TransferWise, one of the UK’s early fintech success stories, is shifting its focus towards digital banking in a move that will put it in direct competition with rival Revolut.
The fintech firm said on 19 February that it will rebrand the company as Wise, in a reflection of its growth past online international money transfers and towards a stronger digital banking-based business model.
Though money transfers remain the company’s “foundational feature”, Wise said it will separate into three product entities: Wise, an international-focused banking account, Wise Business for companies, and a software-as-a-service product called Wise Platform.
The change puts it among the UK’s prominent digital banking set, with Revolut poised as its main rival due to the pair’s similar emphasis on FX. However, unlike the others, Wise does not have a full banking licence in the UK — meaning it requires the support of other banks to ringfence customer funds and offer other services.
Wise, which was last valued at $5bn in 2020, is said to be gearing up for a stock market flotation in London later this year. It reportedly hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as joint coordinators on the process.
The firm’s Wise Platform technology rails are now being used by banks in 10 countries, it said, including Monzo and Xero which use Wise infrastructure to power international currency conversions and transfers for their customers.
“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 chief executive and co-founder Kristo Käärmann.
“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 are slowly being transferred over to the new platforms, with the final switchover to take place in March.
Wise said it processes £4.5bn in cross-border transactions each month, and has more than 2,200 staff and 10 million users.
Founded in 2011, the fintech’s shareholders include Virgin Group billionaire Sir Richard Branson and Silicon Valley funds Valar Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Index Ventures. It has raised more than $1bn in financing to date.
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