Financial platform Airwallex is a growing fintech company offering businesses the opportunity to set up digital global bank accounts, alongside features such as international transfers, automated bill payment, expense management, multi-currency employee and company cards, and more.
In this review, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to help you assess, set up and use an Airwallex account. We’ll also be making a comparison of Airwallex with a competitive alternative, which is Aspire’s business account.
Airwallex, founded in Melbourne, Australia, in 2015, has quickly emerged as a global fintech company. Airwallex’s mission is to build global financial infrastructure and applications to empower businesses to operate anywhere, anytime. Their investors include Tencent, Sequoia Capital, DST Global and more, and they have raised USD 902 million in funding, and claim to be valued at USD 5.6 billion.
Airwallex offers three core product groups. First, business accounts with a variety of solutions to help businesses operate globally. Second, Core APIs that programmatically manage money. Third, Embedded Finance, which they term as APIs and tech components that businesses can use to build their own finance products.
Multi-currency business account
Airwallex's Global Account streamlines global financial operations for businesses, offering quick setup of domestic and foreign currency accounts to SGD, USD, and 10 + currencies. Businesses can receive payments in customers' preferred currencies, avoiding conversion fees. The solution provides hassle-free currency accounts with local bank details, eliminating queues and paperwork. There are no account opening fees, monthly charges, or transaction requirements, allowing cost savings. Users can easily convert balances to different currencies and view global transactions in one place.
Airwallex ensures fund security with end-to-end encryption. The Global Accounts function as local currency accounts, facilitating easy receipt of funds globally. For scalable management, businesses can use Airwallex's Core API for tasks like creating Global Accounts.
Airwallex offers a Corporate Cards product that can be created in a few minutes, and businesses can manage all purchases in real-time from a single dashboard. The Borderless Cards feature allows employees to make purchases in multiple currencies without international transaction fees, offering added flexibility, and users can enjoy unlimited 1% cashback on business expenses.
Businesses can also issue multi-currency Employee Cards to their global workforce, facilitating local and global purchases. Payments for global expenses can be made directly from the Airwallex multi-currency wallet, reducing the need for FX conversion fees. The product also provides auto-conversion at leading FX rates when necessary currency balances are unavailable. With features such as spending limits, custom approval workflows, and the ability to create, freeze, or cancel cards instantly, businesses are offered control over their corporate spending. The platform also provides a consolidated view of company card activity, promoting transparency and effective expense management in real-time.
With Airwallex, It is important to note that only their ‘Company cards’ are free — these are virtual cards for shared team purchases. ‘Employee cards’, which are corporate cards issued to individual employees, fall under their ‘Expense Management’ pricing model, which is offered at a fee of SGD5 per cardholder every month.
Airwallex’s Payments solution for businesses facilitates one-time or recurring online payments supporting multiple payment methods in multiple countries. Features include like-for-like settlement, fraud prevention, and multi-currency pricing to minimize FX risk. They also offer different integration methods that cater to diverse business needs.
Airwallex facilitates efficient bookkeeping for businesses through accounting software integrations. By connecting Airwallex with accounting software, users can save time, expedite cash flow cycles, and automate tasks, including direct expense categorization into the chart of accounts. The integration offers benefits such as embedding Payment Links into invoices for quicker collections and automatic reconciliation with hourly transaction syncing. The streamlined expense management feature allows for the import of chart of accounts, tracking categories, and tax rates, contributing to an overall time-saving financial workflow.
Accounting software integration includes NetSuite, Quickbooks, Xero and more.
A business registered in Singapore will require the following documents to open an Airwallex business account.
While still quicker than traditional banks, opening a business account with Airwallex can take up to 1-3 working days to set up, which is still longer than other fintech providers.
Global online businesses that need the extensive multi-currency capabilities (12 local collection accounts) will benefit from opening an Airwallex business account.
Aspire is an all-in-one finance platform for digital businesses, and has helped over 15,000 companies save time and money with international payments, expense management, payable management, and receivable management solutions — accessible via a single, user-friendly account. Headquartered in Singapore, Aspire is backed by global top tier VCs, including Sequoia, Lightspeed, Y-Combinator, Tencent and Paypal.
Aspire’s business accounts can be opened remotely in 1 day. It’s easy to send and receive money in multiple currencies and they offer transparent and low cost FX, up to 3x cheaper than banks. With Aspire, businesses can also make PayNow transfers to other personal or business accounts, and they have the ability to make employee CPF contributions directly from their accounts.
Aspire also offers businesses an expense management product that is more advanced than Airwallex’s solutions. Businesses can create budgets, assigning owners with specific spend limits. When it comes to expenses, users can also submit, review, approve and disburse claims from one single dashboard. Entire workflows for payables and receivables management can be managed easily in one place. This makes it easy to streamline spending with real-time visibility and control. Whether it’s budgeting, corporate cards, claims, or accounting integrations, the user-friendly interface makes it easy for businesses to stay on top of their finances.
To many businesses, the mobile app user experience is important, as it allows them to operate and approve on the go. This is where Aspire stands out.
Many of Airwallex’s functionalities can only be accessed through its web app. Its mobile app is confined to basic functions such as fund transfers, viewing issued cards, and submitting expense receipts.
In contrast, Aspire's mobile app stands out by offering identical functionality to its web app, providing users with a comprehensive tool for managing finances while on the move. Beyond spending, it allows managers and finance teams to effortlessly approve expenses, edit card details, establish approval workflows, and more on the go.
Here is a summary of some key differences of Airwallex vs Aspire:
Aspire Business Account
Aspire Corporate cards
Aspire Software and integration
Airwallex presents a suite of financial solutions for businesses, including multi-currency global accounts, corporate cards, payment gateway, and accounting software integrations. The company enables businesses to operate globally and manage cross-border transactions. Features such as like-for-like settlement, fraud prevention, and streamlined expense management, contribute to a useful financial solution for businesses.
Airwallex is particularly useful for businesses who actually need the 12 different currencies offered with their business accounts. Other finance solutions, such as Aspire, offer most major currencies that businesses would need to transact with. Additionally, Airwallex’s solutions are more suitable for larger businesses (such as ecommerce companies) that can benefit from its API and payments solutions. Smaller businesses might find APIs and payments solutions complicated to implement given technical integration requirements.
Businesses seeking an alternative may consider Aspire, a Singapore-based fintech platform. Aspire offers faster account opening, and focuses on the fundamentals of supporting essential location operations, such as support for PayNow QR for offline payments, and salary and CPF payments. Aspire’s expense management solution offers a more advanced and user-friendly interface that makes it easy to manage payables and receivables, issue corporate cards with granular controls and customization options, integrate accounting software and much more. For business owners, the intuitive mobile app experience makes it easy to manage finances on the go to speed up purchasing decisions and the velocity of a business’ finance operations.
Open an account with Aspire today.