Currencies Direct vs Wise: Comparing Two Titans of International Money Transfers

In recent years, the international money transfer landscape has changed dramatically, with innovative fintech companies competing for a share of the remittance market. Wise (formerly TransferWise) and Currencies Direct are two of the leading names in this space. Both have a reputation for offering low-cost, efficient, and secure money transfer services. In this article, we’ll examine the strengths and weaknesses of Wise and Currencies Direct to help you make an informed decision when selecting the right provider for your needs.

Wise and Currencies Direct Overview

Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann founded Wise, a UK-based fintech company, in 2011. It was founded with the goal of making international money transfers more transparent, affordable, and timely. Wise’s services have since grown to include a multi-currency account, a debit card, and business solutions. The company operates in over 50 countries and provides transfers in over 50 currencies.

Currencies Direct (read our full review), founded in 1996, is a UK-based foreign exchange and international payment provider. It has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most trusted currency transfer companies, with over 250,000 clients served across 20 global offices. Currencies Direct provides individuals and businesses with competitive exchange rates, personalized service, and a wide range of currency solutions.

Fees and Exchange Rates

When comparing money transfer services, one of the most important factors to consider is the transaction cost, which is determined by the exchange rate and any additional fees.

Wise is well-known for its straightforward fee structure and competitive exchange rates. For all transactions, the company employs the mid-market rate – the real exchange rate displayed by independent sources such as Reuters or Google. Wise charges a small percentage fee based on the currency route and amount transferred. This fee is clearly displayed up front, so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Currencies Direct also provides competitive exchange rates, which are typically higher than those provided by banks. For private clients, the company has a “no fees” policy, which means there are no transfer fees or hidden charges. Fees may apply to business clients depending on the nature of the transaction and the services required. Currencies Direct’s exchange rates are influenced by a variety of factors, including the interbank rate and transaction size, with larger transfers often resulting in better rates.

Transfer Speed

The speed of a money transfer can be critical, especially when dealing with time-sensitive transactions.

Wise transfers are typically completed in one to two business days, depending on the currencies involved and the processing time of the receiving bank. Transfers can be completed in minutes for certain popular currency routes.

Currencies Direct also strives for quick transfer times, with the majority of transactions completed within one to two business days. The company provides a variety of transfer options, including spot contracts for immediate transfers and forward contracts for future transfers that lock in favorable exchange rates.

Payment Options and Transfer Limits

Wise and Currencies Direct both accommodate a wide range of transfer needs, from small remittances to large business transactions.

Wise has a $1 (or equivalent in other currencies) minimum transfer amount, making it suitable for smaller transactions. The maximum transfer amount varies according to currency pair and account type. Customers can fund their transfers through Wise using a variety of methods, including bank transfers, debit cards, and credit cards. It is important to note that using a credit card to fund a transfer may result in additional fees from your card issuer.

Currencies Direct has no maximum transfer limit, making it appropriate for large transfers such as property purchases or business investments. The typical minimum transfer amount is £100 (or currency equivalent), which is greater than Wise’s minimum. Customers can fund their transfers with bank transfers, debit cards, or a local payment method in-country.

Customer Service and the User Experience

When it comes to international money transfers, you need dependable customer service and an easy-to-use platform.

Wise provides an easy-to-use website and mobile app that enables customers to easily initiate transfers, manage their multi-currency accounts, and track the progress of their transactions. Customer service is available via a variety of channels, including email, phone, and live chat, and assistance is available in multiple languages. Customers have praised Wise for its user-friendly platform and responsive customer service.

Currencies Direct also offers a streamlined user experience via its website and mobile app, allowing customers to set up transfers, monitor exchange rates, and manage their accounts. Dedicated account managers provide personalized support, particularly for more complex transactions or large transfers. Currencies Direct has received numerous accolades for its attentive service and knowledgeable staff, and customer support is available via email and phone.

Regulation and Security

When selecting a money transfer provider, you should prioritize the security of your funds and personal information.

Wise is authorized and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as well as in other countries where it operates by relevant regulatory bodies. To protect customer information, the company employs advanced security measures such as two-factor authentication and data encryption. Wise also keeps client funds separate from its operating funds in segregated accounts, adding an extra layer of security.

The FCA also authorizes and regulates Currencies Direct, which follows strict compliance procedures. Dun & Bradstreet has given the company the highest credit rating, indicating its financial stability and dependability. Currencies Direct, like Wise, uses strong security measures to protect customer data and keeps client funds in segregated accounts at top-tier banks.

