Whatever Happened to the TransferWise Messenger Bot?

  • Diana Asatryan
  • April 18, 2017
  • 0

Facebook’s Messenger platform has certainly been in the spotlight of financial services industry recently. And understandably so: the platform claims to have 1.2 billion active users, while Facebook itself is at 1.9 billion.

London-based money movement startup TransferWise also joined the Messenger pile-on, launching its TransferWise Bot last February, which the unicorn developed through its pre-existing API. The bot allows users to make international transfers through Messenger, as well as provides them with exchange rate updates.

(Bank Innovation tested the bot at the launch, here.)

TransferWise is one of the few fintechs to have an actual money movement bot on Messenger (PayPal is another). So how have customers reacted so far?

“We got some good feedback on what that channel on TransferWise is good for; and it’s definitely good for getting exchange rates and updates,” Harsh Sinha, the company’s VP of engineering, told Bank Innovation. “You can set it up and forget about it, and the rates can be delivered to you whenever you’d like, just like the weather, for example. It’s seemed like one of those basic things that wouldn’t require a separate app or a browser.”

And how about payments?

“I can’t comment publicly on the traction for that,” Sinha said. “Setting up transfers: some people use it, some people don’t, and I think it’s one of those things that depend on whether you like the medium or not.”

Informative or educational bots — which provide you with news, or fortune cookies —  are more widespread on the messaging platform at the moment. But as Messenger gets more and more entrenched into the fintech game, this will certainly change.

The social media giant is only scratching the surface of its payments capabilities. For example, Facebook recently launched its own AI assistant, dubbed M, within Messenger, which (among other functions) facilitates P2P payments.

As to TransferWise, just like with other new features, the company is still testing and gathering feedback from its global customer base, Sinha added.

“Doesn’t matter if you are a two-people startup, or a 600-people company, you have to talk to your customers,” he said during TechDay Access conference today. “A lot of companies fall into this trap, when they get big, but it’s important to talk to customers and have that ingrained in all parts of your operation.”

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