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TransferWise launches world’s first peer-to-peer international money transfer app

by david.nunes

TransferWise launches world’s first peer-to-peer international money transfer app

LONDON, 23 October 2013: TransferWise, the international money transfer platform started by the first employee of Skype, has today launched the world’s first peer-to-peer money transfer app.

The free app, which is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, enables users to bypass banks and their ‘hidden fees’ in order to transfer money abroad cost effectively and at the touch of a button.

To set up a payment users simply select currencies, import contact/payment details and upload the amount they wish to transfer. TransferWise then processes the money and sends a final notification when the payment has been completed.

Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of TransferWise, said: “This new app has been designed to take the hassle out of transferring money overseas, by saving users both time and money. We offer significantly cheaper and more transparent money transfers than banks – just 0.5% of the money being transferred, while banks charge up to 5%.

“We can afford to do that because our technology bypasses the traditional international bank payments system and directly matches consumers and companies in different countries who want the opposite currency.

Following the launch of the app, users will now be able to take advantage of the service while on the go. So, whether you’re an international student, expat or business owner, the world really is becoming a smaller place”.

TransferWise was founded by Mr Hinrikus, a former Skype director, and consultant Kristo Käärmann in 2010. Following a recent $6m (£3.9m) investment from Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal and influential Silicon Valley venture capitalist, TransferWise is transferring up to £1 million a day for consumers and small businesses.

Following the investment, TransferWise has launched a new ‘pay button’ service to allow freelancers and small companies to easily invoice and receive payment from overseas clients at the lowest possible cost to both parties.

It has also doubled the number of currencies it offers – with the Indian Rupee, South African Rand and Turkish Lira among those recently added – so more of its users can avoid the complexity and hidden costs associated with traditional foreign exchange providers.

Unlike banks and brokers, TransferWise is always transparent about its pricing. The technology removes the hidden fees that have been used by traditional foreign exchange companies for decades. It can be up to 10 times cheaper than using a bank.

About Transferwise

  • Estonian friends Taavet Hinrikus, the first ever employee of Skype, and consultant Kristo Käärmann came up with the idea for building the platform in 2010 when they first became expats in London and were confronted by the high fees banks charge to transfer money abroad.
  • International money transfers are more expensive than meets the eye – even when banks and brokers claim there are ‘no fees’. Many banks take as much as 5 percent of the money being sent. TransferWise is a clever, new alternative that allows people to transfer money abroad at a lower cost than ever before. It uses technology developed by the people who built Skype and PayPal to remove all the fees the foreign exchange industry has kept hidden for decades. Customers have already moved more than £250m using the platform – an approach that has put over £10m back in their pockets. 
  • The business has transferred over £250m worth of customers’ money, saving its customers over £10m in banking fees.
  • TransferWise started in early 2011 with the two founders, making transfers between just British Pound and Euro. It has since added a further 45 members of staff and over 100 currency routes. The firm continues to grow between 20-30 percent a month. 
  • TransferWise supports currency transfers between Euro, British Pound, Swiss Franc, Polish Zloty, Turkish Lira, Romania Leu, Georgian Lari, Hungarian Forint, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Krone. It also supports transfers from these currencies to Indian Rupee, South African Rand, US, Australian, Singapore and New Zealand Dollar. Transfers from these currencies to all other supported currencies and many other routes are coming soon. 
  • TransferWise has attracted $7.35m from some of the world’s most sought after investors. Most recently this includes Facebook’s first outside investor and co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel. TransferWise marked his first Valar Ventures investment in Europe. 
  • Other investors include SV Angel, fellow PayPal founder, Max Levchin, IA Ventures, Index Ventures, TAG (Robin Klein and Saul Klein), Seedcamp, Betfair’s former CEO David Yu, and the owner of Le Monde Xavier Niel (via Kima Ventures). 
  • TransferWise is fully regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA; formerly the FSA – Financial Services Authority).

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