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How to optimize Wise for the US


JamesE
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I've been playing around with Wise (formerly TransferWise) for several years and recently figured out how to shave up to 1/2% off the cost of a transfer. So your transfers on small sums might pay for a beer, on large sums it's dinner at Jay Fai. The bad news is this only applies to US account holders so the rest of the world will just have to keep spending more for the same stuff. (No change there... ?)

First - You need to set up your Multi-Currency Account in Wise. This is just a housekeeping task and involves having a small balance in USD after which you can add Thai Baht as one of your currencies. So now you have a multi-currency account and our two currencies of interest. This topic is covered extensively in Wise's Help system.

Second - You need to link one of your bank accounts to your Wise account. "Wha????", you might say, "Wise says nothing about this." And you'd be right. This is a hack of the way the US Banking System is set up and the way Wise operates within it. Specifically, you'll be taking advantage of ACH PUSH transfers, instead of the more typical PULL transfer you would set up to, say, pay your phone bill. Some banks, Bank of America, for one, don't like you to do push transfers. After all, it's their money you're pushing out of their bank. But others are fine with it. I've tested with BoA, Chase, and Capital One and BoA charged me $3 to do the push, Chase and Cap One were free. Free is good. So, in your bank you find the section that says something like "Transfer Money" and "Add External Account". That's where the magic will happen. Back in Wise click on your USD Balance and then "Your USD account details". A list of items will pop up including your unique ACH account number and a routing number for Evolve Bank & Trust, which is where Wise holds a unique account with your number on it. That's how you can do this and the money doesn't get lost.

Okay, you then take your account number and routing number back to your usual bank, add an external account that you own, key in the routing and account numbers, and wait. All the banks I tried did the micro-deposit verification where they deposit a couple of tiny amounts, you go into Wise and look at the deposits, then report back to your bank. !POOF! You're verified and you can send money to your account in Wise.

For. Free.

To get that over to Thailand there are a couple of extra steps. The first step is to Convert your USD to THB. This is instantaneous. It is where the biggest fee is but it's a decreasing percentage fee (the more you convert, the cheaper it is) like Wise's Send Money fee. You will then finally, do a "Send THB" from your Baht balance to any recipient you have set up. This costs the mindnumbingly extravagant sum of ฿32.89. It's a fixed fee.

That's it: ACH PUSH, Convert, Send, Done. My transaction from yesterday cost 0.56% compared to the usual 0.78% had I just clicked on the green Send Money button. So we're not talking a new car here, Wise is pretty cheap to begin with, but I'd much rather have the money than to let Wise have it.

So, why don't you want to do it this way? Speed. If I press Send Money I get the balance in my Thai account within a business day or two. Going the cheap way takes a couple days to get the money into Wise and then a couple more to get it from Wise into your Thai bank account.

Check out Wise's Help system for details and if you want to play around with different scenarios you can use their handy calculator at: https://wise.com/gb/pricing/borderless-add?source=GBP&target=EUR&payInMethod=BANK_TRANSFER&targetAmount=1000

(A note to European and UK readers, your banking laws realize that it's your money so you already have this functionality built into Wise with the "Low-Cost Transfer" option. I was just kidding about the US always paying less for stuff...)

 

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Huge fan of TransferWise/Wise, saves me a fortune compared to what it was costing me previously.

I've got a Borderless account that includes the debit Mastercard, hasn't been declined once. Can't say that for some of my previous Aussie bank credit cards that's for sure. 

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34 minutes ago, JamesE said:

To get that over to Thailand there are a couple of extra steps. The first step is to Convert your USD to THB. This is instantaneous. It is where the biggest fee is but it's a decreasing percentage fee (the more you convert, the cheaper it is) like Wise's Send Money fee. You will then finally, do a "Send THB" from your Baht balance to any recipient you have set up. This costs the mindnumbingly extravagant sum of ฿32.89. It's a fixed fee.

That's it: ACH PUSH, Convert, Send, Done. My transaction from yesterday cost 0.56% compared to the usual 0.78% had I just clicked on the green Send Money button. So we're not talking a new car here, Wise is pretty cheap to begin with, but I'd much rather have the money than to let Wise have it.

