TransferWise uses the real exchange rate - the real mid-point between buy and sell rates on the global currency markets. It's the rate you find on websites like Xe.com and Reuters.com.
When transferring from US Dollars, we lock in this rate at the moment you finish setting up a transfer on your TransferWise profile.
It will stay locked as long as your money arrives to us by 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time the next business day. This means that your recipient will receive the exact amount you were shown when setting up your transfer.***
If your money doesn't reach us before this time, the rate used for your transfer will instead be the real-time rate at the moment we convert your money.
If you don't get the locked rate, your money will still be protected against large drops in the exchange rate. Read more here >>.
Please note: When you pay using ACH bank debit, your rate stays locked until conversion as long as you initiate the debit before 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time the business day after your transfer is set up.
***All South African Rand transfers to South Africa of any amount, and US Dollar transfers the the US over the equivalent of 24,000 GBP are sent out using the SWIFT International Payment System.
This means that these payments must pass through intermediary banks before reaching the final, destination account. So, recipients of these transfers may receive slightly less than we pay out due to intermediary bank SWIFT fees and a fee their bank may charge to receive SWIFT payments. You can read more about SWIFT payments on this page.