Offering innovative solutions that streamline cross-border business transactions, Airwallex is an alternative business account worth considering.
It’s in the same ballpark as something like Revolut or Wise in that it’s a non-bank multi-currency account designed for companies offering across multiple territories. It can help you unlock new markets, receive payments easily, and save money versus using an old-fashioned high street bank account.
I will provide an in-depth, impartial evaluation of Airwallex’s services in this review. My key areas of focus are the core features, user experience, customer service, and its potential to help you with your business’s financial transactions.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve extensively tested its offerings, compared it with competitors, and assessed the customer reviews to understand what its users think.
So let’s dive into whether you should sign up…
Airwallex – My Verdict
Assuming you can open an account (some users report issues with approval), Airwallex is one of the best choices available in the market today for businesses operating internationally. I found the platform provides a good experience for cross-border transactions, with fair pricing and a well-designed app.
E-commerce businesses will find Airwallex especially beneficial. Managing payments from around the globe can be laborious with fluctuating exchange rates and transaction fees. Airwallex simplifies the process and makes managing global payments easier.
Global accounts will let you avoid excessive conversion fees. If you have suppliers or customers abroad, being able to pay and be paid in more than 50 currencies will save you substantial amounts of money that would have otherwise been spent on foreign exchange fees.
Their borderless cards are an excellent resource for employees who frequently travel abroad. The cards support numerous currencies and do not charge foreign transaction fees.
Airwallex’s transparent pricing adds a significant amount of visibility to your operations. It makes financial forecasting more accurate, making managing business finances less daunting.
Despite the many advantages, I have noticed an area where Airwallex can improve: customer support. It is critical to any service, especially in fintech, where businesses seek to simplify their financial operations. I would like to see Airwallex up it’s game in this area.
Also, be aware that the account opening process might feel a bit complex, as Airwallex will ask you to be KYC compliant, which might incur a bit of admin work. Still, I believe it is all worth it in the end.
Overall, I think Revolut offers a more comprehensive banking experience, but Airwallex has the edge for e-commerce business with its ability to collect payments straight into your account with experiencing high conversion fees.
Pros & Cons of Airwallex
- Global Coverage – Airwallex offers global transactions in over 130 currencies, making it an ideal solution if you operate internationally.
- Competitive Exchange Rates – Airwallex uses interbank exchange rates for transactions, which are typically more competitive than the rates offered by traditional banks.
- Transparent Pricing – Airwallex offers transparent pricing with no unexpected fees. The costs are clear upfront, making it easier for businesses to manage their finances.
- Integration with Business Software – Airwallex seamlessly integrates with popular business tools like Xero, NetSuite, and Shopify
- Robust Security – Airwallex has robust security measures in place and is regulated by financial authorities around the World.
- Limited Physical Presence – As an online platform, Airwallex lacks the physical presence that traditional banks have.
- Customer Service – Some users have reported issues with customer service, including slow response times or difficulty resolving issues.
- Availability of Services – Not all Airwallex’s services are available in every country. Depending on where your business is located or operates, you may be unable to access all its features.
- No ATM Access – Airwallex’s physical cards do not work on ATMs.
A Brief History of Airwallex
Airwallex was founded in 2015 in Melbourne and started by building a network with banks to manage local transactions.
After raising $80 million in 2018 and rejecting a $1 billion acquisition bid from Stripe, they relocated their headquarters to Hong Kong.
In 2019, Airwallex secured $100 million in funding, reaching a $1 billion valuation and becoming the fastest Australian company to achieve unicorn status.
They expanded their services to become a “neobank” in 2020 and released a Visa debit card in Hong Kong (2021) and the United States (2022).
By November 2021, they raised an additional $100 million, reaching a $5.5 billion valuation.
As part of its international expansion, Airwallex received operating licenses in the Netherlands, the United States, and Malaysia and launched in Singapore in 2022.
More than 100 000 businesses currently use Airwallex.
Key Features of Airwallex
- Global Accounts – This feature allows you to open accounts in different countries without having a physical presence in these regions. You can collect and hold more than 45 currencies in a single platform, simplifying global money management.
