Fintech innovators – striking fear into the hearts of banks

By on May 26th, 2016 in Editorial

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; in recognising the value of P2P currency exchange and lending platforms, the financial giants reveal their fear that the young upstarts will replace them, or – at the very least – eat into their profits.

An article in Euromoney highlights structural shifts in FX markets that have left the field wide open for P2P FX platforms to move in, and quotes co-head of foreign exchange at UBS Chris Murphy: “P2P FX is definitely something we keep an eye on. There is no room for complacency; FX is a highly dynamic, evolving market and some of these emerging players have interesting offerings.” That’s very kind, but we would argue that a flat 0.2% rate is more “compelling” than “interesting”.

“freemarket can move faster, learn faster and react faster to market, regulation and technology changes”

The gatekeepers aren’t happy. There is a new gate just round the corner, and it doesn’t have rusty spikes on it. There is no snooty man outside, being mysterious about who does and doesn’t have to pay to use the gate, making some of the less wealthy gate-users do a humiliating dance before they go through.

Our gate is shiny and won’t give you fiscal tetanus. There are no barriers to entry with freemarket and we are unfailingly transparent about the terms of our trades, along with the extremely competitive 0.2% we charge on currency exchanges.

The banks, meanwhile, claim they will soon be able to compete with our innovations – once they harness the power of P2P technology. But they are sluggish monoliths, incapable of adapting or offering the same tailored service we do. In the words of Rich Ricci:

freemarket… can move faster, learn faster and react faster to market, regulation and technology changes. They can also focus on providing an integrated customer experience first, rather than seeing this as an additional layer on top of their fragmented service offerings.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. No wonder banks are nervous.


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James is freemarket’s Chief Commercial Officer. He has a history of finding new ways to solve age-old financial challenges and was responsible for launching some of the first online money transfer and prepaid card initiatives in Europe.


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