A WorldFirst? New international payments platform for SMEs
WorldFirst has today unveiled World Account, a payments platform for SMEs and online sellers for ‘international business banking without the bank.’
As reported by our sister company Banking Technology, the company states the account will offer international banking functionality on one platform. It says ‘many businesses waste time and money’ trying to open up bank accounts in new currencies. These accounts are also often held in the UK, resulting in ‘additional cost and delays’ in payments.
Jonathan Quin, co-founder and CEO at WorldFirst, refers to it as the ‘first multi-currency international payments platform for businesses.’
WorldFirst was launched as a currency exchange company in 2004, in a south London basement. It now has offices around the world, and is one of Europe’s fastest-growing fintech organisations. Founders Quin and Nick Robinson were formerly bankers at Citibank, and found that smaller businesses suffered when it came to access to expert service and favourable rates. The typical margin taken on a WorldFirst transaction is 0.9%, according to the FT.
World Account aims to help businesses, by letting them open local bank accounts around the world with no fees, hold balances, receive incoming payments and make outgoing local payments, all from one platform online or via an app. It is described by the company as ‘the first service to offer SMEs and online sellers the same flexibility and control in international banking that is normally reserved for larger, multinational players.’
The firm’s research suggests that over 1.5 million SMEs in the UK are trading more than £78 billion a month across international borders and it wants to tap into this market with its latest offering.
There is no cost to open or maintain accounts, and the new platform will be available in the UK and Europe on ‘limited release’ throughout summer 2017 both online and through a newly launched mobile app. The app lets users switch and transfer between accounts easily, and they talk about having bank-grade security with the ability to talk to real people if problems arise.
GBP, EUR and USD accounts available at launch, with additional functionality (such as full FX trading) and more currency accounts due to be added later this year.