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Abu Dhabi grants TransferWise licence to operate in the UAE

TransferWise UAE licence

The platform will enable users in the UAE to transfer funds in the local currency Dirham to accounts globally

UK-based low-cost money transfer service TransferWise is expanding into the Middle East after receiving a licence from the Abu Dhabi Global Market Financial Services Regulatory Authority to operate in the UAE. The platform currently has 6 million customers worldwide. 

TransferWise expects to introduce its first product to the Emirates next year, the local media reported.  With the new licence, TransferWise will enable users in the UAE to transfer funds in the local currency Dirham to accounts globally using TransferWise platform. 

Kristo Käärmann, CEO and co-founder of TransferWise, said in a statement, “Money transfers from AED have long been one of our most wished for currencies, so we always knew we’d begin our expansion into the Middle East in the Emirates.” 

In the last five years, the average cost of money transfer from the Middle East and North Africa has decreased to seven percent from eight percent. According to the World Bank’s June report, the percentage measly increased in the second quarter of the year.

The World Bank data reported that global remittances to South Asia increased 12 percent to $131 billion, compared to six percent growth in the previous year. 

More recently, the company launched a debit card in Asia that uses real exchange rates help travellers and businesses avoid high foreign exchange fees. TransferWire debit card is available for Singapore users, after launching it in the UK, Europe, US, Australia and New Zealand. It also plans to launch the card in Japan this year. 

According to TransWire, users will benefit from a lower global average price of 0.67 percent when making cross-currency expenditures. 

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