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Treasury

Multi-currency wallets find favour for real-time cross-currency payments

HSBC’s new global wallet offering is the latest in a line of services enabling businesses to make and receive international payments from a single account.

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Photo: iStock

In May, HSBC launched a multi-currency digital wallet that allows users to send and receive money in a number of currencies and hold and manage those currencies in the same global wallet account.

The service is initially available for US dollars, euro, sterling, Canadian, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australian dollars, with payments made using domestic real-time payment networks.

A number of banks and fintechs already offer similar services.

Businesses are fed up with high-street banks’ [charges]
David Parker, Polymath Consulting
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For example, Wise (formerly TransferWise) has a multi-currency account that allows users to convert and hold 56 currencies.

In September 2020, ClearBank claimed to be the first clearing bank to offer multi-currency bank accounts, allowing users to move funds between accounts with real-time foreign exchange pricing based on interbank rates for more than 30 currencies.

Customers of OFX’s global currency account can open local currency accounts in USD, EUR, AUD, HKD, SGD, CAD and GBP, while Santander’s PagoFX says users can access real-time, mid-market exchange rates to transfer money to more than 50 countries.

The growth of these services reflects the difficulties of opening bank accounts in new territories that are faced by companies expanding internationally.

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