The best way to send money abroad with a money transfer company | Transferwise Review

Sending money abroad can be confusing because it’s money and you want to be sure everything is legit and safe. Let’s be honest here, we also don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to send money internationally. Finding a money transfer company that you trust is so important.

Whether you are interested in moving your own money from one country to another, or you want to send money to someone else, this post is going to help you.

world map with multiple currencies spread along the outside edge
Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

I should have written this post years ago because I went through SUCH a headache moving our own money from the United States to the Netherlands. The only way I knew to move money was through PayPal and when you are moving your entire savings, that is NOT the way to do it. They thought I was money-laundering and needed a copy of my entire passport. It was such a to-do and the fees were a bit ridiculous. It’s funny what it takes for you to put the time into finding the right company to use. That nightmare got me looking into it instantly.

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The best way to send money abroad: Transferwise

We have been using TRANSFERWISE since 2014. It was the best decision. It’s easy, simple, and cheap. We’ve used them for moving our own money back and forth (we haven’t completely severed ties with the USA) and we’ve used it to send money abroad from the Netherlands to Australia when I hired someone to help with the blog. We use Transferwise every month with various amounts and it’s always been quick and simple

Is Transferwise legit?

In my experience, yes. We decided to sign up with them when we saw investors like Richard Branson jumping aboard and had founders who worked at PwC, Deloitte, and Skype. Plus, with all the news backing them up, we were sold.

I’ll always encourage independent research, so check out TRUSTPILOT to see what others say. Also, they are regulated by various governing bodies in the countries they are able to move money to/from. LEARN MORE about that.

How Transferwise works

Simply put, you transfer money to a local account with the same currency (a Transferwise account), then the amount requested will go into the bank account you give them in the other country. They have their own system of accounts around the world and this is what keeps the service so cheap!

One thing to note that people seem to love are the email notifications. You’re notified when the money has gotten to Transferwise, and when it is sent to the other account. You always know the timeline of when things are happening.

Transferwise front page

How to use Transferwise to send money abroad

Depending which country you are sending money from will determine the payment options available. Here in the Netherlands, I use iDeal. You may use something else or pay by card.

  • Sign up with an email address. It’s free!
  • Type in how much to send (you can either put how much to send or how much the person should get after fees).
  • Let them know what kind of transfer it is (personal/business).
  • Enter the information requested (like your address and such) to keep in line with financial governing bodies.
  • Type in the information of the person you are sending money to. If you have their bank information, you include it here. If not, they’ll send an email to them asking for it.
  • Review everything. It is money, after all.
  • Pick your transfer type (I always pick the cheapest 😉 )
  • If you are sending via your bank, transfer the money right away to avoid forgetting.
  • Done!

That actually looks like a lot and that it takes a lot of time. It doesn’t. And once you send money to an account, it takes even less time for the next transfer.

What details will you need

To be quick and efficient, have your account information. If there’s an acronym you don’t understand (IBAN, SWIFT, etc), just Google it with your bank name and you’ll find the answer pretty quickly. I used to look up so many numbers before I used Transferwise, but now, once you add an account, you’ll have easy access to it.

Moving to the Netherlands? Get your finances set up easily! Read this post to find out more.

Multiple currencies in a line
Photo by Linus Nilsson on Unsplash

Which countries does it work in?

It works by currency, and as of this writing, you can send and receive in 24 different currencies. That’s a lot of countries! Here is a LIST OF ALL THE CURRENCIES.

Transferwise fees

Transferwise is transparent with everything. When you type in how much you want to send, you’ll see the break-down of fees. The fees depend on how much you’re sending, what currency you are using and how you are paying. Don’t worry, it’s always very low and much lower than you probably thought possible! At least, that was my case.

If you’re wondering what the fees pay for, let me tell you. They go to running costs, customer support, building their products (there’s more than just transferring money!), growing the company, and moving fees.

Transferwise exchange rate

They use the mid-market rate which is the same rate you’ll find on Google, Yahoo!, etc. YOUR RATE IS GUARANTEED FOR 24 HOURS (in some cases, longer!). Many companies hide the fees in the exchange rate, but you don’t have to worry about that here.

How long does it take to transfer money?

Usually about 2 days.

It depends on:

  • when you transferred the money (banks are a 9-5 business),
  • how you paid for the transfer (credit cards can be instant, but a bank transfer may take longer),
  • how quickly your bank works,
  • And occasionally, there may be security checks.

Additional Transferwise features

As I mentioned above, there’s more to this company than just moving money. They take that idea and make it even more convenient. Maybe none of these services will help you, but for some, it’s the answer to their prayers!

transferwise borderless

Borderless account

This is a MULTI-CURRENCY ACCOUNT that is perfect for frequent travelers, expats, and freelancers. You can move money between the currencies with a low conversion fee and even transfer it to your home account with low fees just like I wrote about above.

You can receive these currencies: GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD, USD, SGD and PLN

You can add money from these currencies: AUD, BGN, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HRK, HUF, NOK, NZD, PLN, RON, SEK, SGD, TRY and USD.

And you can hold the money in over 50 currencies for if you need to transfer money out of one of those currencies.

Excitingly, you can even have your own bank account details for EUR, GBP, USD, NZD, AUD and PLN.

This information was accurate as of May 11, 2020


Transferwise Debit Card

This is a great idea to have if you travel a lot. If you already have access to the Borderless account, it’s quick work to request a card. It’s an easy way to have a second debit card with easy access to transfer money to if something happens to your primary debit card.

Many people don’t think of back-up cards. But we’ve had the issue where our debit card (a Maestro card) didn’t work in some ATMs, and luckily we had a back-up Mastercard debit card with an online bank (this one wasn’t available yet) and it was super easy to move money to it and use it quickly. And yes, you can use it in an ATM, and up to a CERTAIN AMOUNT each month, it’s free!

You can even use this card to SET UP Apple Pay or Google Pay on your phone.

Transferwise App

Apps are designed to make life easier…especially on the go! On THIS APP, you can set up transfers, check on the status of transfers, set up 2-step log in with the app, and pay transfers with Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Plus, if you have a Borderless account, you can see so much information at-a-glance. Like, how much is in each account, your bank details and your statements. You can move money between accounts and see all your activity. It’s really an all-in-one app. I find it super handy.

My review of Transferwise

I’ve used it for 5+ years and I’ll continue to use it. And I have a Borderless account since I get paid from different parts of the world. It’s all pretty easy to use and I love the interface.

To me, that’s the best recommendation–someone uses it and loves it.

How to get finances set up in the Netherlands as an expat

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