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.
‘We see it as complementary to banks. The fintech ecosystem is right now at this stage trying to find its place’
– MARIEKE FLAMENT
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.
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 Siliconrepublic.com 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.”