Circle’s consumer fintech revolution arrives in Ireland and Spain

21 Oct 2016

Circle is bringing the fintech revolution to consumers. Pictured is Marieke Flament, mangaging director for Europe at Circle. Image: Circle

Peer-to-peer payments platform Circle has gone live in Ireland and Spain, enabling consumers to send each other money via their smartphones.

The social payment platform, which is an EU-licensed money issuer, has ambitions to serve the 500m-plus EU consumer market.

Using the technology, available as an app on iOS and Android devices or even through a Circle app for iMessage on iOS, users can send and receive peer-to-peer payments with native euro support.

‘We see it as complementary to banks. The fintech ecosystem is right now at this stage trying to find its place’

The service is also live in the US and the UK.

Circle was founded by Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire, and has so far raised $136m in four funding rounds from 19 investors.

The company has its international headquarters in Dublin, as well as an office in Shoreditch, London.

Disrupting finance

The platform is pretty seamless and users can set up a Circle account by simply taking a picture of their bank card and then following a secure set-up procedure.

Marieke Flament, managing director for Circle Europe, told that the social payments platform – which is originally built on blockchain technology – enables consumers to simply send each other money.

Once the value lands in the app, the consumer then has the option of transferring the amount to their debit card.

“What we are launching is the Circle app which will be available for the first time for Irish people, to be used in euro, sterling and US dollars,” Flament said.

“It is a big thing because for the first time, Irish consumers are going to have a product that is a peer-to-peer social payment app.”

Asked if she views Circle as a competitor for traditional banks, Flament said that the internet and open platforms are conditioning consumers to make more fluid financial transactions over mobile devices.

Earlier this week, Visa revealed that 78pc of Irish consumers are using their mobile devices to manage money and buy things.

“We see it as complementary to banks. The fintech ecosystem is right now at this stage trying to find its place.

“But big banks will remain where they are while innovators like us can go way, way faster into creating things that are moving the ecosystem and being consumer focused.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years