Send Money to the Philippines with TranserWise

As a newcomer, like any other OFWs, I send money through remittance centers in Calgary before I tried PayPal.

I’ve been wanting to send money to the Philippines with Transferwise but hesitant to do so because of mixed reviews I’ve read online.

Then Minimalist Ninja, one of my favourite YouTubers, shared her positive experience of using Transferwise.

After watching the video, I decided to give it a try.

Send Money to the Philippines with TransferWise

What have I got to lose anyway? Just less than $100.00; not much in a glance. (But I’m really hoping that I made the right decision out of curiosity, as always.)

This post will guide you in using Transferwise. And if you decided to give it a try, I hope you can share your experience in the comment.

How to Send Money to the Philippines with TranserWise

You can use Transferwise online using a web or mobile application (iOS and Android). For this post, I’ll show you how I transferred money to the Philippines from Canada using the web application:

  1. Register online to send money to the Philippines (with supported currencies).
  2. Enter the amount that you want to send and you’ll know the following information. (I’ll give more details about the fee and the foreign exchange rate later on the post.)
    • TransferWise fee
    • Exchange rate (estimated)
    • Estimated amount to be received
    • Estimated arrival
  3. Choose the type of transfer:
    • Personal
    • Business
    • On behalf of someone else
  4. Fill up the form about yourself (all information are required).
  5. Choose the recipient:
    • Myself
    • Someone else
    • Business or charity
  6. Enter the recipient’s information. In bank details, you can choose to transfer money to a bank account in the Philippines. Add a message but don’t add a question mark; otherwise, you’ll go back to step 1 like I did. (It could be a bug/error that might be fixed soon.)
  7. Choose how would you pay:
    • Debit card/credit card
    • Bank transfer
    • Direct debit
  8. Take note of other bank details such transit number and institution numbers. You can pay either with checking or savings account. If your bank account is not located in Canada, you have to pay through SWIFT-payment.
  9. Review the “Transfer details” and download the transfer receipt.

I was surprised how fast I was able to send money to the Philippines with TransferWise although I have to search my bank information and had a minor glitch.

Next time around, I’ll use the app and it will be faster since I don’t have to enter data except for bank details which I decided not to save for security reason.

How to Calculate the TransferWise Fees

To understand how the fees are calculated and how much you can save, first let’s find out what is mid-market exchange rate.

Mid-market rate is considered the fairest exchange rate possible … Banks and money transfer providers do use this rate, usually when they trade between themselves. Unfortunately it’s not the rate they pass onto you. It’s one of the ways they can hide the true amount they’re charging.

The exchange rate, in part, somehow can help us find out what is the cheapest way to send money. The other part is knowing how much we are paying to money transfer providers.

Here’s the TransferWise fees on sending money to the Philippines (per transaction):

Minimum fee – $4.00
Sending money (any amount) – 1.2%

Take note that there is no hidden exchange rate.

I’ll show you a real-life example. I’ve risked my $60.00 for this “trial and hopefully no error” experiment. Here’s how much I’ve paid:

Deposit amount – $60.00
Transaction fee – $4.00
Amount converted – $56.00
Recipient gets – Php 2,102.19
Actual amount received – Php 2,109.49
Exchange rate 1 CAD = 37.539 PHP (estimated)

Note: The estimated exchange rate means that the payment will use the mid-market rate at the time of conversion.

You can also get the guaranteed exchange rate for some money transfers which doesn’t include Canadian dollar to Philippine peso.

CAD to PHP Money Transfer

The example above was a bank to bank transfer. It took 5 days for my recipient to get the actual amount.

The minimum fee is $4.00 for sending less than $338.00 to a recipient in the Philippines . If transferring greater than that amount, you’ll pay a penny for every 1 Canadian dollar.

Take note that TransferWise fee is deducted to the deposited amount, so you may want to send more to make up for the fee.

I guess I’ll have to dig deeper about the difference of the amount of money transferred. It’s probably because of the estimated exchange rate.

Well, it’s a small difference (Php 7.30 almost equivalent to jeepney fare) but it’s good to know how the TransferWise fees are calculated.

Transparency is what we need in choosing a money transfer provider.

And on TransferWise, I was able to find out more about the cost of paying in different methods which you’ll know next.

The Cost of Paying with Debit or Credit Cards

TransferWise recommends bank transfer or debit card because it’s the cheapest way to send money.

Paying with card comes with additional charges. For a Canadian currency the following fees apply:

Limit – $3,000.00
Debit card fee – 1.15%
Credit card fee – 2.0%
Business debit card fee – 1.15%
Business credit card fee – 2.0%

For anyone who is skeptical on sending money online to the Philippines or any other country, it’s a relief to know that the transaction is secured, that is, your data is encrypted.

Card payments are processed via our secure debit card processor. Although your card number may be saved, the CVV/CVC number is never stored. You’ll need to confirm this every time you make a card payment.

With this information, I think it is easier to convince others to save by sending money online. (It’s easier than telling people to save on RRSP or TFSA or both.)

Other cards that you can use:

  1. Maestro card
  2. Solo card

You can use a regular Maestro or Solo card but it must have a 16 digit card number and it must be 3D secure.

Tips on How to Save and Send More

Now we are down to the few tips that I must share because I want you to learn on how to use your money wisely.

  1. Stay informed with the foreign exchange rate using the Rate Tracker.
  2. Avoid paying hidden charges; know how much you are getting and paying for the money transfer. Use currency converter to find out the mid-market exchange rate as seen on Google, XE, and Yahoo.
  3. Install a currency converter mobile app; my favourite is XE Currency (iOS and Android).
  4. Read the tips on TransferWise on how to wisely spend money in the Philippines using cash, debit, and credit card. For Filipinos going for a vacation you cannot miss this post.

Let me know if you have more tips about money transfer.

TransferWise is one of the many online money transfer companies that provide fast and reliable service to OFWs. Try other startups to get the best deal.

Final Thoughts

Using TransferWise is easy and straightforward although there are a lot of rooms for improvement. I’m relieved to share a positive experience about TransferWise for those who are looking for the cheapest way to send money.

PayPal is still the cheapest but I’m not sure if you can get the highest mid-rate exchange rate. So far the transactions I had with these two online money transfer providers were secured and successful.

For that I can only say that it’s up to you to choose what best fits your need and budget.


In October 2018, I stopped using TransferWise. Instead, I tried Remitly (online money transfer) and have only positive feedback so far. I had some recurring technical errors when I want to send money through TransferWise so I decided to look for an alternative.

Share your experience in sending money with TransferWise or other online money transfer providers.

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About Pwede Padala Gal

Pwede Padala Gal loves to share tips on how to save in Canada and the Philippines. Someday she'll finally teach her Aspin at least one dog trick and keep a cactus alive. Chat with her on Facebook and reddit.

Reminder: For clarity, don't use shortened words similar to text messages. Let's have a better communication. (And oh, comments will be edited or deleted.)

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