U.K.'s Wise to join the New Payments Platform in Australia

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FILE PHOTO: Photo illustration of a Wise logo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Digital money transfer group Wise Plc will join an Australian payments network which should allow transfers to be settled in the country faster and at lower cost, Chief Executive Officer Kristo Kaarmann said on Friday.

The company will become a direct participant and shareholder in Australia's New Payments Platform (NPP), Kaarmann said.

Wise said that joining the NPP will allow it to lower its average price of money transfers in or out of Australia by bypassing middlemen to clear and settle real-time payments instantly.

Kaarmann did not say how much lower its rates would be after joining the NPP. It charges about 0.56% on its Australian transfers currently, the company said.

That compares with the average 5% to 6% the country's major banks charge, according to Wise's calculations.

The 10-year old financial technology company is regulated in Britain, the United States, Singapore, and among others, Australia, where it also holds a banking licence. But in many of the over 80 countries where it offers remittances, Wise partners with banks to hold deposits, which increases its costs and prices.

"Our average cost ... is already many multiples cheaper than the banks," London-based Kaarmann said. "We want to get as close to zero as possible, in terms of cost."

The firm, whose market debut in July became the London stock exchange's largest ever tech listing, estimates it handles about 1% to 2% of transfers by consumers and small and medium-sized businesses globally.

(Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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