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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.

What Is Wise?

Wise – formerly known as TrasferWise – is a fintech company launched in 2011, offering payment solutions to individuals and businesses across the globe. Their 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.

Wise has headquarters in London and has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since July 2021. Over the company’s lifetime, Wise has raised $1.7B in funding from 37 investors in over 13 funding rounds. Silicon Valley Bank UK is a recent investor.

Is Wise a Bank?

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

If you’re considering Wise to streamline cross-border payments for your business, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will guide you through the eligibility criteria and process for opening a Wise business account.

Let’s dive in.

🔍 Tip: Explore our article on the top 5 Wise alternatives for businesses & who they’re best for

Key Information Description
Eligible countries Wise is available in most countries worldwide
Eligible company types • Sole trader
• Partnership
• Limited company
• Charities and trusts in EEA, Canada, the US, the UK, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand.
Initial deposit GBP 0
Account opening fee About GBP 0 - GBP 42
How long does it take to complete the application? Minutes
Average opening time 2 - 10 days
100% online application yes
Key things to know • Wise can make international transfers in 40+ currencies to over 70 countries, but some currencies may have limitations
• Currently, some businesses from EEA countries and the UK may need to join a waitlist
Best Wise alternatives Statrys for businesses registered in Hong Kong, Singapore, and BVI.  
Statrys mobile application dashboard showing a total balance in a business account.

Types of Accounts Available 

Wise provides two types of accounts: personal and business accounts.

Wise Personal Account: Designed for individuals living, working, or travelling internationally. It suits those who require global money transfers, expenditures, or receipts, supporting over 40 currencies at the mid-market exchange rate. Additionally, account holders can acquire a debit card for multi-currency spending in 150+ countries.

Wise Business Account: A virtual multi-currency account that gives you access to 10 local currency accounts in GBP, EUR, USD (non-wire), AUD, NZD, SGD, RON, CAD, HUF, and TRY. You can also hold and convert money into over 40 currencies and send money to over 70 countries. 

Designed for international business, it lets you receive and make payments and spend money around the world at cheaper exchange rates than traditional bank rates.

Here are some highlighted features of the Wise Business account

  • Set up Direct Debits in AUD, CAD, GBP, EUR, and USD
  • Support transfer to Alipay and WeChat, hence a good option for businesses that send money to China often 
  • Upon acquiring the business account, you may be eligible for virtual and physical debit cards to pay for expenses in over 40 currencies and over 160 countries, whether online or in-store, and withdraw cash from ATMs. 
  • 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. Add an accountant as a viewer, your finance team as payers, and your co-founder as an admin to work together as a team.
  • Integrate with popular online marketplaces and ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Wix.
  • Make batch payroll payments to up to 1,000 people in one click by uploading a spreadsheet with details for each transfer.
  • A payment API for automating invoices, orders, and payroll processes.
  • 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). 

In this article, we will focus on how to open a Wise Business Account.

Eligibility for Opening a Wise Business Account

In this section, we'll be covering the eligibility to open a business account with Wise 

Company Types Eligible

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.

Wise does not cater to:

  • Charities and trusts in countries not mentioned above.
  • Unregistered charities in the UK.
  • Brazilian businesses who intend to make transfers in BRL.
  • Superannuation funds or Self Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF) in Australia.
  • Businesses related to Cuba in connection with US relations.
  • Businesses with bearer shares, irrespective of the jurisdiction of their incorporation.

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
  • Entities under international sanctions.

Please refer to this Wise Prohibited Activities page for a full list. 

Countries Eligible

Although Wise mentions that their services are available in most countries, we cannot find a comprehensive list of eligible countries on their website.

That said, Wise is authorised through regulatory licenses to offer business accounts and payment services in the following countries.

  • the United Kingdom*
  • the United States
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • the European Economic Area (EEA)*
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • The Philippines
  • Singapore

*Wise has temporarily halted the onboarding of new businesses from EEA countries and some in the UK. As a result, some customers may be requested to join a waitlist. They have mentioned that efforts are underway to reinstate this service.

At the moment, there are some places where you cannot open or log in to a Wise account. These include:

  • Afghanistan
  • Belarus
  • Burundi
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Congo
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Cuba
  • Region of Crimea
  • Eritrea
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • North Korea
  • Libya
  • Myanmar
  • Somalia
  • Republic of South Sudan
  • Russia
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Yemen
  • Venezuela
  • the Ukraine regions: Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR), Kherson, Zaporizhzhia.

Moreover, there are limitations concerning customers in the UAE and AED transfers. For more information, please refer to the AED transfer guide.

📌 Tip: When you input your details during the registration process, Wise will inform you about the support for your specific type of business in the chosen country.

What Documents Do I Need to Open a Wise Business Account? 

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: either the full legal name or a trading name.
  • Business legal type
  • Business category: Inform Wise about your business activities, such as technology, ecommerce, etc.
  • Details of your company’s website and a short description of what your business does
  • Ultimate beneficial owners
  • Business registration number
  • Business registration address, which is the address used for your business legal registration. You may have to provide proof of address, such as a utility bill for gas or electricity.
  • Business trading address, which is the address where daily operations take place or the address where customers can contact you. PO boxes are not accepted.
  • Account purpose: Share additional information on how you plan to use Wise
  • 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 or individuals running the business based on its legal structure and regional requirements. Include full name, country of residence, and date of birth.
  • Account representative's personal details

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 Singapore proof of address to complete the verification process, and U.S.-based businesses need to provide their social security details.

