London fintech unicorn Transferwise is bringing its online money transfer service to the messaging app, allowing users in the UK to send money to friends or family in the rest of Europe, the US, Canada and Australia by interacting with automated messages that sound just like people.
The chatbot will also be able to alert users of exchange rates for preferred currencies and it will be rolled out to the more than 50 countries where Transferwise operates in the future.
“Our mission at TransferWise is to bring faster, cheaper and more convenient international money transfers to everyone in the world. Building the TransferWise bot for Messenger is a great step in that direction,” said Scott Miller, Transferwise's head of global partnerships.
A spokesperson for the startup said it's in talks on partnering with other messengers, banks, businesses and commerce platforms in connection with the chatbot.
It's the latest example of a finance firm serving its customers via chatbots Messenger, which boasts more than one billion users. Online broker AJ Bell last year tested out live share trading using the chatbot technology, which was launched last year by Facebook.
Facebook itself lets users send or receive money in the US, with suggestions that it may soon launch the service in Europe after being granted an e-money license in Ireland late last year. But, Transferwise is the first to let users do cross-border payments.
Chatbots are also being used in other industries, including newspapers to distribute news stories and retailers to help users shop, and on other platforms such as Facebook owned WhatsApp, Apple's iMessage, as well as within websites and standalone apps. Property startup Habito is using chatbots to make the mortgage process easier, for example, while Babylon Health is testing out chatbots to help asess health problems with the NHS.