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Category Archives: Money transfer destinations: India, Philippines, Mexico, China

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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MoneyGram: whack-a-mole of money transfers?


“…to date MoneyGram has refused to open a meaningful dialogue with us, leaving us no choice but to make this proposal public…”

– Euronet CEO’s letter to employees, December 13, 2007

MoneyGram and Western Union are usually mentioned in the same breath as “monopolies” of international money transfers. But when considering MoneyGram’s valuation in late 2016, it was not only tiny in comparison to Western Union’s but with a revenue multiple far below of any competitor:

Remittance providers - Latest Market Cap or Valuation, Dec 24 2017

At that point, MoneyGram was valued at less than six months of its revenue. Rather than a fluke, since IPO in 2004, MoneyGram had a four-year streak of being nearly worthless and dropping again in value to $350 million by October 2016:


There was a clear disconnect between MoneyGram’s image as a slightly smaller Western Union sibling and a recurring hopeless view from investors. Was that the curse of “silver medal”?

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Does Bitcoin/Blockchain make sense for international money transfers?

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/Blockchain for sending money

In this context, we are always grateful to find discussion about Bitcoin/Blockchain 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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TRANSFAST, Worldwide Money Transfer Company Background & Industry View

“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

– Warren Buffett

Transfast presents a particularly interesting case among providers of international persontoperson remittances. While we often read about startups or bitcoin taking on the industry’s largest players, Western Union and MoneyGram, Transfast is unique in being an independent, private equitybacked company that is inbetween those extremes. Transfast straddles both offline and online worlds across the globe, while being nimble enough to maintain an entrepreneurial / startup culture. Since 2008, Transfast has grown ten times, expanding from a narrow focus of sending money between the U.S. and Latin American corridors to a truly global provider. Their story and insights on the industry are quite unique and informative.

This blog is specific to Transfast – if you are looking for more general knowledge on the best ways to transfer money, check other SaveOnSend blog posts.

We will cover questions like:

  • Should I use Transfast to transfer money from the U.S. to India, Philippines, Mexico or China?

  • How do Transfast’s fees and exchange rates compare with other money transfer companies?

  • How is Transfast different vs. other online remittance providers?

We will structure this post as follows:

1. Transfast’s history in money transfer

2. Transfast’s pricing: fees + FX markup (exchange rate)

3. Whether or not you should use Transfast for money transfer

4. Transfast CEO’s views on the money transfer industry and current trends

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

— Posted by SaveOnSend to Money transfer from USA to Mexico   |   3 Comments

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

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 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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International Money Transfer News

Hello Dear Reader, here you will find collated news about International Money Transfers: providers’ fundraising and valuations, providers’ performance, industry trends, and perspective from consumers. If you come across another interesting article, please add its link in the comments section.

Funding Performance Other Data
May-2016 $15MM at $100-150MM Valuation
Jun-2015 $20MM at $100MM Valuation
Mar-2014 $10MM
Sep-2013 $1MM
Jan-2013 $0.5MM
Real-time Cumulative Volume
May-2015 Cumulative volume: 2B EUR
Apr-2015 10MM EUR 50 employees
Mar-2014 Cumulative volume: $1B
Nov-2013 $2.5MM
Apr-2017 $1.2B offer by Ant Financial
Feb-2016 Wal-Mart represents 19% of revenues
Jun-2015 Share in USA-Mexico: 13%
Oct-2017 $115MM funding at least $345MM Valuation Annual volume close to $4B 400 employees
Jul-2017 Annualized volume: $3B
Feb-2017 Annualized volume: $2B
Sep-2016 $38MM Annualized volume: $1.5B 150 employees
Apr-2016 $38.5MM at $170MM Valuation
Jan-2016 Annualized volume: $1B
Sep-2015 Annualized volume: $500MM 100 employees
Jul-2015 Volume in 2015: $300MM
Mar-2015 $12.5MM Volume in 2014: $100MM, grew 4 times from 2013
Jan-2014 $5.5MM
Jan-2013 $2.6MM
Apr-2012 1.7
Oct-2011 $0.75MM
Nov-2017 $280MM at $1.6B Valuation
Jun-2017 Monthly volume: $1.5B 800 employees
May-2017 Reaches profitability
Oct-2016 Monthly: volume – $1B+, revenue – ~$6M Transferred $2B from USA in 2015
Sep-2016 Montly: volume – 0.8B GBP, revenue – 5M GBP
May-2016 $26MM at $1.1B Valuation Monthly revenue: $5MM 600 employees
Oct-2015 Cumulative volume in USA: $1B 430 employees
Jun-2015 Monthly volume: 500MM GBP 350 employees
Jan-2015 $58MM at $0.5B Valuation Cumulative volume: 3B GBP 250 employees
Jun-2014 $25MM
Apr-2014 Cumulative volume: 1B GBP
Oct-2013 Daily volume: 1.2MM EUR, Cumulative: $250MM GBP
May-2013 $6MM Cumulative volume: $125MM GBP
Apr-2012 $1.3MM
Nov-2011 Monthly volume: $1.6MM
Sep-2011 Cumulative volume: 2.5MM GBP 23% MoM growth, 1K repeat customers
Western Union
Feb-2015 80% of new customers are net new
Apr-2015 $40MM media budget for USA
May-2017 USA represents 10% of revenue
Sep-2016 Expecting 42M GBP in 2016 revenues Average txn size: $261
Feb-2016 $50MM at $500M Valuation Grew 80% in 2015 Mobile money is 25% of revenues
Nov-2015 Will grow 2 times in 2015, $1B annual volume
Jul-2015 Laying off staff in USA
Jun-2015 Will grow 3 times in 2015
Feb-2015 $100MM at $500MM Valuation Revenues in 2014: $24MM, 2013 – $9.3MM 250 employees
Mar-2014 $40MM
Jan-2010 4.4MM GBP
Apr-2016 Expecting 10% growth in 2016 ($200MM in revenue)
Apr-2015 Average trnx size for India is $1,500
Interesting articles
Apr-2015 Overview of Bitcoin and Ripple for money transfers Paying bills of relatives vs. sending them money
Mar-2015 Behavior of Remittance users
Jul-2016 Interview with CEO of Bitspark
May-2016 Bitcoin experts debate remittances
Oct-2015 Bitcoin does not make remittance cheaper
Sep-2015 Abra raises $12M
Apr-2015 BitPesa raises $1.1MM
May-2016 Are Indians really sending more money home?
Apr-2015 31% are banked Vision and action for Filipino diaspora

Money Transfer to India: Review and Tips

Are you NRI or POI transferring money from USA to India? Want to get the most rupees for your dollars? Not sure which provider is the best, cheapest or fastest? 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 India

  2. Rupee to dollar exchange rates and timing

  3. Top money transfer providers

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

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

Before we get started… Great news if you are a consumer transferring money from USA to India: it is currently the most competitive corridor from USA, attracting much more competition and larger investments than any other destination. You are in luck with variety of choices and lavish promotions which for many other destinations simply don’t exist. So you could make a relatively safe assumption that when transferring money to India with any top provider you would get a reasonable price and service.

But we are recommending trying providers with the cheapest price – this way, you are not just helping more your family but also supporting India’s growth. By always using the least expensive method of sending money home, each 1% in savings generates additional $100MM annually for your families and India’s economy.

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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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