Personal Finance

Transferwise - faster than a credit card payment

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 23rd, 2019 6:29 am
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
3860 posts
2772 upvotes
Bull Dog wrote: You think Transferwise is starting to increase their margins now that they have been in business for a while?
Definitely. Their fees for the transfers I do most have gone up twice in the last year.
Deal Addict
Oct 4, 2009
2548 posts
1349 upvotes
Montreal
Exp315 wrote: Definitely. Their fees for the transfers I do most have gone up twice in the last year.
Can you detail what fee increases have been implemented? I’ve never used them but have advised others to do so, wouldn’t want to steer them wrong and have a feeling some of them wouldn’t pay enough attention to notice the increases.
Deal Addict
Jul 15, 2009
1674 posts
765 upvotes
S5 wrote: Can you detail what fee increases have been implemented? I’ve never used them but have advised others to do so, wouldn’t want to steer them wrong and have a feeling some of them wouldn’t pay enough attention to notice the increases.
They've been going up and down. Here are the fees for some 500 CAD transfers to EUR that I've had in the past:
2014: $2.50
2015: $2.50
2017: $5.00
2018: $5.00
2018: $2.50
2019: $2.50
now: $5.70

So yes, $5.70 is the highest it's ever been, but it was $5.00 for a long time. If they hadn't lowered it from $5.00 to $2.50 in 2018, then it wouldn't seem like such a big increase now.

One thing about their fee structure is that it's very complicated, keeps changing, poorly documented, and the documentation is often out of date. They do tell you the total fee when you go to do a transfer, but trying to figure out the fee yourself from their documentation is almost impossible.

All that said, I haven't been able to find any place that's cheaper for the $500-$5000 range. If anyone knows of one, I'd love to hear about it.

Edit: OK, here's an example of their terrible documentation. Right now, on the front page, if you try to send 500 CAD to EUR, it tells you the fee is $8.75. If you go to actually do the transfer, you login, start setting up the transfer, and it turns out that the fee is really $5.70.

Edit 2: They used to not mention bill payments at all in their list of payment methods and bill payments were free. They now started listing them explicitly at $5.50. I haven't done a transfer since then to see whether they actually charge that fee, but presumably they do. Direct debit is cheaper than bill payment now.
Last edited by bubak on Apr 19th, 2019 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
3860 posts
2772 upvotes
S5 wrote: Can you detail what fee increases have been implemented? I’ve never used them but have advised others to do so, wouldn’t want to steer them wrong and have a feeling some of them wouldn’t pay enough attention to notice the increases.
For example in May last year the fee for a $1000 transfer to Brazil went from $15.00 to $17.70.

Transferwise does (usually) send an email when they change rates that would have applied to some of your recent transfers.

They are still competitive with other methods, and they offer the great advantage of delivering the money directly into the recipient bank account by a local transfer. That avoids the extra delays, bank fees, and government taxes that sometimes apply to receiving foreign deposits in other countries.

Agree with @bubak about their documentation. For example this is the confusing response I got when asking about the most recent fee change:

"It is a bit hard to give you the exact fee. When you set up a transfer with us, we will calculate the fee based on the amount you send. However, we then deduct that fee from the total cost of the amount you want to send us. We then use the amount that is left over to base the actual fees on. This way, we don’t charge a fee on the total amount you send which includes the amount you pay for the transfer. We would just be charging you based on the amount you actually send.

This can be a bit confusing, but we do it so we can give you the lowest fees possible.

As mentioned before, we charge a rate for the method in which you pay in and the conversion fee depending on the transfer’s currency.

For CAD to BRL transfers, you will be charged 1.35% Fee of the amount we convert + $ 1.50 CAD flat fee for any transfer up to 175,000 CAD. This is outside of the borderless/balance section of your account. This is the conversion fee. You can find this information on our website for CAD to BRL transfers, here (link).

