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HSBC lets businesses ‘pay like a local’ with global currency account

Avoiding the need for expensive international payments.

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Banking giant HSBC appears to be on a mission to cut international payment fees for its customers. 

First with the launch of fee-free payments for its US customers, and today with the arrival of its multi-currency account.

Called the HSBC Global Wallet, the new account lets businesses hold seven different currencies, including Euros, Pound Sterling and US Dollars, and then use those funds to ‘pay like a local’ in dozens of countries around the world.

“Global Wallet makes it as easy for our customers to deal with a supplier or a client on the other side of the world, as it is to deal with one on the other side of town,” said HSBC’s global head of liquidity and cash management Diane Reyes.

“We’re giving our clients a virtual presence in markets around the world—where they can hold and send cash just like a local business—while also eliminating the need to use third-party platforms for international payments.”

HSBC says it plans to add new currencies to Global Wallet soon and, because payments are made using a local payments network level through the bank, they’re much faster than traditional international payments.

To start off with, Global Wallet is available for customers in Singapore, the UK and the US, with more markets also coming soon.

As with HSBC’s earlier Global Money Account and PagoFX, Santander’s low-cost international transfer service, all are trying to shore up the traditional banks’ international payments businesses against fintech competitors like Wise and Azimo.

Meanwhile, these fintechs are fighting to carve out a chunk of the SME market by offering a low-cost solution that undercuts what most banks offer.

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