Saturday 19 October 2019

TransferWise introduces its borderless account - with a debit card - to Ireland

Kristo Käärmann co-founded Transferwise
Kristo Käärmann co-founded Transferwise
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

TransferWise is introducing its borderless account - and related debit card - to Ireland, building on its money transfer service here.

For Irish consumers regularly travelling, living or working between two countries, the borderless account is expected to make managing their funds easier than before.

The UK-based tech startup launched in January 2011 with an aim to make international transfers cheaper, faster and more convenient.

Estonian-born co-founders Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus first built from concept to firm after they found themselves paying each other's bills to escape money transfer charges.

Today the company is valued at $1.6bn, has more than four million users in 56 countries, and is transferring more than €3bn each month.

Irish customers have already adopted the firm's popular transfer facility; Ireland is one of Transferwise's biggest markets in mainland Europe.

But now consumers and businesses here can get access to funds in pounds, euros, US dollars, and a Mastercard debit card, to spend the money.

The company got the idea for the borderless accounts after it noticed that a lot of its users were moving currencies between their own accounts.

"Sometimes people need to get paid in a different country. For example, a freelance writer might be filing for domestic clients but is also providing those services to other international businesses," Käärmann told

"We were already getting rid of the hidden bank charges that can cost up to ten times more, were allowing people to make payments and their convenience, and getting payments made in at little at 20 seconds, without having to wonder how much will be bitten off along the way.

"After borderless accounts launched, you can hold money in 45 different currencies, but the really interesting but is that we give local bank account numbers in a number of foreign countries."

The company said that Ireland is the first market in which the debit card has been made available to consumers and businesses at the same time.

Transferwise has raised around €397m from investors, which including Richard Branson, and announced a 77pc increase in revenue for its full financial year 2018, with £117m revenue and £6.2m net profit.

Case study

An 37-year-old IT professional Garreth Traynor*, who works in Dublin and lives in the North, has been using TransferWise for over two years.

"Before discovering TransferWise, pay day for me each month involved visiting the nearest branch of my ROI bank, withdrawing my wages, converting it to sterling in a local bureau de change and then depositing it in my UK bank account.

"This was often done with a toddler in tow, so it was a nightmare alone keeping him occupied while queueing in the banks. The whole process could take up to two hours, but was cheaper and a lot faster than using an interbank transfer.

"I found out about TransferWise through a colleague and decided to give it a go because it was online, promised a speedy transfer and the rate offered was actually better than my local bureau de change.

"Since then I haven’t looked back. It’s simple to use, I’ve never had any hassle with payments, each transfer arrives in my UK account in a matter of hours and the low fees means over time I’ve saved a considerable amount. For anyone with similar circumstances to me, it’s a no-brainer."

*real name not used

Online Editors

Also in Business