Wise vs CurrencyFair: A Full Comparison [2022]

If you’re trying to decide between CurrencyFair and TransferWise for your next international payment this CurrencyFair Vs TransferWise review is for you. We’ll cover all you need to know, including:

  • A comparison of available features
  • Which provider costs less?
  • Which can move your money quicker?
  • Which is safer?
  • Which gets better customer reviews?

Summary:

CurrencyFair and Wise (formerly TransferWise) -  both offer international payments for individuals and businesses. Both also have multi-currency accounts available. CurrencyFair has a marketplace feature which lets you make peer to peer currency exchange deals with other users, while Wise provides a debit card for account holders.

There’s quite an overlap in the services on offer between CurrencyFair and TransferWise. If you want to set your own exchange rate, you’ll probably prefer CurrencyFair, while for simple, fast international payments, Wise came out marginally better on our cost comparisons.

Both providers are fully licensed everywhere they operate, and are safe to use.

CurrencyFair Vs Wise: side by side

CurrencyFair

Send payments to: 150+ countries, 20+ currencies

Multi-currency accounts: Receive and exchange to 20+ currencies

Debit card available: No

Business services available: Yes

Currency marketplace: Yes

Fully licensed and regulated: Yes

Wise

Send payments to: 80+ countries, 50+ currencies

Multi-currency accounts: Available for 54 currencies

Debit card available: Yes

Business services available: Yes

Currency marketplace: No

Fully licensed and regulated: Yes

So, to summarise: 

  • CurrencyFair supports payouts to more countries compared to Wise.
  • Wise covers more currencies compared to CurrencyFair.
  • Wise has a multi-currency account and card to support 50+ currencies - CurrencyFair allows customers to send and receive 20 currencies using their currency account.
  • Wise and CurrencyFair both offer business account options 
  • CurrencyFair has a currency marketplace option which allows customers to set the exchange rate they want, and arrange a peer to peer exchange - Wise does not
  • Both providers are fully regulated and safe to use.

CurrencyFair offers payments to a broader range of countries compared to Wise, and also has its marketplace feature for peer to peer currency exchange. The Wise multi-currency account, however, offers more currency options compared to CurrencyFair, and a linked debit card for spending and withdrawals. Wise also allows international payments in 50+ currencies, compared to CurrencyFair’s 20+ options.

When it comes to international payments there’s a significant overlap in services on offer - choosing between the two may simply come down to your personal preferences and the availability of service in your destination country.

The important bits

 

CurrencyFair

Wise

Rates Markups are used - around 0.45% on average Mid-market exchange rate with no markup
Fees 4 AUD transfer fee Low fees, varies by destination
Speed Many payments arrive in 24 hours, although some can take longer 40% of payments are instant, 80% arrive in 24 hours
Service Online and by phone Online, in app and by phone
Safety Fully regulated and licensed Fully regulated and licensed
Reviews (TrustPilot).   Trustpilot score: 4.7/5, Excellent rating, from 5,000+ reviews Trustpilot score: 4.6/5, Excellent rating, from 140,000+ reviews

Rates: Wise uses the mid-market rate, whereas CurrencyFair adds a markup to the exchange rates used.

Fees: Wise has variable fees which are based on the destination country. CurrencyFair uses a fixed 4 AUD transfer fee.

Speed: CurrencyFair transfers can take from 24 hours to a day or two, depending on destination. Wise payments can be instant, with 80% arriving in 24 hours.

Service: Wise offers service in a range of languages, online, in-app and by phone.  CurrencyFair suggests customers call or use an online form to get in touch with queries.

Safety: Both providers are fully licensed and regulated. 

Reviews: Both CurrencyFair and Wise score an Excellent review rating on Trustpilot, although CurrencyFair has far fewer posted reviews than Wise.

