Money Transfer Operator Instarem Makes Move Into European Market

Instarem, the Singapore headquartered money transfer operator that offers a unique zero-margin FX transfer policy, made waves at last week’s Money 20/20 Asia conference, held in Singapore.

The company, led by co-founders Prajit Nanu and Michael Bermingham revealed that they plan to extend their outbound money transfer operations to the European Union. All individuals and businesses in the EU will now be able to take advantage of Instarem’s online service to send money overseas, after the company received regulatory approval for its EU operations from the Bank of Lithuania last September.  Lithuania will also be where the company’s European HQ will be situated.

Instarem say they have been ramping up their infrastructure ahead of the launch and expected increase in global transaction volumes.

Co-founder Prajit Nanu commented that “With a combined population of more than half a billion people, European Union is a key market for us. With InstaReM’s unique Zero-Margin FX positioning, superior platform and exceptional customer service, we are confident of capturing a substantial market share of outbound money transfers from Mainland Europe.”

Nanu also noted that Europe is a migrant friendly region where significant numbers of workers send money back home to relatives: “traditionally, the members of the EU have been welcoming migrants, who, in turn, have been sending substantial remittances to their families back in their home countries in Asia, Africa, and the other parts of the world.”

Like most modern money transfer operators; and there are many in Europe, like TransferWise, Azimo, Revolut, and World Remit, as well as brokers handling larger volume transactions such as Tor FX, Effective FX, and Smart Currency Exchange; which will provide stiff competition for new market entrants like Instarem; Instarem want customers to stop using their banks to make international money transfers.

Always a tempting option for consumers not used to making overseas transfers, banks are generally accepted to be the most expensive way to send money overseas, with mobile apps and digital wallets the cheapest.

As well as zero-margin transfers, and an “automated platform and deep relationships with banks worldwide”, that Nanu believes will allow Instarem to “be able to offer transparent international money transfers at a fraction of costs compared to the traditional players”, the company has also developed a customer loyalty scheme – Instapoints.

For each successful transaction completed via the Instarem platform or referral of a new customer, users will receive points which can be saved, and redeemed on a per transaction basis to receive discounts on transfer fees.

Instarem raised $17m of funding last year from venture capital investors and shortly afterwards received approval to carry out remittance services in India. The company has also gained an 8% share of the India – Australia remittance corridor, according to the company’s Wikipedia page.

Singapore is a hotbed of successful fintech startups, and is often regarded as London’s biggest challenger to the title of “world’s biggest fintech hub”. By moving into the EU market, Instarem will present an interesting challenge to London’s money transfer firms, who may not have such straightforward access to the EU for much longer, as Brexit looms ever closer.

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