Revolut and Wise (formerly Transferwise) are both UK-based money transfer services that facilitate cross-border payments, global transactions, and the evolution of business as we know it.
While the Wise platform tends to focus on low fees, Revolut’s strength lies in the versatility of banking services. Both systems offer a variety of financial benefits, it just depends on your top business needs.
If you’re in need of a successful payments platform, it’s essential to perform a little legwork first. When comparing Revolut vs Wise, how do their services differ? Who has the better fees? Which platform has the greatest reach? What do people say about the brands online? All of these answers can help you compare and decide faster.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Wise vs Revolut, including features, pros/cons, pricing, multi-currency capabilities, and international payments.
Which is better for your business? That all depends on what you’re looking for.
What is Revolut?
Revolut is a fintech company founded in 2015 and headquartered in London. Their motto is “one app for all things money” from everyday spending to planning for future investments. The system boasts 500k+ business users, is supported in over 200 countries, and has a total of 28 in-app currencies.
The brand seeks to grow the global economy by providing companies with a frictionless and highly accessible, international payments system. Revolut offers the tools needed to easily manage, borrow, spend, invest, and protect your money. Handle all of your business accounts in a simple space that looks and feels local, no matter where you are in the world.
How Does Revolut Work?
Revolut offers mobile-focused borderless accounts that enable a business to send and receive funds in multiple foreign currencies. Payments are always free between account holders and the system works on a subscription-based, tiered pricing model that offers a free version. These plans have enhanced features like fee-free ATM withdrawal limits, higher savings rates, and overseas medical insurance.
In addition to multi-currency accounts, Revolut offers a prepaid debit card for spending, along with “savings vaults” that can earn interest. Revolut accounts can also be used for local accounts in GBP and USD. FX is at the interbank rate and Revolut’s Business API connects your account to everyday apps with just a click.
There is no live customer service with Revolut. They have an automated line to block your card, and help can be reached via live chat.
Security and Transparency
Revolut is not covered by FSCS. But the platform is considered relatively safe. The company acquired a European Banking License in 2018. Before moving all of your money to a Revolut account, it’s important to know they don’t have any physical bank branches, nor do they offer live customer service.
The fee structure for Revolut also differs by country, so transparency can be slightly complex. The information is all there, it’s just a matter of finding it. This can be confusing for any business sending currency transfers to exotic locations.
Pros of Revolut
- Easy to hold and exchange multiple currencies with instant notifications
- Real-time exchange rate with no surcharge added for each transaction
- Customer service is always quick to reply via chat and solve any issues presented
Cons of Revolut
- Overzealous security that can lead to frozen accounts with zero accessibility
- Interface can be clunky and sometimes lacks an intuitive design
- Needs valid integration with promotion partners through Revolut app
What is Wise?
Wise is a digital banking company launched in 2011, and like Revolut, is headquartered in the United Kingdom. The provider has a vision of making international money transfers cheap, fair, and simpler than a traditional bank. Today, their low-cost, multi-currency accounts help millions of businesses manage money across the globe.
A Wise account helps a business save on bank fees and time. Hold balances in over 50 local currencies, and use the Wise debit card to shop and spend anywhere abroad. It’s a payment processing platform that offers transparent fees to pay employees, manage your cash flow, create budgeting, and receive wire transfers—all in one, universal dashboard.
How Does Wise Work?
Wise is an electronic money account that differs from a traditional, local bank account because it’s easier and cheaper to send money across borders. A business can send money at the real exchange rate with no hidden fees or direct debits. They can receive payments like a local in 10 currencies. Wise will assign a UK account number, Euro IBAN, US routing number, and more.
From Singapore to Australia, the Wise card can be used in over 200 countries, withdraw from anywhere, and spend wherever Apple Pay and Google Pay are accepted. Currency conversion is done using the real exchange rate, and holding multiple currencies is completely free.
It’s super simple to get started with Wise. Follow these quick steps:
- Sign up at Wise.com and download the app.
- Type in the amount you want to transfer.
- Designate the type of transfer you are making.
- Fill in the requested details.
- Add the recipient’s name and data.
- Review the details of the transfer.
- Choose how to pay.
- Hit send!
Power your entire partner payouts operations
Security and Transparency
Wise is not covered by the FSCS, and does not have a banking license. They are, however, covered by the FCA. The brand is a self-proclaimed, “low-risk financial institution”. This also means they do not touch cryptocurrency.
