Monday 4 June 2018 10:51 am

Fintech unicorn Transferwise partners with first major European bank BPCE, gaining 15.1m new customers

Out with the old and in with the new: digital money transfer service Transferwise has partnered with Banques Populaires’ and Caisses d’Espargne (BPCE), France’s second largest bank, to integrate its API directly into BPCE’s banking apps.

Set to go live at the beginning of 2019, the partnership between Groupe BPCE, its international banking arm Natixis Payments and Transferwise will see the fintech firm’s international payments API power all payments made digitally by the group’s 15.1m retail customers at the mid-market exchange rate.

Transactions will also be set at Transferwise’s low-cost 0.5 per cent fee on most routes, and will serve over 60 international destinations. Currently over 3m people use the platform to transfer more than £2bn every month.

Transferwise’s CEO Kristo Kaarmann said that the deal is “proof that we can scale our technology”, as the fintech startup-turned-scale up has made several big steps in recent months. In April, it became the first non-bank payment provider to be join the UK’s Faster Payments scheme, and is said to be valued at around $1.6bn (£1.19bn).

Read more: Transferwise becomes first non-bank to join Faster Payments

Today’s announcement has been made as part of Groupe BPCE’s TEC 2020 strategy, which aims to boost the bank’s digital innovation efforts. Antoine Vacheron, a member of the senior management committee of Natixis Payments, said: "Integrating fintech services in the payment journey is an integral part of Natixis Payments’ DNA and know-how, allowing us to build better payments every day

“We are excited to join forces with a solution as innovative as Transferwise, that meets the critical needs of consumers today when it comes to international money transfer.”

Success has not come without its setbacks, after it was revealed that Transferwise’s initial partnership with digital challenger Starling Bank has since been disbanded.

Read more: Starling Bank to raise up to £80m, with its eyes set on the RBS prize

According to a person familiar with the matter, the separation was amicable, as Starling hopes to utilise its own international payments system in the near future. Transferwise still retains a partnership with German challenger bank N26, as well as Estonia's LHV.