Six months after launching its Borderless account, international money transfer company TransferWise has found another way to improve its platform for Canadians by collaborating with a Montreal fintech startup.
The partnership was a no-brainer, Andrew Boyajian, the U.K.-based TransferWise’s head of banking for North America, said after announcing the deal with Flinks, a financial data aggregator dedicated to the Canadian market.
“When we were looking at our Canadian product and how to grow it and make it better for our customers in Canada, it made sense to look at what solutions were actually in Canada that would help facilitate a transaction,” he said.
Flinks’ ability to produce instant account verification and link the TransferWise app to Canadian banks, combined with its bilingual (French and English) API, is a big plus for Canadian customers, who use TransferWise to move more than $100 million CAD in and out of Canada every month, said Boyajian.
International customer a win for Canadian firm
The London, England-based online payment company represents Flinks’ first global customer, said Flinks CEO Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf.
“It’s a great opportunity to show how the Canadian market is in demand in terms of getting connected with international countries and the money moving scene,” explains Leboeuf.
While Canadians are still generally hesitant to shift from traditional bank services, Boyajian points to EY’s 2017 Fintech Adoption Index report, which found that tech adoption in Canada has increased from eight per cent in 2015 to 18 per cent in 2016. TransferWise’s Canadian base grew 215 per cent from July 2016 to July 2017.
“In Canada, we’re seeing that consumers might not actually be aware of the fees that come with cross-border transfers, or they just simply accept them as part of the business,” he says, adding more pressure needs to be placed on banks to encourage them to be more transparent about what they’re charging customers.
Leboeuf says he’s noticed Canadians becoming more comfortable with the digitization of banking, especially in the past two or three years. Partnerships such as the one with TransferWise will build Flinks’ reputation and win over the trust of new customers. Banking institutions are paying close attention to blockchain technology to develop ways to track transactions and improve its trust with customers, and while the technology will undoubtedly have an impact on the fintech sector as well, Leboeuf and Boyajian say it’s still several years away from mainstream adoption, and not something they are planning to incorporate into their services just yet.
The new partnership also falls in line with the Canada Competition Bureau’s latest report that emphasizes the need for further collaboration among regulators, among the public and private sector, and between industry participants.