“Ten years in, TransferWise is now Wise,” screams the press release that landed in my in-box late last week. The fintech giant, most recently valued by private investors at $5 billion, is re-branding ahead of an expected IPO.
Of course, the company doesn’t actually make reference to a public listing — for regulatory reasons, it probably shouldn’t even if it wanted to — but the change of name will certainly make for a more streamlined ticker, while more broadly, the new moniker reflects how the decade-old company has long moved beyond B2C international money transfers alone to build what it now dubs a “cross-border payments network”.
“Originally launched in 2011 as a money transfer service for people, the company has expanded to build a cross-border payments network helping to make international banking cheaper, faster and more pleasant for its 10 million personal and business customers,” explains TransferWise.
The company has come far in tens years — you can view an early funding deck here — and today processes £4.5 billion in cross-border transactions every month, claiming to help customers save approximately £1 billion a year in reduced fees compared to using legacy banks.
More recently, having launched consumer and business products akin to a multi-currency bank account, including its own debit card, Wise has started to resemble a challenger bank, too, even if it has previously stated that there are no plans to apply for a full bank license.
Here’s how the company pitches the current product line:
Wise – building the world’s most international account. Send and spend money internationally, hold money in 55 currencies and get real account numbers in 10 currencies. Customers now hold over £3 billion in Wise, with 1.4 million debit cards issued.
Wise Business – the business account for going global, it has all the features of the personal account plus extras like bank feeds, mass payouts and multi-user access. Over 150,000 businesses joined Wise in the last 12 months
Wise Platform – the platform banks and companies like Monzo, GoCardless, and Xero use to tap into the Wise infrastructure, giving their customers cheaper, faster payments and international banking features. Wise Platform is live with banks in 10 countries across 4 continents.
Cue quote from Kristo Käärmann, CEO and co-founder, of Wise: “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. 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. Our mission remains the same. We’re still making — and always will be making — money work without borders.”
Customers can already opt into the new website at Wise.com. “The final switchover for all customers to the Wise brand will take place in March 2021,” says the company.