Wise Debit Card Review

Wise launched in 2011 with a mission to challenge the banks and make transacting internationally cheaper, faster, and easier – with no hidden charges or sneaky exchange rate hikes.

Wise offers a range of products including instant low fee international payments, multi-currency accounts, and Wise international debit cards for personal and business customers.

This Wise debit card review covers all you need to know about the Wise card features, fees, availability and more.

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Quick summary

There’s an in-depth Wise debit card review coming up – first let’s look at the key features, pros and cons of the Wise debit card for personal or business users.

Wise card features

  • Hold and exchange 50+ currencies in your Wise account
  • Spend in 200+ countries, withdraw at 2.3 million ATMs
  • Convert currencies in your account with the mid-market exchange rate and low fees
  • Virtual cards available instantly
  • View and manage your account in the Wise app
  • Freeze and unfreeze your physical card and virtual cards instantly
  • Wise is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL)

Pros of the Wise debit card

  • No ongoing card charges to pay
  • Free to spend any currency you hold in your account
  • Auto convert function to cut costs even if you don’t have the currency you need
  • 2 free ATM withdrawals, to the value of 350 AUD per month, with low fees after that
  • Get up to 3 virtual cards for easy spending and budget management
  • Not a credit card – no risk of interest charges creeping in
  • Personal and business cards available

Cons of the Wise debit card

  • One time 10 AUD fee to get your card in the first place
  • Some ATM fees apply when you make 3 or more withdrawals, worth more than 350 AUD/month
  • Daily and monthly limits based on spend category
  • Top up account online or in app only – no cash or cheque options
  • No credit facilities

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Who is the Wise debit card for?

The Wise debit card is available in Australia for both personal and business customers, which means it can be a great way for lots of people to manage their money conveniently – and cut transaction costs at the same time. The Wise debit card is great for:

  • Travellers looking to make contactless or mobile payments
  • Anyone on holiday who wants to withdraw cash cheaply from local ATMs
  • People who love to shop online with international retailers
  • Anyone who wants a low cost, secure account with both virtual and physical cards
  • Entrepreneurs who need to spend in foreign currencies
  • Business owners who want to offer international debit cards to team members to manage spending and expenses

Is the Wise card a good option?

Wise is intent on revolutionising the way people and businesses transact internationally, to make it cheaper, faster and more convenient compared to traditional banks. The Wise card is a great addition to Wise’s suite of products, offering easy ways to spend in person, on the move, and online, and make ATM withdrawals, with the real exchange rate and low, transparent fees.

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How do Wise card fees compare for spending abroad?

Spending in foreign currencies with a Wise card could be significantly cheaper compared to using your regular bank’s debit card.

Your regular bank is likely to add a foreign transaction fee to every purchase or withdrawal you make in a different currency – this is often in the region of 3% of the cost of the transaction. Wise on the other hand uses the real exchange rate with low fees which average out at about 0.6% for most transactions. That means that you can cut your costs whenever you use a Wise debit card to shop when you travel, spend with international ecommerce stores, or make a cash withdrawal overseas.

What is a Wise card?

The Wise card is a debit card – not a credit card – that’s linked to a Wise multi-currency account. It’s great for spending and making cash withdrawals, online, at home and abroad – and best of all, you’ll get currency conversion using the real mid-market exchange rate whenever you choose to spend in a foreign currency.

  • Make payments and withdrawals in 200+ countries
  • Use 2.3 million ATMs for withdrawals, all around the world
  • Top up in the currency you prefer and check your account balances at a glance in the app
  • Switch currencies with the real exchange rate and low, transparent fees
  • Spend any currency you hold in the account for free
  • Auto convert feature makes sure you always pay the lowest possible fee when spending currencies you don’t hold in your account
  • Instant transaction notifications for security
  • Get instant access to 3 virtual cards
  • Freeze and unfreeze your card whenever you need to
  • Debit card – making it easier to manage your budget without running up debts or incurring credit charges

Wise virtual card

The Wise virtual card – also known as the Wise digital card – allows you to make payments online and in stores with your phone. Simply add your virtual card to a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay, to make contactless payments in stores and buy things online. You can have up to 3 virtual cards at any one time which can make it easier to manage your budget by assigning different spending types to different cards.

Wise virtual cards have different card details to your physical card, and can be frozen instantly whenever you’re not using them – offering a handy added layer of security. You’ll be able to start using your Wise digital card as soon as you order your physical card, with no need to wait for the physical card to be delivered.