Pros and cons

 

CurrencyFair

Wise

Pros 
  • Send payments to 150+ countries
  • Open a multi-currency account to handle 20+ currencies
  • Flat 4 AUD transfer fee
  • Currency marketplace option to set your preferred exchange rate for a peer to peer exchange
  • Mid-market exchange rate with no markup - send 50+ currencies 
  • Multi-currency account allows customers to hold 54 currencies
  • Accounts come with a debit card for simple spending and withdrawals
  • Low, transparent transfer fees 
Cons 
  • Only 20+ currencies available
  • Exchange rates include a markup
  • No debit card payments
  • Transfer fee depends on destination and payment value
  • Accounts are not interest bearing

CurrencyFair Vs Wise: The verdict

Wise and CurrencyFair have a similar range of products on offer - the right one for you is likely to come down to the details of your payment.

CurrencyFair covers a really good range of 150+ destination countries, but only 20 or so currencies. They also offer a multi-currency account to receive, send and exchange 20+ currencies. One unique feature of the CurrencyFair service is the marketplace option, in which customers can set up peer to peer currency exchange at the rate of their choosing.

Wise offers the mid-market exchange rate for all transfers, which can make the pricing more transparent compared to CurrencyFair, and covers a broader 50+ currencies. Wise also offers a multi-currency account with 54 currencies on offer and a linked international debit card. 

In our cost comparisons for international payments, Wise came out marginally cheaper each time. If Wise supports payments to the country you’re sending to, they may be your best bet. 

About CurrencyFair and Wise

CurrencyFair was founded in 2010 in Ireland and has 150,000+ customers. You can make international payments for personal and business needs, and open a multi-currency account to receive, send and exchange 20 currencies.

With CurrencyFair you can send payments to 150+ countries, in 20+ currencies. 

Wise was launched as TransferWise back in 2011 as a low-cost international payment provider. These days, Wise has upwards of 10 million customers, and also offers personal and business accounts to hold and manage currencies, accept payments and spend using a linked debit card. 

With Wise you can send payments to 80+ countries, in 50+ currencies.

How do they work?

Here’s how to make a payment online or in the app with CurrencyFair:

  1. Set up your transaction, adding the currency and amount you want to send and the currency you need your recipient to get in the end
  2. Follow the prompts to add recipient details
  3. Confirm how you want to pay - BPay or a local bank transfer
  4. Send your payment to CurrencyFair, and the money will be passed on to your recipient as soon as the funds have cleared

The amount of time it takes for your payment to be delivered with CurrencyFair will depend on how long it takes your money to be received by CurrencyFair, and the processing time of your recipient’s bank. As soon as the funds are cleared they’ll be released to the recipient - this may take anything from a few hours to a day or two depending on the destination and specific bank.

The process for sending money with wise is relatively similar - here’s how you make payments online and in the Wise app:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Type in how much you want to transfer, or how much you need the recipient to get
  3. Enter the recipient’s details - bank account number or email
  4. Check over the details
  5. Fund your payment using a card or bank transfer
  6. Confirm and your money will be on the move

Wise transfers are made through Wise’s network of local bank accounts, so they arrive faster and don’t incur intermediary fees. When you want to pay for your transfer in AUD you’ll send the money to Wise’s local Australian account. Then Wise will make a payment of the equivalent amount in your preferred currency, from their account in the destination country. No money actually moves across borders, so it’s faster and cheaper than traditional international payments.

Wise vs CurrencyFair

 

CurrencyFair charges a couple of different fees:

  • Exchange rate markup - often this is around 0.45%
  • Transfer fee - 4 AUD flat fee

You’ll be able to see the transfer fee and exchange rate on offer from CurrencyFair before you confirm your payment. The transfer fee is transparent - but to work out the exact exchange rate markup you’ll need to compare the rate you’re quoted against the mid-market rate for your currency. The markup used will vary between currency pairs, but on average comes in at about 0.45%. 

The amount you pay for a Wise international transfer will depend on the value of your payment and the way you pay for it. Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate with no hidden costs. Instead there’s a transparent fee you’ll be shown when you calculate your payment online or in the Wise app.

