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Wise Multi Currency Account Review – 6 Must Knows

happy woman holding a cellphone with the text Wise Multi Currency Account Review - Is it Right for You?

For many international people having bank accounts in more than one country can be hard to manage and expensive.

But here’s the deal:

Services like Wise’s multi-currency account make holding, managing, and spending in multiple currencies easy and affordable.

Wise is great and I personally use them, but I am also going to uncover situations where Wise is NOT your best option and point you in the right direction to who might be.

Pros

  • Free to open an account
  • Multi currency account lets you hold, manage, and convert between 50+ currencies
  • Send money home and to other countries in 70+ currencies
  • Transparent and affordable fees for money transfers
  • Open receiving accounts with global IBANs in 10+ currencies – reduce conversion fees as a frequent traveller or freelancer
  • Debit card can be used worldwide – supports contactless payments
  • Available for personal and business

Cons

  • Not a real bank
  • No cash transfers
  • Not ideal for transfers above $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AU 

The Wise multi currency account means you can get paid and pay others no matter what the currency – it is inexpensive and like having connected bank accounts in multiple countries. You can hold up to 50 currencies and spend them with very low currency conversion fees.

Need cash quickly? Use the card at any ATM overseas.

Let’s uncover how Wise can make travelling or working abroad easier for you.

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1. When it Works and When it Doesn’t

1.1 When it Works

Before you sign up for an account, check if the Wise multi-currency account works in your country here (select your location).

The Wise multi-currency account functions like a bank account (but it’s not a real bank) and offers many functionalities that can make it easier to travel to multiple countries or relocate abroad.

With the Wise multi currency account you can:

However, there are some limitations to the multi-currency account and we’ll break it down for you in the next section. 

1.2 When it Doesn’t Work

Holding large amounts

Since Wise is not a bank, there are limits to the amounts you can hold – in fact, you will be charged a small fee for going over the threshold in some currencies.

Moreover, your money is not protected by government protection schemes, you won’t earn any interest, and there are no loan or overdraft facilities.

Here’s how much you can hold in different currencies without attracting fees:

  • AUD — $23,000
  • EUR — €30,000 (new accounts)
  • GBP — £13,000
  • USD — $18,000

Large money transfers

Small bank-to-bank transfers below $7000 USD/£4000 GBP/€4500 EU/$9500 CAD/AU are very affordable with Wise.

However, we think sending large amounts is done best by services designed for larger amounts – like 24×7 phone support or a personal account manager who can guide you on when to transfer to save the most on fees.

For these, we suggest going with services like OFX (review) or TorFX (review).

2. The (Real) Costs + Hidden Fees

There are no fees to open an account, but there are some fees associated with the multi-currency account, the debit card, as well as when you transfer money.

Multi-currency account fees

MasterCard/Visa debit card fees

Money transfer fees

3. The Wise Debit Card

The Wise debit card is currently available in the UK, the US, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Canada, Brazil and most of the EEA.

The card is linked to your multi-currency account and automatically converts the currencies in your account based on your location at the mid-market rate.

With the Wise debit card you can:

Note: you need to have funds in your account to use this card – there are no credits or overdrafts available. The card also has daily, weekly, and monthly spending limits that vary by country – check them out here.

4. How Does Wise Work?

4.1 Sign up for your multi-currency account

Go to Wise’s website and sign up for your account with your personal details. You’ll need to verify your account by uploading your address proof or other government ID. This can take a couple of days to a week.

4.2 Adding multiple currencies to your account

You can add money in the following 21 currencies to your account: AUD, BGN, BRL, CAD, CHF, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HRK, HUF, JPY, MYR, NOK, NZD, PLN, RON, SEK, SGD, TRY and USD.

You can also set up local receiving account in the following 10 currencies to receive and spend money without currency conversion fees :

  • USD for receiving money from local accounts in the US (or by SWIFT transfers)
  • CAD for receiving money from local accounts in Canada
  • GBP for receiving money from local accounts in the UK (or by SWIFT)
  • EUR for receiving from any bank account that’s denoted in EUR
  • AUD for receiving money from local accounts in Australia
  • NZD for receiving money from local accounts in New Zealand
  • SGD for receiving money from local accounts in Singapore
  • MYR for receiving money from Malaysian Personal Accounts
  • RON for receiving money from local accounts in Romania (only available if you’re a resident in the EEA, Switzerland, the US, Canada, Australia, or Japan.)
  • HUF for receiving money from local accounts in Hungary
  • TRY to receive money from local accounts in Turkey

4.3 Get your card delivered

There’s a one-time fee (currency-specific) to get your card delivered – you can also opt for Express shipping in some countries.

Once you receive the card, activate it. If the ATM asks for a 6-digit PIN, use Wise’s 4-digit PIN.

5. What do Wise Customers Say (including Negative Reviews)?

Wise is a feature-rich multi-currency account with great support – which means it gets great reviews on all review sites.

For example, Wise is rated 4.3/5 on Trustpilot with over 200,000 reviews – with over 80% choosing 5 stars or  “Excellent.”

Positives

I have used Wise as a multicurrency wallet through the Wise debit card and transferring multicurrency funds to friends for several years and the efficiency and cost effectiveness of its payments has no parallel.
Super service. I'm a frequent user and appreciate the immediate transfer aspect and also the fact I'm getting current bank rates and not getting ripped off with costly charges. Currently exploring the advantages of using the Wise debit card and its' multicurrency function.

Negatives

As a licensed financial institution, Wise needs to audit any transfers or transactions if it doesn’t align with their service guidelines.

This can look like buying online gambling credits, going over your account limits, transferring a large sum, etc.

While Wise does this to protect your money and data from theft and fraud, it can be disheartening if you’re stranded without money in a foreign country.

This is why we recommend holding relatively small amounts in your Wise account and using it regularly to save on fees. Meanwhile keep the rest of your money in your high street account for emergencies. 

Some users were confused with the varying limits for holding a specific currency or the spending limits on their debit card.

Wise needs to adhere to the regulation laws of many countries where they’re licensed, and the limits are unavoidable.

We recommend going through the fine print of how much you can hold and spend based on location before travelling or relocation. That said, in most cases the amounts are more than sufficient for most peoples monthly needs.

6. Is Wise Safe?

You must be wondering – if Wise isn’t a real bank, is it safe?

Wise is regulated by, authorities such as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (USA), the UK Financial Conduct Authority (UK), National Bank of Belgium (Europe) as an Authorised Payment Institution, the Australia Securities and Investments Commission (Australia), Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (Canada) and Financial Customs and Excise Department (Hong Kong). It is also regulated in India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UAE.

This means they need to operate their accounts keeping in mind the banking regulations of these countries to keep their users money and data safe.

This is why Wise holds their users’ money and their operating funds safely (their customers’ money is kept in high street banks such as JP Morgan, Barclays, etc. depending on the location).

Wise also has the following security measures in place:

Short answer: You can trust Wise with your money.

Verdict

Wise offers many functionalities that can make money management easier for frequent travellers, working holiday makers, and freelancers.

Being able to hold, manage, and convert between 50+ currencies with low or no fees means you can travel anywhere without worrying about expensive charges for accessing your own money.

Overall, the Wise multi-currency account and debit card are great options if you’re from the UK, the US, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Canada, Brazil and EEA.

Just be mindful of the limits and avoid holding large amounts in your account.

 

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