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Key Things to Know Before Opening a Wise Business Account [2023]

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Wise is not a bank but a licensed payment service provider that specialises in holding, converting foreign currencies, and sending international bank transfers. 

Wise can make international transfers in 40 currencies to over 70 countries.

Wise holds regulatory licenses to provide business accounts and payment services in Australia, Belgium and the European Economic Area (EEA), Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Wise is a fast-growing fintech company based in the UK, committing to offer transparent and low-cost international payments. If you’re considering Wise to streamline cross-border payments for your business, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will provide a general background of Wise, from who founded the company to what services they provide. We will also guide you through the eligibility criteria and process for opening a Wise business account.

Let’s dive in.

What Is Wise?

Wise–formerly known as TrasferWise–is a fintech company offering payment solutions to individuals and businesses across the globe. It was launched in 2011 with the vision of making international money transfers cheap, fair, and simple.

Its main services are a multi-currency account, cross-border money transfer capability, and payment cards. 

Wise was founded by Estonian friends Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann. Hinrikus was formerly Skype’s Director of Strategy, and Kristo was previously a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting. and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

It has its headquarters in London, and it has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since July 2021. Over the company’s lifetime, Wise has raised $1.7B in funding from 38 investors in over 13 funding rounds. Silicon Valley Bank UK is a recent investor.

Is Wise a Bank?

No, Wise is not technically a bank, even though it offers financial services similar to banks.

Wise holds regulatory licenses to provide business accounts and payment services in Australia, Belgium and the European Economic Area (EEA), Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the United States.

While Wise operates in these and other countries, a comprehensive list of eligible countries is not provided on their website.

It's important to note that Wise cannot provide services to individuals or entities under international sanctions.

📌 Note: Currently, Wise cannot offer services to users in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) due to a recent regulatory update.

What Services Does a Wise Business Account Provide?

Here is an overview of the financial services that Wise caters to businesses.

1. A Multi-Currency Account

A Wise business account is a virtual multi-currency account that lets you receive and make payments and spend money around the world at cheaper exchange rates than traditional bank rates. You can also use a Wise business account to pay invoices, buy inventory, and handle payroll.

The multi-currency account gives you access to 10 local currency accounts in GBP, EUR, USD, AUD, NZD, SGD, RON, CAD, HUF, and TRY. You can also hold and convert money into over 40 currencies and send money to 73 countries.

Finally, there is no monthly account fee. However, an account opening fee is charged in certain countries. For example, UK and US businesses have to pay GBP45 and USD31, respectively.

2. Easy Transfers

You can execute local and international transfers at interbank rates or a mid-market exchange rate (the midpoint between the buy and sell rates between two currencies). Wise offers low transfer fees, starting at 0.43%.

You can also set up Direct Debits in AUD, CAD, GBP, EUR, and USD and make batch payroll payments to up to 1,000 people in one click by uploading a spreadsheet with details for each transfer.

You should note that some currencies may have limitations. For example, individuals can send Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) to businesses, but businesses can't send MYR funds. Please ensure to check for any limitations before making transactions.

Lastly, if you own a business that requires you to send money to China often, then Wise is also a good option.

3. Wise Debit Cards

With a Wise business account, you can obtain virtual and physical debit cards to pay for expenses in over 55 currencies, whether online or in-store, and withdraw cash from ATMs around the world. In addition, Wise debit cards are compatible with mobile wallets like Google and Apple Pay, making payments even more convenient. However, it's important to note that the cards cannot work in the following countries:

  • Afghanistan
  • Burundi
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Congo and DR of Congo
  • Cuba
  • Eritrea
  • Iran
  • Iran
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Palestinian Territories
  • Somalia
  • Sudan and South Sudan
  • Syria
  • Venezuela
  • Yemen

The first card can be obtained for free, but any additional cards will cost GBP3 each. There are no monthly or transaction fees; you can earn 0.5% cash back on eligible transactions. You can also customise spending limits for each card and track spending. 

You should note that the Wise business debit card is currently available only in specific countries or regions. You can refer to the Wise FAQ page to check if your business is eligible to apply for the cards.

4. Foreign Currency Exchange

Traditional banks typically apply a commission on top of the mid-market rate for foreign currency conversions. In contrast, Wise offers competitive rates based on mid-market rates.

