Monzo partners with Transferwise to offer international money transfers

Monzo has partnered with Transferwise to offer international payments to its customers.

The UK challenger bank has integrated with TransferWise’s API, to help customers send money in 16 currencies using the Monzo app.

More currencies will be added in the near future, the payments should be instant or take a few hours and will cost an upfront fee.

The service is first being rolled out to a small group of Monzo’s 750,000 customers, and the rest over a five week period.

TransferWise CEO and co-founder Kristo Käärmann said: “Monzo shares our passion for bringing fairness and transparency to the banking sector, so giving their customers access to international payments through our API is a perfect fit. Monzo is our first UK bank partnership to go live, and joins a suite of European partners dedicated to offering their customers a better service, including French bank BPCE and Germany’s N26.

“Together, we’re setting new standards for retail banking, creating smart, low cost services that truly meet the hopes of the modern consumer,” he added. 

Tom Blomfield, CEO of Monzo, said: “We’ve been eager to bring international payments to Monzo customers for a while. Thousands of our customers have friends and family living abroad, and they shouldn’t have to pay over the odds to send them money.

“Both TransferWise and Monzo are committed to building fair, transparent and easy to use products. TransferWise has disrupted international payments,and we’re so pleased our customers will now have access to fast, low cost and convenient international transfers, straight from the Monzo app,” he concluded. 

Monzo customers who don’t have existing TransferWise accounts will have an account automatically created for them when they choose to send money abroad. If they already have TransferWise, they can use those details to login via Monzo.

Since it was founded in February 2015, Monzo has shot up in popularity in the FinTech space. The company claims that its customers have spent over £2bn with Monzo cards to date.

The company now employs more than 300 people across offices in London, Cardiff, and remotely around the world. In February 2018, the company received passporting permission to operate in the Republic of Ireland, and a couple of months later the bank launched overdrafts after announcing that the majority of its customers upgraded to current accounts.

It has received hefty investment since its inception. Back in February 2017, the company closed a £19.5m Series B round, followed by an equally respectable Series C round of £22m.Then in November 2017 it hit a valuation of £280m after landing a huge additional £71m from investors including Goodwater Capital and Stripe.

TransferWise is a much older company than Monzo. It was founded in 2011 by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann. Since then, it has  raised around $397m from investors such as IVP, Old Mutual, Andreessen Horowitz, Sir Richard Branson, Valar Ventures and Max Levchin of PayPal.

According to stats from the company, more than 3 million people use TransferWise to transfer over £2bn every month, in the 50 currencies that the company offers. In April 2017 it expanded to Singapore and earlier this year it launched its borderless account and debit card which enables people to hold over 40 currencies in a virtual account.

Notable investment rounds closed by the company include a $26m funding round led by Baillie Gifford in May 2016, followed by a much larger $280m round announced in November 2017. The latter was  round led by Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI) and IVP, a Silicon Valley Venture fund, which has also invested in Snap, Dropbox and Twitter.