"Transferwise’s customer base largely consists of individuals and small businesses, and the average transfer amount is around £1,300. The company offers savings of up to 85 percent on standard international transfer rates, levying a £1 charge on transfers up to £200 and typically just 0.5 percent on larger transfers. Exchange rates are taken straight from the interbank market without any fiddling of the going rate (as happens with some banks and wire transfer companies).
There are limits to what Transferwise can do, though, and regulation is unsurprisingly (and understandably) the limiting factor. Within Europe, if you’re a financial services company and you’re given the all-clear by one national financial regulator (the UK’s Financial Services Authority or FSA, in Transferwise’s case) then you’re fine to operate anywhere on the continent. However, the company does not have regulatory clearance in other parts of the world, such as the U.S.
For that reason, although Transferwise can handle transfers from Europe to the U.S., paying out in U.S. dollars, it can’t handle the reverse transaction. The same will apply to Canadian dollars, which the platform will start supporting in a week or so. You may be wondering how that works if Transferwise can’t actually have customers in the U.S. or Canada — according to Hinrikus, the company uses “large corporate peers” on that side of the Atlantic, including large companies sending money to Europe, other trading platforms and “financial markets”."