How to Receive Money from Overseas Using TransferWise
Since the introduction of the Borderless account, TransferWise has changed the way you can receive money. There are some important restrictions that you should know of before you get started. What hasn't changed is the exchange rates and fee structure. It's still a very low cost way to receive foreign currency from anyone around the world.
By the end of this article you should have a much better idea of how to receive an international money transfer with TransferWise.
1. Set up a TransferWise account
You need to be a customer of TransferWise to use their services. TransferWise accounts can be created online.
- You will need to provide your name, address, contact details, and email.
- Verify your identity. This means providing proof of ID and proof of address, both of which can be uploaded through their website.
- Proof of ID is provided by a recognised photo ID like a driver’s license, national ID card, or passport.
- Proof of address is provided by official correspondence from a reputable organisation.
- TransferWise may require certain other types of verification, for example for a business account.
2. Use your Borderless Account to receive money
Once your account with TransferWise has been set up, you are ready to receive money. Here's how to do it
- Login and go to the Balances section of the Borderless Account
- "Add" the balance in the currency you want to receive the money to
- Get your bank details by clicking on the currency and give them to the person that is paying you
Learn more about how it works
Related video: the TransferWise Borderless Account
What currencies you can receive from TransferWise
It's important to understand that you can use the Borderless account to receive only these currencies using a local bank account
- US Dollars (USD)
- Euros (EUR)
- British Pounds (GBP)
- Australian Dollars (AUD)
- New Zealand Dollars (NZD)
In these currencies, you can send your Borderless account bank details to the person sending you the money. They can then pay the currency into your account, free of charge and without any currency conversion fees.
Receiving currency other than USD, EUR, GBP, AUD or NZD
If you need to receive money in any other currency, you can still use the Borderless account, but there is a big difference. The currency you receive will be converted.
An example of receiving Canadian dollars using TransferWise
John opens an account with TransferWise and needs to receive $400 Canadian dollars from a friend overseas.
He opens a Borderless account and gets his US Dollar bank details and gives it to his friend.
His friend pays the 400 Canadian dollars into his US dollar account and TransferWise converts it to 296.89 US dollars and charges John a small fee.
Not everyone one can receive money from TransferWise
You can open a Borderless account from most countries in the world, but there are some exceptions
Countries where you can't get a borderless account
- Central African Republic
- Congo Republic
- Crimea (sub-territory)
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Hong Kong
- North Korea
- Sevastopol (city)
- Republic of South Sudan
- Syrian Arab Republic
US States where you can't get a borderless account
- Hawaii (HI)
- Nevada (NV)
How much it costs
TransferWise fees depend on two things:
- The amount the sender is transferring — the TransferWise fee is worked out as a percentage of the amount they are sending which varies from currency to currency.
- How they pay — some payment methods, like debit and credit cards, come with an extra fee that’s set by the card provider or bank, not by TransferWise.
Unlike many other providers and banks, TransferWise does not get any commission at all from the exchange rate they provide. They offer the same mid-market rates that banks use to exchange currency and there is no markup on the exchange rates. This typically means the overall cost of a transfer is lower, and you receive more money compared to alternative methods.
However, you may pay receiving bank fees. International money transfers sent to or from an overseas bank may be subject to commissions, fees, and other charges applied by that bank. These are typically deducted by the overseas bank from the funds paid to you.
*All details shown above are correct as of May 2019.
How long it takes
This is dependent on the country you’re receiving money from, and the currency the sender is using. Funds are normally deposited into your TransferWise account within 1-3 working days.
Advantages of sending money internationally with TransferWise
- Very fast and convenient.
- It’s a simple and straightforward process.
- You can request money directly from the sender.
- Sender can make transfers online.
- Much less expensive than using a bank or PayPal.
- Receive money from over 40 countries and 20 currencies around the world.
- Sender can fund transfers via bank transfer, debit card, or credit card.
- In some cases they can fund transfers by Apple Pay or Android Pay.
Disadvantages of transferring money abroad with TransferWise
- They do not accept or make payments via cash or check.
- There are sometimes small, additional fees for paying with a debit or credit card.
Additional information for receiving money with TransferWise
There are a lot of numbers and information you hear about when it comes to international money transfers. Below there are extra details you might need to receive money and the things you don't.
TransferWise IBAN number
IBAN is an account format used by European banks. Australian banks do not use this format and an IBAN is not required to send money to an Australian bank account via TransferWise. Other parties with an IBAN field on their overseas payment form can simply leave this field blank. If you're receiving money from Europe using TransferWise, you may need an IBAN. TransferWise will provide this for you.
TransferWise routing number
If the other party requests a National Clearing Code, Routing Number, BSB Number or Sort Code, you should use the first six digits (bank and branch codes) of your account number for which you wish to receive the payment into. For example, if the account number is 01-0123-0123456-00 use 010123.
View currency exchange rates for TransferWise
- Rates for transferring funds internationally through TransferWise are available through their currency converter.
- The currency exchange rate your sender will get does vary from moment to moment.
- They will get the up-to-date, dynamic rate when you are booking your transfer.
Further TransferWise information from The Currency Shop
- The Borderless Account comes with a TransferWise Debit Card which is particularly useful if you want to spend the money you've received
- You can use TransferWise to transfer the money you received to another account.
- TransferWise provides a mobile application for both Apple and Android devices.
- TransferWise will keep the sender informed of the status of their money transfer transaction. They typically send emails at the following times:
- Completion of the transfer order.
- Transfer payment received by TransferWise.
- Recipient money transferred into their bank account.
- TransferWise lets the sender guarantee to send you a certain amount, regardless if the exchange rate fluctuates. They pay a small additional fee, and any existing money that isn’t used to pay for the transfer (due to exchange rate changes) are refunded back to them.
- If the exchange rate fluctuates by more than 3% after they fund the transfer, TransferWise will pause it and contact the sender to see if they want to proceed.
TransferWise does not check payment details.
If payment details are incorrect it may result in an unsuccessful transfer or the wrong account receiving funds. It is pivotal that you provide the correct details to the person making the payment. This will save time for both parties and ensure you receive your payment without any issues.
How TransferWise can get you more money versus a bank
You might wonder why the sender wouldn’t send money via their bank instead of a dedicated money transfer provider, and the answer is a simple one — cost. Currency exchange specialists are able to give better exchange rates and lower fees than banks, resulting in more money for you.
For example, here’s how much you can save receiving money via TransferWise rather than a couple of popular Australian banks.
Converting £5,000 GBP to AUD
- With TransferWise, you get $8,625 AUD.
- With Westpac, you get $8,290 AUD — $335 (3.9%) less.
- With Commonwealth Bank, you get $8,270 AUD — $355 (4.1%) less.
Converting £25,000 GBP to AUD
- With TransferWise, you get $43,253 AUD.
- With Westpac, you get $41,496 AUD — $1,757 (4.1%) less.
- With Commonwealth Bank, you get $41,400 AUD — $1,853 (4.2%) less.
*All details shown above are correct as of November 2017.
If your sender uses a dedicated money transfer service like WorldFirst, TransferWise, OFX, HiFX, or another dedicated currency exchange provider, they could save you hundreds of dollars on a transaction. To see how much they could save, get them to take a look at our free online comparison tool.