New International Banking Solution for Small Business and Digital Nomads

One of the significant hassles of a the new digital economy is that national borders are largely irrelevant to digital businesses but the banking infrastructure is still stuck in the past. Dealing with international payments is a hassle and can be expensive.

Transferwise has been providing good service for years in helping people move money between currencies at transparent and reasonable rates and with good service. They have a very interesting new service: Borderless banking. They allow you to create an account based on many countries in Europe as well as in the USA (about 30 states so far).

This is a great service, as I have written: finding an international business bank as a digital nomad is challenging.

You may hold funds in your Borderless account in 15 different currencies at the this time. You may send money to someone else using 50 different currencies via Transferwise. With a Borderless account you will be able to accept payments as a local company from Europe, UK and the USA – those paying you can send electronic payments as they normally do using their bank (the process is seamless to them, they treat your bank account just like any other they make payments to).

image showing the currencies Transferwise allows

Transferwise allows you to hold Borderless balances in these 15 currencies.

The fees are mainly a fee to change currencies (often between .5 and 1%) which is very reasonable. So if you hold money in USD and want to pay someone in Mexican Pesos you pay 1% (reduced to .7% over $10,000). USD to Indian Rupee is .9% (reduced .7% over $10,000).

Importantly currency conversion takes place at the real mid-market rate for the currencies (many banks hide fees by giving you bad conversion rates).

In checking costs on their site I have noticed changing from USD to another currency is often higher than from another currency to USD. For example, Euro to USD is 1%, USD to Euro is .5%. USD to Singapore dollar is 1% (reduced to .5% at $5,000) while the reverse is .5%.

There is no cost to transfer money to someone else or to receive money or to add money to your balance. There is a fee of about 1-2 USD for transferring money from your Borderless account to your bank account with a different bank (the actual cost depends on the country).

The new Borderless accounts will be available for USA business accounts in June and for personal accounts in the USA later this year.

This service from Transferwise is a great boon to aid those operating in the digital economy where borders are not a barrier to business but where borders have been a barrier to banking for small businesses. There are still issues with how to get started with an account on Transferwise. It is easier to follow than what is required for many international bank accounts but it still isn’t as easy as I would hope.

For LLC and LTD they require:

  • A business registration number or a VAT number (as an alternative. For Australian businesses we will need ACN, ABN or ARBN)
  • Copy of the registration document (with the exception of companies in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.)
  • Details of all directors of the company: full name, date of birth, country of residence
  • Details of all owners/shareholders who own 25% or more of the company: full name, date of birth, country of residence
  • Details of your company’s website and a short description of what your business does

You may be asked to provide –

  • Proof of ID for the named profile holder
  • Proof of address (for the personal address of the profile holder) if prompted

They have separate rules for the USA.

I was not paid to write this and don’t get any compensation (such as bonuses for signups, etc.). I just find this to be a great option to digital entrepreneurs. I find it frustrating that huge banks take huge fees from small entrepreneurs and am glad to see competition coming to help those small entrepreneurs avoid those businesses that exploit them.

Related: Transfer Money Between Currencies Using New Providers Not Banks And SaveUSA Expat Tax Advice and ServicesFinancial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) and Location Independent Working