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Wise vs Revolut | Business Accounts Compared | Fees, Pros, Cons

Wise or Revolut? Business Accounts Compared | Fees, Pros, Cons
Justinas
Baltrusaitis
Updated: 13 May, 2021
20 mins read

Introduction

The business landscape is evolving as more businesses take their operations online. Thus, services such as international receipts and payments offered by cross-border payment processing companies are also becoming more desirable.

Our comparison review looks into two such service providers – Wise (ex-TransferWise) and Revolut. The two companies based in the United Kingdom are now serving millions of customers worldwide with increasing popularity. This article will focus on their business accounts and compare the cost, availability, and compliance to global financial regulations.

Wise Business Account (in brief)

Wise Business page screenshot.

Wise was launched in 2011 by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus. For ten years, the company was known as TransferWise before its February 2021 rebrand to Wise. Wise is well known for its cheap cross-border payment services and mid-market exchange rates. It currently serves over 10 million customers.

Its rebrand to Wise signifies its push towards diversifying and expanding its services beyond local and international money transfers.

The Wise Business account is aimed at businesses and freelance customers, offering them a seamless global money transfer service and currency exchange features. It is one of the cheapest money transfer services.

Watch the video: Wise for Business introduction

Wise for Business introduction video.

Revolut Business Account (in brief)

Revolut Business page screenshot.

Revolut was launched in July 2015 by co-founders Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko. The Fintech is based in London, UK, with its main services being global money transfers and currency exchanges through its multi-currency account.

However, there are several other services Revolut has added to its repertoire, including banking services for EUR and GBP accounts, cryptocurrency exchanges, stock trading, and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. The company serves more than 15 million retail and 500,000 business customers.

The Revolut Business account offers extra features over its retail counterpart that are ideal for business and freelance customers. These include API integrations, online payment processing, and business debit cards.

Watch the video: Revolut for Business introduction

Revolut for Business introduction video.

Wise vs Revolut Business accounts

This section looks at the similarities and differences between the business-oriented products offered by the two companies. Wise does not reveal the exact number of corporate and freelance clients they have that use business accounts. Revolut, on the other hand, has at least 500,000 business customers.

The two companies are direct competitors, but here’s how different they are according to their product offerings and idea execution.

As a business, creating an account with either company is simple and straightforward. It would typically take a few minutes to have your account set up. 

What companies can open Revolut Business accounts?

Before creating a Revolut Business account, you have to ascertain whether your business is eligible to have an account with the service. So far, the service is available in a limited number of countries. More information on this is provided in the ‘Country and Currency support’ section below.

Other than location, the other determining factor is the type of business entity. The entities supported are:

  • private limited companies (LTD)
  • public limited partnership (PLC)
  • limited liability partnership (LLP)
  • general partnership (with a partnership agreement) and,
  • sole traders, including freelancers.

For verification purposes, here’s the list of documents you will need to provide:

For a corporate business account

  • The applicant’s details including name, physical address details, ID scan, and a selfie photo.
  • The company’s business details including the company’s name, physical location, incorporation documents, and details of the nature of the business conducted.

For a freelancer’s business account

  • Opening a freelance business account is much simpler. All you need is to provide your name, address, selfie photo, and explain the nature of your business.

What companies can open Wise Business accounts?

Getting a business account with Wise is more or less a similar process to Revolut, except that Wise accepts a broader array of business types. These are the business entities allowed to have an account on Wise:

  • limited and public companies
  • sole traders and freelancers
  • all types of partnerships
  • charities and trusts in the European Economic Area (EEA), Canada, US, UK, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand

If your business prequalifies to have an account with Wise, you will be required to provide the following documents for verification purposes:

  • Applicant’s personal details including name, location, and address. If not the company’s director, you will be required to provide extra documentation showing your legal capacity to represent the company.
  • The company’s details including registration details, nature of business, online properties associated with the business, location, and details of company ownership and addresses and contacts of the directors.

