How we work to keep your money safe: update given events with SVB


This article was updated on March 17th 2023

At Wise, we know that many have been affected by the events involving Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), and we are exploring a number of ways in which we can support businesses and consumers in the UK who have been affected through this period.

If you’re a business looking to move your money to Wise, please see our support blog.

It’s understandable that many will have questions about how financial services providers keep customer funds safe and available. So we’ve put together a number of updated FAQs below on how Wise does this.

Wise does not have any material exposure to SVB

We do not hold customer money in SVB, and the recent events have had no impact on our ability to provide our services.

Wise has a credit facility with seven large banks of which SVB UK — which was purchased by HSBC on 13th March 2023 — is one. We use this credit line to help speed up customer payments.

We also hold a small amount of cash with SVB in an operational corporate account (significantly less than 1% of our operational funds). This means that the events around SVB in the US and UK have had no impact on our ability to continue providing our services to people and businesses around the world and no material impact on our financial position.

Here’s how Wise works to keep customer money safe and available

For our customers sending money with Wise or holding money in the Wise account, regardless of which currency you hold, and in keeping with Wise’s regulatory obligations, we safeguard our customers’ funds in a mix of cash in leading commercial banks and investments in secure liquid assets, primarily government bonds. We also keep your money separate from the money we use to run our business. For more information on how Wise safeguards funds see here.

Here’s an overview of where we predominantly safeguard:

Cash depositCITIBANK N.A.
Secure liquid assets EU, US and UK Government bonds

Over 99% of funds are held in cash with these banks as well as in secure liquid assets such as EU, UK and US Government bonds in order to diversify risk and maximise liquidity. We take this approach to make sure your money is highly liquid and therefore always available to you.

Why we hold some customer money in bonds

Holding money in government assets is generally less risky than holding your money in a bank account, because banks can become insolvent but stable governments rarely do. For a government bond to fail, the government which issued the bond would need to default on their loan payments, which almost never happens with large stable governments.

Customer money is held in cash or bonds with a term of less than 3 years. The average duration of the bonds we hold is currently under 6 months – with the majority of bonds having a remaining term of 3 months or less. This makes us generally more resilient than banks in the face of interest rate changes. We actively manage the fair value risk in relation to these and any impact is already reflected in our financial position.

We hold your money in shorter-term bonds because bonds with a longer-term can lose value if interest rates go up and they need to be sold early. These bonds can be sold if additional liquidity is required, but with available cash holdings at banks, this is generally not expected. For the money that we put into banks, we mitigate the risk by diversifying across several reputable banks with strong liquidity.

We are not a bank, which means we do not lend out our customers’ money to people or businesses. This also means our e-money and payment services are not subject to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

We do however offer our Assets feature, which is an investment service. Money invested in ‘Assets’ is held in segregated accounts, separate from Wise’s own funds. In addition to this protection, each customer is also eligible for protection under the FSCS up to a value of £85,000 in the UK.

If you have opted to invest any of your Wise account balance you can learn more about how your money is held in Assets here. If you are interested to hear more about the Assets feature, see here

How we keep your money available to you even during market turmoil

In order to mitigate against bank risk, we hold a significant percentage of funds in government bonds, as set out above, which would not be impacted by bank runs. The rest of the funds are held in banks in order to provide readily available liquidity, but diversified amongst several large highly rated banks. These are listed above.

We keep our holdings under regular review to ensure the safety and availability of customer funds.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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