Making an International Money Transfer Quick and Cheap with TransferWise

Transferwise cover picture

When transferring money most of us have the different wants. Some of us want the fastest transfer. Some of use want the most straightforward transfer. And some of us want the best exchange rates. For me, I like when I can find a money transfer service that gives me all three.

I used to use MoneyCorp to transfer money. But I always had to bargain with them to get the best possible rates. And even after I got decent rates, I still had to pay bank fees. So last year, when I had to buy a car, I decided to weigh my options and compared using MoneyCorp to using a bank and TransferWise. In the end, TransferWise gave me the best rates and quickest transfer times.

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How TransferWise Works

TransferWise is a simple and quick way to send money to Thailand with no hidden fees. You pay your money to TransferWise, they convert it, and then pay it out to you or your recipient.

The big plus is that there are no bank charges and TransferWise carries out the exchange at mid-market rate, which means TransferWise averages out the exchange rate between the buying and selling prices. This make TransferWise becomes the cheapest yet fastest way to send money to Thailand in many occasions.

Pros and Cons

Here’s a quick look into their pros and cons I found when using their service.

Pros

no bank charges
two-day transfers
guaranteed exchange rate

Cons

× online chat was unavailable
× restrictive business transfers
× maximum transfers limits

Transfer Fees

TransferWise’s borderless transfer fees are among the cheapest because money does not move from one country to another. Instead, TransferWise has banks in every country they work in. Your money goes into their bank in your home country. Then they transfer your money from that bank to the their bank in the recipient’s country.

Actual transfer fees depend on the number of transfers between countries. So the more popular the route, the lower your transfer fee might be.

For comparison purposes, here’s the transfer fees on transferring £1000 through TransferWise, my UK Bank, and other money transfer services.

Transfer Method Fees Exchange Rate Exchange Amount Speed
MoneyCorp £5 £43.87 43,674 baht 2-4 days
My UK Bank £15.00 £44.29 43,835 baht 4-5 days
XendPay £9.90 £44.48 44,040 baht 2-3 days
TransferWise £7.46 £44.74 44,446 baht 2 days

Transfer Speed

Since I joined TransferWise last year and have been using them regularly, my recent transfers from UK to Thailand only take two days. The transfer times were longer in the beginning, but I suspect this was because my bank was slow to put money into my account.

On one occasion when TransferWise was at fault, they gave me a £4.50 credit because it took them three days to transfer my money instead of two.

And recently, my son, who is in Australia, sent money to me in Thailand. (Yes, a very rare thing as it’s normally the other way around). The money went to TransferWise at 9pm Australian time. I got the money in my Thai bank at exactly 1:03pm Thai time the next day—less than twenty-four hours.

Set Up and Verification

Once you enter your e-mail address and create a password you’ll be able to finish a transfer.

TransferWise Signup
Setting up your TransferWise account is easy

I thought it was strange that I could process a transfer when all TransferWise had was my e-mail address. But things became clear later on during the validation process.

TransferWise Transfer
Transfer money with TransferWise

I needed to transfer £1000 from my UK bank to my Thai bank. TransferWise gave me a guaranteed exchange rate of 42.82426 baht per GBP. And they tacked on a transfer fee of £2.96. It would’ve been more expensive, but they also gave me a £4.50 credit—more about this in the promo section. In the end, though, I’d be getting 42,697.50 baht.

Before you finish your transfer, TransferWise shows you their transfer rates compared to bank transfers. I thought it would be unfair to compare rates after TransferWise gave me the £4.50 credit. So I checked on another day, and TransferWise’s transfer fees were still cheaper than banks.

TransferWise Comparison
TransferWise offers competitive rates

TransferWise then asks you if the transfer money is coming from a Personal Account or a Business Account. Choose the account type and then add the recipient’s info.

Since I was sending money to my Thai bank, I chose Myself. On the popup screen I entered Bangkok Bank and the swift code was automatically itself. I then added my bank account number.

TransferWise Recipient
Select your TransferWise recipient

I finished my set up and transfer. Now TransferWise had to verify that I was actually who I said I was.

TransferWise Verification
TransferWise Verification Process

To verify your ID, you can use your passport, driver’s license, or national ID card. You can use your webcam to scan the documents or you can upload a file from your computer. The file must be less than 8MB and must be in color. They won’t accept black and white copies. TransferWise uses Net Verify to confirm your ID.

The verification process takes a few minutes. I got an e-mail asking me to first confirm my e-mail address. Then I got another email saying TransferWise verified my ID.

At this stage they didn’t ask me to verify my address. The trigger for this info varies from country to country. In the UK, TransferWise will ask for it before they transfer over £15,000.

I was now ready to finish my first transfer. I used an electronic Bank to Bank transfer and the money went into TransferWise’s account within a few minutes.

Important! If you use the Bank to Bank method after banking hours on a Friday, or over the weekend, TransferWise will not get your money until Monday. And the guaranteed rate will have expired. In this case, for instant payments I’d recommend using a debit or credit card.

If you need any more help, the TransferWise Support Section has a video showing how to sign up and make your first transfer as seen below.

Safety and Security

TransferWise is regulated under different authorities depending on which country they work in. In the UK and the European Economic Area, the UK Financial Conduct Authority authorized TransferWise as an Electronic Money Institution, or EMI, and gave them pass-porting rights across the EEA.

Their Security and Regulatory Section details the authorization they work under in each country.

And all transactions are protected by industry standard HTTPS encryption.

Alternatives to TransferWise

TransferWise isn’t the only option you have when transferring money to Thailand. Although it’s my go-to money transfer website, you can check out WorldRemit, XendPay, or find others using the Moneytis comparison portal.

Final Thoughts

TransferWise gives competitive exchange rates. And once set up, the transfer process takes a very short time, with most transfers from the UK taking two days at most during the week. I’ve been happy with their service and will continue using them over banks and other money transfer services.

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