The person-to-person funds transfer market seems to grow each day, though often companies limit transfers to domestic use. A new startup called Remitly is aiming to grow its international remittance business, starting first with the Philippines.
Remitly provides a means for immigrants in the U.S. to send funds from the U.S. back to their home country by leveraging any digital device, though its primary focus is on the mobile phone experience. Company co-founder and CEO Matt Oppenheimer told Market Platform Dynamics CEO Karen Webster in a recent podcast interview. The service is designed to be less expensive and simpler to use than traditional alternatives P2P products, he said.
(jump to: 1:00 )“The difference really is having the best mobile experience,” Oppenheimer said. “As the world continues to move to mobile, there are really unique ways to create a much better, much less expensive, much more convenient, much faster experience sending money internationally."
One of the main reasons many P2P players focus on domestic transfers only is the plethora of government regulations involved when dealing with multiple countries. Thus far, Remitly support only transfers between the U.S. and the Philippines, but it has plans to more countries in the near future.
And dealing with regulations and regulators is part of the cost of doing business. (jump to: 1:45) “We see that as a very important part of our business; preventing things like money laundering and drug trafficking are absolutely important to what we do,” Oppenheimer said. “Working with regulators to do that is core of our business and our culture."
What makes Remitly less expensive is that it doesn’t have to support a physical agent network, as Western Union does. Funds recipients in the Philippines have 10,000 locations where they can receive cash, or they can have it deposited into their own bank account. Senders in the U,S. must use a bank account to send the transfers via the automated clearinghouse system, or they may use a debit or credit card, Oppenheimer said.