

  • No ongoing account fees — you just pay for the services you use

  • Currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate

  • Not all features of a bank account are available through Wise

  • No credit, overdraft or loan options

  • Account features and fees may vary according to your location

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

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Is Wise a good account for daily use?

Whether or not Wise is a good account for daily use will depend on the type of transactions you make regularly.

If you need to deposit cash or checks, Wise may not be for you - as you’ll only be able to top up - fund- your Wise account via electronic payment , using a card, wire or ACH for example.

However, if you regularly spend with a card, or make international transactions - either online, using your phone, or in person - Wise could be a handy option for daily use. Because Wise offers mid-market exchange rates with low, transparent fees, it can often be cheaper compared to using a bank for international transactions as there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.

What is Wise?

Wise isn’t a bank, however, Wise is a trusted Money Services transmitter that is regulated by Federal and State regulators. In the US Wise holds 48 state licenses as a money transmitter, and where it doesn’t hold a license it works with banking partners to deliver services, depending on where you’re located¹.

Wise is also overseen by regulatory bodies in a range of other countries. As a digital company, Wise has been built with security in mind and operates a selection of industry standard manual and automatic security measures.

Banks and credit unions are overseen and regulated by local, regional and global bodies. Because banks offer additional services compared to Wise — such as credit and loans — they may be subject to additional regulation and licensing requirements.

What are the main differences between a Wise Account and a bank account?

While there are similarities between accounts from banks and credit unions vs Wise Accounts, there are also some differences. Here’s a look at some key features you’ll want to compare if you’re considering using Wise as a primary account.


Wise has a number of security measures built into the card and app which help to keep your money safe. You’ll be able to set up 2 factor authentication when you log into your Wise account, to make sure nobody else can access your funds.

Plus, you can set up instant notifications on your phone to see whenever a payment is made, you can review your balance across currencies at a glance, and you can freeze, unfreeze or cancel your Wise card instantly at the touch of a button.

In the background, Wise has a 24/7 anti-fraud operation which includes both automatic and manual processes to spot and prevent suspicious transactions - offering extra peace of mind, any time of the day or night.


Wise personal customers can open an account for free, with no monthly fee to pay. There’s a low, one time fee to get a linked Wise card, with transparent transaction fees after that for any services used*.

Wise is a specialist in international services and currency conversion, and offers the mid-market exchange rate when you need to switch from one currency to another. This drives down the cost of sending, receiving and spending foreign currencies.

Banks have a pretty varied approach to pricing, depending on the account type you open. Some use ongoing maintenance charges which you’ll pay even if you don’t transact much. Transaction fees usually also apply, plus some extra costs when you’re dealing in foreign currencies.

Account options

Wise offers accounts to personal and business customers. Wise Accounts can be used for many regular day to day transactions like spending with your Wise card, sending payments at home and abroad, or receiving money from others.

Banks have a broader range of account options compared to Wise, with accounts designed for saving and investments, plus credit, loan and overdraft products.


You can access similar features with Wise vs bank accounts, including options to hold, send and receive payments, and spend using your debit card.

Where Wise is different is usually in the range of multi-currency features on offer — all Wise Accounts can hold 40+ currencies*, while bank checking accounts usually only support USD.

On the other hand, banks may offer a bigger selection of services around credit — including credit cards, mortgages and loans — these are not available through Wise.

It’s also worth noting that Wise doesn't offer checking services, and you can’t pay into your Wise Account using cash. If you regularly need to deposit cash or checks — or if you prefer to pay using a check — a bank account may suit you better.

Card availability

Wise offers linked debit cards for personal and business customers. Most banks will offer personal customers with checking accounts a linked debit card — although savings accounts and bank business accounts may have more restrictions on card availability.

Wise Account vs bank account — overview

Here’s a quick summary of the main differences between a Wise Account and a bank account:

WiseBanks and Credit Unions
SecurityStrong manual and digital security measures including 24/7 monitoring, 2 factor authentication, in app notifications and ways to freeze your card with your phoneSecurity measures vary but usually include 2 factor authentication for online and mobile transactions, card cancellation by phone or in app, and a fraud team working to prevent and resolve issues
PricingNo ongoing account fees — low, transparent fees* for services usedMaintenance charges may apply, with varied transaction fees depending on the account type
Account optionsWise Account for individual and business use — designed for international and day to day useBroad range of account options usually available, including checking and saving accounts — plus options for loans, overdrafts, pensions, investments and more
FeaturesFeatures focus on international and multi-currency use, as well as receiving, sending and spending USDFeatures can vary widely between provider and account type
Card availabilityAvailable for personal and business customersUsually available for personal customers with checking accounts — for other account types availability varies

Using Wise as a primary account account FAQ

Still got questions about using Wise as a primary account? Check out these common FAQ.

Can you hold money into your Wise Account?

Yes. You can use your Wise Account to hold 40+ currencies, including major currencies like USD, GBP, and EUR. You’ll get bank details for up to 9 currencies with your Wise Account, which you can use to receive local transfers from abroad.

Hold your Balance, spend it with your linked Wise debit card, send payments to others, or switch to the currency you need with the mid-market exchange rate.

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Does Wise count as a bank?

Like we mentioned before, Wise isn’t a bank — but a Money Services provider.

So, while banks offer a large array of services, such as loans, savings and interest accounts, Wise specializes in holding and converting foreign currencies, and sending international bank transfers.

Focusing on these types of transactions means you can often find a broader range of multi-currency features and lower fees compared to leading US banks.

Do you have to pay taxes on the money held in your Wise Account?

How tax works with your Wise Account will depend on how you use it, and the type of payments you make and receive².

Wise can not give tax advice — so it’s always best to contact your accountant or another professional if you’re unsure about your obligations.

Can you use Wise as a business account?

Open a Wise Account for your business and get the benefits offered to personal customers, plus a few extra business friendly perks such as batch payments and Xero accounting integration.

Wise business is available to freelancers, sole proprietors and business owners, with a small one time fee for full feature access, and low fees for any services you need after that.

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Wise Business

Whether you’re a personal or business customer, a Wise Account can offer smart and intuitive ways to cut the costs of transacting in the US and beyond.

With multi-currency features and options to exchange currencies with the mid-market exchange rate, you may find that using Wise as a primary account for your day to day spending gives you more flexibility and lower overall fees compared to your bank.



  1. Wise - Regulation around the world
  2. Wise - How does tax work with my Wise Account?

*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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