Big problem with 'Wise'.

botavuan
botavuan Posts: 1 Newbie
edited 31 October 2023 at 9:38AM in Budgeting & bank accounts
I have been using (Transfer)Wise for some years, without any problem.  Earlier this year I was required to send them a photo of my passport, then a photo of me holding my passport and then proof of my address.  I don't have a mobile phone (which means that I am now almost Handicapped) but I sent scans by 'going round the houses' of their unhelpful website.

Ten days later, on the morning of a trip to Morocco, I transferred 500 euros from my bank account to my Wise card.  It was immediately blocked.  I was asked to send a photo of myself with my passport.  I took another photo.  My appearance had not changed in 10 days.

I complained to them, and received a robot reply by someone who had not properly read my complaint and registered that I do not have a smartphone.  (I do have several websites, however, and am not an idiot as far as the web and PCs are concerned.  I have very poor vision and my fingers cannot cope with smartphone keyboards, so a smartphone would be of no use to me. I have a 17" PC whose screen I magnify.)

In Morocco I had to use my companion's debit card, and euro notes.  I have no other debit card, and am now reliant on cash and cheques to pay for anything.

I sent another letter of complaint, requesting a closure of my account.  In reply they asked me for my bank details (which of course they already had, because I transfer money direct from my bank to Wise).  This I did on the 26th of October.  I have not heard from them since.

It then dawned on me that right from the beginning, the statement-of-account page on the Wise website featured Romanian leu, always with a zero balance.  I am not Romanian, but Irish born in England and living in France.  I have never been to Romania, have no Romanian relatives, etc. etc.  I considered this to be a minor glitch, but I now think that Wise have concluded that I am a Romanian moneylaunderer or people-smuggler - with a zero account in leu and at most 3,000 in euros. 

I would warn anyone who signs up with Wise to be very careful... The staff who reply to queries and complaints are sub-literate and don't actually bother to read what you have sent them.  They just press a button to send an automatic, toneless and ungrammatical reply.

Comments

  • WillPS
    WillPS Posts: 3,047
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    edited 30 October 2023 at 10:51AM
    So the lesson here is to not leave yourself entirely dependent on one organisation, particularly a relatively young 'fintech' offering, particularly when not in the country, right?

    Also this is nothing to do with credit cards...
  • Could you not have used your Irish/English/French debit card to pay with or used a local ATM?

    Given your Irish/French connections you could have also simply taken some Euro notes with you and used/exchanged them locally - Euro is basically a parallel currency in the Megreb. 
  • penners324
    penners324 Posts: 2,601
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    WillPS said:
    So the lesson here is to not leave yourself entirely dependent on one organisation, particularly a relatively young 'fintech' offering, particularly when not in the country, right?

    Also this is nothing to do with credit cards...
    Especially one that's designed to ise a Smartphone to use the acc. It's an app based account.
  • OP I think you would be better moving this to a different Forum; I'd suggest either the Overseas Travel board or the Bank Accounts board, I'll flag the post for the Moderators to move it.  There is an issue here of Wise failing to respond appropriately to the OP's disability, perhaps someone can provide help on this? 
  • born_again
    born_again Posts: 13,652
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    OP I think you would be better moving this to a different Forum; I'd suggest either the Overseas Travel board or the Bank Accounts board, I'll flag the post for the Moderators to move it.  There is an issue here of Wise failing to respond appropriately to the OP's disability, perhaps someone can provide help on this? 
    Other than this

      I don't have a mobile phone (which means that I am now almost Handicapped) 

    Can't see any mention of OP having a disability.
    Life in the slow lane

  • Other than this

      I don't have a mobile phone (which means that I am now almost Handicapped) 

    Can't see any mention of OP having a disability.
    OP said "I have very poor vision and my fingers cannot cope with smartphone keyboards, so a smartphone would be of no use to me. I have a 17" PC whose screen I magnify.)"
  • wmb194
    wmb194 Posts: 3,119
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    edited 31 October 2023 at 10:07AM
    botavuan said:
    I have been using (Transfer)Wise for some years, without any problem.  Earlier this year I was required to send them a photo of my passport, then a photo of me holding my passport and then proof of my address.  I don't have a mobile phone (which means that I am now almost Handicapped) but I sent scans by 'going round the houses' of their unhelpful website.

    Ten days later, on the morning of a trip to Morocco, I transferred 500 euros from my bank account to my Wise card.  It was immediately blocked.  I was asked to send a photo of myself with my passport.  I took another photo.  My appearance had not changed in 10 days.

    I complained to them, and received a robot reply by someone who had not properly read my complaint and registered that I do not have a smartphone.  (I do have several websites, however, and am not an idiot as far as the web and PCs are concerned.  I have very poor vision and my fingers cannot cope with smartphone keyboards, so a smartphone would be of no use to me. I have a 17" PC whose screen I magnify.)

    In Morocco I had to use my companion's debit card, and euro notes.  I have no other debit card, and am now reliant on cash and cheques to pay for anything.

    I sent another letter of complaint, requesting a closure of my account.  In reply they asked me for my bank details (which of course they already had, because I transfer money direct from my bank to Wise).  This I did on the 26th of October.  I have not heard from them since.

    It then dawned on me that right from the beginning, the statement-of-account page on the Wise website featured Romanian leu, always with a zero balance.  I am not Romanian, but Irish born in England and living in France.  I have never been to Romania, have no Romanian relatives, etc. etc.  I considered this to be a minor glitch, but I now think that Wise have concluded that I am a Romanian moneylaunderer or people-smuggler - with a zero account in leu and at most 3,000 in euros. 

    I would warn anyone who signs up with Wise to be very careful... The staff who reply to queries and complaints are sub-literate and don't actually bother to read what you have sent them.  They just press a button to send an automatic, toneless and ungrammatical reply.
    In this instance it would be helpful to get a smartphone and connect it to a monitor/TV, remote control it from your PC - you can effectively make its screen huge - or find someone to help you with it. Wise's app also works on an iPad and I'd presume an Android tablet.

  • Other than this

      I don't have a mobile phone (which means that I am now almost Handicapped) 

    Can't see any mention of OP having a disability.
    OP said "I have very poor vision and my fingers cannot cope with smartphone keyboards, so a smartphone would be of no use to me. I have a 17" PC whose screen I magnify.)"
    My mother is probably in a similar position but simply uses an external screen and external keyboard/mouse.

    Wise works on desktop computers too anyway. 
  • friolento
    friolento Posts: 864
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    You can also run Wise app and/or browser version on a tablet, which could solve the vision and finger issues.  Plus tablets are portable and you can take them with you on your travels.

    Your experience should also be a lesson for what can happen if you rely on a single method of payment only, particularly when travelling.
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