Best Wise Alternatives for International Payments

In today’s globalized economy, seamless cross-border transactions are essential for individuals and businesses alike. Wise (formerly TransferWise) has emerged as a prominent player.

In the US, Wise offers international transfers (80+ countries), multi-currency accounts, and debit cards (hold/spend 50+ currencies, receive payments in 10).

However, with the market constantly evolving, a diverse range of providers now vie for your attention. Further, right from accounting needs to financial use cases, it is highly possible that Wise doesn’t fit the bill exactly for many businesses and freelancers.

Whether you’re a freelancer sending a quick invoice or a business managing global operations, finding the perfect Wise alternative requires careful consideration.

This comprehensive guide explores some of the most compelling alternatives to Wise, categorized by their unique strengths and target audiences.

Let’s dive in!

Criteria for Selecting the Top Choices

Before exploring specific providers, consider these key factors when selecting your ideal Wise alternative:

  • Transfer Fees: Transparency and competitiveness are crucial. Look for providers with clear fee structures and compare them against your typical transfer needs.

  • Transfer Speed: Do you need instant transfers or is a few-day turnaround acceptable? Different providers offer various speed options with corresponding fee structures.

  • Supported Currencies: Ensure the provider supports the currencies you regularly need for sending and receiving payments.

  • Payment Methods: Consider your preferred methods for sending and receiving funds, such as bank transfers, debit cards, or cash pickups.

  • Account Features: Do you need a multi-currency account for holding balances or a linked debit card for international spending? Some providers offer these as add-ons.

Overview of Each Service’s Unique Features

Here is a quick breakdown of all the Wise alternatives, along with a snapshot of unique features each one offers and the businesses they are the best for. This will help you get a basic overview of how all the options compare against each other. 

Wise Alternative Unique Features Best For
PayPal Business Accounts, Payment Collections, Debit Cards, Credit Cards, Loan services, Integrations Businesses seeking payment processing solutions with multiple features and capabilities.
Revolut Multi-Currency Business Accounts, Local Accounts, FX ServicesBusiness CardsPayroll Services, CryptocurrenciesAPIs Businesses based out ot Australia, Ireland, France, Romania, the UK,Lithuania, and the US
OFX International transfers in 50+ currencies to 170+ countries, Global Currency Accounts, Mass payments, FX services, Plugins Businesses with international clients across multiple geographies
Payoneer International Transfers, Business Cards, Batch Payment, Business Accounts, Integrations Businesses based out of the following geographies: US, EU, the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Canada, and UAE
Xoom Bank Account Deposits, Deposit to Debit Cards, Cash Pickups, Cash Delivery to Recipient’s Door Businesses seeking cash-based remittances
Western Union Global Cash Pickup Network, Near Instant Transfers, Larger Network Reach Businesses seeking payments to people with no bank accounts, remote areas and speed over urgent transfers

Comparing Transaction Speed and Customer Service Quality

Overview of Each Service’s Unique Features

Choosing an international money transfer service involves a delicate balance between speed, cost, and customer support. 

Here’s a breakdown of how Wise alternatives stack up in these crucial areas:

Transaction Speed

  • Fastest: 

Western Union: Boasts near-instant transfers in some cases, ideal for urgent needs. (Note: Availability and processing times may vary by destination)

  • Swift: 

Xoom and PayPal: Offer expedited transfer options for faster delivery within 1-2 business days.

  • Standard (1-4 business days): 

Revolut, OFX, Payoneer: Reliable processing times for most transfers.

Customer Service Quality

  • Multiple Channels:

Revolut, Wise (formerly TransferWise), and PayPal: Provide comprehensive customer support options including live chat, phone support, and email.

  • Phone Support Focus: 

OFX and Western Union: Offer phone support as a primary channel, catering to those who prefer personalized assistance.

  • Limited Options: 

Payoneer and Xoom: Customer support might be primarily online-based (email, chat) with potentially limited phone access.

