Fintech firm Transferwise in early stage talks to team up with banks in the UK

Billy Bambrough
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Transferwise co-founder and CEO Taavet Hinrikus started the company because of he was frustrated by the cost of sending cash home (Source: Getty)

London fintech firm Transferwise is set to partner up with the banks it has previously accused of “scamming” customers.

The money transfer firm has announced it is in early stage talks with up to 20 banks around the world, including established and challenger banks in the UK, to embed its services in their online banking platforms.

Transferwise has run a series of aggressively anti-bank advertisements accusing big banks of overcharging customers sending money abroad.

Read more: Fintech 100: UK dominates KPMG’s global list of top fintech firms of 2015 with Transferwise, Funding Circle and Atom Bank

The startup firm, valued at $1bn (£650m) in January 2015, has already inked a deal with Estonian retail bank LHV that will see its service added into the bank’s mobile app and online bank early next year.

Transferwise’s co-founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann are both Estonian.

Hinrikus, also the company chief executive, said: “This partnership is a significant milestone for the whole financial sector.”

Banks are under pressure to update their foreign exchange fees and services due to increased competition from emerging rivals.

Serial entrepreneur Richard Branson poured money into Transferwise in 2014 as part of a $25m second funding round, though In October Virgin Money, part of Branson’s Virgin Group, signed up with rival forex firm World First.

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