Traditionally, sending money transfers abroad has been a notoriously complex, time-consuming and expensive endeavour. Before solutions like Wise (formerly “TransferWise”), WorldRemit and OFX came along, the process was marred by seemingly endless forms, hidden fees and middlemen. Luckily, new solutions like Santander’s PagoFX are making things a lot easier.
With increased globalisation and more people than ever managing their money online, the need for fast, efficient and low-cost international money transfers has increased exponentially:
- Small and large businesses need them to make deals with partners abroad
- Investors and travellers need them to facilitate international payments
- Immigrants depend on them to send money to their friends and family at home
In fact, according to Business Wire, the value of global money transfer transactions is expected to hit over $3,5T by 2024. That’s quite a jump from $1,8T in 2019. The growth in this sector has been driven by numerous Fintech startups offering their customers far more competitive ways of making their international money transfers than their banks. That includes:
- Better exchange rates
- No hidden “receiving bank” or “Intermediary bank” fees
- Lower transfer fees
- Instant transfers
- Intuitive, transparent and user-friendly apps
With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why so many customers have chosen independent providers like Xoom and MoneyCorp over their trusted banks to make international transfers. So how are traditional banks like Santander fighting back?
This is our Corporate Startup of the week:
Let’s take a closer look at how Santander has leveraged its years of industry know-how, international customer base, and brand name to build a venture that combines a bank’s trust with the innovation of a fintech startup.
About Banco Santander SA.
Headquartered in Madrid and founded in 1857, Banco Santander is a global banking provider that caters to individuals, companies and institutions. It has over 191.000 employees, 11.000 branches and a market cap of $59,6B.
Having been named number 361 on the Forbes Global 2000 biggest public companies list, Banco Santander is divided into three secondary segments:
- Santander Corporate & investment banking
- Santander Wealth Management & Insurance
- PagoNxt (an autonomous fintech unit within Santander)
Founded in 2020, PagoNxt is the result of a merger of three of Santander’s core payment platforms, including Santander Global Trade Services, Santander Global Merchant Services and Santander Digital. The goal was to consolidate these services under a cloud-based infrastructure to provide increased scalability and cybersecurity.
PagoFX is one of the ventures that came from PagoNxt.
PagoFX is a low-cost international money transfer service developed by PagoNxt and backed by Santander. The service enables users to send money abroad via their smartphone easily, securely, and in a matter of minutes, regardless of their banking service provider. As explained by Executive Chair at Banco Santander, Ana Botín:
“PagoFX makes it possible to transfer money internationally easily, at low cost, and with the security and peace of mind that comes from a regulated entity backed by an international bank. This is a unique proposition and we hope it will help many people and businesses. It draws on our world-class technology and talent to deliver a new and highly relevant service for everyone in the open market”.
Since its initial launch in the UK, back in April 2020, PagoFX has expanded, now offering its services to customers in Spain and Belgium. CEO of PagoFX, Cedric Menager, had this to say about the latest launch in Belgium:
“Many Belgian residents still pay high fees with hidden charges in exchange rates, then only have their funds delivered days later without transparency on the exact amount they’re sending. When they look to new offerings from fintechs, they lack a key element for digital payments: safety and confidence. That’s where we can help.”
In December of last year, PagoFX launched a new service aimed at British Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The new service makes it easier for SMEs to settle invoices with customers and suppliers abroad.
PagoFX’s rapid expansion is only the beginning, with plans to make the service available across Europe and beyond in the next three to four years.
How PagoFX works.
Making forex transfers with PagoFX is an easy process that entails:
- Downloading the app for free (available through Google Play or the App Store)
- Verifying your identity by uploading your ID and taking a selfie
- Selecting your currency and see exactly how much your recipient will get
Here are a few other useful details:
- Payments are usually made within minutes.
- You can get help at any stage of the process via the app, web chat or email.
- Transfers are possible to over fifty countries, including India, Hong Kong, the US and the eurozone.
- Fees vary from 0,7% to 0,8% of the transaction, depending on the country you’re making the transfer to.
The benefits for Santander.
Launching PagoFX has enabled Santander to effectively compete with independent startups in the market and tap into the increasingly relevant forex industry. The new venture is also enabling Santander to:
- Increase its customers to include those from other banks (potentially poaching them).
- Create an important new revenue stream for the future.
- Expand beyond traditional banking into international money transfers.
- Gain invaluable insights about the new customer base.
- Boost innovation and technology from within.
- Experiment with new tech services and gain new capabilities in the process.
In addition, the new venture is enabling Santander to leverage corporate assets like its:
- Strong brand name to create trust and confidence in PagoFX.
- International industry expertise to give itself a leg up over new market entrants.
- Over 148 million customers as a base to test the new service.
- Infrastructure and international reach to facilitate rapid expansion.
What’s Next for PagoFX?
PagoFX currently has over 70 employees spread across offices in Madrid, London and Brussels and the team will most likely grow as the service becomes available in more countries.
The company was also named “Best Money Transfer App” by Good Money Guide earlier this year, gotten rave reviews on Trustpilot and by independent reviewers online. Although it’s still in its early stages, having been launched just a bit over a year ago, PagoFX has gotten a great start, expanding rapidly and delivering on its value proposition. As described by CEO Cedric Menager:
“Our vision is to be the world’s most trusted and loved way to send money abroad. We want all our customers to feel confident about sending money overseas. That’s why we created PagoFX.”
As more customers become aware of the service and it expands to more countries, there’s a good chance the team will meet that ambitious goal.
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