Mon | Jul 16, 2018

WorldRemit launches digital money-transfer service for Jamaicans in New York

Published:Sunday | March 4, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder

Money transfer company WorldRemit has made a bid for even more of the online remittance market with a new service for Jamaicans in New York, according to regional head, Erick Schneider.

The company, through local agents such as JMMB and VMBS, has been targeting the Jamaican market since 2012. The online service either connects with local partners who provide cash pick-up services through their networks, or deposit funds directly to bank accounts in Jamaica.

With the new Jamaican platform for New York, launched last week, the US is set to become WorldRemit's largest send market, the company said Thursday.

WorldRemit also announced that it secured US$220 million in funding rounds led by Accel and TCV, for its expansion push.

"'Currently the US is one of WorldRemit's fastest growing send markets with 200 per cent year on year growth," Schneider told the Financial Gleaner.

'With the addition of New York, we expect the US market to account for 40 per cent of WorldRemit's global revenue in the next few years, up from the current 15 per cent."

WorldRemit reported revenues of pound41 million in 2016, but is yet to publish its 2017 results. However Schneider said they expect revenue to rise above pound60 million.

CONVENIENT SERVICE

In a release on Thursday, WorldRemit said it was targeting New York state's 340,000-strong Jamaican population with a "fast, low cost service", while touting the convenience of its online platform over brick-and-mortar remittance agents.

"For the 340,000 Jamaicans living in New York, we are 100 per cent digital (cashless)," Schneider added. "The challenge of traditional cash-based transfers is the lack of convenience, high cost and lack of transparency. The traditional method involves either paying high bank fees to send small amounts or travelling to a money transfer agent carrying cash, queuing up to pay in cash, knowing the recipient will face the same challenges at the other end," he said.

He said WorldRemit has around two million clients, but acknowledged that the digital money transfer arena in which it plays was just 5-10 per cent of global remittances, according to industry reports from GSMA. The industry was last valued at US$575 billion worldwide.

Schneider said however that digital transfers are expected to grow to 60 per cent of the market in seven years, based on GSMA data. GSMA collects data from a global pool of mobile phone users on behalf of its members. It indicates on its website that unique mobile subscribers has surpassed five billion.

WorldRemit's investment in the New York platform was not disclosed. Schneider said the company has brought new staff on board, who are responsible for the Caribbean, including Jamaica.

WorldRemit was founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Ismail Ahmed. The company is based in London but expanded to the US in 2014, with offices in Denver and Miami.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com