FX technology makes a foray into mainstream banking: Could this be the retail bank model of the future?

It has become apparent over the last few years that the FX industry is one of the most technologically advanced in the financial sector, its developments occurring so rapidly that they often pave the way for innovations in other segments of the financial services industry. Recently, open API technology has permitted banks and trading firms […]

FX technology makes a foray into mainstream banking

It has become apparent over the last few years that the FX industry is one of the most technologically advanced in the financial sector, its developments occurring so rapidly that they often pave the way for innovations in other segments of the financial services industry.

Recently, open API technology has permitted banks and trading firms to integrate FX platforms into their own systems and create their own trading environments which connect to well known FX firms, evolving the entire system past the white label and into complete integration, and Blockchain technology which provides the basis for the creation of Bitcoin has been adopted by large financial institutions to the tune of several billion dollars in investment in order to automate systems that perform everyday tasks within the mainstream operations of banks.

This week, a further development toward technological modernization has made its way into retail banking, using technology that was developed in the deliverable FX industry.

A startup called Number26, which was founded in Germany and backed by funding from Peter Thiel that entered into existence in 2013 as Europe’s first bank account which operates completely on mobile devices, has entered into a strategic alliance with TranserWise, which is a peer-to-peer money transfer company based in London.

There has been a considerable emphasis among retail arms of major banks to move away from traditional branch-banking and onto not only internet based platforms but mobile-led, or mobile-first models, an initiative which the FX industry has embraced and developed considerably recently.

In this particular case, Number26 is intending to create a different type of bank account for retail customers, which via its partnership with TransferWise will provide customers of Number26 with in-app access to cheap international money transfer services that can be carried out via mobile devices.

In an interview with VentureBeat at Dublin Web Summit last year, Number26 cofounder Maximilian Tayenthal hinted at the company’s future plans. Indeed, Tayenthal noted the myriad nimble fintech startups that were chipping away at various elements of the traditional bank, including bank accounts and FOREX, and observed that they could band together to “rebundle” an age-old entity that had been systematically “unbundled” with the advent of the Internet.

The service went live today and transfers will initially be permitted from euros into eight currencies: British pounds, U.S. dollars, Swedish krona, Indian rupees, Australian dollars, Hungarian forints, Swiss francs, and Polish zloty.

Making a corporate statement on the partnership today was Valentine Stalf, CEO and co-founder of Number26.

“Our goal is to leverage the best banking products from around the world and make them accessible to customers with one tap, creating a fintech hub inside the Number26 app, and by adding one of the world’s best fintech companies, TransferWise as our flagship partner, we can drive banking innovation much faster than traditional banks.”

TransferWise, which has received investment from Richard Branson as well as Number26 investor Peter Thiel, has become a prominent name within London’s fintech startups recently, by offering a peer-to-peer service that does not use banks at all, thus keeping the costs down.

TransferWise CEO and co-founder Taavet Hinrikus made a public statement with regard to the ethos behind the collaboration:

“We want to make it as easy and fair as possible for people who need to send money abroad, so we’re very excited that Number26 customers can now access the TransferWise experience without leaving their banking app. This is a great step towards consumers having a wider choice of financial service providers and getting the best service for them.”

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