“Silicon Valley from above” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Nouhailler

A new fintech, with backing from Spanish bank BBVA, plans to achieve something that others have tried and failed to do: simplify global payments.

Denizen claims to have created an international banking platform that enables customers to receive funds in one country and immediately release them to another, eliminating currency exchange fees and avoiding global transfer fees.

BBVA’s New Digital Business unit provided Denizen’s first funding round. The unit helps to incubate startup companies in its fintech lab in Silicon Valley, in order to encourage innovation within the banking sector, in addition to learning from those innovations.

Fees and delays for world travellers

Frequent global travellers, immigrants, and expats often have no choice but to hold multiple accounts across countries and transfer funds between them to deposit payments, pay bills, and other activities, often seeing delays in accessing money and being subjected to significant fees, noted Denizen. CEO and co-founder of Denizen Joaquin Ayuso de Paul said that national borders are essentially barriers to money being able to move freely, which stops individuals, as well as limiting the potential for international commerce. He said that his firm is simply trying to make banking a simpler process for international citizens. By providing the first truly borderless account, the firm intends to make transactions easier for those wishing to access the financial system from anywhere, then take it with them as they move for travel or work.

Where others have failed

Life would be made easier for everyone if Denizen achieved what other companies failed to before them. While global money management may remain an issue, with significant fees attached, people have been trading in international currency for some time. Platforms such as IG enable global currency trading through numerous features, including a stop limit sell order example. A stop order is when the trader instructs their broker to execute a trade when it’s reached a certain level. Forex has provided people with the opportunity to make money on foreign currency, and yet those same people have struggled to move their own money around without having to jump through hoops.

EU and UK next on the list

The company said that the cross-border fund movement service is only the first in a number of planned products. For now, Denizen is only available to expats living in the United States and Spain. However, it plans to expand into up to 10 countries in the European Union in the latter half of 2018, in addition to the United Kingdom.

“European Union Flag” (CC BY 2.0) by Håkan Dahlström

Other companies that have attempted to establish an easier process of moving international money include Zenbanx. ING Direct founder started Zenbanx in 2012, which was an app that enables customers to quickly transfer funds between nine currencies, including the Japanese yen, euro, and the dollar. Online lender Social Finance bought the company in February of last year. Six months later, Zenbanx was closed down.

New Digital Business’ Ian Ormerod said that Denizen aims to solve a problem experienced by over 50 million expatriates and 150 million migrants.

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