If you’re looking for a way to send and receive money in different currencies, you should look into opening a Wise Multi-Currency Account.
With it, you can receive money in various currencies without having to open a local bank account.
The transfer fees are lower than what you’d pay when sending money through a bank as well. You also get a virtual debit card, which you can use to spend money locally or withdraw cash from ATMs.
Therefore, a Wise Multi-Currency Account is highly recommended for expats. It’s easy to open an account. Just sign up for a Wise account and then upgrade it to a Multi-Currency Account.
To find out more, read on.
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- What is Wise Multi Currency Account?
- How the Multi Currency Account works
- Available Currencies
- Safety and Security
- Transfer Speeds
- Open a Multi Currency Account
- Wise Debit MasterCard
- Available Locations
- Wise pros
- Wise cons
- Is It Free to Open the Multi Currency Account?
- Alternative Services
- Our Verdict
What is Wise Multi Currency Account?
Since its inception in 2011, Wise has proven to be one of the most disruptive companies to the old international banking model.
And the company’s Multi Currency Account may be the single most helpful development for giving ordinary people the ability to transact internationally in a practical and easy way.
The Wise Multi Currency Account enables people in virtually any country to instantly gain access to local bank accounts in British pounds, euros, Australian dollars, New Zealand dollars, and U.S. dollars.
This means that, for example, it is possible for an American to obtain bank information that will allow local transfers conducted throughout the eurozone just as if they were physically located there.
Likewise, someone in the Philippines will instantly have access to SWIFT-compatible bank information that will allow them to conduct business with any American company as if they had a U.S. bank account.
This enables many types of transactions, like ACH transfers, that would otherwise be impossible without having an actual bank account in the country to which the payment is destined.
The Multi Currency Account therefore eliminates the need to pay the outrageous fees associated with international bank transfers.
On top of this, banks will often stack hidden exchange fees by giving their customers a non-market exchange rate that benefits the bank. This can add up to serious money on larger transfer amounts.
The Wise Multi Currency Account gives its customers prevailing mid-market exchange rates. This means that you will get an exchange rate that is halfway between the bid and ask price on the major currency exchanges.
There are many benefits to using a Wise Multi-Currency Account. Many online marketplaces that are geared toward specific countries can suddenly become accessible to account holders.
For location-independent workers, expats, and others, this benefit makes doing business vastly easier.
Let’s take a look at the main benefits of having a Wise Multi-Currency Account.
Send Money with Low Fees
Wise is one of the cheapest ways to send money abroad. And that remains true for the Multi-Currency Account.
With it, you’re able to send money to over 80 countries, including the popular destinations of Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, and all countries throughout Europe.
Wise’s fees are different between each currency. On average, the total transfer fee is around 1 percent of the transaction – lower than other methods that usually charge 3 percent to 5 percent.
Receive Money in Different Currencies
When the Wise Multi-Currency Account was released, it was called a Borderless Account at the time. Back then, you could only receive five different currencies.
Nowadays, you can receive money in 10 currencies, including GBP, EUR, USD, AUD, NZD, SGD, CAD, RON, HUF, and TRY. And more currencies could be added in the future. This is definitely a great perk that you won’t be able to find with other money transfer services.
Moreover, many U.S.-based freelancing sites require customers to have a U.S. bank account in order to get paid. Without a Multi-Currency Account, those freelancers may find it difficult or impossible to work with such companies.
Multi-Currency Accounts are available to people throughout the world. By opening a Multi-Currency Account, you can receive the major currencies of the world, convert them into your local currency, and use it to cover your day-to-day living expenses.
This means you won’t have to go through the hassle of opening up a local bank account – if you even qualify or have the right documents – and you’re going to save a lot of money.
For example, if you’re an American working for a client in Europe, you can ask them to send money to your Wise Multi-Currency Account in EUR. Then, you can convert it to USD within your Multi-Currency Account.
This will only cost you around 0.5 percent of the transaction for the currency conversion.
If your client sends money to your local bank in America, you have to pay a fixed fee of at least US$50 for an international transfer, in addition to a hidden exchange rate fee of 1 percent of your transaction amount.
When it comes to receiving money, you can also use your Wise Multi-Currency Account to receive payments from services like Amazon, PayPal, and Stripe.
Convert Currency When the Rates are Good
With Wise Multi-Currency Accounts, you can hold over 50 currencies in your account and can convert them whenever needed.
If rates are poor, then you can hold onto the currency for a while and convert it when rates are better.
