BBVA has launched Denizen, a global, borderless account for expat banking that allows customers to receive money in one country and pay it out in another immediately, avoiding international transfer fees and eliminating currency exchange fees.
Incubated out of BBVA’s New Digital Business unit in San Francisco, Denizen is attacking a market identified by non-bank money transfer firms such as TransferWise and Revolut as ripe for disruption.
Initially available in the US and Spain, the borderless account is intended to eliminate the cost, uncertainty and hassle of international banking for world travellers, expats, immigrants or refugees. A Denizen account offers a no FX fee and no bank-owned ATM fee debit card, and features a mobile app for on-the-go money management.
The firm is also planning to offer a white-label equivalent to multinational companies with staff relocated overseas, providing an own-branded bank account that would enable users to keep their existing direct debits and regular payments in one country, and set up new ones in other countries.
Ian Ormerod, head of New Digital Businesses at BBVA, says: “As someone who has lived and worked in a number countries globally, I know first-hand how difficult it is to manage one’s money across borders. Denizen solves a very significant problem for more than 50 million expats and 250 million migrants. ”
The service is set to expand in 2018, adding as many as ten top European Union countries in the second half of the year as well as the United Kingdom.