Business Technology

Sunday 27 May 2018

'We love Stripe...one of the most organic and ethical firms in the industry' - Leading fintech startup Transferwise

Limerick-born brothers Patrick and John Collison, co-founders of Stripe
Limerick-born brothers Patrick and John Collison, co-founders of Stripe
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

A market leading fintech startup has said that payments firm Stripe, created by the Irish Collison brothers, are a company industry participants should aspire to.

TransferWise has just become the first non-bank to become direct member of the Faster Payments Scheme (FPS), enabled by new access to Bank of England settlement account.

Essentially, the BoE is giving tech companies the same rights to process payments as the retail banks, "enabling us to cut out the middlemen and offer people a faster, cheaper service", according to CEO and co-founder Kristo Käärmann.

Co-founded by Estonians Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann in 2011, the peer-to-peer money transfer service was created out of their own personal need to bank foreign currencies cheaply.

Flora Coleman
Flora Coleman

The startup has raised $397m from investors such as IVP, Old Mutual, Andreessen Horowitz, Sir Richard Branson, Valar Ventures and Max Levchin of PayPal.

Head of Government Relations of Transferwise, Flora Coleman, said that the company's forward-thinking, customer-orientated approach is similar to that of the billionaire Collison brothers.

"We are a big fan of what Stripe is doing, they won't stop until they are the best - and that's how we think also," she told Independent.ie.

"Stripe are one of the most organic, most ethical, second wave fintech startups and what they are doing is simply incredible."

Flora is speaking at Dublin Tech Summit 2018 about changing European legislation to make sending, spending and receiving money cheaper and truly transparent.

"Transferwise aims to help its customers spend save and live like a local," she told Independent.ie.

"We're trying to reduce the amount of the times the currencies has to cross the borders because once you do that it gets hugely expensive.

"That's how we started off but last year we opened these borderless bank accounts. They allow you to hold and store more than 30 currencies in any currency anywhere around the world."

In July 2017 the Bank of England announced that non-bank payment service providers were eligible to apply for a settlement account in its Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system.

Direct connection to RTGS and the Faster Payments Scheme enables TransferWise to lower processing costs for the end customer.

Transferwise has just celebrated the milestone of reaching 1,000 employees across its network.

"But most importantly we now have two million active customers using our service all the time," said Flora.

As it has gained the trust of the BoE, TransferWise has called on other central banks around the world to follow UK example.

BoE Governor Mark Carney said that the UK payments industry and authorities are working together "to deliver on their strategic priority of best-in-class payment services that are efficient, reliable and flexible".

"I am pleased that the first non-bank payment service provider now has direct access to the UK’s payment systems," he said.

"By stimulating competition and innovation, we anticipate increased diversity and risk-reducing payment technologies will reinforce financial stability while enhancing customer service."

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