API Business Models

Harnessing the power of APIs to power instant and low-cost cross-border payments


Sanjana Kadaba Viswanath heads the APAC Lead Solutions and Presales Engineering Team at Wise. In this article, she discusses Harnessing the power of APIs to power instant and low-cost cross-border payments

Wise is a global tech company that develops the best ways to move and manage money around the world. Our mission is money without borders, and it is strongly based on four pillars.

  • Coverage – improve our coverage and bring WISE to more people and businesses worldwide.
  • Price – we want to minimize the price as much as we can.
  • Transparency – always use the mid-market rate with no hidden fees.
  • Convenience – ensuring maximum ease and full speed, making it the most convenient way to send money.

We’re solving three major problems for the world of money that’s fast, easy, fair, and open to all:

  1. We know that sending money across borders is slow, expensive, and difficult.
  2. International banking doesn’t exist globally. Businesses and people seek faster, cheaper, and more convenient ways to transact money across borders.
  3. Underlying technology, infrastructure has not evolved in decades.

So, Wise has stepped in to solve these three major problems for the world. Today, Wise has over 10 million active businesses and personal customers worldwide.

We achieve this with the help of partners and APIs. By leveraging the Wise platform, APIs allow us to create smarter and more reliable payment experiences for our partners and customers. We make all products and services on other platforms available via our APIs.

Wise has one API; it powers wise.com. It has 10 million active customers, and via Apps, it powers partners’ integrations with their customers. To send money, there are three basic steps: quote, Recipient, and Transfer.

On the quote screen, you can see the fees. This ensures our customers are well aware of our fees, the exact source amounts the user pays, and delivery estimation, which is the estimated arrival time of the money. This increases transparency to our customers, driving approximately an 80% reduction in customers seeking basic information about the payments.

Once the quote is created, the next step is to create the recipient. By servicing our customers, we have learned that most transfer failures are directly or indirectly related to recipient information. Hence, at Wise, we have gone that extra mile to enhance as much validation as possible in our own APIs using dynamic form. We have three levels of validation on receipt and creation. The first level is sanity checks, which validate input format, like length and type of input. The second level is validation async. Wise exposes an ad-hoc API for our partners to validate recipient details further. The next level of recipient validation is server-side validation. These validations help reduce failure rates significantly.

After this, the transfer to the recipient is created. Here the customer confirms the details and that they want to proceed.

Once the transfer is created, the next step is to have the tracking in place. We’ve learned that giving real-time feedback to our customers is the best way to increase customer satisfaction and keep them well-informed of all our information about where their money is. There are three different ways we enable tracking to our customers, as well as our partners. Using webhooks, our partners can track the status of their transfers in real-time, which means as soon as we know, our partners know, and as soon as our partners know, the customer knows. The second one is statement and transfer reserves. This is available for easier retrieval over API. The third one is operational reporting and analytics. We provide this on a daily or quarterly basis. If every check is passed, the money gets transferred. If the checks fail, then the payment gets canceled or refunded. The partners and customers know where the money is through the entire flow. All this is done via APIs.

Using the power of APIs, Wise has changed the world of cross-border payments. We have now integrated with more than 80 partners worldwide, and we have just started. We’re still a very small team within Wise trying to achieve big things and contribute to the mission. But with the power of APIs, we are confident that our mission will be accomplished very soon.


Sanjana Viswanath
A bright, talented and ambitious Solutions Engineer with a strong technical background who possesses self-discipline and the ability to work independently. Customer-centric who always drives the customer needs from pre-sales to delivery to post go-live support. Play a key role throughout the development life cycle of a project to ensure that quality solutions meet business objectives. Possess good team spirit, deadline oriented and able to organize complex solutions clearly and accurately.

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