How does the Wise debit card work?

The Wise international debit card is linked to a Wise multi-currency account, which lets you hold, exchange, receive and send payments in 50+ currencies. Order a linked Wise debit card to make it easier to spend and make cash withdrawals from your Wise account balance, all over the world.

It’s always free to spend currencies you hold in your account. And if you don’t have the currency you need in your account, the Wise debit card can automatically convert the amount for you from whichever available currency account has the cheapest conversion fee. That means that there’s no need to worry about converting money before travelling, because you’ll always know you’re getting the best available deal every time.

Wise card limits

Your Wise card comes with default set limits which you can change if you would like to. Daily and monthly limits apply – daily limits refresh each day at midnight, while monthly limits restart on the first day of each calendar month. If you’re not happy with the default limits it’s easy to change them to suit you – just log into your account on the Wise app or desktop site.

First, here’s a rundown of the standard Wise personal debit card limits by transaction type:

Transaction type Single transaction limit Daily limit Monthly limit
Chip and PIN or mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay Default: 4,300 AUD

Maximum: 17,500 AUD

Default: 5,300 AUD

Maximum: 17,500 AUD

Default: 17,500 AUD

Maximum: 52,500 AUD

ATM withdrawal Default: 1,750 AUD

Maximum: 1,750 AUD

Default: 2,700 AUD

Maximum: 2,700 AUD

Default: 5,250 AUD

Maximum: 7,000 AUD

Contactless Default: 900 AUD

Maximum: 900 AUD

Default: 900 AUD

Maximum: 1,750 AUD

Default: 7,000 AUD

Maximum: 7,000 AUD

Magnetic stripe Default: 550 AUD

Maximum: 2,100 AUD

Default: 700 AUD

Maximum: 2,100  AUD

Default: 2,100 AUD

Maximum: 10,500 AUD

Online purchase Default: 1,750 AUD

Maximum: 17,500 AUD

Default: 1,750 AUD

Maximum: 17,500 AUD

Default: 3,500 AUD

Maximum: 52,500 AUD

It’s good to know that Wise personal debit cards work a little differently to Wise business debit cards in terms of the way the limits are applied. We’ll cover the Wise business debit card in more detail a little later.

Wise card fees

Here’s a rundown of all the fees you can expect to meet when ordering and using your Wise multi-currency debit card:

Service Wise debit card fee
One time card order fee 10 AUD
Optional express delivery – get your physical card in 1 – 2 days From 26 AUD
Digital card Free
Order a new card 6 AUD
Replace an expiring card Free – Wise will remind you when you need a new card for convenience
Spend currencies you hold in your account Free
Spend in currencies you don’t have in your account Wise will auto convert the balance you have to the currency you need, using the mid-market exchange rate and the lowest available fees
First 2 ATM withdrawals a month, up to the value of 350 AUD Free
Additional withdrawals, over the value of 350 AUD/month 1.5 AUD per withdrawal + 1.75% of the withdrawal value

Wise exchange rate

Wise was created with a mission to make currency conversion cheaper and more transparent. Every time you switch currencies with Wise you’ll get the mid-market rate with no hidden markup – when you spend with your Wise debit card, convert currencies within your Wise account, or send an international payment.

This is different to banks and most other international card providers. Typically, the exchange rates you get from other providers will include a markup which is added onto the exchange rate used. That’s an extra fee, but it’s hard to spot and pushes up the prices you pay without you necessarily knowing it. To avoid this tricky fee, Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate and splits out the full costs of currency conversion for transparency. You’ll be able to see the full fees you pay when you switch currencies within your account – and if you use the card’s auto convert feature, you can be sure the transaction will be processed with the lowest fee possible.

How to get your debit card

Here’s how to get your Wise international debit card in just a few simple steps:

  • Open a Wise account online in just a few minutes
  • Top up your Wise account in the currency of your choice
  • Order your Wise card for a one time 10 AUD fee
  • Start spending with your digital card right away
  • Your physical card will arrive in the post in a few days – or you can choose express delivery for an extra fee to get your card in the shortest possible time

If you don’t already have a Wise multi-currency account it’s good to know you can register in just a few minutes using your email address, Facebook, Apple or Google ID.

You’ll also need to complete a verification step for security – this usually involves taking a selfie with your passport or other eligible ID document. Your account can be up and running as soon as it’s been verified – which is often instant, or at least within 24 hours of registering.