Wise vs CurrencyFair: which is cheaper?

 

Using a specialist provider is usually cheaper than choosing to send an international payment with your normal bank. However, the services, exchange rates and fees on offer from specialist providers do vary significantly - so shopping around is still a smart move.

Here’s a look at how CurrencyFair and Wise measure up on a few different transfers. In these examples, we are sending a payment direct to a recipient bank account, funded by bank transfer.

Amount & Currency CurrencyFair Wise Winner?
AUD>1000 USD 1,403.79 AUD 1,399.52 AUD Wise
AUD>5000 USD 6,996.59 AUD 6.994.44 AUD Wise
AUD>1000 EUR 1,593.57 AUD 1,589.62 AUD Wise
AUD> 5000 EUR 7,948.77 AUD 7,946.01 AUD Wise

*Rates and fees correct at time of research - 8th January 2022

In the examples above, Wise came out on top every time. Choosing between the 2 providers may come down to your personal preference, and where you’re sending money to.

Wise Vs CurrencyFair: which is faster?

 

CurrencyFair international transfers are often ready within 24 hours. The exact time it takes for your money to be delivered will depend on how you fund the payment and where it’s headed. There’s a country by country rundown of anticipated delivery times on the CurrencyFair website to help.

Wise payments can arrive in seconds on some currency routes, and most transfers arrive within a day. You’ll see the estimated delivery time when you set up your transfer, and can always track it online or in the Wise app.

Safety

 

CurrencyFair is fully regulated everywhere it operates. CurrencyFair is regulated in Australia by  the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and holds all customer funds in tier 1 international banks, to keep it secure.

Wise is fully regulated by ASIC, and also holds the required licenses in other countries it operates in. In Australia, Wise holds an Australian Financial Services licence and is authorised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

Ease of use

 

  • Creating an account: CurrencyFair and Wise accounts are opened and operated online or using the provider’s app.  
  • Making a transfer: CurrencyFair and Wise international payments can be made online or in the Wise app.  
  • Ways to send money: CurrencyFair payments can be made by BPay or bank transfer. Wise transfers can be funded by bank transfer, credit or debit card.  
  • Languages: CurrencyFair has phone and email support in a range of languages. Wise offers global support in a range of languages, online, using the app, and by phone.  
  • Minimum & maximum amounts: CurrencyFair doesn’t publish specific transfer limits, although some destination countries may be subject to local limits based on regional rules. Wise limits depend on which currencies you send to and from, and how you pay. However, you can make several smaller transfers if your ideal transfer amount exceeds the limit for the specific payment. 

Supported currencies

 

Send payments to 150 countries with CurrencyFair, in 20+ currencies. You can also send and receive 20 currencies using the CurrencyFair app.

With Wise you can send money to 80 countries and hold and convert 54 currencies in your Wise account.

Conclusion

 

Both CurrencyFair and Wise offer good international payment options for individuals and business customers. CurrencyFair covers 20+ currencies, and can support payments to 150 countries, while Wise has 50+ currencies on offer, and allows transfers to 80+ countries. 

While Wise came out on top in our cost comparisons there’s not much in it. If both providers cover your destination country and currency it may be best to compare the overall costs of each to get the best available deal.

Frequently asked questions - Wise vs CurrencyFair

Is CurrencyFair or Wise cheaper?

In our comparisons, Wise was slightly cheaper than CurrencyFair for transfers to USD and EUR.

Is CurrencyFair or Wise faster?

CurrencyFair payments are likely to take a day or two - the exact delivery time will depend on where you’re sending money to. Wise payments can arrive instantly, with most being delivered within 24 hours.

How many currencies do CurrencyFair and Wise support?

CurrencyFair offers payments in 20+ currencies to 150 countries. Wise customers can send payments to 80+ countries, and hold and manage 50+ in their Wise accounts.

Compare international money transfer providers

By Ileana Ionescu Updated January 28th, 2022