I use wise to transfer my funds twice a month and I've never done it like this. I've also never heard of any 32.89 fixed fee. ACH fee is only 7.50- this fee is fixed for wise to receive your funds into your multi currency account.

I send about 2K US twice a month (4k) and total fees are usually around 11 or 12 bucks (transfer fee) +7.50 ACH fee for each transfer.

I've never waited longer than 10 hours for any transfer, and it's usually instant if I transfer before 8pm thai time. They will also transfer instantly at the weekends too.

Just use the send money from your balance option... never send from a debit card/credit card. Always top up your balance

Edited by Ubon2530
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Note Wise sent email today that ACH US transfer fee has been reduced - have not used or kept tract of costs so can not provide details but wonder if this would make a difference in above Push/Pull comparative costs?  Wise is indeed good for normal monthly transfer sums.  

Edited by lopburi3
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  • Faz pinned this topic

this must be why Wells Fargo just increased International wire limits to $15,000 per transaction. ?

i went to setup my TransferWise account when they first started a few years ago and I stopped when I got to the part where they wanted my user name and password for my Wells Fargo account. I was like no frickin' way but that was when they were new and not much of a reputation yet.   

i might try again.

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46 minutes ago, lopburi3 said:

Note Wise sent email today that ACH US transfer fee has been reduced - have not used or kept tract of costs so can not provide details but wonder if this would make a difference in above Push/Pull comparative costs?  Wise is indeed good for normal monthly transfer sums.  

I didn't get that email. But, yes, when I was checking tonight a regular Send Money was 0.78% which is lower than it was when I did a plain send back in January. Since then I've been trying the transfers using linked accounts which are still a bit cheaper, and both are way cheaper than any other option right now.

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4 hours ago, NCC1701A said:

this must be why Wells Fargo just increased International wire limits to $15,000 per transaction. ?

i went to setup my TransferWise account when they first started a few years ago and I stopped when I got to the part where they wanted my user name and password for my Wells Fargo account. I was like no frickin' way but that was when they were new and not much of a reputation yet.   

i might try again.

Actually that was a third party with good reputation rather than Transferwise itself - yes a lot of us had heartburn when first asked - but transferwise never had access to password.

3 hours ago, JamesE said:

I didn't get that email.

 

 

Quote

 

Good news...

Your next transfer will be cheaper! That’s because today we’re dropping the price of all bank debit (ACH) and wire transfers from USD to the rest of the world.

So either you’re travelling, paying for that one bill, or sending money back home, more dollars will stay in your pocket.

Check our new prices

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, NCC1701A said:

this must be why Wells Fargo just increased International wire limits to $15,000 per transaction. ?

i went to setup my TransferWise account when they first started a few years ago and I stopped when I got to the part where they wanted my user name and password for my Wells Fargo account. I was like no frickin' way but that was when they were new and not much of a reputation yet.   

i might try again.

Depending on the bank Wise uses a third-party service called Plaid. Plaid basically logs into your bank and initiates an ACH pull. I ran into a Wise competitor that used it and had the same reaction that your did: No effing way. I subsequently learned that the tech does not store your username/password but burns it following each transaction. But still...

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On 8/13/2021 at 10:39 AM, Ubon2530 said:

I use wise to transfer my funds twice a month and I've never done it like this. I've also never heard of any 32.89 fixed fee. ACH fee is only 7.50- this fee is fixed for wise to receive your funds into your multi currency account.

Actually tried doing it your way and there is a fixed 32.89 baht fee after all. I initiated my transfer using your 'convert currency' method on Friday. It was slightly more expensive when converting USD - THB and I still haven't received my funds.

I've never waited this long before, usually a few minutes to a few hours. Looks like I won't get my funds now until Monday. So I would not recommend using this method.

Edited by Ubon2530
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2 hours ago, Ubon2530 said:

Actually tried doing it your way and there is a fixed 32.89 baht fee after all. I initiated my transfer using your 'convert currency' method on Friday. It was slightly more expensive when converting USD - THB and I still haven't received my funds.

