TransferWise is being credited as a digital innovator that is “shaking up the business-as-usual model” by The Times of London, which has listed it on its top 10 “disrupters to watch.” It’s many investors include Richard Branson, co-founder Max Levchin, former Betfair CEO David Yu and Wonga.com co-founder Errol Damelin.
My most recent transfer arrived about a week after I sent it, and since it came in euros, there was no fee added at my bank in Pescia. One added complication is that the bank manager questioned why the money had been routed through Estonia and asked for evidence that it was actually my money. I think this particular concern has more to do with the complicated banking and legal system in Italy, a country that is famous for extensive government regulations. It was an added challenge for me to try to explain in Italian how TransferWise works, and I ended up referring him to the Italian version of the TransferWise website, which he loaded and read while I waited.
Footnote: For smaller payments, we try to use our American credit cards whenever possible. We have two cards that don’t charge an exchange rate. And when we need cash, we use our bank ATM cards at Italian bank machines, which limit our withdrawals to 500 euros per day.