Wise, the United Kingdom-based digital payments fintech firm formerly known as TransferWise, has expanded into Southeast Asia by way of the Philippines, with the launch of Wise Pilipinas.
While Wise has been in operation in the country since September 2023, its transition to Wise Pilipinas marks “a new chapter” for the fintech firm in Southeast Asia, the company says. With the launch of Wise Pilipinas, the company signals to local regulators that it is playing by local rules.
“As of September 20, 2023, Wise’s services in the Philippines are now fully operational under local regulations. This change introduces a value-added tax on transaction fees for users with a Philippine registered address, ensuring compliance with the country’s financial laws,” the company says.
In addition to the launch of the Philippine entity, Wise also announced the appointment of Isabel Ridad as chairman of the board of Wise Pilipinas. She also serves as an independent director.
Ridad joins Wise from Monetize, a fintech start-up she founded which offers small and medium-scale enterprises access to Neza, a business assistant powered by artificial intelligence. Monetize works with SMEs to offer a comprehensive platform for business operations, including accounting, expense management, tax, and payroll management.
Before that, Ridad served as acting chief executive officer of Philippine-based payments company PayMongo, where she helped secure US$31 million during the company’s Series B funding round. She continues to serve on PayMongo’s board.
Commenting on her appointment, Ridad says she “shares a vision” with Wise of empowering businesses through “innovative financial solutions, streamlining global commerce for a more accessible and efficient future”.
“I'm honoured to contribute to this journey, enhancing financial operations and growth opportunities for businesses in the Philippines and beyond,” Ridad adds.
Wise, launched as TransferWise in 2011 by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, has focused on cross-border payments. As of the start of 2024, it has over 16 million users worldwide, facilitating over £9 billion (US$11.3 billion) in transactions monthly.