- International Payments and Transfers – Airwallex supports payments and transfers in more than 130 countries, often at lower costs than traditional banking methods. You can also schedule recurring payments.
- Payment Links – The platform aims to simplify payments by providing payment links to send to your customers. These links help prevent fraud and avoid conversion fees when paid in a foreign currency.
- Multi-Currency Cards – Airwallex also offers a feature to issue multi-currency virtual and physical cards. These cards can be used for online purchases, subscriptions and employee expenses.
- Expense Management Platform – This feature lets your employees upload their expenses on the platform in real time. You can set custom spending limits per employee or department.
- Accounting Software Integration – Airwallex is compatible with most accounting software, which makes your monthly accounting quick and streamlined and reduces accounting errors.
- Budgeting Tools – Airwallex offers real-time analytics and reporting tools. These allow businesses to track their spending and analyse their financial data.
Who is Eligible for an Airwallex Account?
The basic eligibility criteria to open an Airwallex account are:
- Business status – Airwallex primarily services businesses and not individual users. Your business must be registered and have a physical address.
- Geographical location – Airwallex offers its services to businesses in various countries around the globe. However, due to varying financial regulations, the availability of services may vary from one country to another. Airwallex is supported in the UK.
- Business Type – Your business must not fall under their list of prohibited businesses, often including high-risk industries like gambling or weapons manufacturing.
- Age – You must be at least 18 (or the age of majority in your jurisdiction).
- KYC Requirements – You must complete a Know Your Customer (KYC) process. This includes providing identification and verification documentation for your business and its owners.
How to Open an Account with Airwallex?
- Visit Airwallex – Visit airwallex.com and click the “Get Started” Button at the top right of the homepage.
- Country and Type of Business – Select your country and your business’ status (company or sole trader)
- Details – Input your details: name, business email, and select a password
- Email Verification – After entering your personal information, Airwallex will send a verification email to the email address you provided.
- KYC – You’ll likely be prompted to provide additional personal and business-related information and documents. This might include proof of address, identification documents like a passport or ID card and business registration documents.
- Account Set-Up – This involves setting up security measures like two-factor authentication, linking your business bank account, and customising your profile.
- Start Using Airwallex – Once you’ve completed this process, you can use the platform immediately.
Airwallex’s Fees & Charges
Airwallex’s fees are transparent and straightforward, here are some of the main charges you need to be aware of:
|Global Account Opening||£0|
|SWIFT Transfer||£10 to £20|
|Direct Debit Funding||£0|
|FX Conversion Rate (USD, HKD, CNY, AUD, EUR, GBP, CAD, SGD, CHF, NZD, JPY)||0.5%|
|FX Conversion Rate (Other Foreign Currencies)||1.0%|
|Employee Cards||£5 per card per employee (5 first Free)|
|Expense Management Platform||£0|
|UK Payments||1.30% + £0.20|
|EEA Payments||1.80% + £0.20|
|International Payments||2.90% + £0.20|
|AMEX Payments||2.40% + £0.20|
Is Airwallex Safe to Use?
- Identity Verification – To prevent identity fraud, You must share a government-issued identity document, such as a passport or a UK driving license, in order to register with Airwallex.
- Mandatory Passcode and Password Protection – Airwallex mandates a per-device PIN code to secure your app. Biometric features such as fingerprints or facial recognition are also supported. A personal password is required to issue company and employee cards, authorise payments, and manage allowances.
- Real-Time Card Controls – If you suspect any fraudulent transaction on your company or employee cards, you can freeze or cancel them instantly.
- Advanced Security Features
- Biometric Identification – Biometric features such as fingerprint or facial recognition provide a highly secure way to log in.
- 3D Secure – This adds an extra layer of security for online transactions. A push notification is sent to approve the transaction directly in-app.
- Virtual Cards – For additional safety while making payments online, you can use a temporary virtual debit card, keeping your main card details private and your bank balance safe.
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – Eligible deposits up to £85,000 are protected by the FSCS, which means they are protected if Airwallex goes into liquidation.
