If you have a bank account in Portugal, and you get paid or have money in another currency, you’ll probably transfer money to your Portuguese bank account several times per year.
Transferring your money from one currency to another can be costly, but Transferwise helps to reduce those costs. Their fees are lower, and their currency exchange rates are normally better than competing currency transfer services (including traditional banks).
We’ve used several of these services and, in our experience, Transferwise offers the best rates. Still, just to be sure, we thought we’d compare all of the different currency exchange services to see if it really was the best option.
(You can signup with Transferwise here).
Is Transferwise the best option?
As an example, we decided to see how much it would cost to send £1,000 to a Euro bank account (e.g. a Portuguese bank account).
Some companies don’t charge a fee, or they charge a very small fee, but the exchange rate they offer is usually not as good as those that do charge a fee. The only way to judge which service is the best is to look at the final amount that the recipient receives.
For example, here’s a comparison between Currencyfair and Transferwise.
Although Currencyfair offers a lower fee (just €3 compared to £4.29), in the end the recipient gets €7.90 less with Currencyfair than with Transferwise.
(This isn’t to say that Transferwise will always be better than Currencyfair. It’s always a good idea to do a little comparison shopping, particularly if you’re transferring a big chunk of money, but Transferwise has always been the best in our experience.)
We wanted to see which service offered the best rates, so we did a test. We decided to see what each service would give us if we tried to transfer £1,000 to a EURO bank account. This is how things faired.
- Transferwise: €1,116.19
- OFX: €1114.6
- Currencyfair: €1112.80
- Azimo: €1113.04
- World Remit: €1002.69
As you can see, Transferwise scored highest. This was despite them charging a fee of £4.29, and despite one or two of the competitors charging no fee at all.
Tips for using Transferwise
Use the Transferwise app for logins
Transferwise uses 2-step authentication, which means it texts you a code when you want to login. If you travel a lot, or have more than one simcard, switching simcards just to get into your Transferwise account can be quite time-consuming and frustrating.
Thankfully, you can use the app to login instead. Simply download and install it, and you’ll be able to use this to login instead of the text message code.
Invite your friends & earn money
If you have friends or family who send money abroad, be sure to invite them to use Transferwise. Not only will it save them money, but Transferwise will give you a bonus for every three friends that you invite.
Contact a broker for bigger amounts
Transferwise is considered to have the best exchange rates but, if you’re sending a large chunk of money abroad (for example the proceeds from selling a house), it really pays to shop around. Monito.com, a search engine that compares companies like Transferwise, XE, and Azimo is a good place to start.
Have you used Transferwise to send money to Portugal? Let us know your Transferwise reviews, experiences, and thoughts by leaving a comment below.