As a plus, Wise currency conversion fees are lower than other services, which range from 0.35 percent to 2.85 percent. For popular currencies such as USD, EUR, NZD, and CAD, fees are around 0.4 percent.
You can also set-up an auto conversion to let Wise convert currency automatically when it reaches your desired rate.
Depending on how you use it, this feature can make Wise to be the cheapest way to receive and convert currencies.
After opening a Multi-Currency Account, you get a Wise debut card. With it, you can use it to buy things or withdraw money from ATMs anywhere in the world with less fees than traditional banks.
It works pretty much the same way as a standard debit card. You can use it anywhere in the world. You can also use it to shop online.
When using the card, just make sure you have a sufficient amount of that specific currency in your Wise Multi-Currency Account. Otherwise, Wise converts your other currencies to cover the remaining amount, which can be slightly more expensive than if you converted it yourself.
In addition, you can use your Wise card to withdraw cash from any ATM in the world as long as the ATM has a MasterCard logo.
This means you don’t even have to open a local bank account. However, if you plan to live in a country longer than a year, opening a local bank account is recommended.
Note that you’re still responsible for the ATM fees, which are around US$5 to US$10 per withdrawal, depending on the country you live in at that time.
How the Multi Currency Account works
When you activate a multi currency account, you will get bank address details for receiving both local and international transfers ten and increasing currencies including USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, SGD, and NZD.
You’ll be able to receive money from family, friends, companies, and clients.
You can also use it to send money in over fifty currencies that are supported by Wise.
One important thing to understand is that the Multi Currency Account is not an actual bank account. Instead, it is a virtual account that has many, but not all, the features of a real bank account.
For example, the Multi Currency Account does not accept cash, checks, nor pay interest, and it is not covered by any government-run account insurance schemes, like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
However, most customers who use Wise are looking for a cheap and easy-to-use way to quickly and safely transfer funds around the world. This is where a Multi Currency Account closely mimics a real bank account.
Account holders can hold money in more than 50 currencies and transfer those funds to those currencies’ respective countries.
As a result, customers will not incur any exchange fees. And as mentioned above, customers can even receive funds in many country-specific currencies, no matter where in the world the account holder happens to be physically located.
In fact, as anyone who has extensively made cross-currency transfers using banks will have surely realized one thing — almost all major banks charge their customers exorbitantly when making payments that involve currency exchanges.
The insidious part is that portions of these fees are very often cleverly hidden by way of the institution offering non-market exchange rates that benefit the bank. Many customers don’t even realize how much of their money is being eaten up by these charges until thousands of dollars have been lost.
Wise, on the other hand, offers its customers total fee transparency. There are three fees involved when using Wise Multi-Currency Account:
- wire transfer fees
- currency conversion fees
- withdrawal fees
With all of the total fees combined, Wise beats traditional wire transfers since it has lower transfer fees and currency conversion fees.
As a plus, since you control when you want to convert, you get more money when rates are good.
Wire Transfer Fees
When someone sends money to your Multi-Currency Account, Wise charges you a small fixed fee of around US$4.
This is lower than traditional banks, who often charge between US$10 to US$15 when receiving money from abroad.
When you use your Wise Multi-Currency Account to send money to your bank, Wise charges another small fixed fee of US$0.5 to US$1.
Currency Conversion Fees
Wise is known for its cheap currency conversion fees, which are reflected in its Multi-Currency Account.
Wise uses the mid-market rates and then charges around 0.35 percent to 2.85 percent. For popular currencies such as USD, EUR, NZD, and CAD, fees are around 0.4 percent.
Compared to traditional bank — as seen in the below table — Wise’s exchange rate are 5.5 percent to 6 percent better than traditional banks when converting USD to different currencies. (The rate at the time of writing this guide.)
|Market Exchange Rate
(Bangkok of America)
The Wise Multi Currency Account currently lets customers pay in more than 50 currencies. Customers can also maintain virtual accounts in these currencies. This means that they are able to take advantage of Wise’s unbeatable exchange rates while also being able to send money to recipients with far more speed than an international bank transfer would normally require.
However, the Multi Currency Account itself is only set up to receive funds in U.S. dollars, British pounds, euros, New Zealand dollars and Australian dollars. It is still possible to receive money from one of the other 50-plus countries that Wise supports. But to do so, the sender will need to open a Wise account themselves.
Safety and Security
Wise uses state-of-the-art encryption as well as offering two-step login for all of its customers.
