UK-based Transferwise moves into Canada to challenge high money transfer fees


As banks often take “a pound of flesh” for moving money across countries, The Disruptors co-host Amber Kanwar sat down with UK-based Transferwise, which recently entered Canada and has attracted the attention of investors like Peter Thiel and Richard Branson, to find out how they’re trying to solve this problem.

Transferwise “Moving money across countries shouldn’t really cost that much, it’s just moving bits and bytes electronically. It’s a bit more difficult than sending emails across countries, but not by a huge amount,” said Kristo Käärmann, executive co-founder of Transferwise. “But somehow, banks get to take about $200 billion every year in hidden charges for international transfers. We see this not only as a local or European problem, it’s very much a global problem.”

In the past, Transferwise has been accused of “skirting regulations” in the US to offer their services. “We’re licensed in most countries and the rules that apply to us are the same that apply to banks — like banks, we have to do anti-money laundering procedures, and to be honest I think it’s much harder to do something inappropriate via our platform than through a traditional banking system,” he said. “In Canada, we’re licensed by FinTrac, the local FinTech regulator.”

Watch the whole interview below:

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Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.

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