When we first started TransferWise six years ago, we were clear about what we were setting out to do: build a better way of transferring money internationally. From personal experience, we knew it was a broken system - one that could be better in every way, but most importantly fairer.
Now there are over a million people using TransferWise to move over a billion dollars every month. And our mission has become a little bigger. Inspired by what we’ve learned so far - and by what we hear from our customers - we can see what still needs to change. We have a clear vision of what the world of money could be. Today our mission reads:
Money without borders - instant, convenient, transparent and eventually free. We’re powering money for people and businesses: to pay, to get paid, to spend, in any currency, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.
That gives us clear goals to focus on - clear ways to make things better for anyone who needs to transfer money. Our mission is not just empty words. Our teams are dedicated to making each part of it a reality.
TransferWise was always quicker than the banks. But eventually, we hit a point where we couldn’t get any quicker. Why? Because the banks were holding us up.
So now, we’re building our own network. For example, we integrated with the Faster Payments Service in the UKand built the technical capability to submit our payments directly into national payments systems - without having to rely on the banks. This means UK payments are processed as soon as TransferWise receives the money from the customer’s bank - so sending money from Australia to the UK is now instantaneous. Your transfer is quicker than the speed of sound.
Once upon a time, you had to go to a physical bank branch and wait in line to send your money. Today, the most important bank branch is the phone in your pocket. But it could be even easier - whether that’s making the transfer from other apps like your mobile bank app, a messenger bot, a voice activated personal assistant or a smart watch. Sending, receiving and moving your money does not need to be more complicated than sending an email. That’s something we’re working on.
There are other parts of the experience that we can make more convenient. In some countries, providing ID isn’t that easy and relies on meeting face-to-face. That doesn’t seem quite right in the 21st century. And even in the countries where people can verify themselves online, we’re looking for ways to make the process better.
Unlike banks, we tell you exactly what exchange rate you’re getting and what the fees will be upfront. It’s your money so you should always know what’s happening with it: where it is, how much a service costs you.
We cannot believe how the industry has gotten away with its lack of transparency for so long.
We started out because of the exorbitant fees charged by banks - and we’ve always charged as little as we can. Adding up all the fees, we’re typically eight times cheaper than banks. Long term, we’re sure that prices will only move in one direction.
Moving money is like sending an email: we’re moving bits and bytes around so the marginal cost will approach zero. Can we eventually make it free? We're going to try. That doesn’t mean we won’t be a profit-making business. We believe that being in a strong financial position is the only way to guarantee we can be around for decades to come. That’s how we can help the banking sector become known for transparency and fairness rather than greed.
People are living increasingly global lives. The tools that are available to us to manage our money are outdated and not fit for purpose.
We’re proud to be changing that.
Taavet & Kristo