Recently, with the rise of cryptocurrency and a switch in thinking towards traditional ways of banking, banks and other regulated establishments have come under scrutiny like never before. Whereas, once we had unconditional trust in banks, now, the younger generation is seeking a flexible way to bank, receive and send money internationally.
Being based in Spain, yet frequently visiting and working in the UK, we needed a flexible way to send and receive pounds and euros. During our time in Barcelona, we kept our UK account and opened a Spanish Banco sabaddel account (highly recommend). While this account suited our needs in Barcelona, we still had to transfer money internationally between accounts which incurred fees.
A New Way To Bank
This has given rise to a new type of banking and the way we view banking- enter Transferwise.
Transferwise is a new type of online banking, fully regulated by the FCA. Founded in 2010, by a pair of guys that wanted the flexibility to move money between international bank accounts without the high fees.
Tom and I signed up for one of their borderless accounts with an option for a MasterCard debit card. While I appreciate it can seem daunting to sign up for a purely online bank, the whole setup process was painless and easy. A few simple details are required, along with some form of ID that needs to be scanned in, then away you go.
Transferwise allows you to hold Euros, Pounds, USD, Canadian dollars and a whole host more in this one account. This suits us down to a tee, we are able to put our English pounds in our borderless account, then transfer them across to Euros with the real exchange rate (that means no massive bank fees- woohoo!), whereas before it would have been UK bank account to Spanish bank account.
Working internationally this is incredibly useful. It enables both UK and European clients to pay into the same account which cuts down on international fees and the maintenance of banks here there and everywhere.
The account even converts it for you in real-time if needed. For example, you only have English pounds in your borderless account, yet you purchase a sandwich from a bakery in Paris, the account will transfer it to Euros and use that to pay for your sandwich, super easy right!
They also have a nifty app that tracks all your spending in real-time. While testing out the account in the UK, I immediately received a notification saying I spent on the account.
So far we are completely sold on the company and the service, and I haven’t even told you the best part, it is a bright lime green card- you can’t lose it! 🙂
While it may seem we are plugging this service to no-end, it does come with some negatives.
- Firstly: you do not earn any interest
- Secondly: If you wish to withdraw more than £200 a month from a cash machine, you will be charged a small fee
- Thirdly: while extremely cheap compared to banks, you will be charged for sending and receiving money (a tiny 70p)
If you are considering taking the plunge and moving abroad, I highly recommend this new way of banking.