Wise (Formerly TransferWise) Australia Review – How Wise Became Australia’s Main Money Transfer Company

The global remittance market is valued at almost $700 billion. Importantly, it is constantly growing due to our interdependent economies and growth in emigration. Australian banks are losing their grip on the market and are now left with a very small market share. Instead, independent remittance providers are overtaking them. These independent providers consist of traditional foreign exchange brokers, challenger banks and remittance fintech startups. In this article, we explore the rapid growth in Australia of one of the world’s most successful fintech providers, Wise. Read this Wise Australia review to learn more.

Wise logo PNG

Wise has taken the remittance market by storm since its launch of the Wise multi currency account and the Wise multi currency card in 2018. It was originally offered by the firm in the UK. Since then, the company claims that over $10 billion AUD has been deposited in accounts, and over 15 million transactions have occurred. Wise.com alternatives and competitors are in abundance but Wise is the biggest of them all.

A year later in 2019, Australia joined the party with access to the Wise multi currency account and the Wise multi currency card. Australian citizens can now get paid into local digital bank accounts in 10 different currencies, hold balances in 53 currencies and send money to bank accounts in over 80 currencies. The Wise multi currency card allows customers to spend money around the world in over 200 countries and withdraw cash from ATMs in 2.3million different locations.

Kristo Käärmann, CEO and co-founder of Wise, says they decided to launch the debit card in Australia because of how quickly the business has grown there so far. Käärmann stated “In addition to responding to customer demand, launching the card in Australia and New Zealand was also driven by the fact that Aussies and Kiwis are being overcharged by banks for using their own money abroad. It is expensive to use debit, travel and credit cards for spending or withdrawals.”

The fees and FX rates offered by Wise Australia are simply superior to anything that Aussies have experienced before. Being a country that enjoys travelling abroad and has a thriving import/export industry, Australia is constantly purchasing things in foreign currency. As Käärmann summed up, they’re losing so much money from currency margins and fees.

Australia was a very obvious choice for Wise too because of its long standing ties to the UK. Australia and Britain have a special relationship, whereby the rest of Europe is usually ignored by Australia in preference for the UK. The economic and political ties have made it easy to locate a business in Australia – not to mention the appetite for startups with the entire economy being driven by SMEs and startups.

Wise Data

Company type:Private
Established:2010
Headquarters:London, UK
Area served:Global
Employees:2,000
Transactions made:15,000,000
Monthly transaction volume handled:$10,600,000,000
Regulated in:usukcaauhkinjanz

 

Review summary

Wise Australia helps its customers to send money abroad a lot cheaper than Australian banks. So say goodbye to your local bank and start saving all the money you would usually pay on fees at the bank.

But the biggest pro about using Wise has to be the great currency exchange rates. The banks are notorious for their bad exchange rates but Wise has decided to stop that and show you exactly, and transparently, how much more you can get from your currency. On the majority of currency pairs, their markups are the lowest in the market and can be up to 8x cheaper than banks.
Company background

In the past 12 years, Wise has gathered over 8 million customers and handles a volume of over £6 billion every month, helping its customers save millions. That alone speaks to the big movement that Wise represents today. It’s not just a new startup, it’s now a public-listed unicorn with 14 offices and over 2,200 employees. The Wise online platform had a 99.856% uptime in 2021 and 86% of customers had their accounts verified and ready to make international payments in under an hour.

Wise is an authorised Electronic Money Institution with the FCA in the UK, where it is headquartered. As part of this regulation, Wise is required to hold regulatory capital as part of its licence. This capital is designed to protect Wise, and its customers’ money, against any unexpected market events. In addition to its UK licensing, the firm follows a strict set of rules set by regulatory agencies in every country in which they operate. As an example, Wise Australia is regulated by ASIC (the Australian Securities and Investments Commission).

So you can rest assured that your money is in good hands because they offer institutional grade security, just like the banks.
Client reviews – analysis

There are very few companies in the world that have as many reviews and ratings as Wise. On just Trustpilot.com (one of the leading customer review platforms in the world) we can see over 155,000 reviews with an average score of 4.6 / 5 – rated excellent. The internet is full of positive reviews, from big news media outlets to small mom blogs, everybody seems to be loving their service. There are no specific Wise Australia reviews per se, as the reviews are left by individuals from around the world, but given the service is completely online focused, every user enjoys the same experience. A look through the reviews on Trustpilot and you will see some Wise reviews from Australia.

 

Expats in Australia

The decision to launch Wise Australia wasn’t just for Aussies. Considering almost 30% of the population was born overseas and the government usually fills around 200,000 migration places each year, Australia is becoming a hub of diversity.

For many migrants, moving there can be a pain. It’s far away, they have strict guidelines and the prices are likely higher than in their resident country.

Wise Australia has become a popular way to ease this transition by offering a borderless experience. It’s far more likely than not that the expat has moved from a country with a currency that is offered by Wise. For those exchanging their life savings, or even receiving their income or pension in their previous currency, Wise has helped people save thousands of AUD each year.

How does Wise Australia compare to its competitors

Wise Australia has soon become more successful than long-established foreign exchange companies such as World First and OFX.

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OFX is one of the largest foreign exchange companies in the world. They serve as a fantastic alternative to bank transfers as they offer decent exchange rates, a variety of FX hedging solutions and very tailored customer support.

However, OFX has an exchange rate markup which is usually higher than Wise. Wise Australia simply outperforms OFX when it comes to pricing (partly because it is an online-only offering which is streamlined for optimal cost cutting). Wise Australia has a transparent fee of around 0.5% but importantly, they do not have a markup in the slightest. Wise Australia provides you with the “real” mid-market rate and clearly displays the fee costs before placing a trade.View OFX vs Wise comparison
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Again, both are great options and preferable to banks. One thing to note is that WorldFirst is a business-only provider. It was the first to launch the truly innovative online multi currency account (called the international collection account at WorldFirst) so in this sense you could say Wise and the rest of the field copied WorldFirst but Wise made it unique by making these accounts available to individuals as well. Where WorldFirst perhaps excels is for SMEs trading with China. They have vast experience in CNH payments and are owned by the Chinese conglomerate Alipay (part of Alibaba).

The reviews of WorldFirst are not as strong as Wise. Wise reviews are a testament to their success. The truly honest and objective way to seek out startups that are offering good value, great customer service and delivering on their promises is by trudging through online reviews. Wise money transfers generally stands out from the crowd in this respect, so it is obvious in this sense what is driving their sales: their own hard work, innovations and word of mouth (although they do have some great marketing campaigns too).

View WorldFirst vs Wise comparison