So when I first moved to Poland, I was having trouble trying to convert US dollars to Polish zloty without getting charged a lot from exchange fees. Often times, the money exchange stations would have a wide spread and often have long waiting times.
After a while, my friend introduced me to Revolut, which was good for transferring less than $500. However, I opened a Polish bank account because I want to transfer my USD to it monthly and pay for my expenses here. Also, requesting USD from a Polish bank requires them and it takes a day before you can get the money, which was too much of a hassle.
So Transferwise is an international site that allows you to easily send money to most countries, including Poland. Usually, I get the money within 2-3 days after initiating the transfer. I have been using it for well over 2 years now.
The good thing with them is that they have no hidden fees and charge you a small fee based on the current exchange rates.
Estonians Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus founded TransferWise in 2011, which is located in the UK. They would be considered as an online money transfer service company. Over the past 9 years, they have built a good reputation as a reliable and trustworthy company.
Not only do they have good ratings on trustpilot, they also have been mentioned by bigger publications such as:
They are also in crunchbase as well, proving their legitimacy as a solid company with investors backing them up.
Now let’s go over some questions and concerns you have about using Transferwise.
Is Transferwise Safe?
Yes, it is totally safe. I have done a lot of transfers over the past 2 years and they have delivered on time.
Each month, I would initiate at least 2 transfers. One for monthly expenses, while the other extra ones is to pay my contractors.
How Long Does The Transfer Take?
As of 2020, the transfers (excluding weekends) usually takes 1-3 days, depending on the time of the day. For example, I am from the US. When I initiate the transfer during the evenings when the US banks are closed, I will wait an extra day. I am also transferring the money to central Europe, which we have a 9 hour time difference (US Pacific Time).
If done on the right time (which is roughly 2-4pm in Poland), it will arrive the next day.
However, do not expect 1 day delivery all the time, make sure to give it up to 3 days, especially if you want them delivered over the weekend.
How Much Are The Fees?
This is probably the biggest concern for most people that are still on the fence. There are primarily 4 ways to transfer money:
- Bank Debit (ACH) – The cheapest but you will need to link your bank account to them. Takes usually 1-3 days.
- Wire Transfer – Also requires bank account linked but usually arrives within the next day. A bit more expensive.
- Debit Card – Use your debit card number to pay for it. Slightly more expensive than linking your bank account.
- Credit Card – Most expensive and the easiest way, but I would not recommend it at all.
Here are the numbers they charge based on a $1000 USD transaction to Polish Zloty:
Now on top of the bank related fees, there is also a currency conversion fee that they will charge you as well.
In this example above, the total is a $9.37 fee for a $1000 USD bank transfer without having to:
- Go to the bank (saving lots of time)
- Deal with customer service
You can literally do this in less than 3 minutes after everything is setup correctly. Do keep in mind that if you initiate a weekend transfer, you get charged an extra 0.5% fee.
User Interface and Ease of Use
The backend of the website is straight forward and easy to use. On the top left corner, there is a green button that takes you to the transfer money section where you get to put in what currency you want to convert to and who to send it it.
Now when it comes to sending, you are going to need the person’s full name, email and bank details (IBAN number, country of the bank). Also, before you can use Transferwise, you will need to deposit 20 GBP (or equivalent) and verify your identity, which you will need to take screenshots of your passport or ID cards/driver’s license. This process usually takes 1-2 days and it will be verified.
So far, I have not got a chance to use their customer service since they have been on point when it comes to transferring the money. You can contact them via phone with this site which gives a list of numbers based on country.
The good thing is they are not using any automated chats, which can be frustrating for those that just want to speak to someone about their concerns. If you prefer email, you can contact them that way using firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any questions or inquires that doesn’t require customer service, they have a FAQ section where you can search for useful info such as time it takes to transfer.
Signing Up for an Account
To get started in Transferwise, go to the signup page here. You will put in your email, password, country of residence. After that, the verification email gets sent to your inbox and you will want to verify it.
After that, the ID verification process will begin. You will need to provide either your passport, ID Card, driver’s license to prove that you are the account owner. It takes at most a few days to get verified and you can start using the services they provide.
Overall, I think Transferwise is good for quickly getting money to foreign countries, especially if you live or work in that foreign country. It saves you a lot of time, headache and allows you to easily get your money without having to go anywhere.
I highly suggest you give it a try.