GLOBAL CROSS-BORDER payments platform Wise has entered the Philippine market with the launch of its products Wise Account and Wise Prepaid Card.

Wise PH has no foreign transaction fees and exchange rate mark-ups, letting users receive money for free from abroad in more than nine currencies, Wise Philippines Country Manager Areson I. Cuevas said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

Wise PH decided to tap the Philippine market amid the increasing number of freelancers, gig economy workers, remittances and digital payments, Mr. Cuevas said. 

“We have seen in the last few years, this sudden increase in the number of freelancers or gig workers. And of course, we know that since a few decades back, a lot of us have moved out of the country to earn money. And right now, there’s around two million overseas Filipino workers who have active contracts,” he said.

“It’s an increasing market, and there’s increasing need from the Filipinos to have access to an international account. We have 1.96 million OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and a growing market of freelancers. This alone would be a very good value proposition for them already,” Mr. Cuevas said.

Currencies that Wise PH users can receive include the Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, euro, British pound, Hungarian forint, New Zealand dollar, Singapore dollar, US dollar, and Turkish lira.

Wise Account also allows users to hold money in over 40 currencies with no holding fees or minimum balance required. Users may also move funds from their Wise Account to a local bank account or e-wallet.

Wise PHL supports more than eight local e-wallets, including GCash, Maya Bank, GrabPay, Starpay, Bayad Wallet, TayoCash, ShopeePay, and JuanCash.

Customers can move up to P490,000 or its equivalent in other currencies per transaction to their external accounts or e-wallets.

Wise PH said it currently does not support payments funded via bank transfer.

Users of Wise Account or Wise Prepaid Card can pay internationally in over 160 countries or online, as well as withdraw cash from both overseas and local automated teller machines (ATM) at the mid-market rate and a low conversion fee when using the card.

The spending limit for the Wise Prepaid Card is also at P490,000, with a monthly spending limit of P2 million.

Customers can make two free ATM withdrawals of up to P12,000 each month. The monthly limit for ATM withdrawals is P275,000.

Wise offers users up to three digital cards with different details that can be frozen after each transaction.

The company also plans to introduce additional funding methods, such as paying via bank transfers and e-wallets in the future. Currently, customers can only top up their Wise Account through a bank-issued credit or debit card.

It will also launch two more platforms: one tailored for small businesses and one for companies.

Mr. Cuevas also said they are looking to partner with local banks, adding that it will be part of InstaPay soon as part of the requirements for an electronic money issuer.

“That will allow us to send money or receive money to a lot more participants. With Wise being part of that rail, that opens us to a lot more partners,” he said.

Wise has 16 million users globally and processes over £9 billion in cross-border transactions every month. — A.M.C. Sy