Circle Payments: Stablecoin for International Payments

Matt Di Vincere (Chief Editor)
Last Edited Jan 28, 2023

Circle is a consumer finance firm that utilizes blockchain technology to allow consumers worldwide to send and receive money to friends and family. Its goal is to make money work like the internet – instant, global, open, free, and enjoyable. Circle has been leading the charge in bringing the power of the open internet to consumer finance. By working with banks and regulators, it aims to develop technology that transforms financial services and creates a world where consumers can transact with each other instantly and globally, in the currency of their choice, securely and for free.

Circle’s social payment app allows users in the US, UK, and Europe to send and receive payments instantly and fee-free. Users can link their debit card and bank account to add money to their Circle account or cash out. Circle accepts credit cards but charges a standard processing fee for funding with a card. There are no spending or receiving limits on Circle, and it offers the highest initial deposit limits among social payment services.

Circle launched its availability for iMessage, enabling iOS 10 users to send and receive payments globally within iMessage without fees. Customers can send dollars, euros, and pounds sterling and fund payments and cash out using almost any bank in the US, UK, and Europe. Circle also recently introduced Spark, a blockchain-based protocol for trusted, compliant money transfers between individuals and institutions via the Bitcoin network. The initial focus is on connecting digital wallets globally while ensuring compliance and presenting a seamless experience.

Circle for International Payments

Circle Pay is a Venmo competitor with a few unique features. Unlike Venmo, Zelle and CashApp which doesn’t support international transfers, Circle Pay does support them.

It uses a messaging interface for transactions and supports international money transfers (Euros and British Pounds) without marking up exchange rates. The setup is simple and easy with no fees for instant transfers to a bank account. It lacks in-store or online payments, payment splitting, and store loyalty program support. The app is free on both app stores, easy to use and navigate, with a $5 referral bonus. The initial payment limit is $400 per week and can be increased with reliable usage. International payments are a plus, but it only supports two foreign currencies. Money transfers are fast and without fees.

Circle Criticism

Based on the customer reviews on Trustpilot, most customers do not like the Circle Pay app. Out of 72 reviews, it received a 1.7 out of 5 star rating, with most reviews being negative and expressing issues such as unauthorized charges, frozen funds, poor customer service, and more.

Circle Pay could face criticism for using stablecoin for payments due to the potential risk of the stablecoin losing its value and becoming unstable, as seen with Tether, which faced issues with its reserves and was fined by the New York Attorney General for lying about its reserves. There is also a risk of a crypto “bank run” scenario, where a large number of traders might rush to exchange their stabelcoin for dollars, leading to a loss of value and potentially causing a panic that could spread to non-crypto markets.

While Circle does not use Bitcoin for money transfers or Ripple for money transfer, both method which are completely invalid for international payments in our opinion, using a stablecoin over the blockchain is not preferable considering recent news in the section.

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