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Wise Debit Card Review: Is This International Card Worth It In 2022?

By James LePage
 on March 13, 2022

Wise Debit Card Review: Is This International Card Worth It In 2022?

By James LePage
 on March 13, 2022

In this post, we're going to be taking a look at the Wise Debit Card, a card built for international transfers. We'll review the features, ease of use, pros and cons, pricing, and more.

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Note: If you are confused between Transferwise and Wise, you're not alone.  Wise is the new name of Transferwise, a UK-based company that started in 2011.

The idea behind Wise was to make international money transfers within everyone’s reach, and convenient. The founders of Wise hail from Estonia.

The premise behind Wise’s vision was that international money transfers should be low-cost and fair. They believed that the real exchange rate is the only fair rate and that all exchange/transfer fees should be visible upfront.

Wise had a plan to make money transfer stress-free. And lastly, they wanted a fast and secure process.

When traveling internationally, currency conversion fees, ATM withdrawal fees, and other fees can be annoying. With the Wise card, you can travel anywhere in the world without having to worry about those crazy fees. The Card allows you to send and receive funds in multiple currencies and nations.

The biggest reason, therefore, to use a Wise card is to save money on international money transfers and currency conversions. And if you have been debating whether or not to use a Wise card, this Wise Card review will help clear the confusion.

Wise Card Review

As mentioned earlier, the goal of Wise is to do away with expensive international money transfers. For now, Wise offers their Wise Mastercard. The Visa card might be released soon.

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When traveling internationally, you can use your Wise card to pay for products and services in any currency.

Conversion Fees

What about conversion fees?

Well, that is the beauty of using a Wise debit card. There are no card transaction fees, and you will not have to deal with high conversion fees.

At present, the Wise debit card is available to residents of the US, UK, Australia, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France (metropolitan only), Gibraltar (British overseas territories), and the British Crown Dependencies (Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey), Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Singapore, Sweden, and Switzerland.

It is to be noted here that the Wise card is an international, prepaid card available to users with a Wise account. You can use the Wise card to withdraw money, dine at food joints, and shop online.

The account allows you to pay in more than 50 currencies, thus helping you save money. In order to get a Wise card, you need to have a multi-currency account with Wise. This can either be a personal account or a business account.

Wise Card Withdrawal Limits

Wise allows you to withdraw money for free. However, this depends on the place of issue for your debit card. You can check the Wise app (Android or iOS) to monitor withdrawal limits.

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If you are a resident of the EU or UK, you can withdraw up to  200 EUR/GBP per month free of charge each month. The withdrawals cannot be more than two times in a month. And if you exceed the 200 EUR/GBP limit, a fee of 1.75% will be applied to your account.

For residents of Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia, the amount cap (for free withdrawals) is 350 SGD/NZD/AUD. Again, the two free monthly withdrawals scheme applies here as well. If you withdraw more, you will be charged a 1.50 SGD/NZD/AUD fee plus a 1.75% charge.

US residents have the same two free monthly withdrawals amounting to up to $100 (USD). Anything over USD 100 is subject to a USD 1.50 fee plus a 2% additional withdrawal fee.

How to pay using a Wise Debit Card?

You can use the Wise card to pay for both physical goods and services anywhere in the world. However, there are certain transactions for which you will have to the Wise app, SMS, or a phone call for verification.

The Wise debit card allows 3D Secure payments as well. In order for you to be able to make 3D payments, you will have to add an online payment method (for additional security). And of course, you can use your Wise debit card to withdraw money at an ATM.

Lost Card

What happens if you lose your Wise debit card? There is a small fee for replacing a lost or stolen Wise debit card. A new Wise debit card costs 5GBP and replacing a Wise debit card will cost you 3GBP. You will be glad to know that Wise also offers virtual payment cards.

In order to get a virtual card, you will have to open an account and order a Wise debit card. Wise allows users to have up to three virtual cards at any given time.

How Does The Wise Debit Card Work?

The Wise debit card does not differ from a regular bank debit card. You can use a Wise debit card for buying products and services, and for withdrawing money from an ATM. The amount you use depends on the amount present in your Wise borderless account.

In case you do not have enough cash in your account, Wise will convert the other available currency from your borderless account. And if you hold more than one currency in your account, Wise will convert to the currency that has a better exchange rate at that time.

Multiple Currencies

When conducting transactions in multiple currencies, a Wise debit card outperforms a bank debit card. Wise does not charge you for spending the money in your multi-currency account. This is great for international travelers.

Currency Conversion

Wise converts the funds from the currency present in your account. And their algorithm works in a way that the currency with the lowest conversion fee is applied first. Thanks to the Wise debit card, you can say goodbye to those hefty exchange rates.

Monitoring Your Borderless Account

Wise s a technology-first company, You can use their app (available for android and iOS) or their website to check your account activity. You can even use the Wise app to lock or unlock your account with one click in case you lose your Wise debit card.

