A London-based online money transfer service startup company TransferWise has obtained a license from the U.K. markets watchdog to offer retail investment services to clients.
Started in 2010 as a means of sending money internationally online, TransferWise in 2018 made a deeper push into banking by offering a “borderless” multi-currency account tied to a debit card. Users have so far deposited £2 billion ($2.5 billion) with the account.
Currently, according to the firm, it possesses 8 million users globally and processes £4 billion worth of transactions each month.
Now the company plans to launch a service that lets users of the account invest passively in investment funds from third-party providers.
The company said that it had received permission from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority to deal in investments, reports CNBC.
“About three or four years ago we saw that people — and more so businesses — are not only sending money, they’re also receiving money internationally,” TransferWise CEO and co-founder Kristo Kaarmann told in a video call.
“The problem the platform’s users have had lately is finding a way to make a return on their cash and the company wanted to take a different approach to traditional banks, which lend out customer deposits and charge interest, added Kaarmann.
TransferWise isn’t the only fintech start-up looking to take on the investment industry. Plenty of other companies, such as Robinhood, Revolut and eToro, have gained popularity thanks to their zero-fee stock and cryptocurrency-trading features.
The company expects to launch its first investing feature in the next 12 months. The firm is starting with the U.K. but hopes to roll the product out internationally later down the line.