InstaRem’s CEO: why we want a digital banking license


Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO of FXcompared and FXC Intelligence and has 18 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors.… Read more
  • Prajit Nanu aims to lead InstaRem into a new generation of online banking
  • He also commented on Facebook’s new payments system, Libra
  • “They want us to focus on true innovation”, he told PYMNTS


The CEO of Singaporean cross-border payments provider InstaRem has given a wide ranging interview in which he explains why his firm is looking to acquire a digital banking license.

In the interview with online magazine PYMNTS and its correspondent Karen Webster, CEO Prajit Nanu covered topics as diverse as digital banking licenses to Facebook’s Libra platform.

The firm, which was set up in 2014, is one of the most recognised emerging names on the international money transfer scene.

However, it is now going one step further by asking the government of Singapore to grant it one of the five coveted new online banking licenses which it intends to give out.

According to Nanu, firms like his are under pressure to innovate – and to provide a whole range of services.

“They want to create new business models and new infrastructure plays”, he said. “They want us to focus on true innovation.”

“The appeal of the banking license is it ensures the fact that they can provide the full spectrum of services”, he said. “The biggest question in terms of the challenger banks is how many of their customers are actually receiving [their] salary in that account.”

According to Nanu, many of the banks which are currently described as challenger are in fact only used in highly specific circumstances.

He claimed that they are often not the user’s main account, and that users would not get their wages or other major income streams sent there – leading to a lack of critical mass for these brands.

However, it was on the topic of Facebook’s Libra – a new blockchain-powered payments service operated by the social networking giant – that Nanu’s comments were most pointed.

"I think the most amazing thing about the Libra announcement was the fact that I suddenly realized so many people really don’t understand payments”, he said.

InstaRem, which is short for “instant remittances”, is available to both individual users and also to enterprise-level users.

It operates in a number of regions, including the EU, India, Australia and more.

Cross-border payments and remittance services are lucrative worlds, and the global remittances market is believed to be worth $500 billion per year. However, for challenger brands such as InstaRem, which often have venture capital or angel investors behind them pushing them inexorably towards growth, it’s not enough to stay at the level of payment provider. InstaRem’s application for a digital banking license is a step towards a brave new world in which payment providers evolve into fully-fledged banks which offer all kinds of financial services. However, it remains to be seen whether or not this popular remittance services brand will even be granted the license it seeks – and if it doesn’t, the bank trajectory may be further away than it seems.

Keep up to date with everything about InstaRem and other challenger brands by visiting our magazine section and bookmarking it in your browser.

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