Business account setup and verification for Wise and Revolut are similar and should take a similar amount of time. Typically, it will take between one and three days to be verified. But this could be longer depending on the availability of documents, the size of the company, and the complexity of your business operations.

Depending on your business’s nature, you may find that you need a specific feature or feature set more than another. The two accounts offer various features, some common and others specific to either.

So let’s look at a rundown of some of the more popular features offered by each service.

Revolut Business features

  • Multi-currency account – this is the most appealing feature of Revolut. It allows customers to receive and send payments up to 28 currencies. Local transfers are supported in GBP and EUR currencies. Using the debit card abroad allows cardholders to spend in as many as 150 other currencies. Currency exchanges are facilitated through actual (interbank) rates.
  • Money transfers – make both local and international money transfers. Pay suppliers and employees effortlessly. Local transfers are free within the EU and free between Revolut accounts. Businesses are also able to make bulk payments.
  • Linked accounts – a feature through which customers can connect to their bank accounts and have their transaction records synced to their Revolut business accounts.
  • API integrations – this feature allows anyone with a third-party application to connect it to their Revolut account. With the Revolut API, customers can automate functions such as currency conversions, payments to suppliers and freelancers, access accounting and finance departments, and build complementary apps that utilize Revolut account data. This makes it possible to connect to other 3rd-party tools such as Xero, QuickBooks or FreeAgent, Zapier, and Slack.
  • Payment debit cards – available to all account levels, including freelance and free accounts. Debit cards are effective tools for tracking team spend and controlling expenses. It can be used in several ways, such as contactless payments, swiping, ATM withdrawals, and online payments.
  • Mobile apps – Revolut offers a business account-focused mobile app for Android and iOS platforms. There’s also an account for the retail account. The former can be used to perform these functions: send, receive, hold, and exchange funds; create multiple business accounts; manage virtual and physical debit cards; receipt and expenses tracking and management, among other functions.
  • Online payments – are an essential feature for an e-commerce business or even freelancers looking to accept payments through their online stores. The feature supports payments in 14 different currencies settled the day after the customer makes the payment.

Other less popular features include payment requests, rewards, subscription tracking, and management, among others.

Wise Business features

Wise is best known for its cheap and seamless money transfer services. This is true for the Business accounts as it is for the retail accounts. However, the Business account offers way more features than its retail counterpart. Here are some of the more popular:

  • Multi-currency account – similar to Revolut, Wise’s business account supports sending and receiving in multiple currencies. Customers can hold and transfer amongst more than 55 different currencies.
  • Money transfers – process both invoices and receipts effortlessly with features such as bulk payments (support up to 1,000 bulk payments per transfer). Payments can be made to 70+ countries. Receipts can be processed as easily as receiving a local bank transfer from customers. With sort codes, IBAN, and routing bank details, business account holders can request and receive payments from several merchants, including Amazon and Stripe, among others.
  • Business debit cards – international business cards available and can be ordered for one or multiple team members. It can track expenses, pay for goods and services in more than 150 currencies and withdraw funds from ATMs.
  • Mobile app – unlike Revolut, Wise’s mobile app is multi-purpose and can be used by retail and business customers. It is available on both iOS and Android platforms. It can perform tasks such as sending, receiving, holding, converting, withdrawing funds, debit card management, tracking team members’ card activities and expenses, and easily accessing the Wise support section.
  • API integrations – enable connections to third-party platforms and banking interfaces to automate payments, currency conversions, international transfers, and recurring orders.

In terms of features, Revolut offers more features geared towards solving its business customers’ needs. Wise is expected to expand its offering following the recent rebrand, but so far, it lags behind its rival.

Pricing

Pricing is a sensitive matter and arguably the most important consideration for business customers. The two companies take different approaches when it comes to pricing their products. Here’s how they compare:

Wise Business pricing

Over the past ten years, Wise has managed to build a reputation for cost-effectiveness regarding currency conversion and cross-border payments.  Against most other competitors in the market, it certainly is cheap to use.

