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November 30, 2020

TransferWise secures restricted banking licence in Australia

Trans­ferWise Australia has secured a restricted purchased payment facility (PPF) license from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

The PPF licence is an authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) licence, which allows the recipient to conduct limited banking activities.

Trans­ferWise will now be able to roll out its products, services, and operations in the Australian market.

Since the PPF licence does not make TransferWise as a full-service domestic lender, it will continue to partner with Macquarie Group, JPMorgan and Monoova.

The restricted licence does not protect the funds held with TransferWise.

However, under the federal government’s Financial Claims Scheme (FCS), it protects the bank deposits of up to $250,000 per account holder.

The payments group is required to hold liquid assets against the funds held with TransferWise Australia unit.

In a statement, APRA said: “The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has granted TransferWise Australia Pty Limited a licence to provide purchased payment facilities, as a limited authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) under the Banking Act 1959.”

According to The Australian newspaper, TransferWise is the first company after PayPal to receive this license, in over 10 years.

TransferWise Australia country manager Tim Cameron said that the company took two years and a “long process” to secure this license.

Cameron said: “The steps we have taken today which include taking on the additional regulatory requirements, is driven by our commitment to Australia, our mission, and to setting a new global standard to give millions access to truly competitive services, even if regulations have not kept up with the new breed of services fintechs provide.

“By becoming independent and cutting out the middleman, we will be able to save our customers even more money.

“This is really a springboard for future product improvements.”

TransferWise is also looking to access Australia’s New Payments Platform (NPP) for real-time payments facility.

The company is applying for a settlement account with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), for the same.

Cameron added: “Nowhere else in the world do you need to be licensed to such a degree.

“Whatever comes from payment sector reviews, it needs to be very focused on opening up access. We just want to see an appropriate level of access for upcoming firms.”

In the UK, TransferWise processes over £4.5bn in cross-border payments per month, with direct access to the UK’s Faster Payments Scheme and a settlement account with the Bank of England.

Additionally, it is hands-on with the SEPA system in the European Union (EU) and provides instant payments in the Hungary market, with the Hungarian Central Bank.

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