The high pace world of international money transfers and cross-border payments leads to innovation in the industry. Beyond the great established brokers we have already reviewed on our website like Currencies Direct, OFX, Moneycorp, World First, FC Exchange, FairFX, and Currency Solutions, you can find interesting up-and-coming companies who challenge this industry.
Abra uses bitcoin to make international money transfer free and easy. Blockchain, the distributed ledger software that underlies bitcoin, forms the backbone of the service. Abra works by converting the sender’s currency into bitcoin, and then converting the bitcoin to the currency of the recipient’s choice.
Abra was founded in 2014, with the aim of making remittances cheap and easy. Their stated philosophy is that “moving money should be simpler.” The blockchain technology behind the scenes is complex, but the user experience is designed to be easy.
Regalii is different from all the other companies on this list, in that money is not actually transferred to a recipient. Rather, Regalii allows migrants to pay utility bills for their family in their home countries without expensive transfer costs. Their only charge is a flat rate of just $3.
Regalii’s founders realized that many migrants did wanted to handle their family’s finances, rather than simply sending money home. They wanted to keep track of how their money was being spent – the cost of living in their native countries and how much of their money was actually reaching its target. Regalii now offers real-time bill info in 10 countries.
WorldRemit offers a completely digital experience, with a range of ways to transfer money abroad. Money can be sent from your smartphone, tablet or computer, and received in a number of ways. These include bank accounts, cash pickups, Mobile Money services (mobile wallets), and mobile airtime top-ups.
WorldRemit allows customers to send as little as $10 through mobile airtime. Their fees are minimal, but they’re geared towards smaller transfers. Depending on your country, you may only be able to send up to $995.
Remitly aims to make person-to-person money transfers easier by eliminating the forms, codes, agents, extra time, and fees tied to the traditional money transfer process. Instead, they provide a digital service using advanced mobile technology.
It is Remitly’s express service that makes them so useful. While their Economy service is free, it takes 3 days for the money to go through (which is comparable to other services). The Economy service is immediate, and can be paid for by debit card. The only fee is a flat rate of $3.99.
WeSwap is a London based startup that offers peer-to-peer money transfer aimed at travelers. It works by swapping your money directly with people abroad, cutting out the middleman and any extraneous fees. They use the real-time interbank exchange rate and charge just 1%.
WeSwap is set apart by its multicurrency card and app. After you load money through the app, you are provided with a prepaid Mastercard that you can top up as you like. It’s easier and safer than carrying cash. And it’s far more convenient than other Forex options.
coins.ph is a Philippines-based startup. Using blockchain technology, coins.ph allows you to create a mobile wallet with no minimum deposits or monthly fees. Like Abra, it uses bitcoin to cut out the traditional middleman and save on transaction costs.
coins.ph does not only work on a P2P level, but on a B2B level as well. It allows businesses in the Philippines to save big money on payments. Importantly, it also makes the process more secure. Complex encryption methods are used, but it is permanent records of every single transfer ever made on blockchain that ensures accountability.
Flywire, formerly peerTransfer, is a money transfer system that mainly helps international students pay their schools and colleges. They make the process simple, cheap and intuitive. It’s one less thing for students to worry about when adapting to life in a new country.
Flywire now aims to move beyond education and into the spheres of medical treatment as well. Living abroad, one may have to travel to receive medical care, and Flywire will be helping with payments to healthcare institutions worldwide.
Azimo, started in late 2012, is one of the better-known money transfer startups. Receiving lots of media attention, Azimo raised its first million relatively quickly in 2013. It has received awards and is highly trusted by customers.
Azimo is unique for a few reasons. Firstly, it allows for cash pick-up in some countries. Secondly, you can sign up through Facebook, and there is even a secure Facebook app. Thirdly, it allows you to send up to £889 every 30 days with no further documentation.
We have kept the best for last. View our comprehensive Transferwise review here.