Here’s a table summarizing the key points:

Provider Transaction Speed Customer Service
Western Union Fastest (potentially near-instant) Phone Support Focus
Xoom Swift (1-2 business days) Limited Channels (mostly online)
PayPal Swift (1-2 business days) Multiple Channels (live chat, phone, email)
Revolut Standard (1-4 business days) Multiple Channels (live chat, phone, email)
OFX Standard (1-4 business days) Phone Support Focus
Payoneer Standard (1-4 business days) Limited Channels (mostly online)

Additional Considerations

  • Complexity of Transfer: More complex transfers involving currency conversions or intermediary banks might affect processing times for all providers.

  • Verification Requirements: New users may experience delays during initial account verification for some services.

Remember, the ideal choice depends on your specific needs.

  • For urgent transfers: 

Prioritize Western Union for its potential near-instant option.

  • For a balance of speed and support: 

Consider Xoom, PayPal, or Revolut with their expedited transfer options and multiple customer support channels.

  • For personalized phone support: 

OFX or Western Union might be suitable choices.

Now, let’s take a deeper dive into each of these Wise alternatives for international payments.

Best Wise Alternatives for International Payments

Best Wise Alternatives

#1 – PayPal

PayPal is a globally recognized platform for online payments, and international transfers are a core offering. You can send and receive money in over 200 countries and territories, with support for various currencies. While not the fastest option (typically 1-2 business days), PayPal offers a user-friendly interface and convenience for those already comfortable with the platform.

Unique Features:

  • Widespread Acceptance: Millions of online merchants worldwide accept PayPal, making it a versatile tool for international payments.

  • Buyer/Seller Protection: PayPal offers built-in buyer and seller protection programs for eligible transactions, adding a layer of security for online purchases.

  • Personal and Business Accounts: PayPal caters to both personal and business needs, offering separate accounts with tailored features.

Pricing Comparison:

While PayPal boasts convenience, its fees can be less competitive compared to some alternatives. 

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Transfer Fees: International transfers typically incur a fixed fee plus a percentage of the transfer amount. Fees can vary depending on the recipient’s location and currency.

  • Currency Conversion: PayPal uses its own exchange rates, which may include a markup compared to the mid-market rate. This can affect the total amount received by your recipient.

#2 – Revolut

Revolut goes beyond just international transfers. They offer multi-currency accounts that allow you to hold and manage various currencies, along with linked debit or virtual cards for international spending. While transfers typically take 1-4 business days, Revolut provides a comprehensive international finance solution.

Unique Features:

  • Multi-Currency Accounts: Hold and manage multiple currencies within your Revolut account, offering flexibility for international transactions.

  • Linked Debit/Virtual Cards: Spend directly in various currencies using the linked debit or virtual card, eliminating the need for currency exchange fees for everyday purchases.

  • Fee-Free Transfers (Limited): Revolut offers a free tier with a limited number of fee-free transfers per month. Paid tiers unlock additional features and higher transfer limits.

Pricing Comparison:

Revolut’s pricing structure depends on the chosen account tier. 

Here’s a general overview:

  • Free Tier: Limited number of fee-free transfers and currency exchanges per month.

  • Paid Tiers: Unlock additional features like higher transfer limits, airport lounge access, and travel insurance, often with a monthly subscription fee.

#3 – OFX 

OFX excels at secure and transparent international money transfers for both personal and business needs. They offer competitive exchange rates with a clear fee structure, allowing you to plan your transfers effectively. While transfers typically take 1-4 business days, OFX prioritizes transparency and customer support.

Unique Features:

  • Competitive Rates and Transparency: OFX boasts competitive exchange rates with minimal markups compared to the mid-market rate. Additionally, their fee structure is transparent, allowing you to see the total cost upfront.

  • Focus on Security: OFX prioritizes security with features like multi-factor authentication and bank-level encryption to safeguard your financial information.

  • Phone Support: OFX offers dedicated phone support for those who prefer personalized assistance with their transfers.

Pricing Comparison:

OFX offers a clear breakdown of fees, including:

  • Transfer Fees: Fees typically consist of a flat fee per transfer, which may vary depending on the transfer amount and destination country.

  • Currency Conversion: OFX uses a competitive exchange rate with a minimal markup compared to the mid-market rate.