How to activate your Wise card

Once your physical card arrives in the post you’ll need to activate it. This is done simply by making a purchase using your PIN number – or if you’d prefer you can make a cash withdrawal or check your balance in an ATM. You’ll be able to find your PIN, as well as your card number and CVV code, in the Wise app at any time.

How to top up your Wise card

Your Wise debit card is linked to your Wise multi-currency account. To add funds to your Wise account you’ll need to take the following steps:

  • Log into your Wise account online or in the Wise app
  • Select the currency balance you want to top up
  • Tap Add
  • Confirm the currency you want to pay with
  • Enter the amount you want to top up and select a payment method
  • Check everything over, confirm and follow the prompts to complete the payment

You can also add money to your Wise account directly from your online banking service using your local bank details for eligible currencies. In Australia, that means you can top up fee free in:

  • British pounds
  • Euros
  • US dollars
  • Australian dollars
  • New Zealand dollars
  • Singapore dollars
  • Canadian dollars
  • Romanian lei
  • Hungarian forint
  • Turkish lira

Log into your Wise account to see the local bank details for your preferred currency and use these to transfer money direct from your bank account in that currency.

Wise debit card for business

The Wise business debit card is currently available in the UK, EU and EEA, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. If you’re in Australia you can expect your physical card to arrive within 3 weeks after ordering it – or you can pay an optional fee for express delivery, to get your physical card sooner.

Wise business accounts come with multi-user access (MUA) which means you’ll be able to assign roles to your team members to let them access the tools they need to do their jobs, without needing to share sensitive company information. Anyone in your team assigned an employee or admin role within the Wise account will be eligible for a Wise business debit card, which they can use to spend and make cash withdrawals all around the world.

Like the Wise personal international debit card, the Wise business card offers currency exchange which uses the real mid-market exchange rate, and it’s always free to spend currencies you hold in your account. If you don’t have the currency you need, just allow the card’s auto convert feature to work its magic, and switch currencies from whichever balance incurs the lowest fee.

One important difference between the Wise business debit card and the Wise debit card for personal users, is the way spending limits work. You’ll be able to add multiple team members to your Wise business debit card, and each team member’s spending adds up towards the daily and monthly limits on the card. That means for example that if one team member makes a 2,700 AUD ATM withdrawal, no other withdrawals can be made from the account until the card resets at midnight. Team members will be able to see their own personal spending limits, and card holders with admin rights can see the total spending per transaction type across all issued cards.

Here are the limits you need to know about, for reference:

Transaction type Single transaction limit Daily limit Monthly limit
Chip and PIN or mobile wallet 17,500 AUD 17,500 AUD 52,000 AUD
ATM withdrawal 1,750 AUD 2,700 AUD 7,000 AUD
Contactless 900 AUD 1,750 AUD 7,000 AUD
Magnetic stripe 2,100 AUD 2,100 AUD 10,500 AUD
Online purchase 17,500 AUD 17,500 AUD 52,500 AUD

Where is the Wise card available?

If you have a Wise account and are a resident of any of the following countries and regions, you can apply for a Wise debit card:

  • The EU and EEA
  • The UK
  • British Overseas Territories and UK Crown Dependencies
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Brazil

Is Wise safe to use?

Yes. The Wise card is safe to use. As a company, Wise is ASIC regulated, and covered by regulatory bodies all over the world. That means that no matter what currencies you hold on your Wise debit card, you know your money is kept safely and in accordance with global laws and best practices.

Wise accounts have a range of security features including thorough verification processes, 2 factor authentication and a 24/7 fraud prevention protocol. Additionally, Wise debit cards can be frozen instantly in the Wise app if you’re concerned about security, with real time transaction notifications and the option to check your balance and account history in a glance in the app.

Conclusion: is the Wise card worth it?

The Wise debit card can make life easier – and help you save money – if you travel often, shop with international ecommerce stores, or have a business and want to issue your team with international debit cards to manage spending.

Wise currency exchange always uses the real mid-market exchange rate with no markup and no hidden fees – and with the Wise debit card’s smart auto convert feature you don’t even need to switch currencies before you travel. Leave the Wise card to switch to the currencies you need, when you need them, with the lowest possible fee every time.

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FAQs

Can I use my Wise card abroad?

Yes. Infact, the Wise card can help you cut the costs of currency conversion when you spend and make withdrawals in over 200 countries around the world.

Is the Wise card contactless?

Yes. The Wise international debit card is contactless for convenient spending.

 

By George Updated August 4th, 2022