TransferWise is reportedly mulling whether to roll out a card linked to customers’ accounts.
According to a report by Business Insider, which cited multiple sources, TransferWise is being prompted to look at a card linked to customers’ accounts because of a slew of new entrants into the marketplace during the last year.
TransferWise, which launched in 2011, lets people send money abroad online. It was one of the first FinTech unicorns in the U.K. and counts Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel and Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson, among others, as investors.
Competition in the space is heating up, with Business Insider pointing to Revolut as one major competitor. Revolut is a zero-fee foreign exchange card operator that has lured over 300,000 users in a year and raised £6.75 million from venture capital firm Index Ventures, one of TransferWise’s investors. TravelEx also launched SuperCard, which lets customers spend with a card overseas and has no fees or commissions.
According to the report, TransferWise is looking at the merits of launching a card, letting customers spend money directly via their TransferWise accounts. In January, the company switched its license from one that only lets it send money overseas to an eMoney license that is more comprehensive. With the eMoney license, holders can issue payment instruments and hold customer money, instead of just facilitating a transfer of it. TransferWise moves around £800 million a month over its platform globally and had losses of £17.3 million for the year.
The move comes as TransferWise has been collecting state licenses in the U.S. since last year. The firm also recently announced its rapidly forthcoming ability to directly access the U.K.’s real-time payment system. At present, it still requires small banks as partners. TransferWise CEO and Cofounder Taavet Hinrikus has noted that it has always been the firm’s long-term ambition to hold its own licenses, though such licensing requires that the firm secure verification for things which it is not currently responsible. These are things like making sure its clients aren’t laundering money and that accounts are adequately funded to make transfers. TransferWise noted that it is already doing such checks, and thus, the regulations create no change in procedure.