Azimo unveils new money transfer service to China

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Nigel Frith
Nigel Frith
Former Global General Manager
Nigel was the Global General Manager at FXcompared. Nigel has a background in marketing for businesses and consumers as well working in a variety of online financial services roles. Read more
  • New service will tap multi-billion-dollar Chinese international money transfers market
  • Costs of money transfers to China will be slashed by 50%

Azimo, the London-headquartered cross-border payments disrupter to traditional international money transfer services, has launched a new international service which will allow people living in 24 European countries to send money abroad to individual bank accounts in China.

Backed by Japanese tech giant Rakuten, Azimo will now enable money to be delivered to China in local currency. And, covering 99% of banks in the People’s Republic with rapid delivery times and low rates, it’s become the primary provider of international money transfers to China, outperforming all other competitor providers in the market.

Europeans transfer £4.1bn (AUS $7.3bn) to China every year. Azimo’s new service will allow them to do so at around half of the cost charged by other money transfers service providers. That means that the average customer will save approximately £10 (AUS $18).

Announcing the new service, Azimo’s CEO, Michael Kent, said: “Two million Chinese citizens currently live in Europe, transferring £80m home each week. For those living away from family and friends, being able to send money home is hugely important. Our customers have used Azimo to send millions of dollars to China already. Now their transfers will arrive directly into their recipients’ bank accounts in local currency, without wasting their money on expensive fees.”

The expansion comes hot on the heels of a new rapid weekend money transfers service to a raft of countries, including Bangladesh, Colombia, Nigeria and the Philippines.

Mr Kent continued: “Azimo already helps people send money to more than 190 countries – and this improved service to China enables our customers to pay directly into bank accounts in local currency in this critical market.”

Noting that China is predicted to become the world’s biggest economy as soon as 2030, Kent went on to emphasise that it was now crucial to provide the means for European business to make payments there simply.

Like other fintech startups in the cross-border payments market, Azimo doesn’t stand still. Just under a year ago, in April 2017, it introduced a new feature to its smartphone app that simplified sending money and added additional network effects to help it grow. Similar to PayPal’s Venmo smartphone app and Barclay’s Pingit, it allowed customers to transfer money with just a phone number.

Where it differed from its competitors was in the international dimension. Azimo lets customers request, transfer and receive money across international borders. Customers simply select a phone number from their phone’s contact list using the Azimo app. If they want to send money, their recipient will receive an SMS notification containing a hyperlink that allows them to download and register with the Azimo app (if they aren’t already users), whereupon they receive the money.

Crucially, it helps minimise errors by placing the onus on the receiver to enter IBAN numbers of bank account details. One of the most commercially savvy features of the app is its in-built virality: as soon as it’s installed on your smartphone, it asks for permission to access your contacts, which basically turns it into a payments-based social network (essentially, it does for money transfers what platforms like WhatsApp do for messaging).

And now, having entered the lucrative China market, it looks a near-certain bet that Azimo is comfortably continuing on its steep upward curve.

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