The company actively monitors all accounts for suspicious activity, including through the use of cutting-edge artificial-intelligence algorithms. All this is to say that Wise offers its customers account security that is on par with the largest and most trusted financial institutions in the world.
Wise is a U.K.-based firm that is registered as an Electronic Money Institution by the Financial Conduct Authority, Britain’s financial regulatory body. This means that Wise keeps all of its customers’ funds in segregated accounts, meaning that in the highly unlikely event of the company’s insolvency customers’ funds would be reimbursed to them in full.
This also means that Wise is held to the same high standards of financial conduct as every other major financial institution in Great Britain, a country that is known for its trustworthy and globe-leading financial system.
In the United States, Wise is registered at the federal level with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The company is also registered and regulated in nearly every state, ensuring a high degree of transparency and instilling confidence in its customers.
Also, because the banks with which Wise does business are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, all U.S. customers’ accounts are, therefore, also protected.
The bottom line is that when it comes to safety Wise is right on par with the largest and most trusted financial institutions in the world. It is, therefore, a perfectly safe way to send anything from a few dollars all the way up to large international business payments.
Multi-Currency Accounts are slightly slower than traditional transfers. It takes three to four business days to receive money into your Wise Multi-Currency Account.
When you want to send money from your Multi-Currency Account to your bank account, then it’s going to take another day or two.
Open a Multi Currency Account
It is easy to open a Multi Currency Account.
You must first sign up with Wise. You’ll have to decide whether you want to use your account for personal or business purposes. Other than that, the sign-up process for Wise is extremely easy.
You can check our Wise review to see how to do it.
Once your main Wise account has been set up, you must go to the Balances tab if you’re using a computer or the Account tab if you’re using the Wise mobile app.
Then you simply need to select in which currencies you would like to keep your balance. You will be able to choose from more than 50.
You can also add money to your balances in any currency at any time by simply clicking the Add button and selecting which of your bank accounts you’d like to send the money from.
Additionally, for British pounds, Australian dollars, New Zealand dollars, U.S. dollars, and euros, you will receive account numbers, including SWIFT codes and IBANs.
You can also readily convert money from one currency to the other between your existing balances, getting the real exchange rate and being charged one of the lowest conversion fees in the business.
At this point, you will also be able to sign up for the Wise debit MasterCard, which will allow you to withdraw your funds from virtually any ATM machine in the world while also being able to pay anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
Wise Debit MasterCard
The Wise debit MasterCard is a great means of payment for those who must travel or live abroad. It allows for payments in local currencies without any additional conversion fees or charges besides the initial low fee that you are charged to convert one currency to another within their Wise accounts.
For those who are paying in a currency that is different from the primary currency in which they earn their living, the Wise debit MasterCard offers some good savings.
While traveling abroad, most credit card companies or banks will charge hidden currency conversion fees through giving non-market exchange rates. They will also charge foreign exchange rate risk for up to 2% on every purchase.
With the Wise debit MasterCard, you will be charged no transaction fees and some of the lowest conversion fees in the business. The card also works flawlessly for online purchases in many currencies.
As compelling as those benefits are, the Wise debit MasterCard can be a great option even for those who are not in need of spending in an unusual local currency, providing some features that even the world’s best banks don’t offer.
For instance, the Wise debit MasterCard allows customers to withdraw up to $250 every 30 days for free. Additionally, the card has no additional monthly account fees whereas many banks offering accounts that come with a debit card will charge you just for the privilege of using their services.
The Wise debit MasterCard can also be used both for point-of-sale payments and for ATM withdraws in most countries on Earth that accept MasterCard.
However, there are some restrictions. If you’re in a handful of countries that have high rates of fraud, such as Chad, the Congo, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, and others, you won’t be able to use the card for payments or ATM withdrawals.
On top of that, if your card was issued in the United States, you won’t be able to use the Wise debit MasterCard in a number of other countries, including Zambia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Belarus, and Kenya.
You can check here for a complete list of all the countries where the card won’t work.
The only real drawback of the Wise debit MasterCard may unfortunately be a deal killer for some: The card is currently only available in the U.K., Europe, the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.
Wise Multi-Currency Accounts are now available in almost every popular expat destination, including Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, China, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Singapore.
As far as we know, Hong Kong is the only country where you can’t open a Multi-Currency Account yet.
However, Wise’s debit MasterCard is still only available for those who come from the U.S., the U.K., the E.U., Canada, Singapore, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
There’s good reason that publications ranging from Forbes to Wired are calling Wise one of the most disruptive financial companies in recent history. In short, the company has solved many of the problems associated with traditional international bank transfers, offering customers a vastly superior deal for a whole class of international payment options.
