British financial technology company TransferWise has introduced the concept of ‘borderless’ bank accounts to Canada. Using the service, users can set up quasi-local bank accounts in the U.S., U.K and parts of Europe to send, store and receive cash.
The service is aimed at foreign citizens who often have to go through many hurdles in receiving payment for work done since their bank account could be based in another country and is especially useful for freelancers and business owners.
The special borderless bank accounts allow users to convert their money into 27 different currencies including the Euro and British pound among others. Another advantage is that users can exchange the currency at the actual exchange rate rather than settle for a lower rate offered by currency traders or other banks.
The service, which is aimed at making transferring money into local currency easier, does not charge any additional banking fees for an exchange, apart from the TransferWise rate. The account essentially lets users get local banking details, a company executive said.
TransferWise was launched as a currency exchange platform in 2011 and has since gained a lot of users. It let users send money into a local TransferWise account, after that it deposits the foreign currency equal to the amount in the recipient’s usual bank account. The best part of the whole transaction is that the recipient need not be a TransferWise customer as the money is sent to their regular bank account.
Users of the service were able to save money on bank fees since they dint have to open a local account in another country and also hefty transaction fees that could often arise during transferring money. The TransferWise borderless account is almost like a virtual account and users don’t have to visit a real world building to access their funds. Similarly, setting up the accounting is a lot easier too.
While it is primarily online and easier to access than regular banks, the service takes many steps to ensure that all transactions are legal and works with local regulators and administrative bodies to ensure this.
The next step is to launch a physical card that will enable TransferWise users to make local purchases and is looking at launching it by next year in the U.S and Canada, the company said. The TransferWise app can be downloaded from the App store and Play Store for Apple and Android.