Press Release (ePRNews.com) - LAUREL, Md. - Jan 05, 2018 - Over $1 trillion in person-to-person money transfers are sent each year. The World Bank estimated that formal channels alone accounted for $576 billion in 2016 and informal channels are at least as large.
With advances in technology, most remittance companies now offer websites or apps from which one can initiate a money transfer, using credit or debit cards or bank transfers. The most well-established names (Western Union, MoneyGram, etc.) have made great strides (and profits) in the past few years converting a portion of their business to digital. But these digital channels do not always work, depending on the form of payment or the destination country. Moreover, these digital options are not for everyone, and most immigrants still prefer to go to an agent location to send money.
Agents remain vital to the health of remittance companies and with increasing regulation, more and more agents are leaving the industry to focus on their core businesses. This issue, known as agent churn, has become an emergency for certain send-side corridors. This new product, a pre-paid card, simplifies the agents’ role and gives senders more control.
In the pilot phase, 57 percent of customers who purchased a card sent funds to more than one recipient, and each added recipient incurs a 99 cent fee, shared with agents.
Behind this pre-paid card is VTN GLOBAL, a Maryland-based Fintech company that made a splash in the remittance industry with a useful API that connects U.S. and European remittance organizations directly to recipient bank accounts. Embedded security technology includes sophisticated and automated limits on funds sent and all transactions are run against the OFAC list in real-time.
To drive a proof of concept for its latest product VTNGlobal obtained a few U.S. state money transmitter licenses and the response from agents and senders exceeded expectations.
This pre-paid card product is ready for 2018 white label licensing to remittance organizations in the USA, U.K., and Europe.
Multiple recipient functionality gives senders the control they crave
Six money transfers from Chicago to Nigeria for $10.90.
Kunle lives in Chicago and visited his regular spot for sending money home, a local Nigerian food market. He planned to send $500 to his brother with instructions as to how to divide this among other family members. Instead, he noticed a new product, VTNGlobal Cashless card and was advised it was safe and it worked, so he bought a $500 card to send the money directly to his loved ones.
Kunle sent $30 to Omeiza’s First Bank account, $30 to Okezie’s GTB account, $30 to Ofuonye’s GTB account, $100 to Owoyele’s First Bank account, $100 to Nwaoha’s Ecobank account and $200 to Saka’s First Bank account.
Agents appreciate that much of the burden has been removed from them, making the facilitation of money transfer a far less time-consuming activity.
Agents are most often small businesses that offer money transfer as a sideline, a service their customers need that also earns them a few dollars. But the process is burdensome and this new pre-paid card product offers a solution. It starts with “good funds” just like any giftcard purchased off a rack at a retailer then it puts the onus on the buyer to complete the transaction. Agents simply sell the card for cash. This is totally different from the existing process in which a customer provides a completed form and an ID to the agent for processing. The smoothest processes still take several minutes.
A further agent incentive is that the person who buys the card is likely to divide the funds between two or more people and this generates money for the agent. In the pilot phase, 57 percent of customers who purchased a card sent funds to more than one recipient, and each added recipient incurs a 99 cent fee, shared with agents. This multi-recipient capability addresses a pain point, relying on another person to receive funds meant for many, and to correctly distribute the funds. Misdirected funds are a common complaint for those sending money. This pre-paid card product is not only easy to sell, it generates added profit after-the-sale.
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