Skip to Content

Send Money Abroad: Transferwise vs Revolut

You don’t have to be a spy to send money abroad! Every day, very normal people transfer money abroad to themselves, their loved ones, and to pay for goods or services. So which service is better: Transferwise or Revolut?

Traditional banks continue to fight the revolution and charge high transaction and conversion fees for their services. 

For Barclays UK, they’ll charge anywhere from £15 – to £25 per transaction if you send money in-store or over the phone PLUS an unfavorable currency conversion rate. YIKES. 

I’ve been abroad for the last 7 years so I know a little something, something about the dos and don’ts when figuring out how to send money abroad.

Don’t fall victim to these dinosaur ways – instead, check out my favorite options for receiving, transferring, and sending money abroad! 

Send Money Abroad the Right Way: Transferwise vs Revolut

In this article, you’re going to read about:

  • How I use TransferWise to send money abroad
  • How I use Revolut to convert and hold different currencies 
  • Common pitfalls to watch out for

Don’t forget! There are lots of anti-embezzlement laws to consider when transferring money abroad.  Try to keep all transfers under $10,000 at a time.

This seems to be the ‘magic number’ when it comes to flying under the radar for audits. 

I‘ve lived abroad for many years and love helping others find work abroad and figure out their “Move Abroad Plan.” Check out my class below to get you started ASAP!

learn how to find work abroad, process visas, & more!

Why I Use TransferWise to Send Money Abroad

My favorite tool to send money around the world is TransferWise. I was advised by my accountant to start moving money back to the United States because America is VICIOUS when it comes to taxing Americans abroad.

I have some wealth that I’ve been investing in financial markets so it made the most sense, for me and my unique circumstances, to move that money home and invest it there. 

Read my Article on Expat Tax and Tax Pitfalls here.

For that reason, I needed a cost-efficient way to move large chunks of money home in a safe and affordable way.

send money abroad for cheap
A screenshot of my most recent transaction

Something that most people don’t know is that different countries use different banking details, so it’s not always easy to send money from a UK bank account (which has a sorting and account number) to the United States (which has a routing and account number). 

TransferWise is a great tool for sending and receiving money internationally with low fees — much cheaper than using your local bank.

You can also get your own local bank account details in Europe, the UK, the US, Australia, and New Zealand with the TransferWise Borderless account.

With TransferWise, the information that they collect for these transfers changes based on country-specific requirements. I can upload £1,000 with my UK debit card and then send it to my US Bank Account quite easily! 

Read more about Transferwise

transferwise comparison exchange rate
Common transaction fees

Furthermore, the exchange rate for TransferWise is the fairest I’ve seen in a long-time.

TransferWise never hides fees in the exchange rate. They use the real exchange rate independently provided by Reuters and apply it directly to your exchange.

Below is a screenshot comparison with Western Union, ICICI Bank, WorldRemit, and more; see the difference for yourself.

diy your move with tutorials, a digital planner & more

Why I Exchange Money Using Revolut

I’ve been using Revolut since 2015 as one of their very first customers!! I was even a ghostwriter for them at their earliest stages.

It’s easy to see why I’ve stuck around with Revolut once you start to use the product.

Benefits: 

  • You can hold and exchange multiple currencies inside the App (photo below)
  • You can get the interbank exchange rate whenever you exchange major currencies
  • ‘Spend like a Local’ thanks to local account details
  • No major fees when spending abroad
  • You can transfer money abroad to 30+ countries 

I mostly use my Revolut account for spending abroad and not necessarily to send money to my domestic bank accounts in different countries.

I also use Revolut to send money to my friends and family to pay for bills, shared meals, etc. It takes 2 seconds to send my best friend 100 HKD after exchanging my Euros at the best real-time market rate, and that’s SO COOL. 

However, as great as Revolut is for international spending, Revolut isn’t the best at sending money to America (or maybe I’m just doing something wrong?). 

If I was interested in sending large chunks of cash to my bank account, I would use TransferWise instead because their technology is better when it comes to navigating different bank transfer formats. 

Every Revolut bank transfer I’ve tried to do from Revolut to my local bank account has failed OR the money becomes ‘lost’ or sent back to me… whomp. 

private coaching session

Pitfalls When Sending Money Abroad

There are a few things you should watch out for when you’re sending money abroad! These are not necessarily things that are promoted by banks or providers so it’s easy to not notice them. 

  1. Your Bank will have a hidden markup on the exchange rate 
  2. If you transfer over $10,000, this will be flagged to your bank as suspicious activity potentially and the transaction will be audited/investigated.
  3. Some banks require that you put their address (and not your own) in the transfer details. You’ll need to put your unique ID number in the ‘notes’ or your money will be ‘lost’ (like mine became with my transfer to Charles Schwab – UGH)
  4. Sometimes these transfers aren’t ‘insured’ so if your money gets lost or there’s a problem, the transfer service isn’t liable to refund that money (Looking at you Zelle)
  5. Banks will typically have 3 types of fees: a transaction fee, a ~2.5% commission fee (sometimes called something else), and inflated currency exchange rates 

So Which Service is Better for Sending Money Abroad? Revolut or Transferwise?

I hope this gives you better insight into the common pitfalls when trying to send money abroad! I recommend TransferWise over Revolut for sending money abroad.

Read More Travel Tips: