Banking apps Azimo and Monese take on business payments for young entrepreneurs
Digital money transfer service Azimo has expanded into the world of business banking, and will soon be followed by rival Monese.
Both startups are aiming to attract young businesses and entrepreneurs across the UK and Europe. Azimo Business, which has been in beta testing since June, launches today to enable business customers to pay for salaries, goods and investments in 189 countries and territories around the world.
With the promise of undercutting most banks “by at least 75%”, the service wants to attract entrepreneurs who are fed up with paying high fees and putting up with unreliable technology from the big high street players.
Azimo CEO Michael Kent says that when making overseas payments, business owners should not “have to fiddle around on an unusable banking website” being “overcharged for the privilege” and then find the money takes days to arrive.
Following feedback from customers, Azimo has added additional countries than was originally intended, while also lowering their fees and streamlining the registration process.
Azimo claims that payments to Hong Kong and China have grown very quickly, as an increasing number of their business customers are choosing to use suppliers in the Far East. To keep up in terms of mobile customer service, Azimo’s business payments can be made through desktop browsers as well as on iOS and Android apps. Azimo chief product officer Dan Martins says modern entrepreneurs like to be capable of sending money “in seconds, from the palm of their hand”.
Monese, which has offices in London and Tallinn, announced its impending move into business banking yesterday, saying its accounts would initially be released to UK-registered businesses in 11 languages to tap the growing multicultural industry base in the country. Accounts on the European continent are expected to follow “very soon”.
Monese, which is backed by investors like Kinnevik, Augmentum Fintech and PayPal, offers current accounts and money transfer services to individuals. Norris Koppel, the operation’s founder and CEO says the Monese business account will be “the next big step in our expansion”.
It is one of many offerings Monese plans to launch for people and businesses that are internationally mobile with the help of the US$60 million (£46.4 million) funding it received last month. Koppel says the new funding is enabling his business to continue on its path to achieving the status of a global financial platform.
The new business account will be bundled in with an adaptation of Monese’s personal account premium offering. It will cost £9.95 a month with free bank transfers, direct debits and card payments, along with transparent fees.
Monese says its user numbers have been tripling on a monthly basis since the beginning of the year, and the business can now boast more than 600,000 personal current account holders. Together these generate transactions worth more than US$3 billion (£2.3 billion) annually. The startup is now aiming to hire another 100 members of staff by the year-end, along with opening a new office in Lisbon.
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