Sending money abroad with a traditional bank from or to Senegal is expensive, there's always hidden fees that we have all been forced to pay at some point. They will tell you they offer "free transfers" or "0% in commissions". It sounds like money is flowing freely, but we all know that this is not true, it is just propaganda.
Online accounts like the one provided by TransferWise remove all these inconveniences, allowing you to make online purchases or remit money abroad at the lowest cost available, using interbank exchange rates and no hidden fees.
Additionally, Transferwise has the West African CFA Franc as one of their currency options, meaning that you may maintain a balance and make transfers in the local currency, without incurring into exchange fees.
Transferwise: An eWallet for Payments and Transfers at the lowest cost available
Transferwise is a financial platform offering online accounts, that in essence work in a similar way to the online platforms of a traditional bank, allowing you to (a) receive money, (b) transfer money easy and fast, and (c) to pay online products and services. These types of accounts are called e-wallets or electronic wallets. In essence, Transferwise offers the following services:
Online Shopping and Payments.
Instant Online Money Transfers anywhere in the world at a low cost.
Prepaid Mastercard for purchases in any store, online or ‘offline’.
Transferwise is a platform for those who trade, work, invest, gamble in online casinos or need to transfer funds to other countries online regularly. Registration is free, and the process is completed online. The platform's motto is "the cheapest and fastest way to send money", let us analyse whether this is a true statement.
What uses can I give to a Transferwise account?
A general question that arises when opening an account with an eWallet is the following: “If an eWallet like Transferwise works with all the features of a traditional bank account and I already have a traditional bank account ... Why do I need an Online account with a provider like Transferwise?” This question is indeed valid; however, some use cases of this type of financial service that are unique, and that can make life easier for you and your family environment. Below is a list of [some of] these use cases, however, there are many, many more:
If you live in a country with capital restrictions, or that international bank transfers are costly, Transferwise can be a cheap and straightforward solution when making payments and transfers online. Through the prepaid Mastercard, you are allowed to purchase with the available funds in the account.
If two family members have Transferwise accounts and travel and need money, the other family member can instantly transfer money online. The family member who is travelling can withdraw the funds at any ATM that accepts Mastercard.
Suppose you need an account in a different currency than the one offered by his/her bank. Transferwise allows the opening of multi-currency accounts (meaning, one account, many foreign currencies) in Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling, among many others.
If you need to send money abroad to your relatives regularly.
If you are a Forex or CFD trader that needs to deposit and withdraw funds regularly.
If you make online purchases regularly, Transferwise is a much safer option than using your traditional bank, being it a prepaid account, if the website where the purchase is a scam built to steal credit card data, you are only exposed with the balance available in the Transferwise account.
How does Transferwise Work?
As mentioned previously, Transferwise accounts work similarly to the online account of any traditional bank. It offers a view of the balance of cash, a list of transactions, transfer options, etc. The only difference is that Transferwise is an online financial institution, that is, it does not have physical branches to go to, for example, deposit cash. It is an app on the phone designed to offer payment solutions and money transfers to everyone at a meagre cost compared to traditional banking. The app works as follows:
First, Open the Account. Transferwise will request you some personal details to do so.
Fund the Account. Transferwise allows deposits from Credit cards, bank transfers and deposits from other eWallets (Although the most popular ones like Skrill or Neteller are not available).
Receive money from other Transferwise accounts or online services (Trading Platforms, Casinos, Payment Services, Shopping) that use Transferwise. Another user or online company can send money online to the Transferwise account, fast and straightforward.
Pay and Shop, via:
Transferwise Virtual Card: It works as any Prepaid Debit Card and can purchase goods and services online.
Transferwise Prepaid Mastercard: It’s a physical prepaid card that can be used to pay and withdraw at any shop or ATM that accepts Mastercard.
Low-Cost Transfers. After the account is funded, you can transfer money globally at a meagre cost, the reason why it is a very well-known service in the expatriate community.
Transferwise’ Prepaid Mastercard
As mentioned above, Transferwise Mastercard cards are physical prepaid cards that operate on the Mastercard platform. These cards provide customers with instant access to money deposited in the account. In other words, the Mastercard allows you to make purchases online and in-person, in addition to allowing you to withdraw cash from the balance of your Transferwise account.
The first Transferwise card has no cost; they only require a deposit of USD20 (an amount that is treated as a deposit, that is, you have the money available, they won’t charge you the amount).
Transferwise Online Account Pros
Transactions between Transferwise accounts are instantaneous, that is, if two users have a Transferwise account and one transfers money to the other, the latter has it available to spend or withdraw instantly.
Transferwise offers a virtual card for online payments, as well as a physical prepaid Mastercard.
It offers a multi-currency account, that is, if you need to have an account in, for example, dollars, euros and pounds at the same time, you can have it with Transferwise.
How to Open a Transferwise Account from Senegal
Like any other online service, opening an account and acquiring the Prepaid Mastercard through Transferwise is a process carried out online, no paperwork required. It only requires the client to upload an ID (Passport or Identity Document), and a proof of address scanned through the platform.
Transferwise takes only a few days to open the account, allowing the client to start operating the account.
Transferwise is a company dedicated to payments and transfers, so its commission structure is related to the flow of funds.
To Deposit, Transferwise charges the following fees:
Euros = 0%
US Dollars = 0.45%
For other currencies, check out Transferwise' fee schedule.
To Convert Currencies in the account balances, that is, for example, converting US Dollars to Euros, fees are 0.41% of the transaction. If any of the currencies is a minor one, for example, the Egyptian pound or the Israeli Shekel, the cost is 0.55%.
To Transfers Funds between accounts nominated in the same Currency, for example from an account in US Dollars to another account in US Dollars, it has no cost. When transferring money from your balance in XOF, Transferwise charges a fixed fee of 4,118 per transaction.
For transfers between 2 accounts nominated in different currencies, fees vary between 0.61% and 2.2%.
For Online Shopping, Transferwise only charges fees when you buy in a currency, and you don't hold an account that currency, that is, if you buy something in Dollars and pay it with Euros. If you shop online in a currency and hold an account in that currency, Transferwise does not charge fees. Remember that the platform offers a Multicurrency account, so it's straightforward to open a free subaccount in a different currency.