Like the popular payments platform PayPal, Wise has a reputation for ensuring transparency. At times, the company offers to lock in exchange rates for up to 96 hours.
Pros of Wise
- The Wise app is fingerprint supported, meaning there is no need to type a password every time
- Dashboard is user-friendly with a short learning curve; and a search feature for all currencies
- Offers great exchange rates with the ability to hold a “bank account” in different countries
Cons of Wise
- Some features can be complex and the brand could use more help and training materials
- Integration and implementation can be challenging, with setup requiring a lot of coordination
- Customer support needs work and is slow to respond at times
|Receiving Cost||Depends on the plan and allowance. Receiving payments is typically free.||Free. However, there is a fixed fee for receiving USD via wire, which is $4.14.||6 international payment methods – cost varies.|
|Sending Cost||Depends on the plan and allowance. $3/transfer international and $.2 per local payment.||Depends on the amount, how you pay, and the exchange rate.||6 international payment methods – cost varies.|
|Speed||3-5 days.||0-2 days.||0-2 days.|
|Currencies||Hold and exchange 28 currencies.||Hold 50+ currencies in your account.||Works with 126 different currencies|
|Prepaid Card||Up to 20 Revolut cards per team.||Wise debit card.||No.|
|International Payments||Spend like a local in 150 different currencies.||Receive payments like a local in 10 currencies.||Pays to 196 countries.|
|Taxes||All taxes are your responsibility to report.||Does not report to HMRC or any other tax authority.||There is built-in tax and VAT compliance.|
|Mass Payments||Bulk payments – upload a bulk file for quick mass payments.||Send multiple transfers with the Batch Payments tool.||Global mass payables automation solution.|
|Security||Not covered by FSCS, but acquired a European Banking License in 2018.||Not covered by FSCS, does not have a banking license, but is covered by the FCA.||SSAE 16 SOC compliant and ISAE 3402 Type II certified.|
Revolut vs Wise Fees: Who Has Less?
Comparing the transfer fees of global payment services can get complex. It really comes down to what you want to do with your account, types of transactions, how you transfer funds, and the volume of payments.
Wise makes its profit through added fees since customers are always given the exact, mid-market rate. These fees will vary depending on the currency pairing. The brand does offer a useful pricing tool that a business can use to calculate fees prior to making a transfer.
Revolut’s transfer fees differ by Revolut users, accounts, and type of payment. Below is a direct comparison of the different types of fees you can expect to encounter on each platform:
Revolut provides a few free transfers with a free account. However, it is severely limited with what you can do. That’s why you pay as you grow and can switch anytime. Billing is monthly and the plans are broken out by business or freelancer. It starts at free and moves from a standard account to a premium account. The platform has the following fees and limitations:
Free Plan – $0/month
- 5 local payments
- 0 international payments
- 10 team members
Grow Plan – $39.99/month
- 100 local payments
- 10 international payments
- 30 team members
Scale Plan – $149.99/month
- 1000 local payments
- 50 international payments
- 100 team members
Enterprise Plan – $0/month
- Custom local payments
- Custom international payments
- Custom team members
Free Plan – $0/month
- 5 local payments
- 0 international payments
- 1 team member
Professional Plan – $9.99/month
- 20 local payments
- 5 international payments
- 4 team members
Ultimate Plan – $39.99/month
- 100 local payments
- 10 international payments
- 30 team members
Additional costs include:
- $5 per team member per month outside the free allowance
- 1% charge for transfers conducted on weekends and UK bank holidays
- Payments over £1,000 per month will incur a “0.5% fair usage fee”
Wise has very few administrative costs. When setting up account details, there is a one-time fee for bank details in AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HUF, NZD, RON, SGD, TRY, and USD. That fee is $31 to set up an account in those currencies.
Additional charges include debit and credit card fees, which range from 0.15% – 2%.
Receiving money is free, unless you exceed your plan’s allowance for local or international transfers. Then you will be charged for receiving funds. $0.2 per transaction for a local payment, and $3 for an international bank transfer.
When receiving money for AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HUF, NZD, RON, SGD, TRY, USD (non-wire), the cost is free. However, there is a fixed fee for receiving USD wire payments, which is $4.14 per transaction.
