Updated: Apr 14
TransferWise, synonymous with cheap and easy international money transfers for so many of its customers, has renamed itself, dropping ‘transfer’ from its name meaning TransferWise is now simply Wise.
A couple of weeks ago, Kristo Käärmann, published a blog article on TransferWise’s website titled: ‘World, meet Wise’, announcing the company’s intentions to rebrand its product. This move surprised many commentators, especially considering the firm’s intention to file an IPO in the near future.
Wise’s decision marks a shift towards an expanded portfolio. Wise now offers an international currency account, a business account and a platform that allows customers who have fintech accounts to transfer money internationally. It’s consumer and business products, along with the newly unveiled debit card, makes Wise start to resemble a challenger bank like the likes of Monzo or Revolut.
“We’ve evolved to fix more than just money transfer … Wise is for all of us who live, work, travel, or support family around the world. It’s for those of us who want to cut out the middlemen that hold us back from being truly borderless.”
– Kristo Käärmann, Co-Founder and CEO
The change comes with a different logo: the typography is bigger, bolder and more modern. However, Wise has kept the same icon, a blue flag, to symbolise, in their words, “money without borders”. Käärmann tells us customers might also see new colours, words and designs.
Why does a name matter?
A name change is a huge challenge for companies to pull off and there are many examples of name changes backfiring. It is possible to pull off such a communication challenge (see Monzo), but this often occurs when the company is still fairly small. Wise currently processes 4.5 billion pounds in cross-border transactions every month, has 10 million customers and was recently valued at 5 billion dollars – it is hardly a small company.
This is because renaming comes with various challenges: customers and employees may be put off and there are issues relating to SEO, purchasing new domain names and obtaining new usernames on social media. It is a huge undertaking not only for marketing teams but for the company as a whole. Logos need to be redesigned, apps recoded, employees retrained.
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There are ways to make this a simpler process and to give credit where its due, Wise has done a stellar job. Firstly, it’s important to communicate with your customers and Kristo Käärmann did just that. Wise’s blog post outlines the reasoning behind their decision and acts as a one stop shop for any customer questioning the change.
Additionally, keeping their own domain name was a smart move. It allows customers who are not aware of the change to easily access the pro