Q&A with Krisztina, Operations Specialist

OperationsBudapest

I’m a payment processing specialist in our European currencies team, focusing on Norwegian (NOK), Danish (DEK) and Swedish (SEK) kronor. What this means is that I deal with our payments to and from these currencies. If the customer makes a mistake in their transfer, I recover it and contact the bank if needed.

I act as a point of contact for these currencies. For instance, I help our Customer Support team respond to customers that have questions about them. I also work with our Engineering team to make our product better for the currencies. I help them understand the customer pain-points in our current processes, and together we brainstorm how we can make them more efficient.

Why did you join TransferWise?

I studied Payments and Business at university, and have a huge passion for the industry. I had used TransferWise before and loved it, but had no idea we had an office in Budapest. Knowing I could combine the two – a product I love and payments, got me intrigued. What sold me on the job was the culture. During my interviews, I could see it was a very warm, welcoming environment.

Have you done any other roles at TransferWise?

Yes, I joined our Customer Support team first. When I had my new joiner onboarding, we had side-by-sides with a few people from the Operations team — dealing directly with payments excited me so much! The person doing the training was so lovely and showed me how they coordinate payments and deal with banks. It inspired me to move into Operations as soon as I could.

Why did you want to make the move and what steps did you take to do it?

We didn’t have an Operations team in Budapest at the time, but I was so enthusiastic about getting in that I was considering applying to the team in Tallinn. My team lead told me to be patient and learn as much as I could in Customer Support for my first year. When I reached my one year, they’d opened a position in Budapest too, so I applied and got in!

To make the change, I did everything to understand the product thoroughly. I did as many side-by-sides with the team as I could to understand how payments work at TransferWise. I made sure to ask lots of questions.

What’s the biggest challenge working here?

We’re growing so fast that it’s sometimes difficult to keep up, both in terms of product knowledge and also our culture. When I joined, everyone in the Budapest office knew each other. Now we’re growing so fast it takes effort to get to know all new joiners.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

We changed our email system from Desk to Zendesk. With hundreds of people working in Customer Support, it was a huge move. I was part of the feedback team, which meant I was the link between our Customer Support team and our Product Manager for the project. We were testing the new email system so I’d gather feedback from the team logging any issues that came up and communicate them to our Product Manager. As a part of the project, I got to visit our office in Tampa, Florida, for a week. I was a point of contact for any issues before the migration went live. When I heard I’d get to go there I started crying – happy tears obviously!

What does working with freedom and autonomy mean to you?

Freedom to me is the little, but meaningful things like wearing what I want to work, and no strict, smart dress code. You can wear whatever feels comfortable, and nobody will judge you. It means I can bring myself to work every day in every sense.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made at TransferWise and what did you do to fix it?

I was doing a training session for the Operations team that lasted for 2 hours. It was payouts during that time, which means we pay the transfers to recipients. I didn’t have anyone to cover me because I had sent out enough currency to cover the outgoing payouts. But after the training session, I saw more than 500,000 SEK didn’t go through because there wasn’t enough liquidity. Even though it was only for 2 hours, there were 100 payments that hadn’t gone through yet because of this.

I owned up to my mistake and contacted the person who had done my currencies before me to ask how I can fix the problem in the quickest way possible. They helped me, and we could reroute the payouts through a different partner. Luckily we were able to avoid any delay for our customers. But after that, I learned to double-check everything and make sure I don’t schedule long meetings during payouts when nobody’s there to cover.

What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever done?

I worked for a company that organises bachelor parties in Budapest. I would plan a programme for the groups, pre-book their activities, pick them up from the airport with a bus or a limo, take them to their accommodation and then to their activities. Once I had 18 Spanish guys who barely spoke any English! My job was to make sure they had a great time and make it to all their activities and eventually home at the end of the night.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done at TransferWise?

During Summer Days, I did the engineering activity track where we had to build a bridge using pasta and hot glue. I ended up in a group with our CEO Kristo. At one point, a mosquito flew on his hand, and I killed it. He was concentrating so hard that I don’t think he even noticed it, but I was so embarrassed after, I didn’t realise what I did!

It was so lovely to get to know him a little more during the activity. When he came to visit the Budapest office, me and my other team-mate from the Operations team here had lunch with him. It was nice that he took time with us too.