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Santander launches PagoFX in the UK, a money transfer app to take on TranserWise and other fintechs


A leaked Santander internal memo in 2017 likely set wheels in motion. Reportedly written by the bank’s head of innovation, the missive warned that a large chunk of the Spanish incumbent’s profits were at risk — specifically, those generated via international money transfers – because of the growing success of fintech challengers, such as London-headquartered TransferWise.

Fast-forward three years, and now Santander is launching a standalone money transfer app, presumably in a bid to avoid the trappings of innovator’s dilemma. The new proposition is open to Santander and non-Santander customers and has been developed by a team working largely outside of the bank — a startup within a multi-national corporation, if you will — and has grown to around 50 team members working across Madrid, London, and Brussels.

Dubbed “PagoFX” and launched in the U.K. first, the mobile app lets anyone with a U.K. debit card send money abroad at claimed mid-market FX rates and with a low transparent fee. In addition, it offers “bank-level” security and customer support via in-app chat, web and e-mail.

 “PagoFX makes it possible to transfer money internationally easily, at low cost, and with the security and peace of mind that comes from a regulated entity backed by an international bank. This is a unique proposition and we hope it will help many people and businesses. It draws on our world-class technology and talent to deliver a new and highly relevant service for everyone in the open market”.

Ana Botín, Group executive chairman of Banco Santander