TransferWise is one of the most successful startups in online money transfers industry. Usually the origins of the company are described in the following way. An entrepreneur from Estonia, and first Skype employee, grew tired of having to pay massive fees to banks in order to transfer his money to Estonia from the UK. He came up with the absolutely brilliant idea of matching up remittance senders with receivers who were in the same country. This resulted in the launch of TransferWise, complete with an office sauna as well as employees who were committed to taking on those evil entities called banks who do not value consumers. Funding for the startup was received from leading investors including Ben Horowitz, Richard Branson and Peter Thiel. With a $1.18 billion valuation, it became the most expensive ever “unicorn.”
Like any good story, and in an otherwise mundane PR collection, TransferWise is truly a standout. This one definitely has all of the major elements: helpless suffering victims, old conniving despots, and a handsome savoir with plenty of clever tricks up his sleeve. Their gained amazing 9.5 of 10 rating on TrustPilot, dozens of bloggers with their TransferWise review posts and tons of positive social signals on Facebook and Twitter.
The absolutely coolest money transfer company
Indeed, TransferWise is the world’s absolute coolest money remittance company. The startup has gone well beyond the obligatory ping-pong and foosball tables in the office. Its employees and founders were happy running naked through the most renowned financial district in the world in freezing February weather. Another distinction that TransferWise has is having a sauna at its headquarters.
TransferWise’s focus from its early days was to expose the hidden fees charged by money transmitters and banks. This potentially deceptive practice occur when a majority of providers advertise “zero fee” money transfers to consumers while still charging an FX markup. Although TransferWise was a lonely voice on that subject among its competitors, the company continued to preserve and push for legislative changes within the UK. The mission of TransferWise was clearly on display from its early days to its customers.
When you sending money abroad you will always know exactly:
|Send 1000 Pounds to Euros||Explanation|
|How much you send||£1000|
|How much you will pay in fees||£5||Just 0.5% for most popular destinations|
|The exchange rate used to convert money||1.10||is always very close to what you get on XE.com as TransferWise uses real mid market exchange rates|
Company with a lot of drive
Another distinct cultural characteristic of TransferWise is its obsessive persistence whenever trying out new approaches. Similar to other well-known startups, TransferWise did not have a lot of traction during its first two years, when it achieved monthly volumes of under $10 million. However, it continued to experiment across various consumer sub-segments trying out different marketing techniques. The experimentation velocity practiced by TransferWise reached really great scale. When its monthly volume increased to $59 million the management of the company couldn’t tell initially what exactly had led to it. Although both large financial service companies and many Fintech startups are able to pilot multiple ideas at the same time, TransferWise has the unique capability of being able to learn from its mistakes quickly.
Agile organizational practices
TransferWise is on the forefront of organizational practices as well. The company fosters teamwork that focuses on improving user experience and perfecting it. They tent to hire young and smart individuals, and then empower them with autonomy. This is their way of scaling quickly. For example, it took a few years for WorldRemit to acquire licenses within the United States, TransferWise stared to offer services immediately through an intermediary. It was with PreCash initially in 2014, which ended up being fined $150,000 due to working with TransferWise, and then with CFSB in 2015.
TransferWise by March 2017 held license in 39 US states. They just skipped some states that take longer (like Illinois and new York) along with ones that are too small to really matter. It was enough to open bank accounts where they get licensed and for the rest continue relying on CFSB.
Strong PR strategy
The growth strategy of TransferWise centers around a referral channel through creating an outstanding experience for all of its customers. £50 for inviting 3 friends seemed to do great job for them. The company goes even further than that by think of ways to engage customers so that they will act as their virtual army of PR agents for TransferWise. The customer care at TransferWise stand out in being able to quickly understand and then resolve issues. They are very friendly, sometimes even answer with notes of humour to conduct conversation in relaxed and pleasant way. There were cases when disappointed customers received chocolate bars.
TransferWise is definitely one of leading players on online transfers market. With thousands of happy customers, lots of positive reviews and excellent TrustPilot rating they became “must know” service for online money transfers. The pricing offered by TransferWise is much more stable compared other well-known providers. If you compare it with unfriendly consumer pricing strategies from companies such as Xoom, where the fee might go up or down two to three times a day.
TransferWise is almost always the cheapest providers for sending larger amounts of at least £300 for bank-to-bank or debit card to bank transfers. They cover wide set of currencies and destinations and their service will bet great choice for US, Australia, India and most of European Union countries.
The competitors of TransferWise could drop prices temporarily to grow their share in a specific corridor hoping that customer and investors don’t understand the big picture. These differentiators combined has resulted in a profitable and phenomenal growth. In fact by mid of 2017 TransferWise became the 3rd largest remittances company in the world.