October 23, 2015
Remittance (money transfer service) has always been dominated by companies like Western Union and MoneyGram. But new players and startups are trying to make the scenario competitive by offering different forms of money transfer services. With the advent of digital currency and blockchain technology, companies are not holding back in adopting currencies like bitcoin to enable remittance services.
With this service, companies are trying to solve multiple issues such as high transfer cost, limited money distribution methods, limited brand options, limited ways to deal with money, etc. The cryptocurrency market is still in a nascent stage to reach the migrant population masses but promises massive potential in the future.
Here are few such companies leveraging this technology for money transfer services:
1. Abra (US)
Founded in 2014, Abra provides P2P money transfers through an app. The app lets users store digital cash (valued in any currency) directly on their mobile device by using a debit card or through an Abra Teller. The user is not required to have a bank account to use the service. The user can send funds instantly to anyone with a smartphone. The recipient can withdraw cash from the app via a teller as well. Bitcoin is used as back-end infrastructure by the company, but funds are denominated in US dollars that pass through the system. The company has recently raised $12 million in a Series-A financing. Investors in the round include Arbor Ventures, RRE Ventures, and First Round Capital. Till date, the company has raised $14 million including the new round.
2. Align Commerce (US)
Align Commerce is a Payment Service Provider (PSP) which enables businesses and payment platforms to send and receive payments in local currency via a simple, frictionless methodology, using the blockchain as a new settlement rail.
3. Bitspark (Hong-Kong)
The Hong-Kong based company offers an end to end blockchain-powered remittance services.
4. Coins.ph (Philippines)
Founded in 2014, the Philippines-based bitcoin exchange offers a bitcoin wallet app that allows users to buy and sell bitcoins. It even works as a mobile remittance service by converting bitcoins to Philippines pesos. Users can select an outlet from the app’s long list of banks and payment processors, with useful notes advising how much each charges in fees. Some processors will deliver cash door-to-door, others allow for customer pickup. To send money from overseas, it’s possible to send bitcoins directly from an existing balance. A user can initiate the remittance in-app and deposit cash in any bitcoin ATM around the world. The app provides a QR code for the ATM to scan, and pesos are delivered automatically to the preferred destination by the next business day.
5. Rebit (Philippines)
Rebit.ph is a service of Satoshi Citadel Industries, a Philippines-based holding company for bitcoin-related ventures. Rebit aims to provide a comparable service, at a significantly lower rate, by leveraging a superior process that the bitcoin platform enables. Rebit accepts bitcoin from the sender and then delivers
Philippine pesos to the recipient. The bitcoin network allows Rebit to send funds safely and quickly, without incurring hefty fees from banks, Western Union, MoneyGram, or other remittance providers.
6. CoinPip (Singapore)
With Coinpip, the user can send money safely and quickly using blockchain technology to countries like China, Philippines, Indonesia & India. The user can log in and simply enter the recipient’s email-id, currency & amount. The company charges a flat fee of 2% only.
The company provides a bitcoin-based remittance service to disrupt international remittance especially in the emerging markets. Hellobit’s aim was to reduce the remittance fees paid by consumers, which can be upwards of 12 percent, by utilizing new digital currency technologies.
Hellobit also plans to grow quickly in a unique model that lets anyone with a mobile phone sign up as an exchanger or delivery agent. Here’s how the service works: once a person signs up, their background is checked, and they can then earn bitcoin by delivering local currency to the recipients of the sent funds. Using the bitcoin network, a customer can directly send money to anyone worldwide and Hellobit notifies the receiver via text message.
The remittance startup uses bitcoin’s payment network to send cheaper and faster payments around the world. The company was founded by two university students, Claire Kelleher, and Peter Nagle and hopes to offer a flat 2% fee and complete transfers within 24 hours. The company aims to leverage bitcoin and blockchain technology to reduce the cost of remittance for international transfers which will greatly benefit students.
9. BitPesa (Africa)
BitPesa for businesses provides a simple way to send and collect payments to and from Africa for small businesses. The employer can send money to their employees, distributors, or suppliers in Africa with one easy payment from nearly anywhere in the world. Payments are processed in a day, minimizing FX risk.
10. Romit (US) (earlier known as Robocoin)
Romit came up with Romit remittance software. The product uses blockchain technology to facilitate cheap; instant transfers of cash without making customers deal with bitcoin themselves.
11. Volabit (Mexico)
Bitcoin startups Volabit and SatoshiTango collaborated to open a money transfer service between their respective countries through a collaboration called Coinnect. Through Coinnect, the user can send and receive funds between Mexico and Argentina instantly and at low cost.