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Why is sending money from a UK debit / credit card more expensive on TransferWise?

We know our customers use TransferWise because it’s cheaper and faster than using their banks. However — the convenience, speed and cost of a transfer is hugely dependent on how you pay.

So we’ve created three types of transfers:

Our Low Cost transfer 

This type of transfer is for customers who want the most from their money. 

For most people, these transfers are a bit less convenient to make. They’re also slightly slower to fund, because you need to send the money to TransferWise as a separate transaction. 

You can do this using a manual bank transfer, or by using the money stored in your borderless account. Both these methods are inexpensive to process. On top of that, TransferWise doesn’t need to do extra work to speed up how quickly your money moves. As a result, we can offer Low Cost transfers at a much cheaper price.

Our Fast & Easy transfer

This type of transfer is the most convenient and stress-free way to send money abroad on TransferWise. It’s also faster to set up — you just need to type in your card details, or use your fingerprint with Apple Pay or Android Pay. This type of transfer might even be instant.

But processing these transactions is more expensive for businesses like TransferWise. 

Here’s why:

Firstly, with Fast & Easy transfers, your money isn’t sent to TransferWise instantly. As a result, TransferWise needs to do extra work to speed it up — and that’s a costly thing to do.

Secondly, card transactions in the UK aren’t free. The cost of using a debit card is 0.2%, and the cost of using a credit card is 0.3%. This is called an ‘interchange fee’, and it’s paid to your bank by TransferWise.

Thirdly, when you use your card — or pay with Apple or Android Pay — you get extra, behind the scenes support from TransferWise. This extra work keeps your money safe if you’re unlucky enough to have your card used fraudulently.

All these things make Fast & Easy transfers more expensive. But this extra expense doesn’t make TransferWise any more profit — it simply covers the extra costs associated with this type of transfer.

Our Advanced transfer

This type of transfer is for sending money from a GBP bank account that is not in the UK. Advanced Transfers use the SWIFT payment network — and your bank will probably charge a fee for that. This makes them an expensive way to send money.

We’ll always strive for fair and transparent pricing 

At TransferWise, we aim to charge you only for what you use. So if we priced all transfers the same, people choosing the low cost way would be covering other people’s costs. We don’t believe that’s fair. 

So we offer Low Cost and Fast & Easy transfers at different prices. These different prices are shown transparently and upfront in our calculator.

How this fits in with PSD2

The Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is a new piece of regulation, designed to stop retailers surcharging arbitrary card fees — without showing customers those card charges upfront, or offering an alternative way to pay. 

For instance, lots of companies (like some budget airlines) charge an extra fee to pay by card at the checkout. But they don’t offer you another, cheaper way to pay. It means you have to pay the extra card fee, whether you like it or not. This is what the PSD2 regulation is trying to prevent. 

But with TransferWise, you’ll see a different fee based on the type of transfer you choose. The type of transfer you’re choosing — and how much is costs — is always shown transparently in our calculator, upfront. 


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