How Fintech is Making Money Remittances Easier
Money transfers were once something that was incredibly costly, inconvenient to do, and only available to the elite. The rest of us needed to arrive at the destination and keep our fingers (and toes) crossed that the ATM card would work. Sometimes, our bank would reject the transaction, and other times, we’d object to multiple layers of assorted fees just to access our money.
Thankfully, that’s been an evolving situation. Not since the days of the stagecoach robberies necessitating the likes of Western Union to start doing money remittances has money transfers changes so much. Now the risks are greatly reduced and the options growing in number.
Here are some of the interesting fintech solutions that have emerged over the last few years.
Pseudo Fintech Bank Accounts
Fintech companies like TransferWise in the U.S., and Revolut in Europe, to name two, have gone down the complicated route of offering something akin to a digital bank account. At times, this has also included limited access to a series of international bank accounts to receive payments in the respective country in the local currency. These balances can then be transferred to the domestic currency and be withdrawn.
Also, in some cases, it’s possible to make withdrawals in a local currency when abroad if you’ve already transferred a credited balance into that foreign currency ahead of time. When doing so, usually the foreign currency fee at the ATM is mitigated, cutting the costs to access funds abroad.
It can be an overly complex solution to a simpler problem that can include money transfers but also supports ATM withdrawals abroad too.
Dedicated Money Transfer Apps
Money transfer apps make life easier. For example. the Ria Money Transfer App lets you sign up and send money to anyone you want. They do need a name and address, but once the details match up, they can dispatch the funds. Money may be sent for collection at the other end, for delivery (not all destination countries permit that), or to deposit the funds into a domestic or foreign bank account.
Temporarily Travel Cards
To address the risk of carrying credit cards in a foreign country or fumbling with expensive bank transfers, many travelers look for alternative ways to carry money and be reliably able to pay for restaurants, hotels, and other related expenses.
Enter the temporary travel cards. Some fintech organizations have offered these as plastic cards that use Mastercard (but sometimes other payment networks like Discover or VISA) to facilitate payments. Money is transferred in the form of topped-up balances. This doesn’t come cheap with a substantial fee being deducted. Then the balance can be used for purchases until it reaches zero.
The costs to use these types of cards are considerable with issuance fees and top-up fees surprising many people. However, it does provide a backup card with a balance. This can be kept in the hotel safe, or you can leave the main card in the safe and keep the temporary one in your wallet to minimize the losses if your wallet is stolen.
The good news with fintech is that new, interesting solutions are being launched each month now. So, keep an eye out for the latest developments because money transfers and money, in general, will never be the same again.