Fintech firm Wise launches a feature that lets users spend money invested in stocks


September 22, 2021: British financial technology firm Wise debuted investments feature Tuesday, letting users invest in stocks through multiple currencies and spend their holdings.

The new feature, known as Assets that permits customers to invest in BlackRock’s iShares World Equity Index Fund, tracking a basket of 1,557 of the world’s biggest public companies. The fund’s holdings also include Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet.

Users will also instantly spend up to 97% of the invested money in their accounts with a Wise debit card or send funds overseas. The idea is that customers can hold their funds in stocks and still spend and send the money in real-time.

“Holding money in various currencies can be hard to manage efficiently,” said Kristo Käärmann, Wise’s CEO and co-founder.

“Assets is seeking to solve that problem by providing an opportunity for customers to earn a return on their money with us, in a host of different currencies, all in one place.”

Wise said that it is holding back 3% of users’ invested cash as a “buffer” in case of significant market fluctuations to prevent customers’ balances from dipping into negative territory.

The company is launching Assets for personal and business customers in the U.K. but plans to roll out the product in Europe later.

Formerly known as TransferWise, Wise started life as a platform offering cheaper currency exchange. It has since expanded its range of products to add in the multi-currency accounts linked to a debit card.

Now, Wise then rolls out investment accounts after having secured authorization from U.K. regulators last year.

The company says its customers now hold £4.3 billion ($5.9 billion) in their balances globally.

Wise’s investing feature is different from that of other fintech platforms like Robinhood and Revolut, which let users trade various stocks, often without paying commission fees.

With Assets, Wise users will get exposure to hundreds of stocks and use their holdings to pay for the goods or send money abroad in several currencies.

The launch of Assets came after an increase in retail investors participating in the stock market, as consumers searched for alternative ways to earn a return on their savings.

The debut was viewed as a big win for the U.K., where the government is looking to reform London’s listing regime to make it more attractive for tech companies following Brexit.

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