How I Saved Over 90% On An International Money Transfer Using TransferWise


In January 2016 I contacted the @CAT Co-Working Space in Penang, Malaysia to sign up for a one month membership, so that I could work remotely on my business from their co-working space. As @CAT does not accept paypal payments they ask me to do an international money transfer of the membership fee. The monthly fee to work at @CAT is 120 MYR (Malaysian Ringgit), but due to a promotional discount the fee was only 96 MYR. 96 MYR equates to around USD 21 or GBP 15.

Intially, I attempted to make the international money transfer using one of my UK bank accounts, but as expected the international transfer fee was more than the cost of the one month at the co-working space. In fact, my bank wanted to charge me GBP 22, which is around USD 32.

I saw this as the perfect opportunity to test out the new international money transfer service TransferWise. Their partisan and rather humorous ads all over London caught my eye a while back, and now was the right moment to test their service. And I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised!

I logged in to using my Facebook log-in with one click and filled in basic personal information. Then I put in the international bank transfer details for the Malaysian bank account and put in the amount 96 MYR, which it calculated into GBP for me as that was my chosen base currency. And finally, I made the payment with my debit card and after a few clicks the transaction was complete.

The amount I transferred was GBP 16.10 and the fee I was charged by TransferWise for the money transfer was a meager GBP 1.18. (Instead of GBP 22.00 which my UK bank would have charged me!) 

Needless to say I will only use TransferWise for international money transfers from here on out. Their easy-to-use platform and smartphone app are much more user friendly than my online banking service, and the fee is around 90% less for each transfer.


Alex founded in 2015 to empower millennials to take control of their financial future. He is a former bond trader who is passionate about cryptocurrency, blockchain technology and investing.