Finance

TransferWise lets you send money to Facebook friends – and Justin Trudeau

By Kitty Knowles 21 February 2017
The Memo sends funds to Justin Trudeau using the Tranferwise Facebook Messenger 'Wisebot'. Pic: CC/Flickr/Alex Guibord
Summary

TransferWise: We used Facebook's first international finance bot to send funds to the Canadian Prime Minister.

Photo sharing? Chat? Procrastination?

The way you use Facebook could soon be very different:

Money transfer giant TransferWise just claimed it as the place to send money to friends.

Social finance

In the age of digital finance, it makes sense that companies are eager to jump into our social circles: after all, you probably know the vast majority of people you send funds to.

But while Facebook already allows user to send money domestically in the US, its partnership with TransferWise is the first to let you make international money transfers entirely through Messenger.

TransferWise’s new ‘Wisebot’ chatbot (launched today) can be used to send money across the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and Europe, to set up exchange rate alerts and make online purchases.

Testing the waters

In 2017 chatbots are certainly ‘on-trend’: we’ve seen a number of companies embrace the artificially intelligent helpers – a Voguebot even launched this week.

But as with any new innovation, early adopters sometimes lacks finesse, and bots are frequently not always as friendly or useful as intended.

That’s why we decided to give the new ‘Wisebot‘ a go…

Sending money to Justin Trudeau

Okay, so we’re not friends with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but given that TranferWise only launched in Canada last year (and we’d like to buy him a pint), we thought him a worthy ‘international’ candidate to send funds.

Signing in is easy, you simply visit the Wisebot Facebook page, and kick things off by sending the page a message.

We found the bot’s instructions to be clear and pleasantly colloquial. We also liked that even non-TransferWise members could engage with it instantly simply by logging in via Facebook (you only create an account once you’re actually sending money).

It was easy to input who we wanted to send money to, as all we needed was a full name and email address (that’s justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca, in case you were wondering). And in the future, this could well be directly synced with your Facebook contacts, making payments even easier.

There were, of course, a few kinks to be ironed out: the bot didn’t like it when we used a pound symbol, and like the wider service, also has a minimum amount of funds you can send.

But it’s easy to see how Facebook Messenger could soon be processing a large chunk of the $1bn sent through TransferWise every month.

Sadly Justin Trudeau has yet to accept our donation of £50 – when he accepts, we’ll let you know.