Starling Bank, the soon-to-launch app-based bank, has announced a partnership with international money transfer firm TransferWise. The two companies will be tied together via API, allowing Starling customers to make foreign currency payments at the “real” exchange rate, plus a small upfront fee.
Starling Bank unveiled its marketplace open API in February, thereby laying the groundwork for its marketplace platform. The API allows third parties to access Starling’s customer data and to build products on top of the banking platform. Starling’s marketplace, which is underpinned by the API, will provide customers with access to a broad range of financial products, often via fintech partnerships. TransferWise is the first of these partnerships to be announced.
TransferWise allows users to make international transfers from the UK across 35 different currencies, including in euros, US dollars, Indian rupees and Australian dollars. The platform works on peer-to-peer technology, and has raised $91m in venture funding since launching in 2011. In addition to new partner Starling Bank,Transferwise also boasts API integrations with Facebook Messenger and digital bank N26.
Fintech tie-ups of this kind are becoming increasingly prevalent, and disruptors in the digital banking sector have been a big driver. Only yesterday we reported on the new instant credit offering that has been fashioned by the app bank Revolut and peer-to-peer lender Lending Works.
Commenting on the TransferWise deal, Starling Bank’s chief platform officer Megan Caywood said that offering access to "the best financial products and services in the market" is a key part of the firm’s vision for changing banking.
"TransferWise’s technology and business model have been transformational for millions of people sending money abroad and transferring currencies," she said. "They ensure convenience, offer the real exchange rate, and put the customer first. These are all values that are important to Starling and our partnership signifies a vital step for UK banking customers."