Individual and Business

Since a Wise debit card is not linked to a user’s bank account, it is ideal for both individual travelers and businesses. Please note that using a Wise debit card does not help you get a loan. It also does not help you build your credit score. Finally, you will not earn interest with your Wise borderless account.

Wise Fees

You can open a Wise borderless account free of charge. There are no subscriptions or monthly fees associated with your Wise account. The fees mentioned below are for the US. These will vary based on your country of residency.

When you are sending money, depending on the currency, a fee of 0.35% (and more) can apply. 

Let’s throw light on the fees associated with using your Wise debit card. You can make up to two withdrawals every month, up to USD 100, without any fee or charges. For withdrawals over USD 100, you will be paying USD1.50 per withdrawal and a 2% fee. 

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It will cost you USD 9 to get a Wise debit card. The currency conversion fees depend on the currency and are subject to a minimum of 0.35% fee. You can hold more than 50 currencies in your Wise account for free. If you want to hold more than EUR 15000, you will be charged a 0.4% annual fee (charged monthly).

You can get account details in ten currencies, including, AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HUF, NZD, RON, SGD, TRY, and USD for free. And receiving money in these currencies is free if you do not use the wire. If you want to receive USD wire payments, you will be paying a fixed USD 7.5 fee.

Wise Debit Card vs Traditional Bank Debit Card

Why should you use a Wise debit card instead of a bank debit card? 

For starters, with a Wise debit card, you can use multiple currencies at the same time. A bank debit card might not facilitate that functionality. In general, most banks support currency cards in their local currency. For example, if you get a currency card in the US (from a US bank), you are most likely to get a USD currency card.

Moreover, such cards have high fees for online transactions and for transactions in foreign countries. In addition to the exchange rates, banks charge a fee.

This is not the case with a Wise debit card. When you spend money using the currency available in your borderless account, you will not pay any fee to Wise. And if you have to pay in a different currency, Wise will use the lowest conversion rate available at that time.

Wise offers zero ATM withdrawal fees. Please note that there is a monthly cap on how much you can withdraw each month without any fee.

How to get a Wise Debit Card?

For Wise users, you can order a debit card online or by using the Wise app. If you do not have a Wise account, there is no cost associated with creating a Wise account. Just fill in some basic details, and add a minimum of USD 20 to your Wise account, and you will be eligible to apply for a Wise debit card. You can use the Wise card in more than 40 currencies globally.

The Wise debit card also works with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

Safety & Security

With any bank or financial institution, safety and security are important factors to be considered. Wise (previously TransferWise) works with Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB) and Wells Fargo in the US. Both these banks are insured under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

As per Wise, more than 5 million users use their services globally, accounting for over $4 billion of transactions every month.

Wise vs Banks And Exchange Rates

As per Wise, they are four times cheaper than banks for international spending. For example, Wise has zero monthly fees, whereas Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America have a $12 fee.

If you want to send, say USD 250 to EUR, you will pay $2.25 for using Wise, whereas this fee will be $12.52 for Chase, $42.95 for Citibank, $42.07 for Bank of America, and $44.20 for Wells Fargo.

Let’s say you want to withdraw USD 250 every month in EUR. If you have a Wise account, it will be free to withdraw this amount. However, with Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, you will have to pay a $12.50 fee.

Wise: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

Based on my research, Wise does not charge any hidden transaction fees or annual fees. You also would not have to worry about any exchange rate markups. Moreover, there is no account minimum for a Wise borderless account.

One of the best things about Wise is that they use a mid-market exchange rate. This is why Wise is cheaper than most banks.

If you are an international traveler, Wise is a great option, since you can withdraw and pay in more than 40 currencies around the world. The flexibility is just amazing.

As I mentioned earlier, Wise has a seamless user experience. You can get notified on your phone and Wise app when you make a transaction. You have the option to block and unblock your card in case you misplace or lose it.

Shortcomings

It would be wrong to say that Wise does not have any shortcomings. And in all transparency, let’s address those as well. There is a $350 withdrawal limit (per month) with a Wise debit card. Also, the Wise debit card is only available in four countries, namely, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the UK. Please note that a Wise card is not a credit card.

This means you will have to have sufficient funds in your Wise account to pay for products and services. Finally, it takes up to three weeks to replace a stolen or misplaced Wise card.

Final Thoughts

I love traveling to different places around the world. As a global traveler, I can relate to the challenges of using multiple currencies. For this reason, a Wise debit card is simply an amazing option. The costs associated with spending and receiving money in multiple currencies using a Wise card are quite minimal. I never had an issue with Wise’s exchange rates either.

I love the fact that Wise uses the mid-market conversion rate for converting money.

You can use the Wise multi currency account (with a Wise debit card) to buy products and services with ease. The experience is definitely better and more affordable than most travel cards.

We are living in a global world, where more and more people are traveling from one nation to another. Given the rise of social media platforms and content creators, having a multi currency account that allows you to pay internationally with minimal costs is important. And Wise does not disappoint in that regard.

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James LePage
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James LePage is the founder of Isotropic Design, a digital agency that builds WordPress websites. I read, write and design constantly!
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