Australian payment fintech courts UK digital bank
(5 December 2017 – United Kingdom) International payments startup Airwallex is taking steps to link its corporate customers to the United Kingdom’s (UK) Faster Payments scheme.
In a recent announcement, the Australian fintech said it is partnering with with British startup RailsBank, an open banking platform that facilitates connectivity into the UK and the European Union’s SEPA zones. Through their collaboration, RailsBank customers will also gain access to Airwallex’s cross-border payments and foreign exchange (FX) services.
The move expands Airwallex’s reach, with Europe now a part of its ecosystem that includes more than 100 countries. It also offers European businesses a way to begin trading with China, the companies said, by overcoming friction associated with international payments involving the country.
“As Airwallex continues to expand, we have partnered with RailsBank to ensure we can meet the demand we see from European businesses sending payments to Asia and vice versa,” said Airwallex VP of Europe Expansion Michael Stachowiak in a statement.
“Our partnership with RailsBank means we can hook into domestic payment methods through one integration to offer our customers a fast and viable new access point to transact in and out of Europe, encouraging greater transactions and trade between a strengthening European economy and the tiger economies of the Far East.”
In a separate statement, RailsBank Chief Operating Office and Co-Founder Clive Mitchell said the collaboration with Airwallex will be beneficial to corporations looking to streamline their payments.
“We’re excited to help Airwallex customers turbocharge their business by massively reducing the time and complexity of opening bank accounts through our partner network, streamlining technical integration with banks, enhancing banking functionality with core RailsBank services and enabling trusted compliance relationships,” Mitchell said.
Earlier this year, the fintech raised US$13 million in capital via a Series A funding round led by Chinese internet giant, Tencent, while Mastercard and venture capitalist firm Sequoia Capital also participated.
Airwallex said it would use the funding to focus on the launch of a suite of APIs and to expand internationally; at the time, the company said it had particular interest in entering the European market.
According to East & Partners’ UK Business FX program, the trend of non-bank providers making market share inroads in the Spot FX market continues, particularly in the Micro and SME segments (£1-20 million annual turnover). The increase in these providers, and added competition from traditional banks has also squeezed wallet share to between 17.9-22.1 percent across all three business segments.