To the TransferWise community,
All over the world, over 4 million people are using TransferWise to move well over 3 billion pounds a month. The more people and businesses switch to TransferWise, the closer we get to achieving our mission of money without borders: instant, convenient, transparent, and eventually free.
So how much impact did our team of 1500+ people across 12 offices have on our mission in Q1 of this year? Read on to find out.
Whether you’re buying breakfast in Budapest with your French debit card, or using your bank to send money abroad for a child’s education, you’re probably being overcharged. We’re on a mission to change that. We want our fees to be completely transparent, and as close to 0 as possible. And although our mission is long-term, the average price users pay on TransferWise continues to trend downwards. In Q1, it dropped back to 0.63%.
In the UK, cutting out the middle-men continues to pay off
In the UK, our integration directly into the Bank of England’s Faster Payments Scheme continues to pay off. It’s allowed us to remove banks (and their fees!) from the process of sending money into and out of the UK. So on March 1st, the cost of sending £1,000 from GBP to EUR got 15% cheaper.
In North America, we cut our costs and passed the savings on to customers
We’ve expanded our customer support teams from Tampa to Tallinn, and we’re now resolving queries from our North American customers much more efficiently. This has reduced our internal costs, and as always, we’ve passed the savings on to you — fees for sending money from USD and CAD are now 20% cheaper.
We improved our price comparison, so you can see how much you’d save
We believe that everyone, everywhere, should know exactly what sending money really costs. So we've improved our price comparison tool. You can now compare TransferWise to over 36 banks, and see a live estimate of what you’d save on nearly 100 routes. This is up from 12 routes in 2018. We’ve also added Monzo and N26 to that list — banks that offer TransferWise directly in their banking apps.
This means that 35% of users can now see a live comparison of the savings they’d make by using TransferWise — or another cheaper provider. Because we’ll always tell you which provider is cheapest, even if that's not us.
We’ve already proved that money transfers shouldn’t take days. In fact, they can be fast. Really, really fast. One day, we believe sending money with TransferWise will be instant — we define that as taking less than 20 seconds. This matters so much to people. It reduces anxiety, improves convenience, and means you don’t have to plan ahead.
We whizzed into 2019 with 19% of transfers being delivered ‘instantly’, in less than 20 seconds, to the recipient’s bank account. That’s a third more than in 2018!
We did this by improving our integrations into global payments systems. In Europe we improved our integration with SEPA instant payment scheme. This doubled the number of instant transfers to EUR from 5% to 10%.
We’re holding ourselves to account on delivery times
We’re not only working hard to bring instant transfers to as many routes as possible. We’re also improving how we estimate the time it takes for money to arrive in a recipient’s bank account. For most banks, this hasn’t changed for years — we’re all used to seeing estimates like 3-5 working days, or even 5-7 working days. At TransferWise, we aim to be accurate to within two hours.
In March, we delivered 78% of transfers within two hours of the estimated arrival time. This was up from 75% at the end of 2018. And in the UK, we removed a lot of manual work from processing weekend payments. The result? 93% of transfers by UK customers arrived on time.
International money transfer is one of the most regulated industries in the world. Some of that regulation is outdated; designed for a time where we visited a bank, and sent money face-to-face. Today, that same regulation creates multiple points of friction when you send money internationally.
We want that to change. And we’ll work to remove each of the sticking points until sending money is just as convenient as pressing a button.
We’ve improved sign up checks all over the world
When you open an account with TransferWise, we need to check that you are who you say you are. These checks vary globally, but could mean you’ll need to upload ID or confirm your source of income. They’re an important part of safeguarding your money. But they’re also onerous. So in the last quarter, we improved them for customers all over the world.
We developed ‘smart verification’, using online checks to verify your identity instantly. We rolled this out to over 8,000 customers last quarter. Previously, these customers would have had to wait up to 2 days for their documents to be checked manually by our verification team.
In the US, we improved things by asking for fewer documents at sign up, and making our upload requirements clearer. To date, this has made life easier for 4000 customers.
In Brazil, customers sending large amounts of money now get their documents processed in one day. Our goal is to bring this down to under an hour.
For our growing business user base, sole traders in Europe, Asia (excluding Japan), the Middle East, and Africa can now start using TransferWise with automated identity verification. They no longer need to upload utility bills.
And we’ve also integrated with business registries in the US and UK. This means we can pre-fill business details for business customers who sign up on mobile.
We’ve made things more convenient for businesses too
Speaking of businesses, 250 beta users from over 60 companies can now give multiple employees access to their TransferWise for Business account. If that sounds like something your business needs, we’d love you to sign up for the beta.
Over 4000 businesses now use our Xero bank feed — and in Q1, we made it easier to reconcile business payments with this popular accounting software by splitting out fees.
Fixing payment issues got easier
In the rare case that a user entered the wrong account number, the transfer would normally be returned to TransferWise. Fixing this needed manual intervention, during working hours. We’d get in touch, and ask users to update the details they’d entered. But now, we’ve automated the process of getting in touch. Users can update those details faster, and get their money on its way sooner.
Brazil! Welcome to borderless
The borderless account is the first platform to offer true, multi-country banking for anyone that needs it. Last quarter, we rolled it out to our Brazillian customers. They can now open accounts, and get international bank details to receive 5 currencies, for free.
We’ve launched NOK and DKK bank details in beta
We’re on a mission to add more and more international bank details to our borderless account. Our latest additions are Nordic, and we’re rolling them out to users right now. Get your own Norwegian or Danish bank details, and use them to get paid (or paid back) in krone, totally fee free.
We now accept international cards
Our customers can now pay with debit and credit cards issued in over 200 countries. At the moment, it’s not cheap — there’s a 3.5% fee in the US, and 3% everywhere else. But if you’ve ever wanted to pay for your transfer using a Thai card, now you can! 3% of new customers pay with international cards, and we expect that percentage to grow steadily.
We’ve added new ways to receive money and pay for transfers
Customers who don’t have an American address can now send USD with US cards and Apple Pay. Singaporeans can now scan a QR code and pre-fill their TransferWise account details in their banking app with PayNow — over a third of our users have already tried this option.
And in Ghana, we’ve added a feature to send money to mobile wallets. It’s already making up 50% of transfers to Ghana!
And India...we’ll be back
Unfortunately, we had to shut down transfers from India in March. Sending money from India is one of our most requested routes, but it’s been hard to reach a user experience that we can be proud of. This isn’t goodbye though. We’re already making other plans to support our customers in India. Stay tuned for updates!
This quarter, we passed yet another milestone. We’re now more than 1500 people strong. Wisers are a mix of people from over 76 countries, working in 12 cities around the world. Last quarter, a whopping 140 of them were promoted internally, and 86 changed team, role, or office. There are lots of people keen to join our mission too — we received nearly 16,000 applications in Q1 and welcomed 245 new Wisers. We expanded our London and Singapore offices, and moved into a new office in Budapest. In the heart of the Angyalföld district, it will be home to 400 Wisers.
But it’s no secret that growing people and teams this fast brings challenges. So we’ve been listening to hundreds of employees and planning how to build TransferWise for the future. We’re also tracking the percentage of Wisers who choose to leave us each year. It’s down 3% from the end of 2018, and well below global industry benchmarks. And to date, 20 TransferWise alumni have left to set up their own business, which is great! We’re really proud to foster the entrepreneurs of the future.
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