Wise Borderless Account Review

Find out all there is to know about Wise's exciting multi currency account in this Borderless Account review. Is it the best account to receive payments, transfer money overseas and travel?

What is a Wise Borderless Account?

At its core, the Borderless Account is a multi currency account. It allows you to hold and transfer around 40 different currencies.

There are 3 things about this account that makes it different to other multi currency accounts:

  • It allows you to open up a local bank account in Europe, the UK, USA, New Zealand and Australia. This is a brilliant feature. It begs the question, ‘why didn’t anyone do this before?’

  • With an incredibly low fee structure, the account has no set up fees, no monthly fees and no receiving fees.

  • UPDATE: A linked Wise debit card is now available in the US, UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
TransferWise Borderless Account Homepage and Mobile Phone

The Borderless Account is a pretty radical product for a currency provider.

Not content with just offering money transfers, the Borderless Account puts Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) squarely in competition against the major banks themselves. Essentially it’s an online bank account giving you a “local” presence in the US, UK, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

With its initial aim squarely at business owners, Wise is dealing with a big issue for startups and small businesses — the difficulty of opening up accounts that can receive multiple currencies. The Borderless Account goes a long way towards solving that problem.

It's a fast, simple, low-cost way to send and receive money together with local banking details. As a result, this innovative tool will only improve as it introduces more countries and currencies and as Wise's linked debit card becomes more readily available.

Pros and cons of using the Wise Borderless Account

  • Gives you a “local” bank account in the UK, Europe, US, NZ and Australia and holds over 40 currencies
  • Regulated, reputable and reliable money transfer and currency exchange provider
  • Opening an account with multiple currencies is quick and easy
  • Comes with a debit Mastercard® in the UK, Europe and New Zealand and Australia
  • Wise offers competitive exchange rates, on par with the lowest in the industry
  • Limited number of accounts with only 5 currencies and countries available now
  • All your money is with one currency provider
  • Small charge for credit card and external payments
  • USD borderless account has limits on the amount of money you receive

Further details on pricing and limits are available here

When to use (and avoid) Wise Borderless Account

The Borderless account is designed mainly for small businesses, sole traders, entrepreneurs and freelancers. And now travellers. It's a great option when you:

However, there are limitations. Your borderless account can only receive payments in the actual currency of your balance. For example, if you're using your AUD borderless account details (BSB and account number), you will only be able to receive AUD payments into the account. Meanwhile, for US borderless accounts, there are limits to how much money you can receive.

In addition, Wise charges percentage-based fees for money transfers, which means this account is best for businesses transacting in smaller amounts. Plus, your borderless account balances can't be used to make direct debits or bill payments.

You also need to be comfortable doing everything online, because customer support is web-based and could be better, according to some of the Trustpilot customer reviews.

Learn more about the Borderless Account

Who can use the Borderless account

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Businesses can use the borderless account in several different ways.

  • Freelancers receiving money from international clients who want to avoid paying high receiving fees for receiving an international payment into their account and to ensure they keep more of their earnings as they won’t lose out on poor exchange rates.
  • Ecommerce sellers receiving payments for their seller activity on likes of Amazon and PayPal. Ecommerce sellers wanting to sell on global marketplaces where sometimes there is requirement to have a local bank account to even be able to sign up as a seller eg. Amazon marketplace.
  • Business owners receiving payments from clients in one currency and then paying suppliers or for goods and products in another currency.

How the Borderless Account works

Setting up a Borderless Account

If you already have a Wise account, you can also easily create a Borderless Account. And even if you don’t have a Wise account, you can quickly sign up, with standard ID and proof of address requirements. After that, your personal documents are verified and your account is opened in your default currency. Note, for non-Australian borderless accounts you need to add $20 to your account as part of the verification process.

Once you have your account, you can then add other currencies and countries as you need to. When you do that, Wise provides you with a unique sort code / routing number and account number for that bank account. You simply use this in place of a regular bank account number to send or receive payments.

Step 1: Register

Register your details through the Wise website and create your free account. Once you provide some ID, Wise will let you know when your account is ready.

Step 2: Choose Currencies

After you have your account verified your account will be opened in your default currency. Choose which currencies you’d like to hold money in by clicking "Add" a balance. You can add money directly to your account in 18 currencies.

Step 3: Pay

Wise accepts payment via bank transfer or BPay, and charges an extra fee for debit or credit cards. However, Wise does not accept cheque or cash for your transfer.

Your personal Wise profile is meant for personal use only. If you'd like to send and receive payments as a business, you need to register your business with Wise first and then activate your business borderless profile.

 

How to receive money with your Borderless account

With the Wise Borderless account, customers can receive money in USD, GBP, EUR, AUD and NZD completely free.

This is because a Wise borderless account provides you with local account details in these currencies so you can receive payments like a local. You get your own unique account details and you can share these just like your normal bank account details with the sender.

In the case of business owners or freelancers, you add your bank details to your invoice to receive payments.

The exact details you will need to share with the sender to receive money into your borderless account differs depending on which currency you’re receiving. For example, if you’re receiving Euros you usually have to share your IBAN or SWIFT/BIC code. In the UK it’s your sort code and account number.

In sum, you can receive money from other people in 5 currencies:

  • AUD from any bank account in Australia
  • EUR from any bank account worldwide that is denominated in EUR
  • GBP from any bank account in the UK
  • NZD from any bank account in New Zealand
  • USD from any bank account in the US, plus international wire/SWIFT from certain countries

And to receive money from other people, you can just add a balance in the currency you’re being paid in and give the account details to your friends, company or customers.

