FinTech unicorn TransferWise is making the process involved in transferring money much simpler and cheaper. The firm is now setting up its new office in Singapore as a part of its expansion plans. The office will initially operate actively next week onward with a team of eight employees.

With offices in Sydney and Tokyo, the startup is increasing its focus on the Asian region. Singapore will act as the company’s Asia-Pacific hub, and it plans to have a total of 30 staff members by the end of this year. Taavet Hinrikus, CEO, and co-founder, TransferWise, mentions,

It made perfect sense for TransferWise to choose Singapore as our APAC hub. The region is important for us as we expand globally, bringing our service to everyone in the world that transfers money internationally. And Singapore is the perfect location to grow our team here.

It was co-founded in 2010 by Estonian entrepreneurs Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus, its CEO, following their increasing frustration with the fees charged by mainstream banks for international money transfers. The startup was born as an alternative method for a more efficient transfer of money from country to country.

It has no room in its agenda for hidden fees (typically disguised by banks with sub-market exchange rates), offering near-market rates combined with a transaction fee. Money can then be sent almost instantly when sender and recipient are both in supported markets, while for others it may take a few working days to process. The company is also looking to open up shop in Hong Kong this year.

The service has been available for Singaporeans for quite a while but due to regulatory issues, they had to contact TransferWise and manually do the identity verification. However, the online verification step has been recently approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). TransferWise formally announced the launch of its international money transfer service in Singapore today. It is one of the first companies to provide online verification. Taavet added,

It’s a great step forward in creating a financial services sector that is focused on what’s best for the customer, rather than what’s best for the banks. Because of this we can fully launch our service in Singapore. That means people in Singapore finally have an alternative to the banks and remittance companies.

He added MAS is demonstrating their commitment to making the Lion City an ideal place where fintech firms have a greater scope to flourish and TranserWise is excited to be a part of that.

Launched in 2011, the UK-based firm has added $117 million to its coffers till date and is currently valued at over $1 billion. Its backers include high-profile investment firms such as Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Sir Richard Branson, and Max Levchin of PayPal. Over a million people use TransferWise to transfer over £1 billion every month, saving over £45 million altogether in a month compared to if they had used a bank.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.