I've never waited this long before, usually a few minutes to a few hours. Looks like I won't get my funds now until Monday. So I would not recommend using this method.

As I said...

 

Quote

This costs the mindnumbingly extravagant sum of ฿32.89. It's a fixed fee.

 

As I also said...

 

On 8/12/2021 at 8:09 PM, JamesE said:

So, why don't you want to do it this way? Speed. If I press Send Money I get the balance in my Thai account within a business day or two. Going the cheap way takes a couple days to get the money into Wise and then a couple more to get it from Wise into your Thai bank account.

 

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12 minutes ago, JamesE said:

As I said...

As I also said...

HAHAHAHA lol! I'm so, so, sorry. I'm having a very stressful week and I've not been reading these properly. My fault... Stupid Ubon.

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On 8/12/2021 at 8:39 PM, Ubon2530 said:

I use wise to transfer my funds twice a month and I've never done it like this. I've also never heard of any 32.89 fixed fee. ACH fee is only 7.50- this fee is fixed for wise to receive your funds into your multi currency account.

Sorry I missed this the other day.

With my method of funding your multi-currency account there is a $0 ACH fee (Unless you're charged one by your bank). That's because it's an ACH PUSH transaction initiated from your bank, and not the ACH PULL transaction that you initiate from Wise. And it's a 32.89 BAHT fee for moving converted Baht out of your Wise account. Check the link to the Wise calculator in my original post.

Right now you're spending about US$460/yr on transfers ($19.5 * 24). Wise recently lowered their ACH fee so you'd now be paying $16.19 on a $2K transfer or 0.8%. (I just checked). Doing it my way you'd only pay about $11.80 (including the 32.89 THB). You'd save about $105/year. Not much, but a nice dinner out (when we're allowed to have nice dinners out again...).

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10 hours ago, JamesE said:

Sorry I missed this the other day.

With my method of funding your multi-currency account there is a $0 ACH fee (Unless you're charged one by your bank). That's because it's an ACH PUSH transaction initiated from your bank, and not the ACH PULL transaction that you initiate from Wise. And it's a 32.89 BAHT fee for moving converted Baht out of your Wise account. Check the link to the Wise calculator in my original post.

Right now you're spending about US$460/yr on transfers ($19.5 * 24). Wise recently lowered their ACH fee so you'd now be paying $16.19 on a $2K transfer or 0.8%. (I just checked). Doing it my way you'd only pay about $11.80 (including the 32.89 THB). You'd save about $105/year. Not much, but a nice dinner out (when we're allowed to have nice dinners out again...).

Sorry again, I can't believe how many errors I've been making this week. Business troubles... things are looking better today though! thanks.

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  • 4 weeks later...

FCD (Foreign Currency Deposits) to Thai Baht exchange can be done in an hour by visiting at a local branch of your bank . Bangkok Bank takes usually 45 minutes to 2 hours same day. Local branch manager faxed my withdraw form to Bangkok HQ for approval. Exchange Transaction reflects in both account within 2 hours. Of course, you must have or open both accounts.  Exchange from Baht to FCD (USD, UK pound, Japanese Yen etc) can be done on mobile app in minutes. You can send wire ahead to your FCD before leaving home country or some bank as Chase, Citi, BOA can be done online or phone call. Chase charge fixed fee $40 for each online wire transfer up to USD 50,000 per transaction. Most banks waive wire fee for prestige account if you do so in person in home country. 

Pro? NO commission fees exchange to Thai baht. The Best rate. Even better than exchange big notes. You can sit on your FCD and exchange at preferable rate at any Bank hours. Wire transfer is way more secure than third party involved hence secure your financial data. You in control; approve receiving accounts, set limit/alert or even freeze on wire transfer. 

