In a press release, Alibaba said the partnership with Banking Circle showcases the effectiveness of Banking Circle being a provider of mission-critical infrastructure for online cross-border payments. “We are delighted to partner with Banking Circle. Its global network and disruptive technology make it an ideal partner for Alibaba’s future ambitions, building on the global infrastructure and technology platform that underpins the financial utility,” said Paul Li, head of payments at Alibaba, in the press release.
Domiciled in the European Union, Banking Circle specializes in providing global payment account transactions and foreign exchange services to financial institutions, including FinTechs, banks, acquirers, payment service providers, FX brokers, money transfer businesses, e-wallets, and alternative payment providers. “Payment providers who join Banking Circle can offer ‘local’ cross-border payments, with low fees, good FX rates and fast transfer times. It’s a cohesive solution – there’s no differentiation between local and cross-border payments. All payments occur quickly, at low cost. Payments are simply payments,” said Anders la Cour, co-founder, and chief executive of Banking Circle, in the same press release.
In July Saxo Bank divested its global B2B payments solution Banking Circle. At the time investment firm EQT, through EQT VIII fund and EQT Ventures fund, reached an agreement with Saxo Payments Banking Circle founders to acquire the assets, the company said. Banking Circle processes an estimated $70.5 billion in cross-border payments a year and works directly with partner banks for direct clearing access. EQT said it will focus on continued growth of Banking Circle in existing and new markets. The unit will continue to be led by Banking Circle’s existing management team, including la Cour and Laust Bertelsen, the press release noted at the time. Data released by East & Partners in early 2017 found Saxo Bank is among several non-bank players taking market share away from traditional banks in the U.K., in the corporate FX and cross-border payments market. Saxo, along with Western Union and American Express, landed in the top-five list of non-bank providers in the industry.