#4 – Payoneer 

Payoneer caters specifically to the needs of freelancers and businesses that operate internationally. They offer a unique combination of services, including international money transfers, receiving payments from clients or marketplaces, and managing virtual debit cards for spending in various currencies. Transfers typically take 1-4 business days.

Unique Features:

  • Freelancer-Friendly Platform: Payoneer streamlines the process of receiving payments from international clients or marketplaces. They offer local receiving accounts in select countries, simplifying the collection process.

  • Virtual Debit Cards: Payoneer provides virtual debit cards linked to your account, allowing you to spend internationally with ease and avoid foreign transaction fees.

  • Payment Solutions for Businesses: Payoneer offers various business solutions, including paying international contractors, managing mass payouts, and simplifying tax compliance for international transactions.

Pricing Comparison:

Payoneer’s fees can vary depending on the service used and your account type. Here’s a general breakdown:

  • Transfer Fees: Fees may apply for sending and receiving international transfers.

  • Transaction Fees: Certain transactions like card usage or ATM withdrawals may incur additional fees.

  • Account Inactivity Fees: Inactive accounts might be subject to monthly fees.

#5 – Xoom 

Xoom caters to international money transfers with a focus on user-friendliness and convenience. They offer online transfers to a wide range of countries, often with delivery within 1-2 business days. While not the fastest option, Xoom provides a good balance between speed and ease of use.

Unique Features:

  • User-Friendly Platform: Xoom’s platform is known for its simplicity and ease of navigation, making it suitable for users who are new to international transfers.

  • Multiple Delivery Options: Xoom offers recipient flexibility with options like bank deposit, mobile wallet top-up, or cash pickup at select locations.

  • Promotional Offers: Xoom occasionally offers promotions and discounts on transfer fees, making it potentially cost-effective for specific transfers.

Pricing Comparison:

Xoom’s fees can vary depending on the transfer amount, destination country, and chosen delivery method. Generally, they fall within the mid-range compared to other providers. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Transfer Fees: Fees typically consist of a fixed fee per transfer and a percentage of the transfer amount. Costs can vary based on the factors mentioned above.

  • Currency Conversion: Xoom uses its own exchange rates, which may include a markup compared to the mid-market rate.

#6 – Western Union

Western Union excels at getting money to your recipient quickly. They boast a vast network of physical agent locations worldwide, allowing for cash pickup even in remote areas.  While online transfers are available, Western Union shines for its walk-in convenience and near-instant transfer options in some cases (availability and processing times may vary by destination country and regulations).

Unique Features:

  • Unparalleled Cash Pickup Network: Western Union’s extensive network of agent locations makes it a lifeline for those who lack bank accounts or require immediate cash access.

  • Walk-In Convenience: You can initiate transfers in person at a Western Union agent location, offering an alternative to online-only services.

  • Speed Focus: Western Union prioritizes speed, with near-instant transfers available in some corridors.

Pricing Comparison:

Western Union’s convenience comes at a cost. Here’s a breakdown of their pricing structure:

  • Transfer Fees: Fees can be on the higher side compared to Wise alternatives, especially for smaller transfer amounts.

  • Less Transparent Exchange Rates: Western Union’s exchange rates may include markups compared to the mid-market rate used by Wise. This can affect the amount received by your recipient.

FAQs

FAQ

What are some reliable alternatives to Wise for conducting global money transfers?

Here are some reliable alternatives to Wise for global money transfers: Revolut (multi-currency accounts & debit cards), OFX (competitive rates & transparency), Xoom (user-friendly & fast transfers), Payoneer (ideal for freelancers & businesses), Western Union (widespread cash pickup & urgent transfers).

Is Wise a good choice for freelancers and businesses in handling international payments?

Wise is a strong choice for freelancers and businesses due to its competitive fees, transparent exchange rates, and user-friendly platform. However, depending on your needs, you can also consider alternatives like Payoneer (freelancer focus) or Revolut (multi-currency accounts).

What are the top alternatives to Wise?

Top Wise alternatives include Revolut (multi-currency features), OFX (transparency & competitive rates), Xoom (user-friendly & fast transfers), and Payoneer (ideal for freelancers & businesses). Each caters to specific needs like speed, cost, or account features. You can also read our in-depth guide on Wise vs Payoneer, and which one is better.

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