Scaling a scale-up: The growth of Wise and what’s next for us

Product

Wise was founded in 2011 to build a better way of transferring money internationally. And so we started to work towards our mission: Building money without borders — instant, convenient, transparent and – eventually – free. Since then, we’ve scaled fast and our growth over the last 10 years has been pretty epic:

  • We’ve grown to over 10 million people and businesses using our products
  • We process £4.5 billion in cross-border transactions every month
  • We help our customers save £1 billion a year compared to using a bank
  • We operate across 54 currencies
  • Our team has grown to 2,400+ strong with over 90+ nationalities 

Now, we’re a global technology company that’s building the best way to move money around the world. But we’re just 2.5% done with our mission. There’s a lot more to do.

Let’s deep dive into how we’ve grown and the opportunities that further allow this hyper-growth.

Our growth is driven by happy users… and employees

67% of our customers join Wise through a recommendation. So, the better their experience with our product, the more they recommend us and the faster we grow. 

After using Wise we ask our customers how likely they are to recommend us to their friends (on a scale of 1 to 10). It’s the so-called Net Promoter Score (NPS). We’ve seen that the higher the NPS score of a customer is, the more people they’ll recommend us to. This creates a snowball effect of new users, when our customers are happy.

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. We know that in order for every user to become an advocate for Wise, our product has to be worth talking about. We try to be 10x better and more exciting than the competition.

 Tweet from customer saying “There's nothing I love more than TransferWise's exchange rate LMAO"  Tweet from customer saying “My last transfer took a whole 2 seconds to go through… Terrible service laughing emoji”

Our goal is to create experiences and products our customers didn’t think were possible. This means making transfers instant (arriving within seconds), compared to the usual 3 working days that some banks take. Today we’re making payments up to 8x cheaper compared to banks, rather than slightly undercutting their prices to compete.

The important thing is that we don’t do this just as a ‘growth hack’, we do it because it’s the right thing to do.

And doing the right thing is why a lot of our employees enjoy working here, too. Our employees are our secret sauce for our growth and customer experience. At Wise every employee, or Wiser, as we call them, works on growth. In fact, we encourage everyone to understand how their actions can impact it — whether it’s helping us to build cheaper or faster payments for customers, or how folks in our operational teams can deliver a better customer experience.

We’re so much more than just money transfers – that’s why we became Wise

Over the years, our customers told us that problems in managing money across borders go way beyond money transfers. We listened carefully and started building products that address their issues. 

As we’re so much more than money transfers, we recently changed our name from TransferWise to Wise. Now our name catches up with who we’re already building for — a community of people and businesses with multi-currency lives.

We’re not done yet… There are heaps of opportunities to grab 

The shift from fixing just transfers, to replacing traditional international banking opens up a wide set of opportunities and interesting challenges for us to tackle and enables for our hyper-growth to continue. 

Essentially, we’re only 2.5% done when it comes to building money without borders and we’re evolving our product all the time.  That means there’s 97.5% left to build. There’s lots of opportunities to create impact and build something that’s never been built before. 

Where did this 2.5% come from? Today, approximately £1 in every £40 of money moved internationally is moved through Wise1. That means that today we’re moving 2.5% of the world’s cross-border payments. As we continue to build and improve our product, we’ll get closer to making international payments instant, transparent, convenient and eventually, free.

A group of Wise employees at a publicity stunt against hidden fees

Sounds great. But what is there actually left to build? 

A sneak peek to what we’re building next – find our new, full product roadmap here!

Let’s look at the problems we’re solving for our customers and what’s in the pipeline for us to tackle next:

 Wise consists of three products: Wise transfer, Wise account and Wise platform

1. Wise transfer – the world’s best money transfer service

We’re building the world’s best money transfer service, letting customers transfer money in 54 currencies. It’s the cheaper, easier way to send money abroad — on average up to 8x cheaper than old-school banks2. We’ve already built an account where customers can unlock a full suite of features including currency balances, debit card, local account details and multi-currency direct debits. 

But there are a lot of more markets to tackle and currencies to add to bring Wise transfer to everyone who needs it.

Next up: There are a whole lot of currency routes in the works — including sending from currencies like Thai Baht, Indian Rupee and Chilean Peso. And a lot of currencies in the pipeline to tackle after these.

We enter new markets in a phased approach. First, we partner with local banks and institutions, with the goal of eventually integrating with the local payment systems to make payments instant. We’ve already integrated with FPS in the UK, SEPA in the Eurozone, AFR in Hungary and FAST in Singapore. This might sound like a piece of cake, but every integration comes with lots of interesting technical, product and regulatory challenges to solve.

We’re also working on interesting features to further improve the user experience for our transfer product.

2. Wise account – the world’s most international account

The Wise account is an international account for holding over 50 currencies, with instant, super-cheap money transfers, a debit card to spend in any currency, account details to get paid in 30 different countries and other revolutionary stuff. To make this possible, we were the first company ever to integrate with Visa’s Cloud Connect platform.

Next up: There are a lot of interesting projects to further improve the Wise account experience. We’re working on features like clearer account comparison, improved spending transaction lifecycle and details, simpler onboarding and adding virtual cards. We’re also building an investment product to create a convenient and transparent way of investing money internationally.

3. Wise platform – the magic of Wise, integrated with banks and businesses

Banks only have access to old, expensive payments networks, so they can’t offer the cheap, fast services their customers increasingly expect. We’re building new, international payment rails.

We’re hyper-focused on building our infrastructure, the Wise Platform, that allows banks and businesses to get the benefits of Wise by partnering with us. Already used by companies like Monzo, Xero, Quickbooks and GoCardless, our API gives them access to cheaper, faster international payments and so much more. 

Next up: The possibilities with Wise Platform are endless — not just better international payments. Businesses can automate their international payroll or recurring invoices, too. Our focus is on building a robust, dynamic API so that partners integrate with us just once, but continuously get the benefits of Wise without needing to deploy changes themselves. So if we launch a new currency route tomorrow, it’ll be automatically available for our partners, too. This involves a lot of work behind the scenes to provide the best services for our partners.

We’ve got more partnerships cooking up and there’s a lot to do to bring more businesses on-board and make our platform as valuable for partners as possible.

Interested to find out more on what we’re building next? Check out our new product roadmap below and read more about it here.

Wise product roadmap detailing what teams are working on and going to work on next

Join us to build the future of international payments 

There’s so much going on and so much left to build. We’re only moving a fraction of the money moving across borders and have big plans to develop and shape our product as we grow. 

It’s an exciting time to become a Wiser!

Interested in joining our mission? We’re hiring. Check out our open positions here.

References:

1 2021 EDC Market Study
2 UK data, Alderson Consulting