How Does Wise Make Money? The Wise Business Model In A Nutshell

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Written By Angelo Sorbello

Tech entrepreneur and passionate about business



In the fast-paced world of international money transfers, Wise has emerged as a prominent player, revolutionizing the way individuals and businesses handle cross-border transactions.

But how exactly does Wise make money? In this article, we will delve into the Wise business model, exploring its value proposition, customer segments, distribution and marketing strategies, as well as its various revenue streams.

By understanding Wise's approach, readers can gain insight into the company's success and the benefits it offers for global financial management.

Key Takeaways

  • Wise offers a transparent and cost-effective solution for international money transfers, providing real exchange rates and low fees which saves customers money.
  • Wise caters to a wide range of customer segments, including individuals, expatriates, freelancers, SMEs, and large corporations, who have international financial needs and seek affordable and convenient international money transfer options.
  • Wise utilizes digital platforms and mobile apps for distribution, ensuring accessibility and a streamlined account creation and verification process.
  • Wise generates revenue primarily through transaction fees and currency exchange spreads, while also offering premium business plans and borderless account services to diversify their revenue streams.

Value Proposition and Customer Segments

Wise attracts a diverse range of customers with its transparent and cost-effective solution for international money transfers. Through competitor analysis and market research, Wise has identified a need for affordable and convenient international money transfer options.

Individuals, expatriates, freelancers, SMEs, and large corporations are among the customer segments that Wise caters to. By providing real exchange rates and low fees, Wise saves customers money compared to traditional banks. Additionally, Wise offers multi-currency accounts for convenient global financial management.

The value proposition of Wise lies in its ability to provide solutions for various cross-border transactions and financial management needs. This customer-centric approach, backed by thorough market research and competitor analysis, has allowed Wise to establish itself as a trusted and reliable platform for international money transfers.

Distribution Strategy and Marketing Strategy

The distribution strategy and marketing strategy of Wise focus on ensuring accessibility through digital platforms and mobile apps. Wise utilizes digital marketing tactics and partnership marketing to reach potential users. They provide a streamlined account creation and verification process, making it easy for customers to get started.

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Wise actively promotes their multi-currency accounts and borderless debit cards for added convenience. They employ digital advertising and content marketing to educate customers about hidden bank fees and emphasize transparent pricing as a key selling point. Additionally, Wise encourages word-of-mouth referrals by offering incentives and provides informative content to enhance users' understanding of international finance.

Their marketing efforts are aimed at attracting users seeking a cost-effective and transparent solution for international money transfers.

Revenue Streams

Moving on to the topic of revenue streams, Wise generates income through various sources, including:

  1. Transaction fees: Wise charges customers based on the amount of each transaction. This fee structure ensures cost awareness and transparency for users.
  2. Currency exchange spreads: When customers convert money from one currency to another, Wise applies a spread on the exchange rate. This allows them to earn revenue from the difference between the buy and sell rates.
  3. Premium business plans: Wise offers premium subscription plans for businesses that require advanced features and additional support. These plans provide a recurring revenue stream for the company.
  4. Diversified revenue streams: In addition to transaction fees and currency exchange spreads, Wise may also generate income from other services such as borderless account services and Wise Assets.

Wise Origin Story

Founded by Estonian businessmen Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus in 2011, Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, has an intriguing origin story. While working in London, Hinrikus, who was paid in euros, needed British pounds, and Käärmann, who was paid in pounds, had a mortgage in euros. They encountered the challenge of expensive currency exchange rates when moving funds between bank accounts. To overcome this, they found a solution by transferring currencies between their own bank accounts, effectively bypassing the high fees. This personal experience led them to create Wise, a platform that provides a transparent and cost-effective solution for international money transfers. The founders' challenges in dealing with cross-border transactions sparked the idea for Wise, and they have since built a successful business that addresses the pain points of individuals and businesses with international financial needs.

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Wise Founders' Challenges
Expensive currency exchange rates
High fees for international money transfers
Inconvenience of moving funds between bank accounts
Limited options for transparent and cost-effective solutions
Lack of awareness about hidden bank fees

Wise Revenue Generation

Wise generates revenue through a variety of fees and charges associated with its money transfer and currency conversion services.

Transaction fees: Wise charges customers a fee based on the transaction amount. The fee starts at 0.35% and varies depending on the currency involved.

Currency conversion fees: In certain circumstances, Wise applies currency conversion fees. These fees also start at 0.35% and vary based on the currency being transacted.

Withdrawal fees: Wise offers free ATM withdrawals up to a certain limit. However, in the UK, a 1.75% fee plus £0.50 is charged for withdrawals exceeding £200 per month.

Other fees: Wise also generates income through additional charges such as holding fees, wire transfer fees, and fees for Wise Assets.


To summarize, Wise employs a transparent pricing structure and a diverse range of fees to generate revenue while providing cost-effective international money transfer services. By offering real exchange rates and low fees, Wise attracts a wide range of customers, including individuals, expatriates, freelancers, SMEs, and large corporations. Through its digital platforms and mobile apps, Wise ensures accessibility and convenience for users around the world. The company's marketing strategy focuses on educating customers about hidden bank fees and emphasizing its transparent pricing as a key selling point. Lessons learned from Wise's success include the importance of providing value and convenience to customers, leveraging digital platforms for distribution, and utilizing partnerships and referral programs for growth. Looking to the future, Wise will likely continue to innovate in the international money transfer industry and expand its global reach.

Key Points
– Transparent pricing structure
– Diverse range of fees
– Cost-effective international money transfer services

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Wise Ensure the Security of Customer Transactions and Personal Information?

Wise ensures customer data protection and transaction security through robust security measures, including encryption and two-factor authentication. Personal information is stored securely and access is limited to authorized personnel only, adhering to strict privacy regulations.

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What Are the Advantages of Using Wise Compared to Traditional Banks for International Money Transfers?

Wise offers advantages over traditional banks for international money transfers, including transparent pricing, real exchange rates, low fees, and convenient digital platforms. It attracts individuals, expatriates, freelancers, SMEs, and large corporations seeking cost-effective and efficient cross-border financial solutions.

How Does Wise Handle Customer Complaints or Issues With Their Services?

Wise addresses customer complaints and issues through efficient customer support and service resolution. They prioritize timely response, effective communication, and fair resolution to ensure customer satisfaction and maintain a positive reputation in the industry.

Can Wise Be Used for Both Personal and Business Financial Needs?

Wise caters to both personal and business financial needs, offering cost-effective international money transfers, multi-currency accounts, and transparent pricing. Its value proposition attracts individuals, expatriates, freelancers, SMEs, and large corporations worldwide.

Does Wise Offer Any Additional Services or Features Besides Money Transfers and Multi-Currency Accounts?

Wise offers additional services and features beyond money transfers and multi-currency accounts. These include borderless debit cards, international banking details, batch payments, and integration with various accounting software, providing a comprehensive solution for global financial management.


In conclusion, Wise has established itself as a leading player in the international money transfer market through its transparent and cost-effective solution. By targeting diverse customer segments and leveraging digital platforms, Wise ensures accessibility and convenience for its users.

The company generates revenue through transaction fees, currency exchange spreads, premium business plans, and borderless account services. With its commitment to providing reliable and affordable cross-border transactions, Wise continues to meet the global financial needs of individuals and businesses alike.

Metaphor: Wise is a bridge that connects people across borders, enabling them to navigate the international financial landscape with ease and efficiency.

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