Wise vs Airwallex: compare on fees, features and benefits

Kirstie Lau5 minutes
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Wise vs Airwallex: compare on fees, features and benefits
In this article

If you run an online business selling to international customers, you'll need a way to easily collect payments in multiple currencies and transfer funds across borders to pay suppliers, advertising spend or staff. Wise and Airwallex both aim to facilitate seamless global money transfers, but how do they compare on price and key features? Read on to find out.

What is Wise?

Previously known as Transferwise, Wise launched in 2011 as a consumer-focused international money transfer service. Over the past 13 years, it has expanded into business accounts and other financial services while maintaining a reputation for low-cost currency exchange and transfers.   

Wise offers multi-currency accounts to hold and convert funds at competitive rates. It can accept payments in 9+ currencies with local bank details. Wise also facilitates bank transfers to over 70 countries, with additional payment options for vital markets. 

For businesses, key features include:

  • Multi-currency accounts  

  • Fast, low-cost international transfers including batch payments

  • Accounting software integrations

  • Payroll

What is Airwallex?  

Founded in 2015, Airwallex aims to enable seamless global business payments and money management. It offers an all-in-one platform for businesses to easily manage finances across borders. Unlike Wise, Airwallex only provides its services to businesses.  

With Airwallex, domestic and international customer payments flow into a multi-currency account. Businesses can then pay suppliers and contractors abroad via Airwallex Borderless Card and rapid transfers – no costly transfer fees required if local payment rails are used around the world. For currency trades, Airwallex provides access to market-leading foreign exchange (FX) rates, minimising cross-border friction. This unified financial flow saves time and money, freeing modern companies to focus on global growth.

Furthermore, Airwallex acts as a payment gateway which lets businesses accept card and 160+ local payment methods in 180+ countries via no-code payment links, through eCommerce integrations, or a customisable checkout via API. Airwallex seamlessly connects to major eCommerce platforms – like Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento – allowing online companies to accept transactions worldwide while avoiding unnecessary currency exchange fees.

Additionally, Airwallex provides end-to-end spend management software to help businesses and finance teams track, control, and approve global company and employee spend whether on cards, reimbursed to employees, or paid to suppliers.  

For businesses, key elements of Airwallex’s offering include:  

  • Open local bank accounts in 22+ currencies including USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CNY, HKD and CAD

  • Fast, low-cost international transfers   

  • Borderless Cards to spend in multiple currencies

  • Global payment acceptance capabilities   

  • Integrated domestic and cross-border expense management and accounts payable  

  • Accounting platform integrations

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Airwallex vs Wise in Hong Kong

Airwallex Wise (Business)
Free account set-up
Multi-currency account 22+ currencies 9 currencies
Global payout coverage 150+ countries/regions 70+ countries/regions
Speed of payout 50% of transactions are instant;
70% are settled within a few hours
Instant payout in 12 countries/regions;
others vary from 0 to 2 business days
0% domestic transaction fees
0% international transaction fees
When transacting to 110+ destinations via local rails

Wise charges a combination of a fixed fee and a percentage
starting at 0.39% depending on the currency
FX rate As low as 0.2% above the interbank exchange rate Same as above
Online payment acceptance
Company cards
Expense management
Bills and accounts payable
Invoice upload, approval flow, account reconciliation and more
Basic expense tracking and reconciliation
via accounting software
Accounting integrations Xero, QuickBooks, NetSuite, Odoo, Sage, and more Xero, QuickBooks, FreeAgent

Wise fees explained

For Wise business account holders, fees consist of:

  • International transfers & FX conversions: A fixed fee plus variable fees starting from 0.39% per transfer. Differs by currency.

  • Registration: no account opening fees.

Airwallex fees explained  

Airwallex helps centralise global financial workflows. Main fees include:  

  • Account opening: Free business account. No account opening fees or monthly fees.

  • International transfers: No transfer fees for the majority of currencies on local rails in 110+ countries. Flat fees of HK$120 - 200 apply for SWIFT transfers.

  • FX conversions: FX rates are as low as 0.2% above interbank exchange rate.

  • Borderless Cards: Free to create (physical and virtual cards). Multi-currency virtual cards with no international transaction fees.

  • Expense management: HK$40 per cardholder per month.

Wise vs Airwallex additional features compared

Beyond international payment capabilities, what else can these two platforms do?  

Accept online payments

Wise has not yet launched the payment collection function in Hong Kong market.

On the other hand, Airwallex is a fully functioning payment gateway which allows businesses to collect customer online payments. This includes card payments, 160+ local payment methods in 180+ countries, and collected via no-code payment links, through integrations with Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento, or a customisable checkout via API.

Borderless cards

Wise currently does not offer cards in Hong Kong.

Airwallex Borderless Cards come with card controls to limit spending, are both physical and virtual, and support digital payment methods like ApplePay and GooglePay.

Team expenses

While Wise has basic expense tracking features, Airwallex provides end-to-end tools for teams to track and control spend globally whether on cards or reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses. Teams can capture receipts, submit expenses, and put expenses through multi-layer approval flows to ensure company funds are spent appropriately. All data is seamlessly synced with accounting platforms like Xero and QuickBooks.

Bills and accounts payable

With Wise, businesses can import bills from Quickbooks and Xero to pay in Wise.

Airwallex centralises accounts payable workflows so finance teams can consolidate domestic and global supplier payments. Staff can upload or email bills and invoices, extract all relevant data, send through multi-layer approvals, and execute domestic and international payments while reconciling data with accounting platforms.

Developer platform and APIs  

For developers and technical teams, Airwallex opens access to APIs to scale, customise and automate payouts, FX, card issuing, and payment acceptance. Wise provides more limited developer options.

Customer support

Both platforms offer 24/7 customer support. As a dedicated business solution, Airwallex also provides account management and onboarding assistance for eligible businesses. 

Final thoughts

Which global financial platform is right for your business? While Wise offers solid rates for peer-to-peer consumers and micro businesses, Airwallex provides a complete solution for growing, mid-market and enterprise-scale companies managing complexity across borders.  

With extensive capabilities for collections and payouts worldwide, zero hidden fees, top-tier FX rates, and integrated financial management tools, Airwallex is purposely built to be a growth engine for international business in the modern digital economy.

Open a global multi-currency account for free in Hong Kong

Sources: 

For more information on Airwallex, visit Airwallex Business Account and Airwallex pricing.

Information on Wise was retrieved, as of 29 April 2024, from below sources. Information provided is for reference only. Please refer to the official website of Wise for the most up-to-date details.

  1. https://wise.com/zh-hk/pricing/business

  2. https://wise.com/zh-hk/business/

  3. https://wise.com/hk/send-money/instant-money-transfer

  4. https://wise.com/hk/pricing/business/send-money

  5. https://wise.com/hk/business/app-marketplace

Disclaimer: We wrote this article in April 2024. The information was based on our own online research and we were not able to manually test each tool or provider. The information is provided for educational purposes only and a reader should consider the specific requirements of their business when evaluating providers. This research is reviewed every six months. If you would like to request an update, feel free to contact us at [email protected].

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Kirstie Lau
Senior Associate, Growth Marketing

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