To enable low-cost currency conversions, Wise uses the mid-market rate, which is the real interbank rate that you will get if you had to ‘Google.’ However, it does add a small fee for the service.

Other costs associated with a Wise Business account are:

  • Account activation£16 (one-time fee) to help the customer get their bank account details for receiving payments.
  • Holding currenciesfree for all other currencies except EUR above €70k, in which case it would cost 0.40% of the sum every year.
  • Currency conversions – varies depending on the currency pair from 0.33% – 3.56%.
  • Payments – cost varies according to the amount sent and currency, starting from 65pences (you can try our interactive Wise fees calculator here).
  • Wise Business debit card1st card free, replacement and additional orders cost £3.
  • ATM withdrawals – free up to £200/month. Above £200 costs are 2% of the withdrawal amount.

Revolut Business costs

Revolut offers a tiered model for its account subscriptions as opposed to Wise, which has one type of business account. The various account tiers are:

  • Company/corporate packages:
    • Free – no cost of opening and maintaining it but comes with several limitations.
    • Grow account – £25/month
    • Scale account – £100/month
    • Enterprise account  – custom
  • Freelancer packages:
    • Free account – no cost of opening or maintaining an account
    • Professional account – £7/month
    • Ultimate account – £25/month

The above are the charges associated with maintaining a Revolut business account. The various account tiers come with benefits such as a specified number of free local transfers depending on the account package and tier. For instance, Free corporate accounts get only five free local transfers while Scale accounts get 1,000 free local transfers.

There are other costs involved when using a Revolut business account, and these are:

  • Payments  – international payments – £3 per transfer; local payments £0.2 per transfer. These are costs incurred when the free payments have been exhausted.
  • Currency exchange markup0.4% above real inter-bank rates. Weekend rates rise to as high as 1% markup.
  • The UK and EEA Consumer card payment allowance£0 for free accounts, up to £2k for Grow package, and £9k for the Scale package. Costs above the allowance are 1.3% for payments within the UK and EEA zone. Outside this region, 2.8% in fees charged.
  • Membership – Free package allows two unpaid members; Grow package allows ten unpaid members, Scale package up to 30 unpaid members, and Enterprise allows unlimited members at no extra cost. In the freelance accounts, the free package supports only one unpaid member, the Professional packages up to 4 unpaid members, and the Ultimate package up to 10 members. Additional members to any of the accounts attract a £5 fee per month per member.
  • Metal debit cards – these are only available to paying business account holders. Each account package is provided with a single or multiple metal cards depending on the package. With the freelance business account, only the Ultimate package comes with a free metal card. The Pro package has the option to order one at the holder’s expense. For the company account, the Grow package gets one free card, and the Scale package gets two free cards. The Enterprise package gets a customized arrangement. Any card requested beyond the free limit will cost £49.

Disclaimer: This is not a conclusive list of all the costs charged for services offered on either Wise or Revolut Business accounts; some of them can differ without a prior notice. Be sure to check fees precisely on official websites. You will notice that the costs are not clear cut and therefore hard to compare. For instance, even within the same service provider, such as Revolut, a similar payment may attract different charges depending on the package subscribed, the currency, and the day of the week. Generally, however, the two companies charge competitive rates for their services.

Country & Currency support

Neither Wise nor Revolut Business is accessible globally, and even within the countries and regions they operate in, not all types of businesses can have an account with either. This section highlights the countries and regions, the currencies, and the industries supported (or not supported) by the two platforms.

Revolut Business coverage

  • Regions and countries – Revolut Business is available to companies, sole traders, and freelancers based within the EEA region, Switzerland, and the UK. That is less than 50 countries.
  • Industries – in the section on opening a Revolut Business account, we mentioned the type of business entities supported on the platform. Besides your type of business, your nature or business and the industry you operate can also be a limiting factor. Some of the industries not supported on Revolut include gambling, adult entertainment, trusts, religious organizations, funds, non-profit organizations, foundations, diplomatic offices, and pension schemes.
  • Currencies – the Revolut Business account supports about 32 different currencies. These are GBP, EUR, USD, ZAR, TRY, SGD, SEK, SAR, RON, PLN, NZD, NOK, JPY, ILS, HUF, HKD, DKK, CZK, CHF, CAD, AUD, AED, HRK, BGN, QAR, MXN and THB. The Russian Ruble is limited to only receipts and currency exchanges but no payments. Additionally, the Indian Rupee (INR), Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), and Philippine Peso (PHP) are limited to just local transfers.

