This Messenger Bot Wants to Save You Big Money on International Transfers

wire transfer fees

If you regularly send money to family or friends in other countries, you’re probably no stranger to international wire transfers.

But a new Facebook Messenger bot wants to make your life easier if you’re constantly checking exchange rates or sending money abroad.

Here’s how.

TransferWise Bot for Facebook Messenger

On Feb. 20, online money transfer provider TransferWise Ltd. announced a new bot that’s integrated with Facebook Messenger. The bot allows customers to send money and set up rate alerts without leaving the Facebook Messenger app.

The bot could save you time; thanks to the wonderful world of economics, market rates continuously fluctuate. The new bot aims to take away the pain and wasted time associated with stalking the market yourself by alerting you when an agreeable exchange rate is available and allowing you to send the funds immediately.

To set up alerts, just tell the bot what currency you want to track and what currency you’re exchanging. From there, the bot will notify you of current rates at the same time each weekday.

After you receive notification of an exchange rate you’re satisfied with, you can send funds directly from the app. However, that’s only if you already have recipients set up in your account — if you don’t, you have to visit TransferWise’s website to provide the recipient’s details.

The bot is currently able to set up transfers from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and Europe.

Should You Use The New Bot?

According to NerdWallet, outgoing international wire transfer fees through major banks can cost anywhere from $20 to $65. And that’s just to send money — banks charge fees to receive money, as well. TransferWise’s fees vary, but minimums are as low as $3.

Sending funds through an app you might already use regularly and saving cash sounds alluring — but there are also potential risks.

Critics have concerns about privacy and data protection when it comes to financial exchanges through bots in third-party apps. And, if the bot somehow fails to “understand” your request, there’s a potential risk of loss.

Before you exchange money through a third-party service, experts recommend you choose a legitimate, regulated service that uses industry-standard HTTPS encryption, which TransferWise does. Without it, you may be vulnerable to having your information stolen.

To sum it up: Use it at your own risk!

Your Turn: What do you think about this new international wire service through the Facebook Messenger app?

Kelly Smith is a junior writer and engagement specialist at The Penny Hoarder and a senior at The University of Tampa. Catch her on Twitter at @keywordkelly.