Online banking company Wirex Limited announced today that it has raised $3 million in a Series A funding round from leading Japanese financial services company SBI Group.
Founded in 2014 and rebranded from E-Coin in 2016, Wirex provides customers prepaid virtual and plastic cards that can be filled with local money or cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. The company describes itself as a “hybrid banking solution” designed to allow easier access to virtual money by making it available in the same manner as a debit card.
The company intends to use the money to expand further into Japan and the surrounding Asian market. Wirex also seeks to develop and release more mobile banking services and options.
“Japan is a key market for bitcoin-compatible financial products and services, and one of our fastest-growing customer base,” said Wirex co-founder Pavel Matveev.
The company claims a 23 percent month-over-month growth rate and Mateev went on to say that a partnership with SBI Group would further cement the company’s adoption in the Asia-Pacific market.
The funding will come from SBI Group’s financial technology investment fund. The fund was completed in June to the order of 30 billion JPY ($2.63 billion U.S.), making it one of the largest financial technology VC funds in the world.
Wirex claims a customer base of more than 500,000 people, and it’s available in 130 countries including much of the Asia-Pacific region and Africa, Canada, Mexico and much of Europe. These services are not available in the U.S. and the company is currently in the process of obtaining an e-money license in the U.K.
New services planned include contactless payments using cards and phone apps, for both local tender and bitcoin, the addition of additional digital currencies and new bitcoin-based financial products. The company also intends to continue strengthening its service’s stability and security.
Customers of Wirex can also use a smartphone app, available on Android and iOS, updated in January to version 1.7.0. It’s now easier to register for an account and order a plastic card. The app also now reviews recent transactions on its homepage and users will receive monthly statements of their activity.