It’s never been easier to work remotely than it is today. The digital age has brought with it a whole host of benefits that can streamline the process of packing up your belongings and moving to an entirely new country.
You can book your flights more easily, stay in touch with people back home more easily, and even manage your money more easily. In the olden days, it would have been a challenge to make international money transfers. But today? It couldn’t be more straightforward.
There are a host of sites that can facilitate money transfers across international borders. Two of the most famous are TorFX and Wise (previously known as TransferWise), both of which function as something of an online bank. If you need to send money internationally (either to someone else or to yourself), then it’ll be these two that you’re looking at.
What They Both Offer
There are many differences that set TorFX and Wise apart from each other, but they’re more in the details. They do overlap in many ways, most obviously in the fundamental service that they provide. They’re there to provide low-cost international transfers, which you can make in an easy and convenient way.
They typically offer great savings versus the cost of making international transfers through your bank or other institutions. Ultimately, they both aim to do the same thing - to make it as easy as possible for people to send money from one country to another.
How They Differ
As we’ve said, both TorFX and Wise offer the same service. The differences come in when you look at how they offer that service. The biggest difference is how they charge for their services.
TorFX doesn’t have any fees that you have to pay for using their service. Instead, they’ll collect money through the exchange rates that they offer, which have a markup. Wise does things differently. They charge a fee for each transaction. This is beneficial as you’ll know exactly how much you’re paying to use the service, which isn’t always as clear with TorFX. The amount of money they’ll charge you to use the service can vary wildly, however, depending on where you’re sending the case.
For instance, if you’re sending money to Europe, you’ll pay $1 plus 0.45% of the amount that you’re sending. That’s incredibly low. But if you were sending money to, say, China, then you’d pay $10 plus 1% of the amount.
A Closer Look at TorFX and Wise
Now, let’s take a closer look at both Wise and TorFX, including what they offer and don’t offer their customers.
Wise (formerly TransferWise)
Wise has a lot going for it. Founded ten years ago in London, it was formerly called TransferWise, but they changed their name to simply Wise in February 2021. The change in name reflects the growing list of services they provide; while they’re still primarily known for making transfers, they also offer much more.
One of the main advantages of having a Wise account, especially if you’re a digital nomad, is that they offer a borderless account service. This allows you to receive money in multiple currencies without getting hit by poor exchange rates (as you might do with your home bank). You can also get a debit card, which is ideal for making purchases when you’re traveling since you can use the currencies that you already have loaded onto your card.
They also have excellent Android and iOS apps and offer a great level of flexibility - you’re able to send money directly to an email address, for example.
TorFX has been around since 2004 and in that time has established itself as a leader in the money transfer business. They specialize in international transfers but also offer more; for example, you can set up regular transfers, and they also have dedicated currency specialists, so you’re able to discuss your needs with an expert, which is handy if you’re dealing with a high-value transfer. They don’t offer a digital wallet or travel card, however. We also wrote a comprehensive review of TorFX if you'd like to go even more in depth about TorFX.
Top services offered by TorFX
- No transfer fees when sending money abroad (international transfers)
- Excellent exchange rates to a wide range of currencies
- Transfer online in the app or via your account manager by phone
- Award-winning support and insights related to money transfers
How does TorFX work?
- Register: Open an account in a few minutes online or over the phone
- Get your Rate: Secure an exchange rate online or with your Account Manager
- Make a Transfer: Send us the funds to exchange and w’ll do the rest
Which Has A Better Exchange Rate?
When you’re deciding who to send money with, it’s important to look at who’s going to give the best deal.
TorFX and Wise both offer great deals to their customers. In terms of pure exchange rate, Wise is better than TorFX. That’s because they offer the actual exchange rate and then make money by adding fees on top of the transfer. How much that fee is depends on the currency and where it’s being sent to.
TorFX doesn’t offer the actual exchange rate. They make their money from adding a markup fee to the exchange rate; it’s usually less than 1%, and even that can be negotiated if you’re making a big transfer. They don’t add any fees, since they make their money through the markup.
For Business Purposes
The individual accounts offered by Wise and TorFX will be enough for most people. But if you’re running a business, then you’ll be interested to know what these two service providers offer their business users.
With Wise, you can make batch payments, and you can even get a business debit card that has been optimized for FX. They also have multi-user account access (handy if you have employees), and their platform integrates with Quickbook and Xero.
TorFX business offers a little more specialized. With them, you’ll be able to make the most of things like spot contacts and stop-loss order services, and you’ll also have a dedicated account manager. But that’s about it, so in general, Wise is seen as being the better option for people who are running a business.
Ease of Use
Nobody wants to wrestle with their online banking, especially when you’re on the move. You want to have a banking interface that’s intuitive and easy to use. And good news! Both TorFX and Wise have easy to use platforms. It’s easy to get up and running and to get your ID-verified.
Wise is probably the better of the two when it comes to design. Their app and website have been expertly designed, and that means it couldn’t be easier to use their platforms. Wise also has the edge over TorFX in the minimum deposit department and payment options. You can spend $1 with Wise; you have to deposit at least $100 with TorFX. Wise also offers many more payment options than TorFX -- you can send your money with a debit/credit card, local bank transfer, and more.
Global Financial Transactions
If you’re planning on exploring the whole world, then you’ll want to have a bank account that you can take with you every step of the way. Both TorFX and Wise offer extensive coverage to their users, allowing you to send money in more than sixty currencies. You’ll be able to sign up from more or less the same countries; this isn’t extensive. It’s mostly the European countries plus Australia, Canada, and a handful of other major countries around the world.
Speed of Transfer
When you send your money, you’ll want to know that it’s getting there promptly! Both Wise and TorFX offer a fast service, with the majority of transfers taking around 1 - 2 business days to arrive in the bank account of the recipient. Things do get faster with Wise the more you use the service, however. If you’re sending money to someone who you’ve previously sent money to, then it’s virtually instantaneously in the account.
But in general, you can think of both services as taking the same amount of time, so that shouldn’t be a deciding factor when it comes to choosing which one is right for you.
It’s important to look into all aspects of a company’s operations, especially when you’re going to trust them with your money. Thankfully, both Wise and TorFX are rated highly when it comes to security. They follow all the procedures of high-level financial institutions in the countries in which they operate.
They also both score highly on consumer review sites, though there have been some people who have criticized Wise for closing their accounts without any explanation (though it’s important to note that their money was returned to them).
You’ll hopefully have no need to get in touch with a customer service representative, but it will happen at some point. Both companies are easy to get in touch with, though it’s easier to speak on the phone with someone at TorFX.
So what’s the verdict? Which service is better? As we’ve seen, they offer similar high levels of service to their customers. Of the two, Wise probably has the edge over TorFX, since they’re newer and fresher, and have brought plenty of good ideas with them. But you can’t really go wrong with either - it’ll ultimately come down to whichever website and app you prefer the look, feel and use of.