The Wise international debit card - pros and cons

The Wise international debit card - pros and cons

Traveling internationally can be expensive, especially when it comes to hidden fees and poor exchange rates. The Wise international debit card offers a solution for travelers, digital nomads, and online shoppers looking to save money and manage their finances more efficiently. Let's dive into the pros and cons of using the Wise card to see if it's the right fit for you.

Key Takeaways

  • The Wise card has no foreign transaction fees, making it great for international travel.
  • You get access to mid-market exchange rates, which are better than most traditional banks offer.
  • The Wise card offers convenient ATM withdrawals, but there are some limits to be aware of.
  • Managing your card through the Wise mobile app is easy and offers features like transaction alerts and spending analytics.
  • While the Wise card has many benefits, it does have some limitations, such as ATM withdrawal limits and no physical bank branches.

Benefits of Using the Wise Card for International Travel

The Wise card is designed to make your life easier and cheaper when traveling abroad. Here’s what you can do with your Wise travel card overseas:

How the Wise Card Saves You Money

Low Conversion Fees

One of the biggest advantages of the Wise card is its low conversion fees. Unlike traditional banks that charge high fees for currency conversion, Wise offers a much more affordable option. This means you can save a lot of money when you travel or shop online in different currencies.

No Annual Fees

Another great benefit is that there are no annual fees. Many credit and debit cards charge a yearly fee just for having the card, but with Wise, you don't have to worry about this extra cost. This makes it a cost-effective choice for anyone looking to save money.

Free to Spend Any Currency

With the Wise card, you can spend in any currency without worrying about extra charges. This is especially useful for travelers and online shoppers who deal with multiple currencies. The card automatically converts your money at the mid-market rate, which is the fairest rate you can get.

The Wise card takes the worry out of using ATMs abroad. You pay only a super-low fee on withdrawals after the first 12,000 PHP.

Managing Your Wise Card Through the Mobile App

Wise debit card with mobile app

Transaction Alerts

Stay on top of your spending with real-time transaction alerts. Every time you use your Wise card, you'll get an instant notification on your phone. This helps you keep track of your expenses and quickly spot any unauthorized transactions.

Easy Currency Conversion

The Wise app makes currency conversion a breeze. You can switch between currencies with just a few taps, ensuring you always get the best rates. This feature is especially handy for frequent travelers who need to manage multiple currencies.

Spending Analytics

Get detailed insights into your spending habits with the app's analytics feature. It breaks down your expenses by category, helping you understand where your money goes. This can be a great tool for budgeting and managing your finances more effectively.

Comparing the Wise Card to Traditional Bank Cards

Lower Fees

One of the biggest advantages of the Wise card is its lower fees compared to traditional bank cards. Traditional banks often charge high fees for foreign transactions, while the Wise card offers a more affordable option. For example, there is no foreign transaction fee with the Wise card, which can save frequent travelers a lot of money.

Better Exchange Rates

The Wise card provides access to mid-market exchange rates, which are typically better than the rates offered by traditional banks. This means you get more value for your money when converting currencies. Traditional banks often add a markup to the exchange rate, making their rates less favorable.

Ease of Use

The Wise card is designed to be user-friendly, with a simple online and in-app interface. This makes it easy to manage your money on the go. Traditional banks may require you to visit a branch for certain services, which can be inconvenient for travelers. The Wise card, on the other hand, allows you to handle everything digitally, from ordering the card to managing your account.

In an increasingly globalized world, digital wallet services like those provided by Wise are becoming more important. Unlike traditional banks, they can provide cheaper transfers and lower conversion fees to customers, meaning they can spend and send money abroad like locals.

Security Features of the Wise Card

Two-Factor Authentication

The Wise card offers two-factor authentication to ensure your account is secure. This means you need to verify your identity in two different ways before accessing your account, making it much harder for anyone else to get in.

Instant Card Locking

If you ever lose your Wise card or think it might be stolen, you can freeze it instantly through the Wise app. This feature gives you peace of mind, knowing that your money is safe even if your card is not.

Fraud Detection

Wise has a 24/7 fraud prevention protocol in place. This means they are always on the lookout for any suspicious activity on your account. If they notice anything unusual, they will take action to protect your money.

Wise accounts have a range of security features including thorough verification processes, 2 factor authentication and a 24/7 fraud prevention protocol.

Limitations of the Wise Card

ATM Withdrawal Limits

One of the biggest downsides with the Wise card is that you’ll have limited free ATM withdrawals. For all accounts, you’ll have 2 free ATM withdrawals each month, after which you will be charged an ATM usage fee and a percentage markup on the amount of cash you withdraw.

No Physical Bank Branches

The Wise card operates entirely online, which means there are no physical bank branches you can visit for in-person assistance. This can be a drawback for those who prefer face-to-face customer service.

Lack of Credit Options

Unlike traditional banks, Wise does not offer credit options. This means you cannot build credit history or take advantage of credit card rewards and benefits. This can be a significant limitation for users looking to improve their credit score.

User Experiences with the Wise Card

Traveler Testimonials

Many travelers have shared their positive experiences with the Wise Card. They appreciate the lack of foreign transaction fees and the ease of using the card abroad. One user mentioned, "To start spending like a local, simply create a Wise account and apply for the Wise Card!" This sentiment is echoed by many who find the card to be an integral part of their travel toolkit.