The fees for each payment method are as follows:
•direct debit: $1.75 + 1.60%
•bank transfer/online bill pay: $8.75 + 1.35% (this is what the website says, but it appears that for both there is only the flat fee of 7.25)
•debit card: $1.50 + 2.50%
•credit card: $1.50 + 3.10%

And you can find those here. (link)

If you want to use your borderless/balances to send funds, you can do that as well. This adds an extra step. However, to pay with the online bill payment feature would be free. When you send out a transfer from your CAD currency to a BRL account we charge 1.35% of the amount your convert from CAD to BRL, and then a flat fee of 7.70 BRL to pay out the transfer."
Newbie
Apr 2, 2019
42 posts
18 upvotes
I have used Transferwise to send money form the UK to Canada. Transferwise offer a great service and beat all UK banks and most online brokers. You can place a currency order with Transferwise and you have 24 hours to complete the order. If CAD suddenly weakens during the day, you can cancel the order and place a new order at the better exchange rate.
$1000 CAD will get $737.65 USD today. That includes all the fees of $11.92. PayPal will charge you only $3.99 CAD, but the exchange rate is lower giving you a net sum of $729.78 USD.
I have no problems paying higher fees to get a better exchange rate.
Deal Addict
Oct 4, 2009
2548 posts
1349 upvotes
Montreal
MarkG60891 wrote: You can place a currency order with Transferwise and you have 24 hours to complete the order. If CAD suddenly weakens during the day, you can cancel the order and place a new order at the better exchange rate.
I can’t imagine any currency exchange place will let you cheap shot them like that for very long before banning you. Have you done this repeatedly?
Newbie
Apr 2, 2019
42 posts
18 upvotes
S5, it is totally legitimate and one of TransferWise many great features. I have used TransferWise multiple times. You can place an order today and cancel it within a 24 period. Orders placed on Friday are good all weekend and can be cancelled before Monday. Try the service and you will be impressed. Note, Although you can send unlimited funds from UK to Canada, there is a restriction on the amount you can send the other way.
Member
Aug 19, 2013
286 posts
233 upvotes
Etobicoke
Question for experts. Can I fund these currency transfer service through prepaid card like STACK and not incur any cash advance fee?
Tangerine | Public Mobile |STACK MC
Deal Addict
Oct 4, 2009
2548 posts
1349 upvotes
Montreal
MarkG60891 wrote: S5, it is totally legitimate and one of TransferWise many great features. I have used TransferWise multiple times. You can place an order today and cancel it within a 24 period. Orders placed on Friday are good all weekend and can be cancelled before Monday.
How many times have you cancelled when the rate moved favourably? What percentage of orders were cancelled? Are you moving large amounts?

I stand by my previous comment.
Deal Addict
Jul 15, 2009
1674 posts
765 upvotes
onebuddy wrote: Question for experts. Can I fund these currency transfer service through prepaid card like STACK and not incur any cash advance fee?
No idea what Stack will charge you but Transferwise will charge you their fee for accepting payment by credit card, which is their most expensive funding method. I think it's around 2.5%.
Newbie
Apr 2, 2019
42 posts
18 upvotes
S5 wrote: How many times have you cancelled when the rate moved favourably? What percentage of orders were cancelled? Are you moving large amounts?

I stand by my previous comment.
More than 50% of my orders were cancelled. On some days, the exchange rate moved strongly in one direction which meant the rate quoted in the morning was worse than the afternoon. Amounts varied between $10000 and $20000. I hope that answers your questions. Try the service and see for yourself.
Deal Addict
Oct 4, 2009
2548 posts
1349 upvotes
Montreal
MarkG60891 wrote: More than 50% of my orders were cancelled. On some days, the exchange rate moved strongly in one direction which meant the rate quoted in the morning was worse than the afternoon. Amounts varied between $10000 and $20000. I hope that answers your questions. Try the service and see for yourself.
Thanked for reply. I have no current use for the service, only interested to help others around me achieve their modest goals.

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