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Transferwise Wise founders

TransferWise is now "Wise"


After a decade in the fintech industry, TransferWise has rebranded as Wise ahead of its Initial Public Offering. Maddy Christopher investigates what is on the horizon for the $5bn London fintech.

24th Feb 2021
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Yesterday, ten-year-old fintech unicorn TransferWise changed its name to Wise to reflect its expansion beyond cross-border transactions into a broader financial service. The move is set to put Wise in competition with rival Revolut, both focusing on the foreign exchange market.

The announcement comes ahead of rumours of the fintech’s imminent public listing and valuation of $5bn following a secondary share sale of $319m in 2020. The valuation put it third place in Europe’s most valued fintechs, after Klarna and Revolut – both at $5.5bn.

Although still processing £4.5bn transactions a month, Wise’s recent release of consumer and business products shows the fintech has steadily been moving in a challenger bank direction. 

Last year it received a licenced from the FCA to offer investment management services, but Wise has not yet confirmed whether it plans to apply for a full banking license.

“Today our name catches up with who we’re already building for – a community of people and businesses with multi-currency lives. That community now even includes the banks themselves,” said Wise CEO and co-founder Kristo Kaarmann.

“We’ve evolved to fix more than just money transfer, but the core experience of using Wise will remain faster, cheaper, and more convenient than anything else.”

What is Wise?

Wise offers its customers a core service, holding up to 55 different currencies and receive payments in ten different currencies. Wise Business offers a larger holding for multi-user accounts.

“For generations, banks have been defined by borders,” Käärmann wrote in a recent blog. “Traditional bank accounts trap our money in one country, making international lives more difficult and expensive than they need to be. We shouldn’t have to accept this status quo.”

Wise customers can opt in to the new home website, pending the final switchover for all customers to the Wise brand in March 2021. 

Wise offers three key products:

  • Wise: A personal account allowing customers to send and spend money internationally, hold money in 55 currencies and receive in 10 currencies.

  • Wise Business: Replicates personal account features and adds bank feeds, mass payouts, and multi-user access.

  • Wise Platform: Software-as-a-service product which Banks and companies like Monzo, GoCardless, and Xero use to tap into the Wise infrastructure to offer customers cheaper, faster payments and international banking features.

Wise coordinates Initial Public Offering (IPO)

In January, Wise hired Goldman Sach and Moran Stanley as joint coordinators to lead its Initial Public Offering (IPO). Sky News reported that the listing should take place in London later in 2021.

The stock market floatation is set to make the unicorn one fo the most valued tech companies in the UK.

Treasury’s London listings review has targeted Wise, after holding talks with the Prime Minister alongside Deliveroo and Revolut before Christmas.

Wise shareholders include Virgin Group billionaire Sir Richard Branson, PayPal founder Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley funds Valar Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Index Ventures.

Visa partnership

Last month also saw Wise expand its debit card programme into several new markets after making a global deal with Visa, connecting it with Visa’s global processing network via the cloud.

The partnership made TransferWise the first to pilot the Visa Cloud Connect platform, offering a secure cloud-based connection to VisaNet. The platform also provides a unified certification and testing framework, Visa-hosted security services like transaction encryption and PIN key management, and simplified settlement in local markets.

Replies (2)

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Ivor Windybottom
By Ivor Windybottom
25th Feb 2021 08:50

[ repeating what lionofludesch said regarding Dext ]

Aye - because Wise says "Money Transfer" straight away.

I didn't think TransferWise was all that great but ............

Marketing guys, eh ? They'll have you buying the emperor's new clothes.

Thanks (0)
By free-rider
25th Feb 2021 13:34

I loved Transferwise when started using it 5-6 years ago. They offered great FX rātes and quick transfers, customer service was also top notch.

It all went through the window at some point during the 2019. They slowed down several payments, Customer Services lied through their teeth and it took them 3 months to address a complain (using usual excuse that they are short staffed). So I took my business elsewhere and wouldn't recommend Transferwise to anyone.

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