Freemarket, a London-based fintech platform specializing in B2B cross-border payments and currency exchange, has achieved a significant milestone.
The Central Bank of Ireland has granted Freemarket a Payment Institution licence, paving the way for the company’s extensive expansion throughout Europe. This regulatory approval provides Freemarket with market access to the entire European Economic Area (EEA), encompassing approximately 24.4 million small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) operating across the EU, representing a staggering 99 percent of all businesses. With the global B2B cross-border payment market projected to surge by 43 percent by 2030, Freemarket is strategically positioned to cater to the underserved European SMBs who often encounter challenges with traditional banking services.
Freemarket’s regulatory authorization not only enables its European expansion but also sets the stage for enhanced operations in Ireland. The company has already established a presence in Dublin to accommodate its growing team and is now actively seeking partnerships with European banks, non-banking financial institutions, and foreign currency providers to bolster its expansion efforts.
Founded in 2010, Freemarket collaborates with SMBs worldwide, offering tailored cross-border payment and currency exchange services that are far more aligned with their needs than traditional institutional banks. Leveraging Application Programming Interface (API) technology, Freemarket streamlines the entire cross-border payment process onto a single platform, addressing the historical challenges of high costs, transparency issues, and outdated technology. From its roots as a foreign exchange matching platform, Freemarket has evolved into a provider of cloud-based cross-border payment solutions for over 300 corporate clients, facilitating payments in more than 100 countries.
With an impressive track record, including a 361 percent sales growth over the past three years and processing over £4 billion in transactions in 2022, Freemarket is making a substantial impact on the fintech landscape, earning recognition in prestigious listings such as The Sunday Times 100 Fastest Growing UK private companies, Deloitte’s Tech Fast 50, and the FT1000.
Stephen Fletcher, CEO Ireland at Freemarket, expressed their commitment to empower SMBs and streamline cross-border payments for millions of European businesses, aligning with their mission since the company’s inception in 2010.
Rise in Ireland’s fintech sector
Ireland, as a developing financial services hub, has witnessed a rise of fintech firms choosing Dublin as their launchpad into the broader EU market. Regulators, including the Central Bank of Ireland, face the demanding task of comprehending this largely unregulated landscape while continuing their traditional financial market oversight.
Financial regulators worldwide are rising to the challenges stemming from the rise of fintech and the complexities surrounding the adoption of cryptocurrency technology.
The multitude of potential use cases within the cryptocurrency sector presents both opportunities and hurdles for regulators and market participants.
In response to the evolving fintech and cryptocurrency ecosystem, the Central Bank of Ireland has made substantial progress in streamlining its regulatory approach. Recent approvals for e-money institution licenses by prominent fintech firms like Coinbase and Gemini reflect this progress.
Moreover, the Central Bank has actively engaged with virtual asset service providers (VASPs), anticipating further approvals for applicant firms. Despite concerns about unregulated cryptocurrencies, the Central Bank’s confirmation that Irish Qualifying Investor Alternative Investment Funds can venture into crypto assets signifies a significant step toward mainstream cryptocurrency adoption in Ireland.