TransferWise, a company which offers low cost international currency transfers, and GoCardless, which helps businesses collect recurring payments, are teaming up to offer a combined cross-border service, the two companies said Wednesday.
The partnership between the two prominent London-based financial technology startups will enable businesses in one country to collect recurring payments—such as subscription revenue or license fees—from customers in another country without the need to have a local bank account in the customers’ home market.
Payments will be taken from the end customer’s bank account by local bank transfer or direct debit. The business receives payment in their local currency, also via local bank transfer from GoCardless. TransferWise uses its peer-to-peer payment network to settle the foreign exchange transaction, charging the business the mid-market foreign exchange rate and a small fee
Hiroki Takeuchi, the chief executive officer of GoCardless, said the partnership was the first international payments network set up specifically to process recurring payments. He made the announcement of the partnership along with TransferWise’s co-founder and chairman Taavet Hinrikus at the Web Summit technology conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
“The world is becoming increasingly borderless and businesses want to go more global,” Takeuchi said. “But the payment systems that they need to run their businesses internationally are keeping them back.”
Currently, many businesses rely on credit cards to take cross-border subscription payments. But this can result in failed payments and lost revenue when customers’ cards expire or are cancelled, GoCardless said in a blog post detailing the new partnership. In addition, credit card companies often charge high fees to process these foreign currency transactions.
Other businesses rely on international bank transfers for higher value recurring transactions, but bank transfers can take several days to clear and banks often charge high fees and offer uncompetitive exchange rates for such transactions, the company said.
Hinrikus said the partnership extends TransferWise’s continuing expansion into business services. The company, which was founded in 2011, was initially set up to help consumers make inexpensive international payments. “We set up TransferWise because consumers were getting screwed by the banks on international payments,” Hinrikus said. “We realized later that businesses were also being challenged and getting a very poor service from banks.”
He said that TransferWise is currently 19 times cheaper on average than sending money through PayPal.
TransferWise is among Europe’s most successful fintech business. The company, which was founded in 2011, has raised $689 million in venture capital funding to date and was valued at $3.5 billion following a secondary share sale in May. GoCardless, which was founded the same year, has raised $122 million to date, including a $75 million venture round in February.
GoCardless’s payment network will serve 30 countries—which the company says represent 70% of the global market for recurring payments—and allow payments to businesses in eight different currencies, including British pounds, U.S. dollars and euros.
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