From someone who knows: internationally transferring money is basically a nightmare.
Last time I tried to send money from my bank account in the United States to a friend in Spain, I went physically to the bank myself in a cute attempt to avoid complications. There I was told:
that there would be a $50 surcharge for the internationality of the transfer,
that they’d tack a $10 fee on top for the quantity of the money I wanted to send,
that the exchange rate from dollars to euros the bank offered would be significantly worse than at, say, the airport, and
that no one currently present in the bank was actually allowed to make such a transfer. Would I like to call this number, request an appointment, and come back in three to five business days?
I would not.
This scenario is far from exceptional. Massive fees and hidden charges are par for the course when you transfer money, especially internationally. If only there were an alternative.
Enter Transferwise, an international money transfer service from the people who built Skype. It’s a peer-to-peer matching service that hooks you up with people who need the currency that you’re offering, meaning you can send money across the seas and skip right over greedy bank admins in the middle.
Banks charge about 5% on international transfers; Transferwise charges approximately 0.5%. It’s faster, it’s cheaper, it’s easier, and you can do it in a matter of minutes via the Android app.
No funny stuff here, folks - just more money in your pocket.
2. Connect using your Google account, or sign up directly with an independent Transferwise account.
3. Enter how much money you want to send and what currency you want to use. Alternatively, you can enter in a fixed amount for how much you want your end recipient to get in their account.
4. You’ll see the fixed exchange rate and the small Transferwise fee clearly and simply displayed below your proposed transfer. It’ll likely be about a tenth as much as you would pay going through a bank!
5. Tap Send Money when you’re ready. Choose your recipient from your Contacts or enter their details manually: name, email address, and the details of their bank account (the IBAN, the routing/account number, the SWIFT code, etc). For transfers to certain countries (like the United States), you’ll also need to provide extra info (like an address).
6. Enter in your personal information: your name, date of birth, address, telephone number, and whether you’d like to send this transfer as a business (for tax reasons).
7. Enter in your bank information. What's required will differ depending on where you’re sending the money from.
8. You’ll likely have to pass through some security measures from your bank. Don’t worry, these will be things that you’ve already set up yourself, like a password or security questions for accessing your online accounts.
9. Once everything is set, confirm your transfer! You’ll see it appear on the My Transfers tab as “Waiting for money” while Transferwise does the legwork of communicating with the banks involved and matching you with a peer transferring in the opposite direction.
10. Keep tabs on the status of your transfer by tapping it for details. Once it’s completed, which should be in a matter of days, a sexy green checkmark will appear next to it in the list.
11. You can quickly repeat transfers that you’ve made in the past simply by tapping, wouldn’t you know it, Repeat Transfer. You can also easily select a previous recipient from the respective tab.
I am well aware I sound like a Transferwise huckster. However, I can only dream about being part of their team - they’re going to be enormous. Feel free to brag about how much dosh you’ve saved in the Comments below.