Denizen launches expat banking account

Denizen today unveiled a global, borderless account for expat banking which allows customers to receive money in one country and pay it out in another immediately, avoiding international transfer fees and eliminating currency exchange fees.

“Today, country-specific regulations, currencies and settlement times effectively halt the free flow of money around the world,” Denizen said in a statement. “This results in additional time, stress and fees for world travelers, expats, immigrants and other global populations.”

The global account is the first in a planned family of Denizen solutions designed to eliminate the cost, uncertainty and hassle of international banking today.  A Denizen account offers a no FX fee and no bank-owned ATM fee debit card and features a mobile app for on-the-go money management.

“National borders act as barriers to the free movement of money, inhibiting individuals and limiting the potential for global commerce,” said Denizen co-founder and CEO Joaquin Ayuso de Paul. “Denizen is on a mission to simplify banking for global citizens. By delivering the world’s first truly borderless account, we make it easy for anyone to access the financial system from anywhere, then carry it with them as they move for work or travel.”

Expats, immigrants and frequent world travelers are often forced to maintain multiple accounts across countries, and then transfer money between them to pay bills and deposit payments. This results in significant fees and even delays access to funds.

Denizen is co-founded by Joaquin Ayuso, the former co-founder and CTO of Tuenti, described as “the Spanish Facebook”.  Denizen’s initial funding round was provided by BBVA’s New Digital Businesses unit, which is incubating startups in its Silicon Valley-based fintech lab in an effort to foster disruption in the banking sector and learn from those innovating the future of financial services. BBVA created New Digital Businesses to enable partnerships with entrepreneurs to be forged, and to offer the support of services the bank could provide around issues like legal and regulatory affairs.

“As someone who has lived and worked in a number countries globally, I know first-hand how difficult it is to manage money across borders,” BBVA’s general manager of new business Ian Ormerod said. “Denizen solves a very significant problem for more than 50 million expats and 250 million migrants.”

Denizen is currently available to expatriates living in Spain and the United States. It is set to expand to as many as 10 top European Union countries and the United Kingdom in the second half of the year.

Initially marketed to expats, Denizen is ultimately envisioned as a solution for anyone that must manage finance across borders, including refugees, immigrants, and frequent travelers.

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