Is Airwallex Good for Travelling and International Payments?
Airwallex is one of the best options at your disposal if you’re planning to manage international payments. The entire experience is tailored around global operations.
- Global Accounts – Airwallex’s accounts support more than 45 currencies, which is ideal if you have clients or suppliers abroad. It allows you to collect payments and spend in the currency of your choice, which is great for avoiding consistent conversion fees.
- Competitive Rates – If you need to convert money, you can do it directly from Airwallex and enjoy competitive rates compared to traditional banks.
- Multi-Currency Cards – Airwallex’s company and employee cards also support several currencies, simplifying your teams’ operations abroad. These cards come with no foreign transaction fee.
- Cards Control – If one of your employees loses their card, you can easily lock it within the app and issue a new one in seconds.
- Global Treasury – On a more general note, the entire money management aspect of the platform is articulated around international use, complying with regulations in every country they’re active in.
- 24/7 Support – Airwallex offers in-app support round-the-clock, so you can get help whenever needed.
Does Airwallex Give Credit Cards?
Airwallex currently doesn’t offer credit cards, but their contactless debit card can be used anywhere VISA is accepted.
What’s the Airwallex App Like?
The Airwallex app is exactly what you’d be looking for in a payment management platform.
It provides a seamless interface to manage your multi-currency financial affairs with the tap of a finger.
The minimalist and clean approach ensures clarity and simplicity. The layout makes it easy to find and use all the features the app provides. An intuitive dashboard welcomes you with an overview of your financial activities.
Clearly displayed on the left menu panel, all the features are just a few taps away.
The ‘Transactions’ section provides a clear and concise overview of all your past and pending transactions. The ‘Cards’ section allows you to manage your multi-currency cards, view your balance, freeze or unfreeze your cards, and even create virtual cards for online purchases, all in real-time.
You can store and manage payee details on the app for easy recurrent transactions.
The app’s multi-currency functionality is incredibly well-made. You can hold, exchange, and pay in multiple currencies directly through the app. The exchange rates are presented transparently, making the entire process quick and easy.
The app also integrates features to monitor and track your expenses. It gives you an easy-to-understand snapshot of where your money is going, helping you plan better and save more.
I recommend using Airwallex on the tablet or web app, as the mobile app might feel a bit more simplistic, displaying only the necessary features like card management or wallet balance.
Airwallex Customer Reviews
67% of Trust Pilot reviewers award Airwallex 5 stars, with 26% giving a one-star rating. Positive reviews indicate a “great service“ and “best for borderless e-commerce“.
Some of the one-star reviewers mention complex account openings and poor customer support.
What are the Alternatives to Airwallex?
|Monthly Cost (Standard Account)||£0||£0||£6 per user||£199|
|Monthly Cost per Card||£5||£6||£5||£9|
|Accounting Software Integration||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Fee-Free Spending Abroad||✅||❌||❌||✅|
|Fee-Free ATM Withdrawal Abroad||✅*||❌||❌||❌|
What is Airwallex?
Airwallex enables businesses to create and manage foreign currency accounts, make international payments and conversions, and issue their own payment cards. They aim to simplify the complexities surrounding international money transfers, exchange rates, and payments.
Is Airwallex Safe?
Yes, Airwallex is a secure platform. It is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). It is also licensed and regulated in multiple other jurisdictions worldwide, including the UK, EU, US, and Hong Kong.
The platform uses advanced security measures such as two-factor authentication (2FA) and data encryption to keep your funds secure.
Can Airwallex be Used with Other Software?
Yes, you can seamlessly connect Airwallex with your existing business tools. It has a robust API for developers and offers integrations with popular business and accounting tools like Xero, NetSuite, and QuickBooks.
Airwallex also supports e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, making it easier for e-commerce businesses to handle cross-border transactions.
Is Airwallex Suitable for Small Businesses?
Airwallex is great for small businesses, particularly those involved in international trade. The platform simplifies the process of handling cross-border transactions, which can often be complicated and costly for small businesses or sole traders.
Their competitive exchange rates and low fees can help you save money on international payments.