5. Software Integration

You can connect your Wise business account to Xero, QuickBooks, or FreeAgent in real time to save on manual admin and to view all of your business’ money in one place–helping your business manage finances effectively. You can add your accountant as a viewer, your finance team as payers, and your co-founder as an admin to work together as a team.

Moreover, the Wise business account can be integrated with popular online marketplaces and ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Wix to receive payment in 10 major currencies as if you were a local.

6. API

A payment API enables you to streamline payment management. You can automate things like invoices, orders, and payroll. To do so, you will need to open a sandbox account to set up the API functionality.

Eligibility Requirements for Opening a Wise Business Account

In this section, we'll be covering the eligibility requirements to open a business account with Wise. Currently, Wise offers business accounts to various types of businesses, such as:

  • Sole traders and freelancers.
  • Limited and public companies.
  • Partnerships.
  • Charities and trusts in the European Economic Area (EEA), Canada, the US, the UK, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand.

In addition, your business must not be involved in certain restricted sectors or activities. Prohibited business types include those dealing with:

  • Adult content and related services
  • Alcohol production and sales
  • Tobacco products and services
  • Pharmaceutical goods
  • Chemicals manufacturing and distribution
  • Gambling and betting services
  • Military goods and services, including semi-military provisions
  • Cryptocurrency trading or related services

Required Documentation

You will need to supply documents to verify you and your business. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Colored scan of an ID document (such as a passport or driver’s license)
  • If you're not the director or a shareholder of the company, an authorisation letter or a board resolution from the company confirming that you’re authorised to use and communicate with Wise on behalf of the business
  • Business name
  • Business legal type
  • Business category
  • Ultimate beneficial owners
  • Business registration number
  • Business registration address, such as a utility bill for gas or electricity
  • Business trading address
  • Details of your company’s website and a short description of what your business does
  • Account purpose
  • List of shareholders who own 25% or more of the business, including full name, country of residence, date of birth, and exact percentage of shares they own
  • List of directors, including full name, country of residence, and date of birth.

If your business is registered in the US, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, or New Zealand, you may need to provide additional documents to complete the account opening process. For instance, Singapore businesses must provide proof of address to complete the verification process.

Hence, it's important to check the list of required documents to ensure a smooth and successful account opening process.

How to Apply for a Wise Business Account?

Here are the steps to create a business account with Wise.

  1. Go to their homepage and click Register.
  2. Enter your email address (you can also log in with Google, Facebook, or Apple) and agree to the terms and conditions.
  3. Select the country of registration.
  4. Provide a mobile number and enter the SMS verification code.
  5. Create a password.
  6. Provide your business details, such as business name and country of residence, for all stakeholders.
  7. Submit required documents
  8. Pay the one-time setup fee (i.e., GBP45 for UK businesses)

After you submit your application, Wise will review it and request any additional information if necessary. Generally, this process takes less than 10 working days. It's important to note that any team members you add to your business account will also have to be verified. You'll receive a confirmation email from Wise once your business has been verified.

Alternative Solution: Statrys

Screenshot of Statrys' website

If you have a business registered in Hong Kong, Singapore, or the British Virgin Islands (BVI), you may consider opening an account with Statrys as a primary or secondary business account.

Statrys is a fintech company based in Hong Kong, offering various financial services tailored to your business needs, including:

  • A multi-currency business account that can hold 11 different currencies.
  • Local payout in 14 different currencies
  • Virtual and physical business cards have built-in controls to manage expenses and cash withdrawals through ATMs.
  • FX services with competitive exchange rates (spot and forward contracts)
  • Xero integration to save time and resources using automated accounting.

With its responsive human customer service, Statrys has received a score of 4.6/5 from over 200 reviews on Trustpilot.

Moreover, the application process for opening an account with Statrys is simple and fast, with 85% of its customers being able to open an account within 3 business days.

If you own a growing business with clients and partners in Hong Kong, check out Statrys' business account to see how Statrys can support you with payment.

A list of currencies supported by the Statrys business account


Statrys competes directly with Wise in the payment industry. However, we're committed to providing an unbiased, thorough review to help you make an informed choice.

Our insights are derived from industry experience and discussions with clients who have also used our competitors' services. While we'd love for you to choose us, what's most important is that you make the decision that's right for you.

If you have any feedback regarding this review, please contact us at


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