We Sent Money to the U.K. with TransferWise Messenger Bot, Here’s What Happened

  • Grace Noto
  • February 21, 2017
  • 1

Facebook Messenger’s chatbot horde just got a new member: Say hello to the TransferWise Bot.

The U.K.-based TransferWise now allows users to make international transfers through a Messenger bot, which the unicorn developed through its pre-existing API.

Currently, the bot lets users send money to and from the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Europe, and Canada. Since Bank Innovation happens to be in one of those places, we decided to try and send some money to a friend in the United Kingdom.

The bot starts off well, giving a cheery introduction before prompting the user to send money or complete other actions. After logging in, the transfer process begins:

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This is where things got a little tricky, as we first tried to send our British friend one single U.S dollar:

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The bot “didn’t quite understand how much” we wanted to send, despite the format of our queries ($1, 1 dollar, 1 USD). While it is perfectly understandable that an international money transfer service would have a set minimum, that seems like something a bot should be capable of relaying to the user. We eventually figured this out and decided to send $5 across the pond instead—which works out to about £4.

We also didn’t have our recipient saved, which created an additional step in the process, as the bot is currently unable to create new recipients within Messenger. But once we got that squared away (through the TransferWise site), and picked a payment method—either through a bank debit card or a wire transfer—the actual transfer was completed quite quickly, with the bot providing the exact exchange rate (about 0.8, with a fee of 3 USD):

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Of course, it is an international transfer, so our friend hasn’t received their funds yet—transfers  from the U.S. are supposed to take a day or so, so our $5 should be there by the end of the week.

As this was our very first time using the TransferWise bot, some of the problems can be attributed to the normal set-up process. However, if certain features aren’t available, or certain amounts can’t be sent, the chatbot should be able to tell the users so.

All in all, we’re excited to see what the TransferWise Bot will offer.

To learn more about chatbots and P2P banking, join us in San Jose on March 6-7 for Bank Innovation 2017, where the best conversations in fintech take place. Click here to register.

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