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of positive things to say about Wise and its Multi Currency Account.
For starters, it is very frequently the cheapest way to send funds in one currency to a recipient in another currency. The difference often amounts to between 5 and 10 percent of the total transaction value. And for those who need to send relatively small amounts and who would need to use otherwise very expensive means, like an American international wire transfer, the savings reaped by using Wise can be well worthwhile.
Wise’s fee structure consists of a very small percentage amount and, in some cases, a flat rate for certain combinations of currencies. For example, when sending $100 to a recipient in euros, there is a $.20 ACH fee and a 1.51 percent fee that Wise takes for a total of $1.71 in fees. This same transfer would cost on the order of $70 when using an international wire transfer.
Wise is extremely easy to use. The sign-up process is clear, and both the site and app are easily navigable. Customers are offered a plethora of deposit and withdrawal option, ensuring that using the service is almost always at least as convenient as using an ordinary bank account.
Unlike so many financial companies that are new on the scene, Wise is licensed and fully authorized to conduct business throughout every jurisdiction in which it operates. This means that customers have most of the same protections and assurances that they would if they were operating a traditional bank account.
Wise has more than 6 million customers and has executed billions of dollars’ worth of total transactions. It has received generally positive customer reviews and is highly rated on most financial review sites.
The company has a broad range of services, and its coverage area consists of a large part of the globe. It supports mobile payments, debit card transactions, bank transfers, and myriad funding and withdrawal options. Wise also has few restrictions on the size of payments. The service is great for those making tiny payments or those who are doing million-dollar international business transactions.
Wise’s customer support has generally been rated as excellent. The company has live chat, email support, and phone support. Agents can be easily reached around the clock. And the site offers customer support in a broad range of languages.
For those who are unable, for whatever reason, to open a bank account in their country of residence, the debit card that Wise issues makes it a viable replacement for a local bank account.
While there are a few drawbacks to using Wise rather than a bank, which we’ll take a more in-depth look at shortly, it is fully possible to use Wise for your daily banking needs as if it were a full-fledged bank account.
The executive summary is that Wise is everything it claims to be. For those who need to cheaply send or receive money abroad, especially in currencies that are different from those in which they transact in their day-to-day lives, Wise and its Multi Currency Account are indispensable cost-saving solutions that make cheaply and quickly paying or being paid throughout most of the world a reality.
Wise does have a number of potential drawbacks. But this depends heavily on individual perspective and what it is that you’re looking for.
Most of the potential cons of Wise, its Multi Currency Account, and its debit card stem from the fact that the company is not an actual bank. The following should be considered when deciding whether the Borderless Account is right for you:
- The Multi Currency Account does not pay interest.
- You don’t have access to as broad a range of services as you would with a major bank like J.P. Morgan Chase.
- The debit card is only available in certain regions, such as the U.S., Europe, Australia, Great Britain, and New Zealand.
While these things may be perceived as undesirable for some, the fact is that in today’s zero-interest environment an account not paying interest is virtually meaningless. And while the entire gamut of Wise services may not currently be available for all customers, they are expanding their full range of services to more countries by the day.
Is It Free to Open the Multi Currency Account?
There are no signup, monthly or recurring fees for holding and operating a Multi Currency Account beyond the fees incurred with the transactions themselves.
There are many services that overlap with the features offered by Wise. However, when it comes to sending money from one bank account holder to a bank account holder in another country, Wise is almost always the cheapest, easiest-to-use, and fastest option.
Still, there are reasons that some might choose to go with another service.
For instance, someone who is in the United States but doesn’t have a Social Security number won’t be able to use the Wise Multi Currency Account. That’s a real bummer, because there are a lot of foreign students and expat spouses who’d love to use the service for legitimate reasons but simply can’t due to this requirement. Likewise, someone who would like to receive money directly in cash would also be forced to use a different service.
Depending on the reason why you can’t or don’t want to use Wise, different alternatives fit the bill. A good tool to compare them (including pricing and transfer duration) is Monito.
We recommend a Wise Multi-Currency Account to anyone who regularly sends and receives money in different currencies.
It doesn’t only help you save money on international transfer fees, but it makes receiving money in different countries very convenient for expats and digital nomads alike – not to mention the Wise debit card that could be used in most places throughout the world.
So, if you’re looking for a solution to international banking, sign up for the Wise Multi-Currency Account now.