Local payments are free when using Revolut until you meet your plan’s allowance. Then the cost is $0.2 per transaction.
The cost of a transfer depends on three things:
- The amount you’re sending
- How you plan to pay
- The exchange rate
If you have a transfer between two Revolut accounts or Wise accounts, the cost is always free.
International payments are free when using Revolut until you meet your plan’s allowance. Then the cost is $3 per transaction. Additionally, an international payment outside of SEPA will cost £0.30 – £5.00 (depending on the size of the transfer).
The fees for international payments through Wise are fixed, and depend on the currency and payment method. However, the platform will show you the fee and exchange rate upfront, prior to making any payments.
Through Wise, the more money you send, the more your transfers will cost. That’s because the fees are worked out as a percentage of the amount you’re sending. This percentage will vary from currency to currency. If you’re sending a small amount of money, then there’s a cheap, minimum fee.
The costs get less expensive when you send amounts above 100,000 GBP (or equivalent). The fee will be cheaper whether you send a one-off large transfer, or multiple transfers during a month.
Unlike most of the competition, when it comes to comparing Revolut vs Wise, neither brand offers the traditional Visa or Mastercard. In some cases, there isn’t even a physical card to speak of (virtual cards). For card pricing, here’s a breakdown for both systems:
There are several types of cards and each comes with its own set of fees. This includes:
- Company debit cards
- Expense cards
- Stainless steel cards
- And more…
Revolut offers 1.9% boosted cashback on all plans (except for the free one). You can earn cashback on card spending up to a monthly set amount, and a cap of $50k.
The first card on the account is free, with no subscription fees. Additional cards will cost a one-time fee of $5. The same goes for replacing a lost card. Standard delivery on all cards is free.
The Wise card enables a business to make 2 withdrawals of up to $100 each month for free. After that, the cost is $1.50 per withdrawal. There’s a 2% fee on any amount you withdraw above $100.
Revolut charges foreign exchange (FX) at the interbank rate, with costs also depending on your plan allowance. A 0.4% markup applies for each FX outside the free allowance. The company offers the strongest exchange rates when sending smaller transfers in standard currencies.
For Revolut, the currency exchange is generally between 0.5% – 1% depending on the size of the transfer. During the week, when the market is open, Revolut matches the mid-market rate. There is no form of markup. However, on the weekends, Revolut applies a markup of 1% to all currencies.
It’s a smart move to always check the currency exchange rate on the app before making any transfers. Thursday’s price might not match Saturday’s.
Wise offers the mid-market exchange rate. This is the rate that banks use to trade amongst themselves, so it’s a pretty good deal. Since this rate is never marked up, the recipient typically receives more money in the end. This can be good for business.
Wise also allows a business to lock in a rate, since the mid-market price is always moving. On some currencies, as long as Wise receives the total amount in the stated timeframe (normally 24 or 48 hours), the rate is guaranteed. They will allow you to lock in the price for 24 – 96 hours to avoid currency fluctuations.
When it comes to Wise vs Revolut, both solutions give you a good bang for your buck. It all comes down to what you want to do. Wise allows you to hold and exchange 56 currencies, whereas Revolut only allows 31. However, which brand has the currencies you need to deal with? That’s the true question.
Both systems are based in the UK and well supported across Europe, but Revolut covers a lot more countries than Wise. That is why it’s referred to as the “global money app”. However, when it comes to how long a transfer takes, Wise is 0 to 2 days while Revolut takes 3 to 5 days (especially when going through SWIFT).
When considering transparency, Wise seems to have fewer hidden charges than Revolut, but both pricing setups are confusing and complex to the everyday user. You really need to do your research before locking into a contract, set plan, or fixed price. While one system may prove a benefit in some areas, the other could be a detriment.
That’s where a third option comes in. Tipalti. The global mass payments automation software streamlines the entire payables, approvals, and payments process and saves up to 80% of your time. It’s more secure than Wise and Revolut, and pays to 196 countries with 126 currencies, which makes it the clear winner with international payments.
Tipalti effortlessly provides supplier self-service onboarding, validation, fraud controls, tax compliance, and a reduction in errors and labor costs. It’s the perfect alternative to both Revolut and Wise.
No matter what system you choose, the more time you put into planning and research, the more successful a solution will be for your operations.