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TransferWise posts fourth year of profit; net profit twice that of last FY's

TransferWise posts fourth year of profit; net profit twice that of last FY's

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3 -min read
Listen to this article

PAYMENTS firm TransferWise's earnings for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 have more than doubled from the year-ago period, marking the fintech unicorn's fourth straight year of profit as it makes global expansion plans amid the pandemic.

The UK-based firm, which has its Asia-Pacific base in Singapore, on Wednesday reported a net profit after tax of £21.3 million (S$37.42 million) in FY2020, from £10.3 million a year ago. Over the same period, revenue jumped 70 per cent to £302.6 million.

Customers sending money from Europe contributed 52 per cent of its overall revenue. The US business, launched in 2015, contributed 26 per cent. The remaining 22 per cent of revenue is attributed to Latin America, Canada and the Asia-Pacific, TransferWise's fastest growing market since its entry in 2017.

In a statement on Wednesday, the firm said it has seen an uplift in new customers seeking digital alternatives during the Covid-19 crisis, with overall transfer volumes continuing to grow.

TransferWise processed £42 billion in cross-currency transfers in FY2020. Including domestic payments, total volume for the year stood at £67 billion, up from a total of £36 billion in FY2019. The firm currently serves eight million customers worldwide - from five million in FY2019 - over 2,500 currency routes and 54 currencies.

The fintech was most recently valued at US$5 billion - an uplift of 43 per cent since May 2019 - following a secondary share sale in July this year that took its total raise in primary and secondary funding to over US$1 billion.

"We're building a way that's faster and more convenient than the banks that came before us, and at a drastically lower, transparent price," said Kristo Kaarmann, the company's chief executive officer and co-founder. He noted that the firm saves customers over £1 billion a year in hidden fees.

"Staying profitable as we grow is an essential proof point in this journey. We need to be able to scale globally while building a business that people can trust will be here for the long term," he added.

Having started out as a money-transfer service offering mid-market exchange rates for cross-border payments, TransferWise has since expanded its core product to include multi-currency "borderless" debit cards for its customer base of expats, freelancers, and travellers in several markets.

Over a million cards have been issued since 2018, and the borderless account now holds over £2 billion in current deposits. The firm in January added new features to the account, including direct debits and Apple Pay.

While demand largely comes from individuals, TransferWise has also been actively growing its corporate base, which contributes "substantially" to revenue, Mr Kaarmann told The Business Times.

Some 107,000 new business customers were on-boarded in FY2020, alongside partnerships with small businesses. Over 10,000 new business customers join the firm's platform every month.

Linking up with neobanks has also been part of its strategic play. TransferWise now has 12 bank partnerships globally, the newest being with Aspire in Singapore and Up Bank in Australia.

Beyond payments, the firm recently announced new permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK to offer savings and investments options via its borderless account, with the new product set to launch in the next 12 months.

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