TransferWise customers on the company’s own app already send and receive almost $1 billion a month. The app boasts that it allows transfers without the usual fees charged by banks or hidden in exchange rates. Instead, TransferWise uses the current exchange rate and charges an upfront fee, usually based on 1 percent or so of the money being transferred.
TransferWise, a London-based company, launched the technology as a bot — a piece of automation software that understands natural language — within Messenger. The bot will talk users through the process of arranging an international money transfer with TransferWise.
TransferWise’s app allows customers to send money in plenty of other currencies outside North America and Europe, but its selection of currencies available on Facebook Messenger will be more limited.
Along with sending money, the Facebook bot will notify users about changing exchange rates and send alerts when it’s a particularly good time to exchange a currency.
Facebook has allowed users to send each other money through Messenger for several months, but only domestically. TransferWise’s bot will be the first to facilitate international money transfers. That’s a big deal — even Venmo, a similar mobile payment service, is limited outside the United States.
“Our mission at TransferWise is to bring faster, cheaper, and more convenient international money transfers to everyone in the world. Building the TransferWise bot for Messenger is a great step in that direction,” TransferWise Head of Global Partnerships Scott Miller said in a statement. “It’s also a powerful example of how our API can be used to seamlessly integrate TransferWise into almost any messaging, bank or business payment system.”
Facebook and TransferWise have been linked before — most notably in rumors that the social network would buy the fintech startup. No acquisition yet, but a bot is a promising start.
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