Using TransferWise for International Payments

We’ve always wanted to better way for our international guests to pay for their RetreaTours adventures. Traditionally we’ve relied on PayPal and bank transfers, but they each carry massive fees. PayPal charges you 2.5% to convert currency on top of the 3.9% international service fee they charge us—6.4% is a little out of control, don’t you think?  Banks also tend to have pretty poor conversion rates, on top of outgoing and incoming wire fees. So what to do?

We have signed up with TransferWise, a London-based company that specializes in currency conversion transfers at market rates with a very small service fee. With stringent privacy protections and an easy user interface (including a phone app), we are big fans of TransferWise!

TransferWise manages to avoid pricey conversion fees by having accounts in countries all over the globe. For example, if you live in Australia, you can transfer AUD to them (which will go to their Australian account), and they use the real exchange rate to then transfer that amount to us in USD from their American account. Brilliant! (You can watch their one-minute video below for more explanation.)

It may take a few minutes to set up, but if you look at your overall savings, it’s the quickest money you’ll ever save. For example, when paying for a $3500 USD trip with AUD, you would pay $87.50 in PayPal fees (2.5% conversion fee) or just $24.50 with TransferWise’s 0.7% bank transfer fee.

Because we already have a TransferWise account, we have a link for you to sign up with which will make your first £500 (or your equivalent) transfer FREE.

 Click here to use this link and save money on your first transfer 

It is always cheaper to transfer from your bank account, but you can use a debit or credit card. As of May 2017, here are the transfer fees:

Currency to be converted to USDFee to transfer money at actual market rate from bank accountAdditional fee to use a credit cardAdditional fee to use a debit card
AUD to USD0.7%2%; limited to $3500 AUD per payment2%; limited to $3500 AUD per payment
Pounds to USD0.5%0.3%Limit is £2,000 per transaction on debit card; no extra fee
CAD to USD1%2%; limited to $3000CAD per transaction1.15%; limited to $3000CAD per transaction
Euros to USD0.5%0.4%0.4%

If your banks uses SWIFT to move the money, they may charge you an additional fee.  Read more here about using your bank to transfer. 

If you have another preferred method that saves you money, please let us know. Otherwise, we fully support TransferWise in order to save you currency conversion fees from your bank, PayPal, and other vendors!