Starling Bank and Currencycloud have worked closely together for several years. The alignment of ambitions to use technology to level the playing field of international business has led to a fruitful partnership. Currencycloud launched Currencycloud Spark in 2020, a multi-currency e-wallet solution that allows clients to hold as many as 34 currencies in a single account, with the ability to receive, pay-out, hold and convert currencies. Starling has used this solution to add local USD accounts to its existing GBP offering.
SMEs in the UK have historically been underserved when it comes to banking. Traditional banks are designed to support larger corporations, yet SMEs make up more than 90% of the global business population, delivering 70% of employment, and are responsible for 50% of GDP in developed countries, including around 30% of global imports. They are the engine room of the economy.
And SMEs are already beginning to open up to international trade. A recent study by Sage and Capital Economics found that the economic effects of COVID-19 have led to 67% of SMEs taking or considering measures to trade internationally.
However, hidden and explicit bank charges, and a lack of understanding of the true cost of FX hampers business growth, while the level of debt from late payments can put many SMEs at risk of failure.
More would like to expand their global footprint, so what can we do to relieve the pain of international payments and collections for SMEs?
Currencycloud and Starling are using technology and our partnership to make the lives of SMEs easier.
Today, if an SME wants to make an international payment through a traditional, legacy bank, the process is opaque, time consuming and costly.
Let’s take the example of a UK SME invoicing a US customer. The UK firm issues an invoice in GBP, its local currency. The US company pays in USD. The US customer likely has to go into a local branch to make the payment and will be struck with costly FX rates and charges for making the payment.
And what arrives at the UK SME will likely not be what was sent, because during the cross-border payment process an intermediary bank may have charged a fee for processing the payment, and the receiving bank of the SME may also have taken a similar fee for recognising an international payment. This makes reconciliation a nightmare for the SME, not to mention leaving them short of what they had billed.
Starling and Currencycloud are united in our aim to provide better products and services to businesses; believing in the power of technology to deliver transparency, resilience and scalability. With our USD accounts, we listened to the immediate currency needs of our customers and worked with Currencycloud to deliver a seamless way to send and receive the money they need to grow their business.
Helen Bierton, Chief Banking Officer at Starling Bank
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