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Money Transfer Industry Update - Revolut Apple and Zelle

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Revolut Targets Businesses

It’s been an interesting few weeks for the international payments industry.  

For businesses seeking options for international money transfer, there have never been more alternatives to traditional bank transfers. As we covered in previous industry updates and in FXcompared Intelligence’s newsletter, both World First and Transferwise are now offering currency products to businesses. It seems to be the beginning of a trend, as more companies launch currency products for businesses.

Revolut to introduce business payments

Next to launch a product for businesses is borderless credit card company, Revolut. This week, Revolut announced the launch of Revolut for Business. Revolut for Business will provide businesses with the same convenient credit card as their consumer customers, allowing business clients to hold and transfer up to 25 different currencies. Unlike a similar product released for businesses by Transferwise last month, the Transferwise Borderless account, Revolut’s product will come with credit cards, including an option for borderless cards for employee spending.

As SMEs and other businesses become more savvy about international payment options outside of the traditional bank model, we will likely see more of these business products emerge in the international payments market. Only time will tell who is next to join Transferwise, World First and Revolut in trying to acquire more business clients.

apple to launch venmo competitors

Apple to Launch iMessage Payments

Apple announced last week that they will soon be enabling Peer-to-Peer payments to be made directly through iMessage. Though many have commented that Apple seems to be attempting to compete with Venmo, the peer-to-peer option within iMessage will be inherently different than Venmo. Venmo users gravitate toward the service partly due its social media platform, which allows users to label payments with emojis and even has a social feed for other Venmo users to see.

Apple enabling peer-to-peer payments in iMessage is more likely to be a way to enhance iMessage for users, not to directly compete with Venmo. Although the two applications are different, it will be interesting to see if Venmo usership goes down following the official launch of iMessage payments.

The Much Anticipated Zelle Launches

Zelle, a white label, peer-to-peer transfer solution aimed at banks, launches this week. Zelle aims to help banks compete with peer-to-peer applications, such as Venmo, for small domestic payments, such as splitting a restaurant bill with friends or paying the babysitter. Zelle intends to build a large network of banks, and big banks such as Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo have already signed on to the service.

The service aims to bring Millennial customers back to banks for small payments. Like Venmo, Zelle will be free to use and focus primarily on payments that are under $100. Zelle also claims that payments will be near-instantaneous, unlike competitors that generally take one to two days to process the payments. This rapid payment is enabled by the network of banks working with the service - though payments are only likely to be fast if the bank you are sending payments to and from are part of the Zelle network. Given the big names that have signed on with Zelle, there is a good chance the bank you use will be part of the Zelle network.

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