Our infrastructure is our competitive advantage

Wise
17.06.21
3 minute read

By Harsh Sinha (Chief Technology Officer) and Diana Avila (Global Head of Banking and Expansion)

Our infrastructure enables our Wise proposition, which in turn drives our growth. Over the past decade, we've built a replacement infrastructure for correspondent banking. When you move money across borders with Wise, what you’re really doing is sending money to our local account in one country. And once we receive your funds, we pay out from a local account in the destination country. So in reality, money doesn’t really cross borders.

We built this network by connecting to local payment systems. They tend to be efficient, fast and low cost. Over the last ten years, and we believe, over the next few decades, every country's local payment system is going to get faster, cheaper and more efficient. By connecting directly to these local payment systems, we get access to that speed, low cost and efficiency.

But the infrastructure is not just about the rails from a technical perspective. It really is about the people, processes, integrations, regulations and technology all working together. That’s what makes this infrastructure unique and what gives us our competitive advantage.

Then vs now

Ten years ago, Wise had one small payment institution licence in the UK. Back then, this gave us the right to operate in the European Union. We were able to move money for customers between euros and pounds. Fast forward to today: now you can send money to over 80 countries.

And people can’t just send money, they can also have a Wise account and receive local account numbers. That allows them to get paid like a local. In many countries, people can now get a Wise debit card alongside their Wise account and use it to spend like a local, no matter where they are.

The UK is our most advanced market. It’s where we have removed the regulatory restrictions. We were the first non-bank to become a direct participant in the UK’s Faster Payments System. And we can offer all features of our Wise account and Wise Transfer product to everyone in the UK. Our other mature markets such as Europe, Australia, Singapore and other Asian markets are quickly catching up.

In the last ten years, we added, managed and maintained 62 different licences across 11 countries. We're adding new ones all the time. We're still learning, but we're becoming more and more efficient every time.

Underneath the Wise hood

We have four products: Wise Transfer, Wise Account, Wise Business and Wise Platform. Underneath is the core engine: it includes local integrations into payment systems, treasury, and also our KYC and financial crime engine. It’s a world-class infrastructure that's built across microservices and is on a scalable cloud platform.

Our global real-time central treasury management system is a very important part of our technology infrastructure. It gives us a centralised view of all the money flowing across the system. ± 50% of our traded volume now is predicted by machine learning.

To protect our customers, we've built a proprietary machine learning engine with algorithms to prevent and combat financial crime. This allows for quick decisions, so we can keep working towards our goal of instant payments, wherever possible.

Security is at the heart of every product we build. We have a highly skilled security team and a 24/7 operations centre. They look at anti-abuse and anti-fraud heuristics and use our robust transaction monitoring systems to detect different patterns happening across our network. The same high standards also apply to data protection: our systems protect customers' data to GDPR standards, wherever they are in the world.

And our operations teams make sure the money keeps moving. But if things do get stuck, we have 24/7 customer support to hand in different languages.

What can you expect from us next?

Our infrastructure redefines what's possible for powering international money. It’s really hard work, and it requires building world-class teams in multiple disciplines to get to where we are. But our infrastructure is our core competitive advantage. And on top of that, we’ve built a great customer experience that people love.

We’ll continue to invest time and energy in that infrastructure, because the best one will win in the long run. But luckily, we have a ten year head start.

Wise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

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