Anne Boden, Starling’s CEO

Anne Boden, Starling’s CEO

TransferWise will provide money transfer services to customers of UK challenger bank Starling when it launches later this month.

As Banking Technology has previously reported, the bank is getting ready for its 2017 launch. It will host its first hackathon, opening up its API to outside developers. It has received its UK banking licence, joined Faster Payments, got its first batch of debit cards and continues to build its infrastructure.

This latest deal, and TransferWise’s first with a UK bank, will allow Starling customers to make transfers from the UK across the 35 currencies available in the TransferWise app, including the euro, US dollars, Indian rupees and Australian dollars.

Scott Miller, head of partnerships at TransferWise, says: “The partnership is a powerful example of how the TransferWise API can be used to integrate TransferWise into any UK or EU bank and business payment system.”

According to the companies, UK banks typically charge an upfront fee for international payments, plus an exchange rate mark-up. Starling Bank says its customers will benefit from foreign currency payments at the real, Reuters exchange rate with only a small upfront fee.

Space talk

In an exclusive interview with Banking Technology late last year, Starling talked about finding its niche and how it intends to prosper in an increasingly competitive space

Anne Boden, Starling’s CEO, said: “There is no strategic advantage as doing the same as the big banks. We are a small organisation – very well-funded – and all our energy is put into our products that can be transformed the most by technology. The current account is the only product that is crying out for revolution – for something different.”

It also secured $70 million in funding from Harald McPike, who runs QuantRes, a Bahamas-based private investment firm. Two of Starling’s six board members are QuantRes directors.