New offering from TransferWise plans to put an end to $2.1bn in excess fees

- August 15, 2019 2 MIN READ

International money-moving company TransferWise has today launched a first-of-its-kind debit card in Australian and New Zealand that aims to take the pain points out of overseas spending.

The fintech’s new debit card offering for consumers and small business owners is set to eliminate transaction fees and abolish sneaky exchange rate markups.

Recent research by Capital Economics has found Australians are losing in excess of 2.1 billion in overseas card transaction fees, card ownership fees, overseas ATM withdrawal fees and hidden exchange rate markups when using an Australian debit, or prepaid travel card overseas.

In the last five years, transaction fees on travel and prepaid cards have more than doubled from $70m to $174m, and when it comes to exchange rate markups, bank-issued travel cards and prepaid cards are the worst offenders compared to other payment methods, costing Aussies $188 million last year alone.

Independent research from Alderson Consulting (Bristol) Ltd., showed the TransferWise Platinum debit Mastercard® is on average 11x cheaper than most popular travel debit and prepaid cards, offering significant savings when spending in New Zealand, the UK, US, and Europe.

Simon Herd, CEO of Queensland based small business ThinkTilt has been trialling the new card for business owners for the past couple of months and has already seen savings.

As an app provider on Atlassian’s marketplace, Herd says many of his customers are offshore. To date, his ability to scale his business, which currently employees ten people, has been hampered by tight margins and high international banking fees.

After switching to a Transferwise account, which gave him his own US bank details to receive payments with no fees and a TransferWise debit MasterCard to pay his invoices in USD with no conversion fees, he’s already seen benefits.

“ThinkTilt’s revenue has increased 4-6 per cent already,” he says, suggesting the savings will allow him to hire more staff and grow his business.

Australian travellers are also set to benefit from the new TransferWise offering.

“Aussies are known the world-over for being prolific travellers. Working and living

overseas is a right of passage for many, so we think it’s unfair that your bank punishes you

simply for wanting to spend your own money abroad”, Kristo Käärmann, CEO and co-founder, TransferWise said.

“As of today, exorbitant, non-transparent fees on international transactions are a thing of the past. TransferWise’s aim is to bring fairness into the finance sector and we’ve designed an innovative, smart debit card packed with lots of features, so you can enjoy more of your own money whether you’re going overseas on a holiday, are an expat, a digital nomad or using it for business.”

“We’ve made it incredibly cheap and transparent to spend money internationally with our card, even if you don’t have the right currency. If you have the balance of the currency for the country you’re in, it will simply deduct the amount from that. If you don’t have any of the domestic currency, the card will automatically convert the currency for you at the same rate you see on Google.”

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