London-based startup TransferWise has become the first company to allow users to send money internationally through Facebook Messenger.
TransferWise, founded by Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus, began as a way to take the inconvenience, and the cost, out of international money transfer. In its first year, transactions through the new platform amounted to €10m.
In 2016, it announced its customers were sending over £800m per month using the service.
In order to make international money transfer even easier, the startup has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot – an automated programme that can help customers send money to friends and family to and from Australia, Canada, Europe and the US
Facebook currently allows users to send money within the US using Messenger but TransferWise is the first company to launch the service to enable international money transfers entirely within the app using its TransferWise Bot.
The bot guides users through the process and as well as making it easier to transfer money internationally, TransferWise Bot can send daily exchange rate updates. This allows its user to make transfers when the rate is at the right level for them.
Scott Miller, TransferWise’s head of global partnerships said in a blog post:
“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.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.”
Bots, a stripped down version of an app according to Forbes, were launched on Facebook Messenger early last year. Since then, there are now about 34,000 bots on the platform, that help people book flights, order pizza and now send money across the world.
Cleo is another example of a finance bot making its home on Facebook Messenger. You can’t transfer money through it, but this smart assistant makes it easier for you to track your spending by analysing what you’ve bought that week.
Bots are something we’re going to be seeing more of in finance. Mapa Research said it wouldn’t be surprised to see retail banks adopting chatbots ‘en masse’ over the next few months, and we’ve already seen examples of this with the launch of Bank of America’s Erica and Barclay’s Launchpad bot.