Wirex offers a borderless account that holds a range of fiat currencies and crypto and lets you seamlessly exchange between the two.
Headquartered in London with offices in Kiev and Singapore, Wirex is on a mission to bring its borderless payment platform to the world. It comes in the form of a custodial wallet so you won’t have to write down a private key or seed phrase. Instead, Wirex stores the crypto on your behalf.
This also means that you have to go through a traditional sign-up, which includes uploading your personal information as well as an ID document and a selfie upload. Once these steps are completed, you’ll have to choose a password. As an extra security layer, you’ll also be asked to choose a “memorable word” which you’ll be prompted to enter on some occasions like when you want to recover your password or log-in from a new device. Security features such as two-factor authentication and PIN are optional and can be enabled in the app settings.
The account type you’ll receive depends on which country you’re located in. The basic account - available in close to 200 countries - lets users send, receive and exchange nine different cryptocurrencies but no fiat. For example, users receive a bitcoin address that they can use to receive bitcoin from other wallets and exchanges. Users in Europe and a select number of countries in Asia-Pacific can additionally buy crypto using a local debit or credit card. That said, the rates for buying and selling crypto assets are pretty competitive! Wirex connects to a range of OTC desks and finds you the best rate. For its service it charges a small commission which varies depending on different factors but is always displayed to the user in the order summary. You’ll also pay a 1% fee for topping-up with a credit card.
What makes Wirex really interesting however, are its premium features. In Europe, users can open international currency accounts in Euro, British Pounds and US Dollars, effecitvely making Wirex a multi-currency wallet. Adding a currency means that you will receive a local bank account number and can start accepting and sending payments just like a local would. For example, if you live in Europe and you want to get paid by someone in the UK, you can give them your UK bank account information. Once you receive the payment, you can swap the Pounds for Euros at the best rate (called the interbank rate) inside the Wirex app and e.g withdraw the money to your main bank account in Europe.
Adding a currency account costs €1.20 per currency(1GBP, $1.50) and also comes with a VISA debit card that allows you to spend the currency anywhere you like. It only takes a few seconds to go from crypto to fiat using the Wirex app and then spending it with the card. Another perk of the premium account is that you’ll receive 0.5% back of every purchase you make with the debit card, instantly paid out to you in Bitcoin. This can even go back up to 1.5% if you own and hold a portion of Wirex’s WXT token. If you do most of your daily purchases by card, the cashback can be a real money saver. Spending €2000 per month would amount to €120 in cashback per year!
There are a few drawbacks to the Wirex account, however. Firstly, the card is not practical for ATM withdrawals since Wirex charges a €2.25 (1.75 GBP/$3.50) fee everytime you withdraw money and an ever higher fee if you’re abroad. Secondly, when you spend money in another currency, Wirex charges a 3% fee on your purchase. So only once you add a second currency, the card becomes handy for travelling. In the case you unlock a second currency, you can swap Crypto (or Euros) for Dollars inside the app and spend it with the respective debit card. Note, that you’ll have a different debit card for each currency which is a bit odd.
In Asia, the card offering is much more appealing. Users don’t have to pay a monthly card maintenance fee. Instead, they automatically receive a multi-currency account allowing them to hold seven fiat currencies in addition to cryptocurrencies: Singapore Dollar (SGD), Australian Dollar (AUD), Japanese Yen (JPY), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), Euro (EUR), British Pounds (GBP and US Dollar (USD). Users can fund their Wirex account with a debit card and then seamlessly exchange their funds to any of the other currencies/cryptos at the best possible rate.
In Europe, because of its monthly card maintenance fee, Wirex only makes sense if used regularly. The account is extremely convenient for people travelling frequently due to its multi-currency support and also provides one of the easiest ways to move in and out of crypto.
In Asia, the account features more currencies and comes for free and is therefore a no-brainer!
Like every custodial wallet provider Wirex acts as the custodian of your funds and as such you should closely examine how they fare at enforcing security. In terms of fiat currencies, Wirex holds an e-money license in the UK, which means it has to follow strict rules on safeguarding users funds, essentially ensuring that even if Wirex goes into bankruptcy your funds wouldn’t be affected. For the custody of cryptocurrencies inside the app, Wirex relies on BitGo, deemed one of the most secure providers of crypto custody solutions. It has also implemented other security features such as 2-FA,
Wirex offers both a mobile app and a web wallet whereby the mobile app seems to have more features and is more pratical to make everyday transactions (QR-code etc).
In summary, Wirex is a secure mobile and web wallet that allows you to store bitcoin and other digital assets as well as engage in cryptocurrency trading.