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If you’ve just heard about Wise, you can’t help wondering, “Is Wise legit?” You may be interested to know that the F.C.A. (Financial Conduct Authority) comprehensively regulates the company. Users are verified for protection against money laundering and fraud in the same way as big banks and major financial institutions.
Wise is an online money transfer service founded in Britain in January 2011.
The company offers multi-currency accounts and over 750 currency routes, GBP, USD, E.U.R., AUD, and CAD.
According to their annual report, the company has approximately 6 million customers transferring. $4 billion every single month.
The idea is to match transfers with others, keep commission rates low, and use the inter-bank mid-exchange rate (as found on Reuters or Google). This differs from traditional currency transfers, usually done using the buy and sell rates (with the broker pocketing the difference between the two.)
Wise is available in the following languages: English, Polish, French, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Portuguese, Chinese, German, and Russian.
This new approach to transferring cash allows customers to send and receive money safely with much lower fees than most high-street banks. In fact, in some cases, this service can be up to eight times cheaper than a regular bank.
The system bypasses expensive international payments using two local transfers instead of one international transaction. For example, if you want to convert your pounds into dollars, you pay the dollars into Wise’s UK-based account, and the equivalent amount is then sent from Wise’s dollar account to the recipient.
One of the hottest startups in the financial world, Wise is widely considered a market leader in the Fintech space with a valuation of around $3.5 Billion, making it the most valuable financial technology startup in Europe.
Wise has gone from strength to strength, growing at a blistering pace since its inception back in 2010 and subsequent launch in 2011.
The company currently has 1900 employees that work from the headquarters in London, United Kingdom, and has 12 offices in 11 different countries across four continents.
The award-winning Wise was conceived by two Estonian Fintech innovators, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann.
A huge leap in the company’s success can be attributed to the mega-investments of PayPal’s co-founder, Peter Thiel, and Virgin’s founder Richard Branson.
The company has a sound financial structure, is built on a solid business model, and is highly transparent in its business dealings.
Wise is undoubtedly not a scam, and we suggest that the excellent rates offered are sometimes viewed with suspicion. However, TransferWise is one of the most credible companies in the fintech industry.
Wise doesn’t protect your money in financial protection schemes like traditional banks because it isn’t a bank. As Wise does not operate as a bank, they don’t lend your money or get involved with making high-risk investments, and as such, they don’t use a financial protection scheme.
Traditional banks must put their customers’ money in a financial protection scheme because they make their profits by lending out and subsequently and risking their customers’ money. In this case, they need insurance through a financial protection scheme if something goes wrong.
Instead, Wise uses a ” safeguarding ” system to protect its customers’ funds. Safeguarding means that the monies held in customers’ accounts are separate from the company’s accounts to run its business. All customers’ money would be completely safe if anything happened to the company.
Established financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase and Barclays hold customers’ money. The precise location will depend on the account holder’s address; for example, if you have a U.K. address, funds are held by Barclays Bank and other financial institutions in the EEA.
Because customers’ cash is kept separately from the accounts used to run the company, customers would get their money back.
But it should be noted that if one of the banks that Wise uses to keep the money (like Barclays or JP Morgan Chase), customers’ funds wouldn’t be protected, and as such, the funds would be lost.
Wise has a first-class reputation for following the strict rules set by regulators in each country in which they operate. These regulators include the Financial Conduct Authority (F.C.A.) in the UK / EEA, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the United States, and many others worldwide.
The account holder’s address determines the regulator each customer is covered by.
Transferring money has never been so easy. Go to the Wise website, input your details along with the recipient’s, and then type in how much money you want to transfer.
You can use your debit card details or send the money to Wise from your bank account. Funds are sent straight to the recipient’s bank account even if they don’t have their Wise account.
A confirmation email is sent once the money has been received, and another email goes out when the funds have been paid to the recipient.
Wise is very proud that most transfers are completed on the same day, but it should be noted that most banks take 3-7 working days to complete an international payment.
To get a free international transfer of up to GBP500, click this link.
The Wise borderless account can hold your hard-earned money in over 40 currencies. You can make and receive payments very easily from the account, and if you are a European personal user, you can apply for a free debit card so that you can spend your dough in any currency as you travel the world.
The borderless account is particularly attractive to people who regularly deal with different currencies. It has proved very popular with folks who travel regularly, live/work/study overseas, and also for ex-pats/retirees. The account is also a wise choice for freelancers/digital nomads paid in currencies other than their local currency.
With incredibly low rates, transparent charges, and a great onboarding process, Wise has quickly become one of the biggest payment providers in the world.
This exciting money transfer service “startup” is already moving billions of dollars worldwide and competing with financial goliaths such as Western Union and Moneycorp.