Extra Features and Services

Wise and Currencies Direct both provide a variety of value-added features and services to meet their customers’ diverse needs.

Wise offers a multi-currency account, which allows users to hold, send, and receive funds in multiple currencies without the need for separate bank accounts. Users of the Wise debit card can spend in local currency and withdraw cash from ATMs worldwide. Wise offers batch payments, integration with accounting software, and an open API for custom solutions to businesses.

Currencies Direct provides a variety of currency management tools, such as market orders, rate alerts, and forward contracts, to assist customers in capitalizing on favorable exchange rates. In addition, the company offers tailored solutions for specific industries, such as e-commerce and real estate transactions, as well as dedicated support for businesses with international payment needs.

FeatureWiseCurrencies Direct
Exchange RatesMid-market rate with a transparent feeCompetitive rates, typically better for largerxf transactions
FeesPercentage-based feeNo transfer fees
Transfer Speed1-2 days (varies depending on currency pair)1-2 days (varies depending on currency pair)
Transfer LimitsMin: $1, Max: VariesMin: £100, Max: None
Funding MethodsBank transfer, debit card, credit cardBank transfer, debit card, local in-country payment method
Customer Support & UXWebsite, mobile app, email, phone, live chatWebsite, mobile app, email, phone, dedicated account managers
Security & RegulationFCA regulated, advanced security, segregated accountsFCA regulated, highest credit rating, segregated accounts
Additional FeaturesMulti-currency account, debit card, business solutionsCurrency management tools, tailored industry solutions
Currency Pairs Supported60+40+
Recurring & Scheduled TransfersYesYes
Instant TransfersAvailable for some currency pairsNot available
Rate AlertsYesYes
Mobile AppiOS and AndroidiOS and Android
Mass PaymentsYes, with Wise for BusinessYes, for business clients
Online Account ManagementYesYes
Hedging ToolsNoneForward contracts, limit orders, stop loss orders

Comparing Currencies Direct and Wise Reviews

Currencies Direct and Wise both have an impressive track record when it comes to customer satisfaction. Understanding past customers’ experiences can provide valuable insights into the service quality provided by these companies. Let’s compare reviews from two popular feedback platforms, Trustpilot and Google Play Store, to get a better picture.

Trustpilot Reviews

Currencies Direct has an excellent Trustpilot rating, with a 4.9/5 star average based on over 8,000 reviews as of 27 March 2023. Customers frequently compliment the company on its excellent customer service, competitive exchange rates, and quick transfers. Some customers also value the dedicated account managers who help them navigate the currency market.

Wise, on the other hand, has a solid Trustpilot reputation, with an average rating of 4.4/5 stars based on over 180,000 reviews as of 27 March 2023. Wise is praised by users for its transparency, user-friendly platform, and low fees. Customers also value the quick transfer times and dependable customer support.

Google Play Store Reviews

Examining mobile app reviews can provide both companies with additional insights into the user experience.

On Google Play, the Currencies Direct app has a rating of 3.4/5 stars, with users praising its simplicity and convenience. However, some users report minor technical issues and suggest that app features could be improved.

Wise app has a rating of 4.6/5 stars on Google Play from over 260,000 reviews. Users appreciate the app’s simple design and smooth money transfer experience. Some customers are concerned about account verification delays and transfer holdups.

When It’s Best To Use Currencies Direct or Wise

SituationBest to Use Currencies DirectBest to Use Wise
Sending Large Amounts
Overseas property purchases
Inheritance transfers
Need for Personal Account Manager
Complex Currency Exchange Requirements
Regular Scheduled Payments
Business Services and Mass Payments
Low-Cost Money Transfers
Small Amount Transfers
Paying Bills Abroad
Sending Money to Friends and Family
Multicurrency Wallet and Debit Card
Instant Transfers for Selected Currencies


Wise and Currencies Direct are both reputable and trustworthy money transfer companies, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. When deciding between the two, consider exchange rates, fees, transfer speed, and additional services to determine which provider best meets your specific needs and preferences. You can make an informed decision and enjoy a hassle-free money transfer experience by carefully evaluating these factors.

by Maiane Cassanego
Maiane is the Founder of Expat Frontier. She is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Maiane has an extensive background in international moving, freight forwarding and logistics.