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TransferWise has taken a decision to introduce its debit card for customers in New Zealand and Australia offering a lot of benefits especially for those clients who will use their card abroad.
International money transfer startup TransferWise’s debit card announced that they are finally available in Australia and New Zealand. Also, they said they are expecting a Singapore launch as well by the end of 2019.
TransferWise’s debit card, famous for its low, transparent fees and exchange rates, saw the light of the day in the United Kingdom and Europe last year and in June this year, it became available in the U.S. as well. Since they started their work, approximately 15 million transactions have been made, and a total amount of over $10 billion has been deposited.
Customers in Australia and New Zealand will now have a possibility to utilize the TransferWise Platinum debit Mastercard that will be linked to TransferWise accounts. A business debit card is said to be available as well. The account itself enables its user to own bank account numbers and details in more than one country, which could facilitate money transfers in different currencies and reduce their costs as well.
TransferWise’s co-founder and CEO Kristo Käärmann said that the decision to introduce debit card in Australia and New Zealand is related to the fast rates of their business growth.
“In addition to responding to customer demand, launching the card in Australia and New Zealand was also driven by the fact that Aussies and Kiwis are being overcharged by banks for using their own money abroad. It is expensive to use debit, travel and credit cards for spending or withdrawals,” noted he.
According to studies conducted by Capital Economics, citizens of Australian lost $2.14 billion last year when they were using their cards abroad. This is because banks and other providers charge transaction fees every time the card is used abroad, plus, they charge an inflated exchange rate. In New Zealand, users lost $1 billion just for the same reason.
“While there are existing multi-currency cards that exist in Australia and New Zealand, they are prohibitively expensive to use. For example in Australia, the TransferWise Platinum debit Mastercard is on average 11 times cheaper than most travel, debit, prepaid and credit cards,” Käärmann said.
The cards don’t have transaction fees or exchange rate markups and cardholders are allowed to withdraw up to AUD $350 every 30 days for free at any ATM in the world.
Nicholas Lembo, who serves as an Australia country manager, confirmed that in Australia, the problem is banks typically charge a whole range of hidden fees that Australians aren’t always aware of — $2.14 billion each.
“That figure is so high in Australia obviously because the market here is very concentrated, and it’s only now, of course, that we’re seeing competition coming into the market, whether it’s TransfersWise, or other FinTech operating in this space.”
In other news, the company last month appointed Adyen NV Chief Financial Officer Ingo Uytdehaage and former Netflix Inc CFO David Wells to its board. In May this year, the company announced closing of a $292 million secondary funding round, which doubled its valuation to $3.5 billion.
Before the appointment of Wells and Uytdehaage, TransferWise’s board was composed of the company’s founders and two of its investors, Alex Rampell from Andreessen Horowitz and Roger Ehrenberg from IA Ventures.