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Welcome to the SaveOnSend Blog

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Remittance flows from USA in 2015

What is the cheapest way to send money to India? What is the difference between Xoom and TransferWise’s models? How to transfer money online to Mexico? Do startups like Remitly or WorldRemit have a chance to gain a sizable market share? What is the fastest provider to send money to Philippines? Is it safer to use mobile app or a cash agent for transferring money? Why use legal money transfer and not hawala when sending money to China? Will Bitcoin/blockchain destroy Western Union? Why some nationalities use cash agents while others prefer online? Are banks‘ remittance business really being disrupted?…

If these and other such questions seem interesting to you, you have come to the right place. Thank you for visiting our blog! First, let’s clarify who this blog is for, then why we started it, and what to expect.

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Western Union: permanent leader of international money transfer?

Western Union gorilla

“… long, sorry decline has left the 140-year-old company a shell of its former self. Today, it is fighting for its very survival. Western Union fell victim to technological advances…”

Associated Press, 1991

Reading current reporting about Western Union’s role in international remittances could make us think that the company has been a successful monopoly of this space forever, but, now, with the arrival of some disruptive innovation (“P2P”, “Bitcoin-blockchain”, “Social”, “Mobile”…), there is a real danger of its imminent demise. In reality, Western Union’s subsidiary, Western Union Financial Services Inc., began providing international money transfers in mid 80s when deregulation allowed a previously domestic service to expand internationally. By mid 90s, Western Union’s coverage included major remittance destinations like China. In those first ten years of its money transfer business, Western Union’s parent (renamed into New Valley in 1991) had plenty of upheavals going near or into a bankruptcy. After changing hands few times, the money transfer subsidiary was resurrected as an independent entity in 2006. Western Union’s stock performance has been highly volatile ever since with 20% decline in price since IPO, dwarfed by the overall market:

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International Money Transfer Services: Lean and Hungry

International Money Transfer Services

Do remittance startups have fundamentally different cost structure vs. incumbents? What are the primary customer acquisition channels for money transmitters? What can explain massively higher relative valuations of remittance startups vs. established providers? If you are interested in such questions, this article is for YOU.

We will cover the following topics:

  • Customers

  • Operating models

  • Acquisition channels

  • Valuations

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Send Money to Mexico: Cheap and Fast, Review and Tips

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Mexico money transfer from USA: #1 global corridor

Are you Mexican-Chicano sending money from USA to Mexico? Want to get the most pesos for your dollars? Not sure how to send money online and which provider is the best, cheapest or fastest? YOU came to the right place! We will cover all most important topics:

  1. Sending money to Mexico: key trends

  2. Pesos to dollar exchange rates and timing

  3. Top providers for sending money to Mexico

  4. The best way to send money to Mexico for you

Please note this post is specific to Mexico. If you are looking for general knowledge of how to best send money, please review this other SaveOnSend blog post first. And if you only have 30 seconds, just find the best provider with SaveOnSend app.

Before we get started… Great news if you are a consumer sending money from USA to Mexico: it is currently one of the most competitive corridors from USA, attracting more providers and larger investments than many other destinations. Continue Reading

Does Bitcoin make sense for international money transfer?

Bitcoin money transfer: competing with fast elephant

“I think we will know when bitcoin has reached prime time when it is transferring more value each day than Western Union or Money Gram…”

Roger Ver, November 2013

Bitcoin money transfer is usually discussed in either sensational or downright misleading way. There is a significant category of Bitcoin or, currently more popular, blockchain stakeholders and observers who seem to be completely vested in this innovative product’s awesome potential and are unable to entertain a deviating opinion. This very smart and capable, but, unfortunately, close-minded group believes that Bitcoin cancels a need for regulation and would soon destroy Visa, Western Union and “banks.” Articles written for and by such audience are easy to find, and we will not link to them to avoid enabling such either outrageously ignorant or deceptive opinions.

Rational view of Bitcoin for Sending Money

In this context, we are always grateful to find a write-up about Bitcoin for remittances which attempts to be more objective. Here are some examples: Bootstrappers guide to bitcoin remittances, Tackling bitcoin price swings OR

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Money Transfer to China: Review and Tips

— Posted by SaveOnSend to Money transfer from USA to China   |   8 Comments

Are you sending money from USA to China? Want to get the most yuan for your dollars or receive most dollars in China? Not sure which provider is the best, cheapest or fastest? Should your funds be received in renminbi or dollars? YOU came to the right place! We will cover all most important topics:

  1. Current state and key trends for sending money from USA to China

  2. Yuan to dollar exchange rates and timing

  3. Top money transfer providers

  4. Receiving in renminbi or dollars

  5. Finding fastest and cheapest vs. better and best money transmitters

Please note this post is specific to China. If you are looking for general knowledge of how to best send money, please review this SaveOnSend blog post first.

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Money Transfer: 5 Hacks to Nudge Consumers

Money Transfer LifeHacks

“The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.”

― Leon Trotsky, Their Morals and Ours

So you built a mobile app for international money transfer, got seed funding, engaged few hundred early adopters, and are now ready to go after those outdated-bureaucratic-price-gouging incumbents. How hard could it be? But a year goes by and your cumulative revenue has barely scratched $100K. The dream of new office digs and sharing success story with schoolmates is getting delayed while investors are starting to be more inquisitive about the timing of “hockey stick”… and it is all because those strange migrants keep clinging to their existing providers.

Well, don’t fret, we have gathered 5 “best practices” for nudging those close-minded consumers to embrace your service. Most of cool FinTech kids are doing this and even some incumbents and banks sample them at times, so it must be perfectly legal and not too immoral… at any rate, it is for consumers’ own good, right?

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Money Transfer Startups: race against time?

Money transfer startups - Race against time

“High fees, large incumbents, and a $400B+ market are under attack by a slew of remittance startups.”

– CB Insights, February 26, 2015

The best feature of being a startup during a bubble is TIME. Investors, usually impatient folks, are doing much better and encouraging startups to focus on growth rather than boring corporate stuff like “revenues” or, even worse, “profits.” Why bother with positive cash flows when investors are stuffed with money and more are available with a quick WhatsApp message? This is especially true when considering such seemingly easy and huge market as international remittances: $0.6T in size, ruled by one, hopefully, incompetent, colossus:



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Banks And Money Transfer: Sleeping Giants?

Caravan as a symbol of banks for remittances

“The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.”

– Arab Proverb

The premise of money transfer startups’ PR pitch revolves around a relatively intuitive notion when it comes to the role of banks: they are sleeping giants with bureaucratic culture, awful customer service and backward digital capabilities, so it is just a matter of few years before banks will be disrupted out of cross-border money transfers, also known as “remittances.” Paradoxically, this premise is not wrong. Moreover, most banks don’t view money transfers as strategic business or care which flavor-of-the-month startup is bragging about their imminent disruption. However, while some of those remittance startups would disappear in few years, the leading role of banks in this space will remain forever. How could that be?

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Transfer Money Internationally: Review and Tips

When asking about “the best” way to transfer money, we realize that it is a very subjective question. The reason for that is simple: we are as consumers are quite unique in our behavior when it comes to handling money. Mexicans don’t behave like Indians and Chinese are very different from Filipinos. But even within each ethnicity, there are multiple distinct behavior patterns. One manager of an Indian restaurant has accounts with multiple digital providers and compares prices before each transfer while his colleague next door prefers to send cash via a Western Union agent next door.

But let’s start with a “big picture” – there are 250 million consumers worldwide who regularly send money home and that number keeps growing fueled by ever expanded migration:

Migration trend 1970 - 2015


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