Wise Business coverage

  • Regions and countries – similar to Revolut, countries within the EEA region, the UK, and Switzerland are fully supported. This means that businesses with addresses within this region can receive, send and hold all supported currencies. Businesses and individuals based outside this region have partial or full limitations to using a Wise Business account.
  • Industries – businesses operating in the following industries are prohibited from opening a Wise Business account: adult entertainment, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pharmaceuticals, escrow, binary options, shell banks, syndicates, commodity chemicals, and companies dealing in counterfeit or unauthorized goods, among several others. Here’s a list of all prohibited businesses.
  • Currencies – compared to Revolut Business, Wise Business accounts support more currencies for receiving and sending payments. Businesses can receive bank details of 8 currencies, including GBP, EUR, USD, AUD, NZD, and SGD. They can also hold and convert amongst 56 currencies and send the funds to more than 80 countries. Check the supported currencies here.

Wise Business is more accomodating of various business entities. It also offers broader support of businesses depending on their location. And finally, Wise Business allows for sending and receiving funds in more currency pairs.

Compliance & Security

Your funds’ safety and security are paramount, and this is an essential factor to consider when evaluating a bank or money transfer solution. Both Wise and Revolut have taken an active approach to comply with relevant laws and regulations, which means that they are both taking necessary measures to protect your funds.

Revolut compliance & security

When Revolut was launched in 2015, it was registered as a digital payments service. The FCA regulates it as an electronic money institution. This license allows it to operate as a money transfer service and issue cards.

In 2018, it acquired another license in the form of an EU banking license issued by the European Central Bank (ECB). This means that Revolut is regulated as a bank within the EEA. However, it has not fully utilized the available license to create a fully-fledged bank within the EEA.

It is still an electronic money transfer service in the UK and therefore cannot offer banking services. However, a Revolut Business account offers competitive features akin to a bank account.

Security-wise, Revolut uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to protect customer accounts. Additionally, it provides two-factor authentication, email and SMS notifications to log in and perform various account-sensitive operations.

Account signups are also subject to rigorous verification procedures to adhere to KYC provisions.

Wise compliance & security

Like Revolut, Wise is also registered and regulated in the UK as an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This license allows it to offer services within the UK and the European Economic Area (EEA).

It is also registered and regulated by several other financial regulators in all the markets it has established a presence. For instance, in the US, it is regulated by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) as a money transmitter service.

It is also regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), National Bank of Belgium (NBB), Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) in Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, Belgium, and Australia respectively.

These are just some of its main markets. It is also regulated in India, Japan, the UAE, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

In terms of security, Wise keeps all customer funds in a safeguarded account, meaning that these funds are separated from the company’s operating accounts. Additionally, the company uses AI and machine learning to control fraud and money laundering practices.

Account safety is also provided through two-factor authentication.

Pros & Cons

Now that you have an idea of both companies’ offerings let’s look at why you might want to have or avoid opening an account with either.

Revolut Business pros

  • Simple and straightforward account opening process
  • Free transfers between Revolut accounts
  • Free ATM withdrawals up to £200/month
  • Simple to understand account packages
  • A variety of account packages to perfectly suit individual and corporate needs. It is also easy to upgrade or downgrade to a higher or lower package to suit your needs
  • Competitive currency exchange rates
  • Free local transfers within the EEA and the UK (dependant on account subscription package)
  • Intuitive mobile app for the convenience of account management
  • Stylish business debit cards. Businesses can order an unlimited number
  • Supports online payments
  • Get discounts and rewards with Revolut B2B partners such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Apple, Slack, GetResponse, Google, HotJar, and InDeed.

