Azimo vs TransferWise

Not sure whether to use Azimo or Wise (formerly TransferWise) for your next international payment? This Azimo Vs Wise review is here to help. We’ll cover:

  • A full side by side feature comparison
  • Which provider is cheaper?
  • Which is faster?
  • Which is safer?
  • Which gets better customer reviews?

Summary: Azimo supports more countries and payout options than TransferWise (now known as Wise), including cash collection and mobile wallet payments. Wise specialises in fast, low cost international transfers to bank accounts. In our comparison, Wise was cheaper for EUR payments and has a transparent approach to fees with no exchange rate markups. Both providers are licensed by the FCA.

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Azimo Vs Wise: side by side

FeatureAzimoWise
Send payments to

Instant and 1 hour payments to 80 countries, SWIFT payments to 100+ countries

Low cost payments to 80+ countries, 50+ currencies, SWIFT payments to 100+ countries
Multi-currency accounts N Available for 54 currencies
Debit card available N Y
Cash collection payouts In selected marke N
Mobile wallet payouts In selected markets N
Mobile airtime top up In selected markets N
Fully licensed and regulated Y Y
Business services Y Y

So, to summarise:

  • Wise and Azimo both offer fast payments to around 80 countries, plus SWIFT payments to bank accounts in some other receiving countries
  • Wise has a multi-currency account and international debit card to support 50+ currencies, while Azimo does not
  • Azimo offers payouts in cash, transfers to mobile wallets, and mobile airtime top ups in select markets - Wise does not
  • Both providers are fully regulated, and offer both personal and business services

Azimo has a broad range of payout options, while Wise is a specialist in international transfers direct to bank accounts, and also offers multi-currency account services.

If you’re sending to a bank account, both Azimo and Wise may be able to help, so choosing between them may come down to the details of your specific requirements. Some Azimo payments can only be made using SWIFT - which tends to be slower and more expensive than using Wise’s own processing network. Azimo’s standard fee structure isn’t the easiest to understand, while Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate with a transparent fee structure.

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The important bits

AzimoWise
RatesExchange rates include a markup on the mid-market rate Mid-market exchange rate with no markup
FeesVaries by destination and payout method Low fees, varies by destination
Speed80 countries can receive instant or 1 hour payments, 100 countries can receive SWIFT payments which arrive in a day or so 40% of payments are instant, 80% arrive in 24 hours
ServiceOnline, in app and by phone Online, in app and by phone
SafetyFully regulated and licensed Fully regulated and licensed
Reviews (TrustPilot)

4.6 star, Excellent, 54,000+ reviews

4.6 star, Excellent, 134,000+ reviews

Rates: Wise uses the mid-market rate, whereas Azimo’s standard rate includes a markup

Fees: Both providers have variable fees which change by destination country. Azimo fees may also vary by payout method

Speed: Azimo offers instant or 1 hour payments to 80 countries, other transfers take about 24 hours. 40% of Wise payments are instant, most arrive within 24 hours

Service: Both providers offer multilingual service in a range of languages, online, in-app and by phone. Wise has more languages covered than Azimo

Safety: Both providers are fully licensed and regulated

Reviews: Both providers score Excellent review ratings on Trustpilot - but Wise has significantly more listed customer reviews showing

Pros and cons

AzimoWise
Pros
  • Send 1 hour and instant payments to 80 countries
  • SWIFT transfers available to 100+ countries
  • Range of payout options including cash collection and mobile wallets in select counties
  • Business payments available
  • Mid-market exchange rates + low fees
  • Transparent pricing
  • Send to 80+ countries
  • International accounts for personal and business customers
  • Hold and manage 54 currencies
Cons
  • Exchange rates include a markup
  • Fees vary by destination and payout method
  • SWIFT transfers can incur third party costs
  • Not all services are available in all markets
  • Online and mobile payments only - no branches
  • No option for cash payments
  • Transfer fees vary by destination country
  • Multi-currency accounts are not interest bearing

Azimo Vs Wise: The verdict

Whether Azimo or Wise win for you will depend on the specific services you need.

