August 4, 2015
Global remittances amount to $500 billion every year. The industry has grown by leaps and bounds; yet, for a consumer, there are several issues. There have been multiple issues in the past such as high transfer costs, limited money distribution methods, limited brand options, limited ways to deal with money, etc. The advent of new players in this space is redefining the solutions provided to these problems by this industry which was known to be mainly duopolistic in nature till a few years ago. Entrepreneurs have taken note of the market opportunity in this segment and are establishing remittance platforms making use of cloud, mobility, blockchain and other technologies and concepts.
Mobetize Corp. is targeting customers of Western Union, MoneyGram and other money transmitter operators (MTOs) by enabling mobile and telecom operators to now offer an alternative low-cost money remittance service. Mobetize has completed its contracts, technology integrations and compliance globally to incorporate international remittance solutions and their networks with other financial services to be offered by new and existing telecom distribution partners. This offering is a key driver for telecom operator partners to launch mobile money solutions and mobile wallets for millions of current subscribers.
Remitly is dramatically changing the way people send money internationally through its simple and affordable mobile-first platform. Since launching in 2012, the company has taken careful steps to build the fastest and most reliable product for customers, reaching widespread adoption in the targeted corridors of the Philippines and India. Remitly continues to enhance speed, reliability and usability by adding innovative features to its mobile apps and online services. As a result, the company has earned best-in-class customer satisfaction scores. Remitly was one of the first mobile payments companies to implement Apple’s Touch ID for iOS users and gives Android users the ability to review foreign exchange rates in real time by simply adding a widget to their home screen. Remitly only charges 2% on average. Since its inception, Remitly’s highest priority has been creating the best possible customer experience. The company offers some of the industry’s most competitive foreign exchange rates, is upfront about rates and fees with customers, and offers easy to use mobile applications.
Regalii is the first and only remote bill pay platform that gives the user control and full transparency. Regalii is a company built by immigrants, for immigrants. Remittances remain costly, slow and non-transparent. All of Regalii’s founders know the challenges in remittances because they experienced the problems themselves. Regalii is the only mobile and Web platform that provides real-time balances and payments across 300 billers in 10 different countries. The platform is used in 18 leading remittance partners in the US, representing over 40,000 locations.
peerTransfer, the leading cross-border payments company, currently serves foreign students attending colleges and universities around the world. Based in Boston, peerTransfer enables international students from 200 countries and territories to pay their tuition, room and board at over 750 educational institutions worldwide.
Currency Cloud is a UK-based FinTech company which provides digital payments platforms to businesses to move money around the world. Currency Cloud processes about $10 billion (£6.3 million) annually and that figure should rise to $1 billion a month by the end of the year. Currency Cloud is able to grab market share with their technology by providing transfer services at lower fees and reduced time compared to banks.
UK-based social money transfer service Azimo is a world leader in money transfers based on smartphones and online channels. It provides secure international money transfers at a low cost. Founded in 2012, the company’s network helps in sending money to 200 countries in 80 different currencies. The company is focused towards growing its business in Europe and demographics neglected by tech services. Azimo’s digital and social network helps workers send money to their homes in a short amount of time at a low cost.
WorldRemit offers a cheaper alternative to traditional remittance services like Western Union and MoneyGram, letting customers send funds overseas. WorldRemit’s commissions for transferring money are significantly lower than those charged by larger outfits like Western Union, and it does so by using online and mobile technology. 90% of WorldRemit payments are received instantly, and users are charged a small percentage of the transaction—the fee could be as little as 95 euro cents. Recipients can accept the money as cash, in a bank account, as phone credit, or in mobile wallets. Moreover, online remittance makes it easier to verify the identity of customers in an industry where crime rates are high.
TransferWise, the UK-based peer-to-peer money transfer service, helps users transfer money across geographies and currencies at a lower price compared to traditional players in the space. TransferWise offers a disruptive solution to individuals sending money from one country to the other (involving different currencies). A normal transfer of £1,000 into euros using Western Union can cost over £100 once you add in exchange rates and other fees; whereas, through a bank wire, a transfer costs £50. TransferWise offers the same transfer at an attractive rate of £4.50—a direct saving of at least over £45. The remittance platform offered by TransferWise is aimed at expats, retirees, overseas workers, and small and micro enterprises.
Ripple makes it easy to send money anywhere in the world, in any currency—instantly and for free. It is perfectly suited to support merchant payments, wire transfers and remittances. The goal is to connect the world of money much like email does for communication. The result will be faster, cheaper and far-reaching applications for everyone—regardless of where they live or even if they have a bank account.
Users simply need to load money to an active Ripple wallet through a participating gateway. For example, someone could link his/her bank account to US gateway SnapSwap to fund his/her Ripple wallet. Then he/she can send it in any currency he/she desires to a Ripple user based in China who could accept payment in a completely different currency through a transaction that happens in less than five seconds and costs only a minimal fee. That user can then transfer funds to their own local gateways like RippleCN or Ripple China to access the money outside of Ripple.