Currency exchange startup Transferwise has expanded into new territory, opening up beyond Euros and Sterling for the first time.
After a quiet testing period, the London-based company — which uses a peer-to-peer engine that lets people transfer money between currencies and countries at radically cheaper rates than traditional banking — is officially announcing on Friday that users can now move money into and out of Swiss Francs (CHF) and Polish Zloty (PLN).
It’s a new service based around a partnership with The Currency Cloud, another London finance startup that provides a platform for APIs to access banking services across 200 countries.
“When we’re looking at rolling out in new currencies we have to look at the regulatory situation and partner with a bank,” Transferwise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus told me. “The Currency Cloud help us with the banking component.”
“The systems for currency conversion used by banks are outdated,” added Currency Cloud CEO Michael Laven. “We’ve been working with Transferwise for quite a while… but while we admire their approach to mainstream customers, we’re in the background, we’re a technology platform.”
But while the choices of new currency may seem odd at first, there are good reasons for both Swiss and Polish links. The company is currently regulated to operate across Europe, and beyond Euro payments it now has access to the extensive Swiss financial system and Poland’s large community of ex-patriot workers who are spread all over the continent.
Since launching last year, Transferwise has already process millions of Euros in payments for its customers, and now counts PayPal co-founder Max Levchin among its investors.
But Hinrikus suggested that with the help of The Currency Cloud, his company could begin expanding into new currencies — including what could prove to be the biggest prize of all.
“Without them it would have been much harder to do this,” he told me. “We’re looking forward to adding new currencies very soon.”
Including the U.S. dollar? He wouldn’t say exactly, but suggested that it might have moved up in the company’s plans.
“It’s definitely much closer to happening than it was before,” he said.
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