Weekly 10-Q: How Wise bridges the gaps for cross-border payments — 3 questions with the Head of Americas at Wise for Banks, Ryan Zagone

  • Ryan Z. talks about how Wise is helping banks adapt to a digital, post-pandemic world.
  • And, just in time for the holiday season, Afterpay debuts a new monthly payment option for U.S. consumers.

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Weekly 10-Q: How Wise bridges the gaps for cross-border payments — 3 questions with the Head of Americas at Wise for Banks, Ryan Zagone

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Last week we covered: Is Buy Now, Pay Later picking up steam, while consumers struggle with credit card payments?

How Wise continues to bridge the gaps for cross-border payments — 3 questions with the Head of Americas at Wise for Banks, Ryan Zagone

Cross-border transactions continue to change and snowball.

I spoke to Ryan Zagone, Head of Americas, Wise for Banks, about how Wise is helping banks adapt to a digital, post-pandemic world.

What is Wise for banks? And how does it help banks smoothly transition to a digital world?

Ryan Z.: We built a platform focused on user experience, so transfers are fast, low-cost, and transparent. Covid sparked a significant shift in the market, demanding those types of features in a payment. This is where our platform comes into operation, where we guarantee the delivery amount, and we’re transparent on the fees – enabling a number of businesses to make those types of payments, which they couldn’t do before. Now we’re extending those features to our partners via our API — so partners, banks, fintechs, and corporates, can integrate the API and have that same feature directly built within their own offering.

How do the demands of B2B payments compare to those of retail customers?

Ryan Z.: 
One of the biggest drivers of growth for us lately is B2B payments. We started out as a remittance company enabling just personal transfers – and today, about 40% of our volume comes from businesses that are rapidly growing in the space seeking the same features as retail customers: speed, low costs, and a fully digital experience. The market now has basically one demand – a great user experience, which is one thing that we have excelled in, and we’ve extended that same offering to our business customers. Hence, the players in the market that focus on user experience are winning right now.

Last month Wise launched the SWIFT Receive service – how does it help in cross-border payments among banks?

Ryan Z.: Most of our offerings previously were around sending money – on how can we enable partners to send money internationally. Now that we’ve optimized that with several partners, they’ve returned and said it would also be great to receive money. For many banks and fintechs, access to SWIFT is a big investment. We found an opportunity where we can help lower that investment and streamline that access to receiving international payments much faster than building it themselves. By adding the Receive product, enabled partners can have complete international payments, offering both, send and receive services.

Top stories of the week

Bank of America to invest $100 million in deposits to minority-owned banks

Bank of America plans to add an additional $100 million in low-cost deposits to minority depository institutions (MDIs), which will facilitate lending, housing, neighborhood revitalization, and other banking services in minority and low- to moderate-income communities. It will also leverage the investments made by BofA and other institutions across the U.S., as well as the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP). This move will double BofA’s existing $100 million in deposits in MDIs. (Reuters)

Afterpay debuts Buy Now, Pay Later subscriptions in the U.S.

Block’s Afterpay has unveiled a new installment subscription solution to its platform that expands consumers’ capabilities to apply for flexible payments over six or twelve months. The new monthly payment plan includes all purchases between $400 and $4,000, with no late fees applied and a cap on interest owed. Only merchant websites in the US can make use of the solution as of now — however, Afterpay intends to bring the offering in-store as well and to other countries in 2023. (Yahoo)

Citi introduces “7-Day Sweeps”, a new liquidity offering for institutional clients
Citi has launched a new offering designed to mobilize and provide liquidity seven days a week for its institutional clients. Named “7-Day Sweeps”, the offering aims to reduce risks, increase efficiency and optimize liquidity all year round. (PYMNTS)

Chase UK’s digital bank app downtime locks customers out

Customers of Chase Bank UK were unable to access their accounts for 24 hours following a tech outage that shut down its app. Chase Bank, the UK digital bank launched by JPMorgan Chase last year, is an app-only bank, so the downtime left its million customers unable to log in and access banking services. (Finextra)

Marqeta, Branch, and Mastercard power the new Uber Pro Card

Uber has partnered with Marqeta, Mastercard, and Branch — an app that provides access to instant loans — to power the Uber Pro Card. The new offering will provide an enhanced loyalty and payments experience that will help drivers and couriers save on gas, fees, and other expenses — with customized perks including up to 10% cash back on gas and up to 12% on EV charging. (American Banker)

Silvergate shares plummet following Wells Fargo downgrade

Shares of crypto bank Silvergate Capital fell after receiving a rating downgrade by Wells Fargo. According to Wells Fargo analysts, the ongoing crypto winter is limiting the crypto bank’s growth potential and broader digital asset adoption is still in its early days. The bank slashed the company’s price target from $115 to $70, which sent its shares sliding 5% to $74.95 early Thursday. (CoinDesk)

U.S. Bank rolls out cash projection tool for small businesses

U.S. Bank has launched a new offering to meet SMB owners’ need for a better line of vision for their future cash flow. The online banking tool will enable the bank’s small business clients to see a 90-day forecast of their cash flow, with the ability to leverage clients’ external data in addition to their U.S. Bank accounts. The offering is now live for clients from their online dashboards. (Finovate)

Visa onboards Toronto-Dominion to its cross-border B2B payments network

Visa Canada and TD Securities have announced TD as the first Canadian financial institution to join Visa B2B Connect. The tie-up addresses the process of making multinational corporate cross-border payments simpler and more suitable for TD Securities’ corporate customers by facilitating transactions between the bank of origin and the bank that would benefit from the funds transferred. (Seeking Alpha)

WEX introduces digital wallet for B2B payments

Global commerce platform, WEX, has launched Flume, an FDIC-insured digital wallet designed to bridge the digital divide for millions of SMBs in the U.S. Flume is provided by WEX Payments, a state-licensed money transmitter, in conjunction with a partner commercial bank. (PYMNTS)

Tweet of the week

Source: Sebnem Elif Kocaoglu Ulbrich

Chart of the week

Global VC investments in Q3 are down 53% YoY and by 33% QoQ

Source: Eze Vidra

What’s trending

  • VC firm QED Investors acquires fintech executive search company, Lingua Franca Search (Bloomberg)
  • Financial automation company, Tally raises $80 million in Series D funding (The Paypers)
  • Behind the scenes of Synovus Bank’s challenging digital transformation (The Financial Brand)

Stay ahead of the game with Outlier — Tearsheet’s exclusive members-only content program and join the leading financial services and fintech innovators reading us every day.

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