After a successful private launch earlier this year, the cross-border payments firm is expanding its banking horizons.
Payments unicorn TransferWise is opening up its ‘borderless’ multi-currency account and prepaid card to the public. As of today, anyone living in the UK and European Economic Area (EEA) will be able to open a free account with TransferWise, gaining access to local bank details for the UK, US, Australia and Europe in the process.
Users will be able to hold and convert money within the TransferWise account in more than 40 currencies, with zero fees for spending and receiving funds in any currency at the Mastercard exchange rate.
Currency conversion fees will also remain low and transparent: to convert £200 into EUR will cost a Borderless user just 70 pence, compared to a cost of up to £21.07 with a British retail bank, inclusive of exchange rate mark-ups and transaction fees.
“Multi-country banking has been the domain of big businesses and the rich for far too long,” said Kristo Käärmann, CEO and co-founder of TransferWise. “We’re on a mission to make the benefits of international banking available to everyone, no matter what their bank balance. That’s why we’re really excited to be able to bring the borderless account and debit card to our three million customers and more as of today.”
TransferWise is currently authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an e-money institution, meaning that it cannot offer users more than a prepaid banking account. However the firm also recently became the first non-bank to join the Bank of England’s payments system, giving it the same rights to process payments as retail banks.
Currently, more than £3m users transfer in excess of £2bn through TransferWise every month, which the platform claims to add up to over £2m of savings on fees and mark-ups every day.
In a change from the beta-testing period where cash withdrawals from foreign ATMs were free, TransferWise has opted to join the likes of Monzo and Revolut in charging for all withdrawals above a certain limit as part of the public launch. From July 1st, Borderless users will be able to withdraw up to £200 cash for free each month, after which a 2 per cent fee will come into play.
Käärmann added: “Every time people spend money on their UK debit card overseas or move money abroad with their high street bank they end up footing the bill for hidden charges and inflated exchange rates.
“With the borderless account people can send, spend and receive money with the real exchange rate and know exactly what the transaction is costing upfront. For freelancers and small businesses who want to attract customers worldwide, for expats, second homeowners and global nomads living between countries, the Borderless account is a gamechanger.”