Tranferwise has begun rolling out its borderless bank account and debit card to private customers, enabling users to spend their cash in a choice of up 28 foreign currencies.
The money transfer company first introduced the account for businesses transacting in multiple currencies in May last year, and promised a similar product, complete with debit card, for private customers at a later date.
The roll out to several thousand customers comes ahead of a full-scale launch pegged for Q1 next year. The account comes with no set up fees or monthly charges and costs nothing for receiving payments in the local currency. Currency transfers are conducted at the standard mid-market exchange rate with the usual upfront Transferwise commission charge.
TransferWise chairman and cofounder Taavet Hinrikus says in a statement: "The borderless account is a game changer for anyone living or working between countries. Opening a bank account abroad is incredibly difficult without a local proof of address, but the borderless account can be opened in minutes. For expats, second homeowners, freelancers, sole traders and more the borderless account is invaluable."
The move pits Transferwise against other fintech startups such as WorldFirst and Revolut, and opens up another front in the disruptive banking space which has yet to be addressed by traditional banks.
Tranferwise's choice of a luminous green colour for its first debit card was met with dismay by Berlin-based challenger bank Penta, which took to twitter to express its anger at he striking resemblance to its own neon green card.
So far Transferwise hasn't replied.