December 2, 2014
Payment companies are trying to disrupt the $500+ billion a year money transfer industry used to send money home to families, especially in emerging markets. International remittance has 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, companies are not holding back in adopting currencies like Bitcoin to enable remittance services. Here are 5 such companies:
The Hong-Kong based company announced its end-to-end cash remittance service last month. The transfer is done via Bitcoin network. The service currently targets the Filipinos who wish to send funds to Philippines. Here’s how the service works: Bitspark provides a form that asks how much money you want to send (in Hong Kong dollars) to the Philippines, and into which bank account you’d like the newly converted Filipino pesos deposited. You’re then asked to provide a cell phone number for your recipient, who will receive a text when their money is ready, usually within 24 hours. Bitspark offers pickups at over 30 bank locations in the Philippines, and uses Bitcoin to transmit the value end-to-end. The conversion chain is Hong Kong dollars (to) Bitcoin (to) Filipino pesos.
The Bitcoin startup has created a product that enables Nigerian and Ghanaian communities in UK to remit money home. Here’s how the remittance service works: a customer sends bitcoin from his wallet to Beam’s bitcoin wallet. On confirmation that bitcoins have been transferred, Beam sends the money to the recipient. The system enables smartphone users to scan QR codes and send the funds. The entire transaction takes about 10 minutes. Beam is trying to completely automate the system so that the process might soon take just under a minute. For better compliance with regulations, Beam has in-built anti-money laundering capabilities as well.
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. Here’s how the app’s remittance feature works: 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.
Last month, the company debuted 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.
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. For its remittance service, the processing fee starts at 1% and decreases for transactions larger than $220. The remittance service is touted as 'Rebittance', powered by Bitcoin. 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.