Cons? Need to deposit cash or wire ahead in one of Thai Bank. Exchange can be done only during Business hours. Bring Passport/ ID every time you visit a branch in person. Some local branch do not have staff with knowledge about FCD account. Transfer from your foreign/domestic account or deposit foreign currency to FCD has charged fees up to max 500 Baht (15 USD) per transaction. So do your math and and figure out worth it or not for small amount transaction frequently. International Wire transfers are usually not free unless you have account in same foreign/domestic retail bank as Citi, HSBC

Please aware that 

FCD account is not insured by Thai Deposit Protection Agency (U.S. FDIC equivalent). Thai Baht deposit account coverage limit is reduced from 5 millions to 1 million Baht start of August 11, 2021. It is very unlikely that Thai banks go under.

Not promoting any Financial institution. Always consult your Bank and do take precaution.

Happy hunting the best EX rates.    

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  • 2 weeks later...

What is the largest sum anyone has sent on WISE?

I usually send 50k per month(sons uni allowance, etc)

 

But would be looking to send a lot more in spring for house purchase

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36 minutes ago, Marc26 said:

What is the largest sum anyone has sent on WISE?

I usually send 50k per month(sons uni allowance, etc)

But would be looking to send a lot more in spring for house purchase

You're limited to ฿2M max. Not sure if that's per day or per transaction. The most I've ever sent was about 125K but no problem. If you are buying a house make sure you choose the reason for transfer correctly, you want it to show up as a foreign transfer (FTT at BKK Bank) otherwise you'll have to prove that the transfers were international.

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11 minutes ago, JamesE said:

You're limited to ฿2M max. Not sure if that's per day or per transaction. The most I've ever sent was about 125K but no problem. If you are buying a house make sure you choose the reason for transfer correctly, you want it to show up as a foreign transfer (FTT at BKK Bank) otherwise you'll have to prove that the transfers were international.

125k THB ??

I was looking to see if there was someone at WISE to talk to for large transactions, you think they would have someone, but can't find it

Edited by Marc26
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34 minutes ago, Marc26 said:

125k THB ??

I was looking to see if there was someone at WISE to talk to for large transactions, you think they would have someone, but can't find it

Yes, not a big transaction. Wise restricts you to 2M Baht (CA$75,706.74 as of now) on a single transaction. As I said I'm not sure if that is a daily limit or a transaction limit. So can you do ten 2M transactions a day? Or can you only do one 2M/day? Either way 2MegaBaht is the top end for a single Wise transaction. Anything bigger that you want to go in a single transaction has to go by SWIFT.

I'm surprised you haven't gotten through to Wise. They've always been very responsive.

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11 minutes ago, JamesE said:

Yes, not a big transaction. Wise restricts you to 2M Baht (CA$75,706.74 as of now) on a single transaction. As I said I'm not sure if that is a daily limit or a transaction limit. So can you do ten 2M transactions a day? Or can you only do one 2M/day? Either way 2MegaBaht is the top end for a single Wise transaction. Anything bigger that you want to go in a single transaction has to go by SWIFT.

I'm surprised you haven't gotten through to Wise. They've always been very responsive.

I would want to be talking to someone if I was going to send 75k

 

And honestly, I haven't tried too hard, I just figured they would have it on their website.

But like you, I find the service fantastic, so assumed I would find someone when needed......and I am sure I will be able to once that time comes

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  • 2 weeks later...

I transfer money to Thailand through XE for free. It takes longer but it gets there for no fees. Their exchange rate is OK. My last transfer was $3,000 US...fee free and the bottom line was that more Baht was received in Thailand as compared to doing it with WISE...I checked them both before choosing the method.

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1 hour ago, Blogosopher said:

I transfer money to Thailand through XE for free. It takes longer but it gets there for no fees. Their exchange rate is OK. My last transfer was $3,000 US...fee free and the bottom line was that more Baht was received in Thailand as compared to doing it with WISE...I checked them both before choosing the method.

This is important to do. It's usually small but I've found that the Wise competitors often do loss-leader "promotions" (Western Union is big on this) to hook in more customers. Looking right now XE is quoting about ฿200 more on arrival in Thailand on a US$1,000 transfer. Definitely worth keeping all these companies in mind when transferring.

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