Alternative Finances

Ipagoo Launches Cross-Border Virtual Banking Just For Europe

Ipagoo, an online-only service that lets Euro-zone customers create virtual bank accounts throughout Europe, is set to launch on Friday (Feb. 6), the Financial Times reported.

The service will initially go live for personal accounts in the U.K., Spain, France, and Italy. Over the next two years, service for the rest of Europe will be rolled out, starting with Germany, ipagoo founder Carlos Sanchez told the FT. Business accounts will also be available starting in March.

Ipagoo is regulated as an electronic money institution by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, and it doesn’t make loans or invest customers’ money, according to ipagoo’s website. The service charges individuals £10 a month for access to as many as three accounts they can use for making payments. Business customers will pay £15 a month.

Sanchez’s investment management company, Orwell Union Partners, will also offer ipagoo customers access to third-party cash management funds and other financial products beginning later this year, the FT reported.

Sanchez, a former Goldman Sachs Asset Management director, told the FT that he got the idea for ipagoo after living in different European countries and having to open a new bank account each time he moved. “It would always take months for the banks to provide something that should be so straightforward,” he said.

Once a customer has set up an ipagoo account, he can set up a local account “in just three clicks,” Sanchez said.

The service will also allow instant cross-border cash transfers, with or without changing the currency used, and support most common individual banking services including bank transfers and direct debits, and offers mobile apps for transaction management and payments and budget control — but no branches, checks or overdraft protection.

Customers can also get a MasterCard debit card and can change the account linked to it at will. Cardholders can even combine cash from multiple accounts into a pool to make payments that would be too large to come from any one of the accounts.

Ipagoo also plans to offer merchant services, including point-of-sale (POS) terminals, mobile POS and online card-acceptance services.

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