Azimo has more payout options, and covers more destination countries. However, not all services are available in all countries and some transfers are processed using the SWIFT network. SWIFT payments typically take a while to process and can mean paying extra third party fees.

Wise is a specialist in transfers direct to bank accounts, and offers the mid-market exchange rate with low, transparent fees. Standard Wise payments do not use the SWIFT network, so there are no third party costs to worry about. Wise also offers a multi-currency account with a linked international debit card.

If you’re sending money to a bank account, and your destination country is covered by both providers, Wise wins on the regular exchange rate and has a more transparent approach to fees. Both providers offer a rate and fee calculator tool, so you can see the details of the costs and delivery time for your payment with both Azimo and Wise before you decide which to use.

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About Azimo and Wise

Azimo was founded in 2012 with a mission to make it easier, faster and cheaper for people working abroad to remit money home. Today Azimo has 2 million customers and offers both individual and business services including instant or 1 hour payments to selected countries, payouts for cash collection, transfers to mobile wallets and mobile airtime top up.

Azimo business services include payments to 189 countries around the world with a range of payout options.

Wise was launched as TransferWise back in 2011 as a low-cost international payment provider. These days, Wise has upwards of 10 million customers, and also offers personal and business accounts to hold and manage currencies, accept payments and spend using a linked debit card.

With Wise you can send payments to 80+ countries, in 50+ currencies.

How do they work?

To use Azimo you’ll need to create an account, which can be done in a few minutes online or in the Azimo app. You may need to provide documents for verification purposes, depending on the type of transfers you want to make.

You’ll then be able to set up payments in a few simple steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Select your destination country
  3. Choose a payment delivery method
  4. Enter how much you want to pay, or how much your recipient should get
  5. Add your recipient details following the on-screen prompts
  6. Pay by credit or debit card, or using a bank transfer
  7. Your payment will be processed using your chosen delivery method

To use Wise you’ll need to create an account, and depending on the type of payment you want to make you might need to provide some ID for verification.

Once your account is up and running make payments online and in the Wise app:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Type in how much you want to transfer, or how much you need the recipient to get
  3. Enter the recipient’s details - bank account number or email
  4. Check over the details
  5. Fund your payment using a card or bank transfer
  6. Confirm and your money will be on the move

Wise transfers are made through Wise’s network of local bank accounts, so they arrive faster compared with SWIFT transfers and don’t incur intermediary fees. When you want to pay for your transfer in pounds you’ll send the money to Wise’s local UK account. Then Wise will make a payment of the equivalent amount in your preferred currency, from their account in the destination country. No money actually moves across borders, so it’s faster and cheaper than traditional international payments.

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Azimo Vs Wise Fees

You’ll see Azimo’s fees when you start to set up your payment online or in the app.

One of the standard fees that Azimo uses is an exchange rate markup - which is a fee wrapped up in the exchange rate being offered. That’s very common across providers - but can make it harder to work out the true cost of your payment.

Wise doesn’t hide any fees in the exchange rates used. Instead you’ll find a couple of different transparent costs:

  • Fixed fee: covering the fixed costs associated with the transaction. For major currencies this can be in the region of £0.20 - £0.40
  • Variable fee: covering the cost of the currency exchange. For major currencies this can be in the region of 0.35% to 0.45% of the transfer value

Azimo Vs Wise: which is cheaper?

Choosing an international payment specialist is almost certainly cheaper than sending money using your bank. However, as fees and rates do vary, it still pays to compare a few providers before you pick.

Let’s look at how a few different payments from Azimo and Wise work out. This table looks at how much in GBP it’ll cost you to send a payment to a friend in USD or EUR.