Revolut Business cons

  • Limited service coverage to only EEA countries, Switzerland, and the UK.
  • Business operating in several industries also prohibited from opening an account
  • A limited number of currencies can be received and held within the Revolut Business account
  • Free accounts are extremely limited in terms of functionality
  • Is relatively young in the market
  • It could get expensive with additional members added to a single account. The same thing applies to ordering more metal debit cards.

Wise Business pros

  • Extremely cheap and transparent about currency exchange costs
  • Easy to sign up to a Wise Business account
  • Cheaper to activate an account and order the first card compared to Revolut
  • Provides a mobile app to help manage accounts and team members, track expenses, and manage debit cards
  • Free ATM withdrawals up to £200/month
  • Highly regulated in every market in which it operates
  • Offers support for more currencies compared to Revolut. Receive funds through 8 major currencies, exchange and hold in more than 55 currencies and send payments to more than 80 countries
  • Account safety and security are enhanced using two-factor authentication
  • Open API functionality to enable automatic payments and currency conversions

Wise Business cons

  • Limited functionality. A Wise Business account can only be used to receive funds, convert and hold or make payments. Other essential business-related functions such as accepting online payments are not yet supported.
  • Lack of a dedicated business account app such as Revolut Business app. This means that both retail and business customers use the same app.
  • They have limited service coverage. Funds can be received in only eight currencies and sent to about 80 countries. Revolut, on the other hand, facilitates payments to more than 150 countries.

Conclusion

There you have it, a detailed comparison between Wise Business and Revolut Business accounts. Two highly competitive solutions with more similarities than they do differences.

It is tough to recommend one over the other based on their offerings. However, depending on your specific needs, you may find that one account offers more benefits than the other.

As we mentioned in the pricing section, it is difficult to compare which account is cheaper to use when transacting precisely. But generally, you may find that you save more with Wise as compared to Revolut, which also offers competitive pricing.

Costs alone may not be a huge differentiating factor between these accounts. They are both relatively cheap when facilitating money transfers locally or internationally. You will have to consider the other offerings, service availability, and currency support to choose what suits you best for your business needs.

FAQs | Wise Business vs Revolut Business

Revolut or Wise: Which business payments account to choose?

It depends. Both offer compelling services but they each have their pros and cons. Wise has focused on being the most efficient and cheapest global money transmitter while Revolut offers a broader selection of services. To choose between the better option, you have to define your needs then compare which company offers the service and the cost.

What are the pros of Revolut Business?

Here’re some of the key pros of Revolut Business:
Easy and intuitive account opening process;
Competitive service costs including ATM fees, funds transfer, and currency exchanges;
Offers a mobile app to aid in account management, expense and debit card tracking;
Free ATM withdrawals £200/month and Revolut-to-Revolut money transfers;
Stylish business cards;
Open API to integrate with external platforms and automate functions;
Offers discounts through strategic partnerships with other B2B service providers such as Apple, Google, Adobe, InDeed, HotJar, and Slack.

What are the pros of Wise Business?

Here’re some of the key pros of Wise:
Cheap and transparent pricing for money transfers and currency exchanges;
Free ATM withdrawals up to £200/month;
Highly regulated in several markets;
Receive funds in up to 8 different currencies, convert and hold up to 56 and send to over 80 countries;
Offers an open API to automate account functionalities such as currency conversions and payments.

Is Revolut a bank?

And yes, and no. In the UK, it holds electronic money transmitting license from the FCA. In 2018, it acquired a banking license from the ECB, allowing it to operate as a bank within the EEA. Hence, it operates like a traditional bank in some EU jurisdictions via its Lithuanian banking license (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia).

4 out of 5 (1 vote)

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Justinas Baltrusaitis
Author

Justin crafts insightful data-driven stories on finance, banking, and digital assets. His reports were cited by many influential outlets globally like Forbes, Financial Times, CNBC, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Nasdaq.com, Investing.com, Reuters, among others.