Pockit, a mobile banking app targeting the U.K.’s underbanked, has picked up £2.9 million in additional funding and will soon launch a remittance service to make it easier for its users to send money abroad.
According to TechCrunch, this new funding is essentially a bridge round before a Series B planned for the end of the year. Joining the round are Kevin Reynolds (a partner at Bridgepoint Capital), Colin Harris (founder of Fresh Direct, the food wholesaler) and Stuart Middleton (former creative director of Card Factory). The company previously raised £10 million.
Founded in 2013, Pockit will allow its 150,000 or so users to send money to Poland and Italy starting next week, with all other eurozone countries added in June. Over the next few months, countries outside Europe will also be added, starting with Philippines, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria.
Pockit founder Virraj Jatania told TechCrunch that the new remittance service is part of the startup’s mission to bring a range of cost-effective digital banking products to customers currently underserved or financially excluded by traditional banks. The market size is somewhere between 4 to 5 million in the U.K. and thought to be around 2 billion or more worldwide.
Starting with remittance, Pockit is also looking into overdrafts and insurance products and plans to let its users leverage their transaction/account data to secure a better credit score.
And instead of charging a monthly account fee, Jatania created what he described as a simple retail-type pricing model that means any features that aren’t free are charged at a standard 99 pence. This is also designed to wean users off more expensive money transfer providers such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Sending remittances abroad will cost 99 pence plus an “exchange rate adjustment charge” of up to 2.5 percent.
“By launching a low-cost remittance service Pockit is saving our customers money and providing a service that suits their lives. We expect it to be very attractive to our core customers who find it difficult to access conventional financial services for many reasons,” said Jatania in a statement.