Looking at how seamless the Wise-Up transfer experience is and how easy it would have been for my semester exchange in Japan makes me laugh (and also cry a little bit for baby-me).
From travellers cheques to secs - How I Up with Wise
Hi, I’m Rukmal and I work at Up Banking, making money easy for more Australians.
Honesty is super important to our team and isn’t easily matched, but one partner-in-good that I was excited to see come on board was Wise. Wise has an ethos of money without borders, and working towards a more transparent financial future. I’ve travelled a lot, hope to do it again now (!), so that aim really resonates with me.
Let’s cast back to sometime in 2007. Pre-smart phone and pre-COVID.
Your author, a youngling in his second year of uni, was planning a semester exchange to Japan.
I had grand plans of becoming fluent in Japanese. I’d totally immerse myself in Japanese life and make mates from all corners of the globe. The starry lights of Tokyo and my soon to be acquired knowledge of ‘nomihodai’ ensured that two out of three of those objectives were achieved (spoiler: still not fluent). Now as I reflect on that period of my life, I see it as one of the freest and most formative of my life.
One thing I don’t look back on fondly was the process required to set myself up with six months of money.
Back then, you had a couple of options for changing money. You could wander around different bank branches and physically buy whatever yen they happened to have stashed behind the counter that day, haul it over with you, and pray. The best option was a combination of this, for cash to start you off, and then an antique curiosity called a ‘traveller’s cheque’.
These tasty treats came with 2-3% commissions, handling fees and the joy of the same fees on the other end when you cashed in. Also, if you lost them, they’d be lost forever. They might have been lighter than a stack of yen, but they weren’t heaps safer.
Setting up a bank account with my ‘the cat is under the table’ level of 日本語 was also a character building experience. Picture running real low on your petty cash, stacks of cheques in hand and shuttling between an internet cafe (thank you Google Translate) and Mizuho Bank to try and pass your ID checks.
Easy Money with Up and Wise
Looking at how seamless the Wise-Up transfer experience is and how easy it would have been for me makes me laugh (and also cry a little bit for baby-me).
A look at our stats since the magic that is Up’s integration with Wise went live shows that transfers to Japan usually happen in as quickly as a couple of hours; even faster than normal bank wires that can sit in the pipes for 2-5 days.
On top of that you get the real exchange rate without any of the mark-ups or hidden fees. Check out our live calculator to see it for yourself; there are price comparisons so you know when you’re getting a great deal!
And those card fees? No international fees, accessing the Mastercard rate without any mark-ups and purchases show up in both local currency and AUD. If something goes wrong, I can easily turn off international transactions with Up’s in-app card controls.
And best of all, I don’t need to store the ‘international number’ for my bank anywhere because I can chat with the legends in Up’s support team in a few swipes via Up’s in-app chat. For the weary traveller that last one is a biggie. A skerrick of free wifi and we’re right by your side, anywhere in the world.
Feel Good Money
With Up’s international payments powered by Wise, many of our customers have saved (e.g. up to ¥4000 for sending A$1000) while sending money back home to help out friends and family - it’s been a win-win!
For me, I’m thrilled to be able to quickly send my old pals in Japan the ¥ needed to sate my boutique sake cravings.
Up’s multiple savers are also perfect for those medium term holiday goals. Over Australia’s international lockdown I’ve made sure to set up a ‘Japan’ saver and funnel away my normal weekend pub spend. So ready to splurge guilt free!
And while my dad’s bound to ask me if I’ve got my traveller’s cheques sorted, I know that for all things money my Wise-Up combo makes opening up borders easy.
See you on the plane.
Rukmal De Silva
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