The UK, and most particularly London, is undeniably one of the leading fintech hubs in the world. In 2015, VC-backed fintech investment reached an all-time high in the UK with US$962 million through 61 deals, according to KPMG and CB Insights. London alone attracted over US$743 million in venture capital through 50 deals.
Payments and money transfers are amongst the key areas of financial services that fintech companies are looking to disrupt. These fintechs are leveraging digital platforms, mobile technology among other things to provide more efficient, more convenient and cheaper solutions.
Today, we take a look at the UK’s top money transfer companies.
TransferWise is undoubtedly one of the most renowned fintech startups and a leading money transfer company.
Launched in 2011, TransferWire is a peer-to-peer money transfer service headquartered in London with several offices around the world.
TransferWise has developed a simple way to make international money transfers transparent, fair and inexpensive. It relies on the principle that money doesn’t have to leave the country to be transferred abroad.
Instead of transferring the sender’s money directly to the recipient, it is redirected to the recipient of an equivalent transfer going in the opposite direction.
TransferWise currently supports more than 645 currency “routes” across the world.
Azimo is an online remittance service with headquarters in London and offices in Krakow, Poland. Launched in 2012, the company aims to make international money transfer cheaper, faster, simpler and easier to understand.
Azimo allows customers to transfer money via its website or smartphone app to more than 190 countries in over 80 different currencies.
The company has half a million customers connected to its platform and offers more than 270,000 cash pick-up locations globally. In 2016, an updated version of its app was launched with features including in-app chat and biometric security.
WorldRemit is an online service that lets people send money to friends and family abroad. It seeks to provide a convenient, low-cost alternative to traditional money transfer companies that use street agents and charge high fees.
Through WorldRemit, money can be received as a bank deposit, cash pick-up, mobile money, or mobile airtime top-up.
The service is available to senders in 50 countries and recipients in more than 120 countries. WorldRemit targets the expatriates and migrant workers communities.
TransferGo is a digital remittance solution for migrant workers launched in September 2012. The company uses a digital account to account business model. This means that, similarly to TransferWise, money transfers do not have to leave the country as funds are paid in and out locally.
TransferGo is a registered and licensed as a payment service provider, and is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. The service primarly focused on the European market. TransferGo charges a fixed transfer fee, and a currency conversion fee between 0.6% and 1.5% fee per transaction.
As of 2014, the company had recorded over 40,000 customers.
Billon is an e-money platform based on distributed ledger technology that facilitates the secure transfer and holding of funds using a phone-based app.
Billon uses distributed ledger technology to digitize paper cash into electronic eMoney blockchain files that can safely be stored on a user’s phone, tablet or PC. The solution is fully interconnected with exiting banking system, and supports major European currencies: EUR, GBP and PLN.
The solution allows users to withdraw their funds in cash through an ATM. They are provided with a special code via their app that allows ATM withdrawal without having any type of card.
Billion aims to provide a faster, cheaper and safer method for customers to send money abroad.
Revolut is not a money transfer company per se but rather a mobile banking app that includes a debit card, currency exchange, and peer-to-peer payments.
Revolut is a platform that allows users to use and manage money around the world. The app supports multiple payment cards and allows users to send transfer money instantly globally through SMS, WhatsApp and social media. Revolut currently supports spending and ATM withdrawals in 90 currencies and sending in 23 currencies directly from the mobile app.
The majority of Revolut’s services are free. The company claims to use interbank rates for its currency exchange.
Revolut has recently added a premium tier with more features for £6.99/€8.50/$8.50 per month in 42 European countries. Earlier this month, the startup launched a new credit feature for UK users through a partnership with peer-to-peer lending company Lending Works.
Covercy provides online, international money transfer and foreign currency exchange solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises. The company aims to provide a more transparent, efficient and cheaper alternative to existing international money transfers.
Covercy allows customers to make payments to any country in 28 currencies. It serves customers in the EY member countries, the UK and Israel.
Covercy processes tens of millions of euros each month worth of transactions.
Money 2017 Conference
WIRED Money 2017‘s conference on May 18, will bring together the world’s top innovators and entrepreneurs in the fintech industry. The event, which will take place in London, will be WIRED’s fifth annual WIRED Money event and will cover some of hottest trends in finance and fintech right now including blockchain technology, personal financial management, regtech, insurtech and payments.
Speakers will include representatives from IBM, Mastercard, Aviva, Suade, but also Lemonade, Monzo, Nutmeg, N26 and EverLedger.