The Foreign Exchange Company, Wise, is revolutionising how over 10 million people living international lives are transferring, saving and spending their money.
Wise, formerly Transferwise, was co-founded by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann in 2011. It is one of the world’s fastest growing tech firms having raised over $1 billion in primary and secondary transactions from investors such as D1 Capital Partners, Lead Edge, Lone Pine, Vitruvian, IVP, Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Ltd, Andreessen Horowitz, Sir Richard Branson, Valar Ventures and Max Levchin from PayPal. Over 10 million people use TransferWise, which processes over £4.5bn in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers over £1bn a year.
Have you ever wondered why with some foreign currency exchange transactions you end up with less in your account than you thought you would? The reason is that banks and some currency exchange companies charge high fees for the transaction, some of which are hidden. If you make an international transfer, buy a foreign stock, or use a debit or credit card when you are on holiday, you will usually be hit with a large currency conversion charge.
As an expat living in Spain, there are many reasons why you may need to transfer money from a bank account in your home country to Spain. The reasons broadly fall into two categories, planned and regular.
You may be purchasing a property
You may be purchasing a vehicle
You may be considering home improvements
For any large purchase outside the normal household budget.
What these reasons have in common is that they are planned. Because they are planned in advance you can take advantage of favourable exchange rates at the time you transfer the money. You may even want to spread the transfers over a number of transactions to even out exchange rate differences.
The problem for most people is that each transaction, with fees, commissions and less advantageous exchange rates, can incur costs out of proportion to the sum transferred.
Wise have solved that problem. Sure, you will still pay fees but you will find the total cost of the transaction less than other currency exchange companies.
Many ex pat residents in Spain depend on income from their home country, especially important if they have to prove a monthly income in order to be granted residencia.
a salary from a business in the home country in the case of expats working away from home and office
money from investments
other regular transfers
Regular transfers often occur as one transaction. No matter what the reason for the money transfer, it is important to obtain the best rate of exchange and incur the least costs. Once again Wise have a solution.
Price - using Wise for international transactions is up to 8 times cheaper than using a traditional bank. Wise always uses the mid-market exchange rate and charges low, upfront fees.
Safety - Wise is regulated just like any bank by financial authorities in any country where we operate.
Speed – over 30% of transfer with Wise arrive instantly. 53% of all transfers arrive within an hour and 81% of all transfers within a day.
Coverage of currencies and countries – Wise allows customers to hold, spend and send money in over 50 different currencies.
We (Nick and Julie) have lived in Andalucia for over 20 years. I am retired in the UK and Spain and receive pensions, paid into a UK bank account, (Santander actually, one of the few British banks that allow non British residents to have an account after Brexit). Julie still works in Andalucia, she is the owner of this website. Any earnings from that business go into Spanish banks.
For most of that 20 years we lived within 40 kilometres of Gibraltar. Our most cost effective method of exchanging Sterling for Euros was to periodically nip over the border into Gibraltar. There was a limit as to how much we could exchange in one transaction. Larger transfers were done through a money exchange company.
Then we moved to Almeria and the trips across the border became non feasible and, for other people, impossible during the Covid induced travel restrictions.
We opened a Transferwise account (now a Wise account) and were pleasantly surprised at how much we saved on transactions. For example, a recent transaction:
To transfer £1,000 from Santander to Sabadell
With our original money exchange company we would have received 1,112.60 Euros
With Wise we received 1,153.63 Euros
a difference of 41.13 Euros.
A typical house purchase costs £200,000. You could be 8,000 Euros better off using Wise.
We are also more than happy with the Wise debit card that we use for expenses outside the normal household budget such as hotels.
The Wise debit card is also a cost effective solution for those people from outside the Eurozone, lucky enough to be able to holiday in Spain.
Have I mentioned speed? Wise transfers are incredibly fast, faster than inter bank transfers in Spain. Julie started a transaction at 16:53 and the money appeared in our Spanish account at 17:04.
Wise is the global technology company building the best way to move money around the world.
Wise, formerly TransferWise, is an international account for over 50 currencies, with instant, super-cheap money transfer, a card to spend in any currency, bank details to get paid in 30 different countries, multi-currency direct debits, and other revolutionary stuff.
Wise is on average 7x cheaper than old-school banks when you send, spend, or withdraw money around the world. (This depends on each country, please refer to our website to check out the coverage of our products) The Wise website
Balances – you can hold and convert money between the 50+ currencies in which we offer Wise balances. We always use the real exchange rate to convert your money which makes our service up to 7 times cheaper than traditional banks.
Bank details – we offer local bank details in 10 currencies (US dollars, British pounds, Euro, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and Singapore dollar, as well as Hungarian forint, Romanian leu and Turkish lira). You can use these bank details to receive money for free into your Wise account, which you can then convert or hold.
Direct debits – our US, British pound and Euro bank details allow you to set up direct debits to pay for utility bills or any other subscriptions or automated payments.
Debit card – with the Wise Visa card, you can spend in over 200 countries without the hidden fees. Add it to your Apple or Google wallets for convenient use.
Money transfers – send money to over 60 countries at the real exchange rate and low, transparent fees
Jars – Money in a jar is kept separately from your balances, if you are saving it for something later. You can’t accidentally spend it with your debit card, and you can’t send it or use it to pay Direct Debits. You can open as many jars as you need to organise your money.
It’s the business account for going global. It’s the only business account you need to grow and operate internationally — without the high fees, hefty admin, and headache of a local bank.
Wise is perfect for anyone living an international life. This includes expats, travellers, freelancers, international students, businesses, and digital nomads. Anyone who needs to send, spend or receive money internationally will benefit from using the Wise account and debit card.
Our mission is money without borders - instant, convenient, transparent and eventually free.
Wise builds products that solve the problems of the clunky old-school financial system, making international banking and cross-currency payments fast, easy, transparent, and ridiculously cheap. Today, over 10 million people and businesses use Wise products to make money easier when they live, work, travel or do business around the world.
Registration with Wise is incredibly simple and allows you to make your first transaction.
Have to hand your address, a scanned copy of your passport or TIE (saved as a jpg or pdf), your originating bank IBAN code and your destination bank IBAN code.
- Click one of the Wise banners on this page
- Choose Personal and enter your email address
- Create your own password
- Choose your Country of Residence
- Click Sign up
You will be asked for your name, date of birth, address and mobile telephone number
You will then be asked for the IBAN number of the destination bank
- Upload the scanned copy of your passport or TIE
- You enter details of the originating bank and confirm the amount you wish to transfer
At each stage you are asked to confirm the details so it is not easy to make a mistake.
You are also given a reference number that you will need to confirm the transaction.
Once the transaction is complete you should go to your emails.
You will have one email asking you to confirm your email address
You will have a second email confirming receipt of the ID document
You will have a third email informing you of the transfer with a link to allow you to track the transfer.
In practice, by the time Julie had clicked on this link, the money was already in our Spanish account.