«Wise has set the perfect example for a good partnership»
Wise Platform and neon began our partnership back in 2020 to bring fast, cheap, convenient, and transparent international payments to neon customers. For too long, Swiss customers have had few choices about how to send their money abroad; together, we are on a mission to change that. Now, over 20,000 neon customers are sending money internationally quickly, cheaply, conveniently and transparently, right from within their neon app. Read more below, as Steve Naudé, Head of Wise Platform, speaks to Julius Kirscheneder, Co-Founder of neon, about our partnership journey and what comes next.
SN: How did the neon/Wise Platform partnership come about? What drove neon to look for a partner to support cross-border payments and choose Wise over our competitors/other solutions?
JK: Cross-border payments are an important use case in the Swiss market and for neon customers. Many Swiss natives are working or living abroad, and we have many second and third generation immigrants or expats in Switzerland with family abroad. Yet, settling payments in different currencies and across countries has historically been extremely complex, in large part due to low competition and few options – all of which are relatively expensive and slow to use.
In order to focus on our core mission, we decided to ally with an established partner that could solve those problems for us and give us an advantage for our users. With Wise, we found a partner that shares our vision – we both aim to bring transparency to a market that was lacking it before. Wise’s offer also stood out from the competition due to its high efficiency. Wise is not only low cost – it also enables fast settlement times and a simple, easy integration process.
SN: Why did you decide to partner with Wise rather than building a cross-border payments solution internally?
JK: At neon, we aim to leverage the power of a strong ecosystem of partners. Cooperation with partners allows us to focus on our core services while delivering an innovative solution that fulfils our neon-criteria: digital, simple, customer-centric, and valuable. Partnerships also allow us to focus on the areas where either no solution for our clients exists in the Swiss market yet, or where we are convinced that we can provide a better solution than anybody else.
SN: What has it been like to work with Wise Platform?
JK: Wise has set the perfect example for a good partnership. The integration was quick and easy, and we were provided with great documentation of the Wise API from the outset. neon and Wise worked together to make sure the product was set up to be highly modular and flexible. This allows us to add additional currencies or even whole new features in no time as and when we want to.
On the rare occasions where we require additional customer support, Wise always responds swiftly and accurately to make sure any issues are resolved. In this way, our joint approach to customer service works very well, allowing the speedy resolution of any requests and always to the benefit of our customers.
neon and Wise share a similar culture and have similar values; we are both focused on providing a digital first solution that is easy, transparent, and challenges the status quo. We believe that this has laid the groundwork for our successful collaboration.
SN: What are some of the key problems/challenges that the partnership has encountered from your perspective, and how have we worked together to overcome them?
JK: We were the first Swiss fintech to incorporate Wise's services into our offering, which meant we didn’t have a blueprint to follow when we started the integration. At the same time, neon was still a very young start-up, so this posed a challenge for the whole team. We managed to overcome it by establishing direct lines of communications with Wise via Slack and Zoom, sharing feedback early on in the process and incorporating our highly agile approach into the partnership.
Ultimately, our shared commitment to transparent communication and our clear dedication to making this integration successful have made us feel sure that this is the right approach and a great partnership.
SN: How many neon users currently make use of the Wise integration?
JK: As of today, more than 20,000 (over 15%) neon clients have used our integration with Wise. Clients are now able to send money in more than 40 currencies around the globe, and the number of transactions made is growing exponentially. Of these transactions, more than 60% are settled into the recipient's account in less than 10 minutes. That’s a big difference compared to the experience of international transfers from classic Swiss banks. We already have very low attrition rates at neon, and expect this to continue.
SN: What’s next for neon? Where do you see our partnership a year from now?
JK: Our partnership with Wise is a unique feature in the Swiss market, and brings additional value to customers that other providers can’t offer, and we already see several attractive opportunities to expand our partnership. Many of our customers are requesting to see some more of the features and products that are available on the Wise app directly through neon, and delivering them is on our roadmap in 2023.