TransferWise eyes further bank partnerships

  • By Christine St Anne

On the back of its tie-up with digital bank Up announced on Tuesday, TransferWise will be looking at forging partnerships with banks in the region. 

Speaking to AB+F on the sidelines at the FinTech Australia Intersekt event on Tuesday, TransferWise head of banks, Murali Akella said the global business is aiming to integrate TransferWise’s API directly into their own infrastructure.

“Bringing TransferWise for Banks to Australia is another positive step towards our vision of everyone getting a fast, cheap, transparent way to send money abroad and we’re thrilled to have Up on board as our first Australian partner,” Akella said – pictured left with Up co-founder Dominic Pym.

TransferWise will target both neobanks and incumbents.

“Neobanks will be able to go faster to market with our infrastructure rather than having to build it themselves,” Akella said.

For the incumbents, the opportunity here is expand any of their existing systems into “lighter” rails.

The integration with TransferWise makes Up the first Australian bank to provide international money transfers with no exchange rate markups, setting the stage for the rest of the banking sector, in-line with the recommendations put forward by the ACCC. 

Working together is a very natural fit and we’re excited for this to be the first of many bank partnerships in Australia and the broader Asia Pacific region

Up customers will know upfront exactly how much they’ll pay in fees and the corresponding amount they’ll receive in the foreign currency.

The TransferWise for Banks launch in Australia, follows a succession of bank partnerships across Europe, including Monzo in the UK, Bunq in the Netherlands, N26 in Germany and LHV in Estonia. 

TransferWise has also announced a partnership with BPCE, France’s second largest bank and more recently in the US with Novo, a banking platform for small businesses, freelancers and startup founders, and Stanford FCU, a credit union that serves the Stanford University community and tech companies in the Bay Area.

"By plugging into our API, Up just became the fastest and cheapest to use in Australia for international payments.

“In fact, Australians staying with traditional providers could end up paying between 5-8 times more than Up customers, who will have a seamless, low-cost TransferWise experience without leaving the Up app,” Akella said.  

“Working together is a very natural fit and we’re excited for this to be the first of many bank partnerships in Australia and the broader Asia Pacific region.”

Importantly he added that venture highlights the importance of collaboration in the sector.