H3: Application Forms and Useful Resources

For details on specific locations, please refer to the following resources.

A dropdown of some supported currencies by the Statrys business account.

How to Open a Wise Business Account?

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

Step 1 - Go to Wise’s Register Page

Go to Wise's homepage and click Register at the upper right corner.

Alternatively, you can download the Wise App on the App Store (iOs) or Google Play (Andriod). 

Step 2 - Create a Wise Account

Enter your email address or register using a Google, Facebook, or Apple account. You can then choose whether you want to open a personal or business account. 

Step 3 - Select the Country of Registration and Enter a Verification Code

To create a business account, you'll need to enter the country of registration. Afterward, provide a mobile number and enter a one-time password (OTP) sent via SMS to that number.

Step 4 - Provide Your Business Details and Submit Required Document

Provide business details such as business name, industry, online or social presence, and the name, date of birth, and country of residence for all stakeholders. 

Wise will request documents as proof corresponding to the area and company details you inputted. You can upload these documents via Wise's secure upload page.

Step 5 - Provide Your Personal Details 

Wise requires personal details to verify the account owner's identity. If you are not a director of the company, you might have to provide additional documents to confirm your authority to act on behalf of the business.

The most common document to use is an authorisation letter. 

Step 6 - Pay the One-Time Setup Fee

Next, you'll need to transfer the setup or registration fee in order to access account details. The fee varies by region, ranging from free to an average of GBP 16 – GBP 42.

The fee can be settled exclusively through your debit or credit card. 

Step 7 - Enter the Verification Process

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. 

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.

How Long Does it Take to Open a Wise Account?

You can finish the online registration in minutes, and approval usually takes around 2 working days or less than 10 working days. 

The specific process and timeframe may vary based on your location.

How Much Does it Cost to Open a Wise Account?

Depending on the location of your business registration, opening an account with Wise can be free or incur a fee ranging from GBP 16 to GBP 42. 

You can check the Wise Business pricing page for each country to find the exact amount. To do this, click the country flag in the upper right corner of the Wise website to change location. Once changed, the pricing page will reflect the fees for the chosen location.

Fee Amount
Registration fee  EEA or the UK: GBP 45 (EUR 50)
US: Free
Hong Kong: Free
Singapore: SGD 54

In other regions, the fee is either waived or, on average, equivalent to GBP 16 – GBP 42. 
Initial deposit  Free

The registration fee is charged for the verification of your business. In the event of unsuccessful verification, Wise will refund the fee.

Once you have your account, there are fees for transactions depending on currencies and location. There is also a small fee for converting between currencies, and you should see this fee upfront in the app before you complete any transactions.

How to Contact Wise Customer Support? 

For general support, Wise suggests you refer to the Wise Help Center

For personalised support, you can reach out through phone or email. However, to obtain these contact details, you'll need to log in to Wise first.

We cannot find other contact information on the website.

Featured Reviews on Opening an Account with Wise

SB rated Wise ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Took me less than 24 hours to open a business account. Of course, we had to provide all the relevant KYC documents, but the whole process was easy and seamless.

Can’t believe I did what would normally take months to achieve in a normal high street bank!

Source: Trustpilot review

Garth rated Wise ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wise is very easy to use. The process of opening an account was quick and straightforward. The platform is intuitively set out and easy to navigate. As someone who's not overly tech-savvy, I can highly recommend Wise.

Source: Trustpilot review

Wise Alternative Solution: Statrys

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.

Below is a breakdown of what we offer:

Key Features Description
Multi-Currency Business Account Hold, receive, and send money in 11 currencies: USD, HKD, CNY, AUD, EUR, GBP, SGF, JPY, CHF, NZD, and CAD.
Business Account Opening Requirements Must be incorporated in Hong Kong, Singapore, or the BVI.
Business Account Opening Time 3 days on average 
Initial deposit  HKD 0 
Account Opening Fee HKD 0
Except for special companies registered outside Hong Kong, Singapore, the BVI or companies with complex structure
Monthly Fee HKD 88 (with a dedicated account manager)
Customer Support Channels Website, Live Chat, Email, Phone, WhatsApp, and WeChat
Swift Payments & Tracking yes
Local Payments Send local payments in 14 currencies: HKD, AUD, EUR, GBP, IDR, INR, KRW, PHP, SGD, THB, TRY, USD, and VND
Payment Cards Virtual and physical business cards with built-in controls to manage expenses
ATM cash withdrawals yes
FX Rate and Fee Competitive exchange rates with fees as low as 0.1% (spot and forward contracts)
Xero Integration yes
Free Invoicing Software Create, manage, and send invoices efficiently
Company Registration Service 100% online Hong Kong and Singapore company registration.
Trustpilot Score 4.6/5, based on 254 Statrys reviews on Trustpilot 

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

Statrys mobile application dashboard showing a total balance in a business account.

FAQs

Can I use Wise as a business bank account?

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Yes, you can use Wise for your business. However, please keep in mind that Wise is not technically a bank, even though it offers services similar to banks.

What is the difference between personal and business Wise accounts?

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What are the requirements to open a Wise business account?

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Can I use a personal Wise account for business?

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Disclaimer

More info

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.

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