Why we sometimes limit your transfers

TransferWise
12.12.18
2 minute read

What’s a limit anyway?

Sometimes, we limit how much our customers can send and receive in certain currencies. Most often, we do this when the exchange rate is likely to be volatile.

Exchange rate volatility is very common at times of political uncertainty. So if something is happening in a country that might affect the currency markets — like government instability or a significant vote — we’ll take steps to minimise the impact on our customers. Limiting how much you can send or receive is one of those steps.

How do I know if there’s a limit on my transfer?

We’ll always tell you about any limits before you send your money. We usually put a message upfront, in the transfer calculator. And sometimes, we also put a heads up on our social media accounts. Wherever you see it, we’ll give you details on how much the limit is, and when it’s coming into effect.

Why does TransferWise do this?

We refuse to compromise on price and transparency, so we always offer the mid-market rate and our usual, upfront fee. This commitment means that we lock in the real exchange rate at the time a customer sets up the transfer. Because of this, extreme fluctuations can affect the service we’re able to offer.

Whenever we set a limit, we aim to maximise the number of people who can keep using TransferWise without any issues. The vast majority of our customers will be sending less than the limit, so they won’t notice anything different at all — they’ll still be able to lock in their rate and send their money. And customers who want to send more than the limit can do so either before or after we switch the limit on.

All this reduces the risk of a sudden change in the rate affecting both our customers and our operations.

What’s the alternative?

When the exchange rate is volatile, banks and other providers often inflate their exchange rate. This creates the illusion that they’re offering the same service. In fact, they may be hiding the cost and risk of market fluctuations in a poor rate. Ultimately, it’s the customer who pays more.

We don’t think that’s fair.

What is TransferWise doing to improve?

It’s very rare, but there have been times where we’ve switched off our service because the risk of rate fluctuations was too large for us to bear. Setting a limit means we shouldn’t have to take such extreme action in the future.

As we learn, mature and grow, we hope to reach a point where even large and sudden jumps in the exchange rate won’t affect our operations. Until we’ve reached that point, we’ll make sure that any limits to our normal service affect as few people as possible.

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