International Money Transfers & Wise Fees

We are often asked about what we do for international money transfers.  Unfortunately I rarely have a straightforward answer, because it is one of those “it depends” type answers.  We will share with you some of our money transfer tools & tips.

What do we use for international money transfers? Of course, it depends, so we share some of our money transfer tools & tips with you! Read more on


International Money Transfers

Banking  Transfers & fees

There are so many tools out there to make your international money transfers, including your own bank!  Our first couple of years living in Spain, we used our USA bank to make money transfers to Spain.  Our US account provided us with 2 free transfers a month, because we have an investment account with our bank.  If we didn’t have that investment account, it would be $25 per wire transfer.  So check your bank for their fees.

Our Hidden Fees

In addition to the actual banking money transfer fee, our bank added about $.03 to the exchange rate for every dollar.  That doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up.

examples using Nov 2018 exchange rates

Transfer €1000 euro from USA to Spain
Daily exchange rate €1000 euro = $1130

With our bank transfer €1000 euro = $1160 + $25 transfer 

That’s $55 more, just in fees, for one transfer!

international money transfers with WISE.

The ATM Trick

This may not be a good thing to do, but we do it!  Instead of making international money transfers each month, I just use the ATM.  Yes, we have a Charles Schwab account and they reimburse all ATM charges worldwide.

We don’t need to have too much money in our Spanish bank, so I just go to the ATM and take out the euros I need.  I then, walk into our bank and deposit that cash.  There are no transfer fees involved at all.  Any ATM fees are reimbursed and I get the daily exchange rate.  Obviously this won’t work if you are transferring bigger sums of money, but for a few hundred here or there it is wonderful.

Money Transfers Using PayPal

This is another good way to make money transfers easily, but they also charge fees.  This is often more costly than our bank to do transfers.  While we don’t usually use PayPal for international money transfers, what we do like about PayPal is that we can keep balances in different currencies.  If we want to make a purchase in euros, we just use our Euro balance and there are no exchange rate fees or transfer fees to deal with.

What do we use for international money transfers? Of course, it depends, so we share some of our money transfer tools & tips with you! Read more on

Wise Money Transfers

Over the past year or so we keep hearing about this great online tool for making international money transfers.  It is called Wise and it seems it is the tool to use now for small or big overseas money transfers.  Many other travelers and digital nomads are hopping on board with this too.  We will tell you what we are hearing and we are going to give it a try too.

It has also been asked in several of the expat Facebook groups we belong to and every time, there is an overwhelming recommendation to use Wise.  Especially to make large money transfers to Spain from the UK or US.  Those who were asking were wanting to buy a home or a car and they said they felt it gave the best rates.  They also have rave reviews on Trustpilot too, 54,000 reviews and 87% positive.

Example review:  Really good experience, I received a wire transfer from US in Dollars and then I moved the amount in Euros to my bank account in Spain, with 0,87% of exchange fee. The American bank was asking 3%.

What is Wise?

They started up in 2010 with the aim to make international money transfers cheap, fair and simple.  You can make fast money transfers, sending money or receiving money.  You also have access to your debit card, which may be used at the ATM or anywhere MasterCard is accepted.  The best part is you get the real exchange rate!  Make sure you check out their exchange rate tracker.


  • One account to spend, send and receive. Hold money in over 40 currencies
  • A card to spend in over 40 currencies in over 150 countries
  • Send money to over 160 countries

Wise Fees

Wise transparently displays any fees upfront and deduct it before conversion.  You know exactly what the fees are and there are no nasty surprises.  Wise then uses the mid-market rate, independently provided by Reuters without any markup.  The price calculator allows you to see what the international transfer will be before you send it.  They offer a comparison chart with several other banks and tools offering international banking transfers.  Click here to read more now!

It’s free to set up your borderless account.  It’s free to get your international bank details and free to receive money using those bank details.  There’s a cheap, transparent fee to convert between currencies.  Either changing currencies in your account or if you spend with your Wise debit card in a currency you don’t have in your account.

Free Wise Borderless Account

This is a great way to move money around and make those online money transfers.  With a borderless account, you get instant international bank details to receive money from over 30 countries around the world with zero fees.  That means you get:

  • Australian account number and BSB code
  • British account number and sort code
  • European IBAN
  • US account number and routing number

This is why digital nomads love it so much!  They can accept payment in several currencies for freelance work.  You can easily keep a balance in over 40 currencies in your Wise borderless account!  Then you can switch between them in seconds — on the move, in the moment, or when the rate is right.

Spending Money Worldwide

If you have the Wise debit card, you can spend the money in your account with the currency balances you have.  So if you have a euro balance and are spending money in Europe, it will take from the euros!

Of course, we also use our Chase Sapphire Preferred to make purchases worldwide and receive the daily exchange rate when spending in the local currency.  This way we just pay everything off in $USD.   More info about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Bottom Line!

It doesn’t matter if you want to transfer money to Spain or any other country in the world, you can do it with Wise.  Many people want to make a money transfer to Spain from UK too, so it is all easy with this tool.

Save money on international payments with Wise
We are often asked about what we do for international money transfers with WISE. Read more on


Have you used Wise?  Tell us about your experience in the comments below.


MONEY!  Cost of Living in Spain

During our first 18 months in Spain, we tracked every expense and share it all with you!  This can’t possibly represent the entire country, this is just what we have experienced in our town, with our lifestyle.  Your life will be different!  🙂  If you are planning to live in Spain for a month or spend a year in Spain, this should all help you with at least a data point to estimate from.


 Are you planning to Move Abroad?

Read this to help you Select The Country, Town & Make The Move.  How much can you afford? Where will you live? Use this to help estimate the cost of living?  What are you willing to live without?

Come on and tell us what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Privacy Policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.