Denizen, San Francisco-based challenger bank to close

Challenger bank Denizen is set for closure. A statement on the bank’s website said, “Denizen was not able to achieve the scale needed to sustain operations in the current market. It’s been three years of tremendous learnings and collaborative workings and we appreciate you coming along with us on this journey.”

That journey is coming to an abrupt end on 17 December 2019, which Denizen says will be its last day of account operations. Denizen was created to be ‘the premier account for global citizens, making international banking easier for those of us who call the world our home’.

Unfortunately for Denizen, it would appear that not enough people do call the world their home.

The bank had been launched to the public in March 2018, touted as ‘the first true global, borderless account for expat banking which allows customers to receive money in one country and pay it out in another immediately, avoiding international transfer fees and eliminating currency exchange fees’.

A Denizen account offered a no FX fee and no bank-owned ATM fee debit card and features a mobile app for on-the-go money management.

Denizen was co-founded by Joaquin Ayuso, the former co-founder and CTO of Tuenti, described as ‘the Spanish Facebook’.  Denizen’s initial funding round was provided by BBVA’s New Digital Businesses unit.

Setting out the bank’s credo at its launch, Ayuso said, “National borders act as barriers to the free movement of money, inhibiting individuals and limiting the potential for global commerce. Denizen is on a mission to simplify banking for global citizens. By delivering the world’s first truly borderless account, we make it easy for anyone to access the financial system from anywhere, then carry it with them as they move for work or travel.”

Denizen customers now have 60 days to make alternative arrangements for their funds although they will still be able to move money out of the challenger bank after 17 December by contacting Support for assistance.

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