Digital Nomad Reviews

Digital nomads, who often face high fees from traditional banks, have found the Wise Card to be a game-changer. One digital nomad shared, "When I first started my digital nomad journey, I quickly came to a rude awakening when I found that my bank was charging exorbitant markups on foreign exchange and fees for ATM withdrawals." The Wise Card has helped them avoid these fees and manage their finances more efficiently.

Customer Support Feedback

Customer support is another area where Wise shines. Users have praised the prompt and helpful responses from the Wise support team. A review on Trustpilot reads, "Do you agree with Wise's 4-star rating? Check out what 225199 people have written so far, and share your own experience." This high rating reflects the overall satisfaction of Wise Card users.

The Wise Debit Card has definitely become an integral part of my travel. With all the security features around it, I feel confident to use the Wise card abroad at any destination.

Wise Card for Online Shopping

International E-commerce

The Wise Card is a great choice for international e-commerce. You can shop on global websites without worrying about high fees. The card uses mid-market exchange rates, so you get the best deal when buying from other countries.

Subscription Services

Using the Wise Card for subscription services is easy and cost-effective. You can pay for services like Netflix or Spotify in different currencies without extra charges. This makes it a smart option for people who use multiple subscriptions.

Digital Wallet Integration

The Wise Card works well with digital wallets like Apple Pay. You can add your Wise Card to your digital wallet and make secure payments online. This adds an extra layer of security and convenience to your online shopping experience.

The Wise Card is among the most popular travel cards out there. But is it worth it? Read our review that covers fees, exchange rates, pros, cons, and more.

Setting Up and Activating Your Wise Card

Ordering the Card

To get started with your Wise card, you first need to order it. Log into your Wise account and navigate to the card section. Follow the prompts to request your card. It usually takes a few days to arrive, so plan ahead if you need it for an upcoming trip.

Activating the Card

Once your physical card arrives, activating it is simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Log into your Wise account.
  2. If you're using the website, go to the Debit card tab. If you're on the app, go to Account and click on the card icon.
  3. Enter the 6-digit code that appears on the card below your name.

After entering the code, your card will be ready to use.

Linking to Bank Accounts

To make the most of your Wise card, link it to your bank accounts. This allows you to easily transfer money and manage your funds. Go to the account settings in your Wise app and follow the instructions to link your bank accounts. This step ensures you can seamlessly move money between your accounts and your Wise card.

Activating your Wise card is a straightforward process that ensures you're ready to spend globally without hassle.

Wise Card Fees and Charges

ATM Withdrawal Fees

The Wise card offers two free ATM withdrawals per month, up to a total of $100. If you exceed this limit, you'll be charged $1.50 per withdrawal plus 2% of the withdrawal amount. Keep in mind that some ATMs may have their own fees, which Wise does not cover.

Currency Conversion Fees

When spending in a currency you don't hold in your Wise account, the balance will be auto-converted using the mid-market exchange rate. Wise charges a low conversion fee starting from 0.42%. This ensures you get a fair rate without hidden costs.

Inactivity Fees

Wise does not charge any inactivity fees, so you can keep your card without worrying about extra costs if you don't use it for a while.

Wise's fee structure is designed to be transparent and fair, helping you save money on international transactions.

Wise Card vs. Chase Sapphire Card

When deciding between the Wise Card and the Chase Sapphire Card, it's important to consider your spending habits and travel needs. Both cards offer unique benefits that cater to different types of users. Let's break down the key differences to help you make an informed choice.


In summary, the Wise international debit card is a solid choice for travelers and those who frequently deal with multiple currencies. It offers numerous benefits like low fees, no foreign transaction charges, and easy management through a mobile app. However, it does have some drawbacks, such as the lack of physical branches and no options for loans or overdrafts. Overall, if you need a convenient and cost-effective way to handle your money globally, the Wise card is definitely worth considering.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Wise debit card?

The Wise debit card is a card that lets you spend money in different currencies without high fees. It's great for traveling and online shopping.

Are there any fees for using the Wise card?

There are no annual fees, but there are small fees for ATM withdrawals and currency conversions after certain limits.

How do I get a Wise debit card?

You can order a Wise debit card online through the Wise website or mobile app. Just sign up, and follow the steps to get your card.

Can I use the Wise card at ATMs?

Yes, you can use the Wise card at ATMs worldwide. You get two free withdrawals up to $100 each month, and then there are small fees.

Is the Wise card safe to use?

Yes, the Wise card has safety features like two-factor authentication, instant card locking, and fraud detection to keep your money secure.

Can I spend any currency with the Wise card?

Yes, you can spend in any currency with the Wise card. It will auto-convert your money at low fees using the mid-market exchange rate.

How do I manage my Wise card?

You can manage your Wise card through the Wise mobile app. The app lets you check transactions, set alerts, convert currencies, and more.

What are the limitations of the Wise card?

Some limitations include ATM withdrawal limits, no physical bank branches, and no credit options. But it's still great for everyday use and travel.

Curtis Duggan

Curtis Duggan

Curtis is a serial tech entrepreneur, content creator and the host of the Remotely Serious podcast on the future of remote work and digital nomadism.


Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Remotely Serious.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.