Money & Banking

Fintech Wise to digitally disrupt outbound remittances from India

KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on July 15, 2021

Venkatesh Saha, Head, APAC & Middle East Expansion, Wise

Rolls out new outbound service that lets Indians digitally remit money

British fintech company Wise, a digital cross-border money transfer solutions provider, has now set its sights on disrupting outbound remittances from India, launching a digital solution in this space in the Indian market, a top official said.

With the launch of this service from June 1, Indians can now use Wise to send money to 44 countries around the world.

“Outbound market in India is $14-15 billion every year. For us, as a global company, that is a large interesting opportunity where we believe we can be one of the solutions to the problem. Historically, it (outbound remittance) is a space that has not been invested in and we believe that we can bring some competition and disruption in the Indian market in this space,” Venkatesh Saha, Head of APAC & Middle East Expansion, Wise told BusinessLine.

“We already have a formidable business of bringing money into India. We have had that for a number of years. We use the most competitive, cost-effective and transparent methods to send money to India. Now that we can do that, moving forward we would like to see how we can be a part of solution to improve outbound payments from India.”

For Wise, sending money to India started in 2013. Wise most recently enabled Google Pay users in the US to send Indian rupees to Google Pay users in India.

Founded in 2011 by two Estonian gentlemen in London, Wise, which was formerly known as TransferWise, got itself directly listed at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) last week, giving the firm a market value of over $ 11 billion on market debut. This strong listing has now turned its founders Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus into billionaires.

Money transfer solutions

With India now becoming the largest inbound remittance recipient market (about $85 billion a year), processes are quite a breeze when it comes to transferring money into India from jurisdictions abroad. However, the same cannot be said for outbound remittances where a lot of “friction” exists in the processes and the opaque bank charges for international money transfers are still a pain point.

Ten years ago, making an outbound remittance from India was an experience riddled with a lot of frustration and anxiety. If you wanted to send money abroad (say for your son or daughter’s education), you would have had to walk to a bank branch, fill up a form and then you would not know how much you would be charged for your remittance and you wouldn’t know how much you would get on the other side and when your recipient would get the money, etc. However, things are beginning to change as this is where fintechs like Wise are seeing opportunity, promising reliable transparent and cost effective technology solutions for international money transfers.

Multi-currency account

Wise, which is now regulated in 13 jurisdictions around the world including home market UK, EU, US, Canada, Brazil and several countries in Asia Pacific, currently has over 10 million people and businesses using its fully digital services.

Going forward, Wise, which now has only its remittance service in India, may also bring its multi-currency account offering that lets you hold 40 currencies in the account and convert from one currency to another, according to Saha.

Published on July 15, 2021

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