Financial technology firm TransferWise posted a profit for the third year in a row
The London-based company said on Wednesday that its net profit after tax climbed to £10.3 million ($12.8 million) in the fiscal year ending March 2019, up 66% from the previous year. Revenues at the firm rose about 53% to £179 million, according to a press release of the company.
„Our mission has become irreversible, the company financially independent, and adoption continues to accelerate. We’re now a community of more than 6 million people transferring £4 billion every month. That’s a saving of £1 billion a year compared to making these transactions with a regular bank. In the summer of 2018, we were 3 million people, transferring £2 billion monthly. Our revolution is now twice as strong as it was last year.”
TransferWise was set up in 2011 by Estonian friends Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarmann with the stated aim of making foreign exchange fees more transparent. Kaarmann, TransferWise’s CEO, said the firm was among a “rare breed of unicorns” that have managed to create a profitable business, according to CNBC.
Going borderless & global expansion
TransferWise launched the borderless account in 2017, allowing customers to hold their money in more than 45 different currencies and giving them multiple local bank account numbers in countries including the UK, Europe and the US. The accompanying borderless Mastercard debit card launched in Europe in 2018, and in the USA, Australia and New Zealand this year. Right now, customers trust TransferWise with over £1 billion in borderless account deposits.
TransferWise for Business
The 2019 financial year saw major new features added to TransferWise for Business, including the launch of a borderless Mastercard debit card for businesses, an integration with SME accountancy software Xero, and open access to the TransferWise API. The launch of the open API makes it cheaper for enterprises needing to process large batches of transactions. Since these enhancements were announced, 10,000 new business customers have signed up to the service every month.
This year brought an opportunity to the smartest and fastest banks in Europe. These banks use TransferWise’s API to send customer payments via the company’s network, while customers remain in the bank’s own app. The benefit is faster, cheaper, more convenient payments for the bank’s customers. Unsurprisingly, all of them became the most efficient bank for international payments in their country overnight. The last financial year saw partnerships announced with France’s second largest bank BPCE, which has over 15 million customers, UK challenger Monzo, which has over two million customers, and Dutch neo-bank bunq.
According to TransferWise, bringing down the cost of sending money across borders is still a huge problem to solve. Every year, it’s estimated that people and small-to-medium businesses transfer $10 trillion internationally and lose $200 billion in bank fees. Traditional bank networks are local, making international transfers expensive, slow and inconvenient. Because most of these fees are hidden in marked-up exchange rates, it’s impossible for regular people to compare costs and find a good deal.
That’s why, the company lowered the average price globally, from 0.73% of the transfer amount in 2016, to 0.67% of the transfer amount in 2018. Over 20% of transfers are now instant, meaning they’re delivered in 20 seconds or less.
„While pricing has overall changed for the better, we’ve also had to raise fees a few times when a route turned out to be more expensive than we forecast. We know that’s not ideal, and I want to reassure you that we’ll always charge as little as possible. That means you’ll pay what it costs us to provide and improve the service, plus a small margin for a rainy day. We’re working to reduce these numbers in the longer-term, in our mission to bring the cost of sending money around the world to near zero,” according to the 2019 financial report.