What you get when you open your Borderless account

You get five of your own accounts for free

  • UK: British Pound - Account Number and Sort Code
  • Europe: Euro - SWIFT/BIC and IBAN details
  • US: US Dollar - Routing (ABA) and Account Number
  • Australia: Australian Dollar - BSB Code and Account Number
  • New Zealand: New Zealand Dollar - Account Number
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Hold and manage over 40 currencies and send money to over 50 countries

Argentine Peso Danish Krone Kenyan Shilling Philippine Peso Thai Baht
Australian Dollar Egyptian Pound Malaysian Ringgit Polish Zloty Turkish Lira
Bangladeshi Taka Euro Mexican Peso Romanian Leu Ukrainian Hryvnia
British Pound Georgian Lari Moroccan Dirham Russian Ruble United Arab Emirates Dirham
Bulgarian Lev Hong Kong Dollar Nepalese Rupee Singapore Dollar US Dollar
Canadian Dollar Hungarian Forint New Zealand Dollar South African Rand Vietnamese Dong
Chilean Peso Indian Rupee Nigerian Naira South Korean Won
Chinese Yuan Indonesian Rupiah Norwegian Krone Sri Lankan Rupee
Croatian Kuna Israeli Shekel Pakistani Rupee Swedish Krona
Czech Koruna Japanese Yen Peruvian Sol Swiss Franc

How do I link PayPal with my Borderless account?

UK and Europe Borderless accounts

If you want to link your PayPal account with your Borderless account this is typically how it works.

  1. PayPal sends two small deposits (micro deposits) to your Borderless account
  2. In 2 days you will receive two small deposits into your Borderless balance
  3. You need to enter the amount on their PayPal profile for verification

Linking with your USD Borderless account

In the US, PayPal operates slightly differently. In particular, when they make a micro-deposit to the Borderless USD account they try and debit the money back again. However, this won’t work with the Wise Borderless account as they don’t support direct debit. In those cases, it's worth checking with PayPal or Stripe team to see if an account ownership document would suffice in proof of ownership of account.

Can I link my Borderless account with Shopify?

Currently, Shopify will only link accounts where direct debit is enabled, which means customers can’t link their Borderless account to their Shopify multi currency earnings.

How long does the Borderless account take to set up and transfer funds?

Setting up your Borderless account for businesses can take 4-7 working days, because they use an extensive verification process. It's also how they keep your money safe, and comply with the regulations in the countries they operate in.

Money transfers are much faster. In fact, it can be instant or take up to 2 days.

However, the speed of transfer can also depend on multiple factors:

  • The countries you're sending money to and from. Every currency and country is different and timing depends on how quickly your recipient's bank can process your money.
  • How you pay. Card payments are instant, but bank transfers take longer.
  • What time you pay for your transfer. Wise can only handle your money during normal banking hours.
  • Security checks. Verification process can add time to your transfer.

How safe is the Wise Borderless Account?

Wise is safe and legit. They have an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) and are regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) in Australia. Wise has to follow very stringent guidelines to send your money overseas.

Where is Wise regulated?

Being a global company, Wise are also regulated in countries in addition to Australia. These include:

  • United Kingdom - Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • Canada - Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)
  • United States - Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Regulatory authorities vary by state
  • Hong Kong - Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department
  • Singapore - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

The company is obliged by law to keep your money safe. Money that you store in a borderless account is kept in a separate low-risk bank account, which is held by a partner bank (think Barclays).

In the unlikely event that Wise should become insolvent, your money will be safe and reimbursed to you in full as your money is kept separate to Wise's bank accounts.

How safe are my login details when I use Wise?

In terms of online security, Wise is safe because they protect your personal data from fraud and theft. Wise use 2FA, giving you extra protection. This means that when you log in, you go through two levels of verification to access your account. They also encrypt your sensitive data and create secure connections with your website browser when you're providing your personal details and identification.

Learn more about how safe a Borderless Account is

How much does a Wise Borderless Account cost?

  • There are no costs to open a borderless account and you receive payments in USD, GBP, EUR, AUD and NZD completely free.
  • When you're sending money from your borderless account to another borderless account, it’s free.
  • If you’re sending money from your borderless account to an external bank account, Wise charges a fixed fee based on the currency you're sending to.
  • You can also hold over 40 currencies and convert at the mid-market exchange rate. For money transfers using a different currency, they charge a currency conversion fee.

 

Update on fees for USD payments outside the US

Wise now supports USD transfers to a majority of countries outside the US. In order to do it, Wise uses the SWIFT network, which involves slightly higher costs than Wise's standard fee.

The fee structure for the sender is the Wise fee + US$3.20 (or equivalent in sender's home currency). Unfortunately, your recipient may also be charged a fee by their bank for receiving the global USD, which means your recipient will probably get less money.

Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) exchange rates

Wise is one of the few money transfer companies that cannot be beaten on the exchange rate they offer. They offer the interbank, or 'real' exchange rate. This means the rate that you see on Google or XE, is the rate you receive for the transfer.

Don't take our word for it. Wise have an exchange rate calculator on their site, which accurately estimates the cost of your transfer.

Alternatively, you can compare the exchange rates that Wise offer against other banks and money transfer providers using our exchange rate comparison tool below.

Compare money transfer exchange rates against Wise

Is the Wise Debit Card good?

We think so. The Wise debit card allows you to spend your Borderless Account balance in relevant countries, while reducing the fees associated with spending money internationally. This makes it perfect for frequent travellers or for international businesses.

As an Australian, you can travel overseas and spend your money using your card that's linked to your Borderless account, without having to pay excessive exchange rate conversion fees.

Read about the Wise Debit Card here.

 

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By Justin Rampono Updated April 14th, 2021