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Amount & CurrencyAzimoWiseWinner?
GBP>1000 USD 747.93 GBP 751.62 GBP Azimo
GBP>5000 USD 3,739.64 GBP 3,745.17 GBP Azimo
GBP>1000 EUR 843.18 GBP 841.94 GBP Wise
GBP> 5000 EUR 4,215.86 GBP 4,209.12 GBP Wise

*Fees and exchange rates correct at time of research - 23rd November 2021

At the time of writing, Azimo is offering new customer discounts which mean you won’t pay a fee, and will get a better exchange rate than the standard Azimo rate on your first payment. In our comparison this promotion brings down the overall Azimo price. However, without the promotional discounts, they’re likely to be more expensive. Even with Azimo’s active promotions, Wise has a better overall cost for EUR payments. Wise offers a better exchange rate compared to the Azimo standard rate, with a transparent fee structure.

Azimo Vs Wise: which is faster?

Azimo offers one hour and instant payments to 80 select counties, as well as a SWIFT transfer service. On average, Azimo SWIFT transfers take one working day. The final delivery time depends on where you’re sending money to, your preferred delivery method, and how you pay.

40% of Wise payments get to their destination instantly, and 80% arrive in 24 hours. However, the exact delivery time will depend on where you’re sending money to, and how you want to pay. You’ll see an estimated arrival time when you set up your payment.

Safety

Both Azimo and Wise are fully licensed and regulated, and use both smart technology and dedicated service teams to keep customer money safe.

Azimo is regulated by the FCA in the UK, AUSTRAC in Australia, and other regulatory bodies in Europe and North America.

Wise is regulated by the FCA in the UK, FinCEN in the US, and other global regulatory bodies around the world.

Ease of use

  • Creating an account: Create your account online or in app with both Azimo and Wise
  • Making a transfer: Both providers allow customers to fund payments with a bank transfer, credit or debit card. Wise also offers Apple Pay payments
  • Ways to send money: Send payments to your recipient’s bank account directly with both Azimo and Wise. Azimo also offers cash collection payments, transfers to mobile wallets and mobile airtime top ups to some markets
  • Languages: Azimo’s website is available in 10 languages, and customer support is available in 8 languages. Wise offers 15 languages, plus multi-lingual support services
  • Minimum & maximum amounts: Wise sending limits can vary by destination country, and based on your account type. Azimo card payments are limited to 12,000 GBP, but with a bank transfer you may be able to send higher value payments

Supported currencies

Azimo supports instant or one hour transfers on major payment routes which cover over 80 countries. You can send money to a bigger range of 100+ countries using SWIFT transfers, but these take a day or two to arrive.

Wise supports 50+ currencies, and lets you send payments to over 80 countries.

Conclusion

 

Both Azimo and Wise have some interesting features which will suit different customer needs.

Azimo offers cash payouts through a network of 200,000 agents in select countries, which can be handy if you need to get money to someone without a bank account. In some destination countries you can also send to mobile wallets and for airtime top up.

Wise is a specialist in payments which are delivered to bank accounts, and also offers its own international account to hold and convert 50+ currencies.

Where the 2 providers overlap is in payments for delivery direct to a bank account. Some Azimo bank transfers are almost instant, but others use the SWIFT network, which can mean a longer wait time and the risk of intermediary fees. Wise does not use the SWIFT network but instead routes transfers through local accounts around the world, which can be faster and also cuts out the risk of third party costs. It’s worth comparing the costs and convenience of both Azimo and Wise for your next international payment, but Wise tends to win on transparency and rate.

FAQs

Is Azimo or Wise cheaper?

In our comparisons - which included Azimo’s available promotions at the time of writing - Azimo was cheaper for USD transfers, but Wise won on EUR payments.

Standard transfers with Wise have a transparent pricing structure including the real exchange rate with no markup, and low transfer fees.

Is Azimo or Wise faster?

Both Azimo and Wise offer fast international transfers. Azimo offers instant or 1 hour payments to 80 countries, with slower SWIFT transfers to a broader range of destinations. 40% of Wise payments are instant, and 80% arrive in 24 hours.

How many currencies do Azimo and Wise support?

Azimo supports payments to 100+ countries, and Wise supports payments to 80+ countries in 50+ currencies.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 4 May 2022