Customers complain about Wise rise in fees

By Amelia Isaacs on Monday 8 August 2022

Digital Banking

“We know this isn’t great news, and we’re sorry about that.”

Customers complain about Wise rise in fees
Image source: Wise.

Some of Wise’s fees will be increasing this week due to markets becoming “more volatile”.

The company shared the news in an email to customers last week, outlining which currencies would be affected and apologising for the bad news.

Customers took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the news, which contradicts the company’s mission to reduce foreign exchange fees and, eventually, eliminate them.

“The problem with building a business model where your only advantage is cheapness is... what happens when you need to increase fees?” one user, The Pragmatic Engineer author Gergely Orosz, wrote.

Another simply declared the price increase “not cool” while one said they’ve stopped using the company.

“Today I received an email about increased transfer fees. That's sort of the opposite of removing fees. How are things going?” another user, software engineer David Vrensk, asked.

“We know this isn’t great news, and we’re sorry about that,” Wise said in the email.

“We’ll try to bring our fees back down as soon as we can.”

Taking to Twitter, Wise switched to a different tact, saying “we’re already working on bringing prices down again” in lieu of an apology.

The decision to increase fees on select routes comes just a few months after the company’s second quarter results showed revenue growth of one third and a seven per cent increase in profit.

Customers were quick to call this out, but many were more concerned with the unclear messaging around the price increase, confused about the vague information around the extent to which fees would rise.

“At Wise our goal is to provide our customers with the lowest possible fee. This means that each route we offer has its own price which consists of a small fixed fee and variable fee,” a Wise spokesperson told AltFi.

“This fee covers the actual cost to move our customers' money as well as a small margin on top that is reinvested into our infrastructure to engineer away costs in the longer term and to build better services for our customers.”

One user described the messaging as “sweaty”, saying the message itself was more of an issue than the price hike which, as it turns out, seems to be relatively minimal.

The company gave more insight into how fees are changing on its website, but still only outlined the cost increase on sending money to a set of currencies and the need to raise its fees to cover new costs. 

There is also a breakdown from 2019 of what fees generally pay for.

Many on Twitter were singing the company’s praises more than Wise itself, describing it as a “pretty convenient, easy to use service”, and praising “transparent pricing, ease of use, fast delivery”.

“In the current macroeconomic climate with soaring inflation, it becomes harder for people and businesses to make ends meet,” a Wise spokesperson told AltFi.

“That’s why it’s even more important for those paying bills or supporting family and friends abroad to know the true cost of moving their money internationally. This will allow them to pick the deal that best fits their needs.”

To provide some more clarity around the fee rise, Wise has created a cost calculator that allows customers to see how fees have changed compared to before.

The company also has a price comparison tool to help customers “find the best deal”.

On Twitter, one customer – who said they were a shareholder of Wise – found a better price on Remitly, and asked why they shouldn’t switch to a competitor.

Wise replied that it would not stop them from using their service as it wants what’s best for its customers.

The company, which serves 13 million people and businesses and processes more than £8 bn in cross-border transactions monthly, said it saves customers more than £1bn annually and that 2.5 million customers saw price cuts in the last year.

 

Transfers affected by Wise’s fee rise:

Sending money from USD, CHF, CAD, JPY, HUF, MYR, TRY, INR, SEK, PLN, CZK, DKK, NOK and RON to any currency.

Sending money to USD, INR, THB, PHP, IDR, MYR, MXN, PLN, PKR, KRW, VND, MAD and HUF from any currency.

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Companies in this Article:

Wise