How is the International Money Transfer Market Evolving? Interview with Subhash Chander

There is a lot of activity going on in the international money transfer market. Beyond TransferWise rebranding to Wise. The foreign exchange market is the largest financial market in the world. Much larger than the stock market, with a daily volume of $6.6 trillion. Yes, trillion as in thousands of billions. Mind-numbing numbers. Money going from one currency to another. And within that, billions are actually money transfers and remittances. International payments was one of the first markets to be targeted by fintechs when the industry boomed a few years ago. Because it was a low-hanging fruit. Really inefficient. Poor customer experience and expensive. A number of companies emerged, and some are absolutely huge now. We asked a few questions to Subhash Chander, founder of the money transfer comparison website WireSmartly. To understand what his company is doing in the space and how the international money transfer market is evolving.

Tell us more about WireSmartly. What is your elevator pitch?

At WireSmartly we help people find, compare and select the ideal international money transfer service provider in real time. Our mission is to give you the best value when transferring money abroad.

Every year, millions of migrant workers around the world send a significant amount of their hard-earned money back home to support their families. However, a considerable share of the money never reaches the recipients due to hefty transfer costs and poor exchange rates.

We are building the Skyscanner of the international money transfer industry. Remittances flows are a $600 billion market according to the World Bank. We help customers find the ideal money transfer provider in less than 3 seconds. Furthermore, we are building the world’s largest database platform for real time and historical international money transfer rates. Helping both migrants and industry participants make the most out of their money. Further, we partner with the world leading international money transfer companies including Wise, TransferGO, CurrencyFair, Remitly and many more.

After seeing a glimpse of the demand, we opened our branch office in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. Within the first weeks we reached the hundredth customer. Since launching a few months ago, WireSmartly has been nominated in the Ireland National Startup Awards 2020 under two different categories: Early Stage Startup and Fintech Startup.

What is the story behind WireSmartly, how did it all start?

The story of WireSmartly began in the royal city of Patiala, India. I came up with the idea when I was charged excessive transfer fees while sending money to my son studying abroad.

Likewise, my son was also losing a significant portion of his money while sending it back home. This was due to hefty transfer fees and bad exchange rates. However, he needed to continuously send money to our home town to pay for his student loan. I realised the inconvenience and disruption that one has to go through when trying to transfer money to a different country. Then, I discovered that this frustration was shared by millions of migrant workers sending money back home. This is how WireSmartly was born: to cut down on fees when transferring money between two countries.

How does it work for customers and money transfer operators?

It can be time-consuming to find the best online deal to send money. You have to search through multiple money transfer companies websites to find out the best exchange rate, most competitive transfer fee and fastest transfer time. WireSmartly does the work for you. We instantly compare all that information from the world leading money transfer companies. Instead of spending hours finding the provider that offers the best value.

If you go to WireSmartly, within just three clicks you can compare the best option. Select the country from where you want to transfer the money and to which country, enter the amount and compare immediately. As easy as 1, 2, 3!

International money transfers can reach everyone. WireSmartly has a global audience. By partnering with us, money transfer operators outshine together in order to help people send money back home without worrying too much. Above all, WireSmartly’s utmost value is being transparent. Each partnership we create is a win-win situation. Therefore, we make sure that both parties are complementary and can bring added-value to each other.

What are your views on the major trends in money transfer services and international payments?

The global remittance market is projected to reach over $930 billion by 2026. Post-pandemic, people will go back to being more mobile. For instance, in search of employment or education in different countries and locations. This will increase the number of cross-border transactions even more.

The Digital Era

The penetration of smartphones, digital wallets and the rise of some leading fintech brands has revolutionized the global remittance market. For example, the days when a recipient had to wait for a week to receive the money are thankfully long gone. With the help of fintech platforms, one can transfer money in a couple of minutes. Moreover, customers can track their transfers’ history very easily. 

Remittance cost

The cost of transfers has also seen a dramatic change. Back in 2012, the digital cross-border payments market was a nascent industry. Banks were the major platforms for cross border transfers. Nonetheless, many people still think that they do not have any other choice. And so they accept the high fees and get on with the transaction. This is unfortunate because a lot of money could be saved if consumers were better informed.

On the other hand, the new fintech platforms like CurrencyFair, InstaRem and others are a great way to solve this problem. But every transaction should be judged on its merits because the relevant variables are changing all the time.

What sets you apart? Why would customers use WireSmartly?

We have built a unique algorithm tool for the Irish and Asian markets. It will automatically show you the best deal on your transfer, net of fees. At the same time, you can adjust for the best exchange rates, the lowest fee and transfer time. In addition, you can also sign up to receive exclusive deals, coupons and rate alerts.

Many industries have a central comparison service. Would you purchase a car insurance without using a comparison tool? How about booking a flight or a holiday? Of course not. Most people use comparison websites to get the best value for money. This is exactly what WireSmartly does, but for international money transfer services. Our smart algorithm tool will fetch the transfer fees and exchange rates from the world leading money transfer companies across 180 countries. So instead of spending hours searching for the most competitive transfer fee and best exchange rates, we make it easy for you to find the right option. In short, the small amounts you save on each transfer will save you a big sum of money over the long term.

Any plans for the future or product roadmap you want people to know about?

We continue to work hard towards our mission of bringing transparency to our users, calling out the hidden fee and saving them from excessive cost on transfer fee and bad exchange rates. In the next 12 months, we will be focusing on optimizing our platform and focus on our mission.

Meanwhile, we are planning to collaborate with neobanks and other brands. This will increase our customer numbers and will also give us a strong market position at global level. Furthermore, we are also going to grow our team in the coming months so keep an eye out if you are looking for a job!