Money Transfer Industry Update - Transferwise, Plooto and DLT Regulations

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Transferwise Introduces the Borderless Account to Canadian SMEs

Canadian businesses can now sign up for a “Borderless” account through cross-border payments provider Transferwise.  Borderless account holders can pay vendors and receive payments from customers as if they had a local bank account in the country where they do business.  They can even get their own account number and routing number for the US, Europe, and UK.  The Borderless account can hold 27 different currencies and quickly transfer money between currencies.  According to Transferwise CEO and Co-founder Kristo Kaärmann, “If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur working with a global network of vendors, the Borderless account will be a game changer.”

Plooto Becomes the Latest Canadian FinTech Startup to Go Global

The FinTech startup Plooto recently announced that small businesses in Canada and the US can now use its platform to send payments around the world.  Formerly, the company’s payment services were limited to those two countries.  Based in Toronto, the fastest growing tech market in North America, Plooto has experienced consistent growth since receiving its first round of capital in 2015. 

Plooto’s founder, Hamed Abassi, immigrated to Canada knowing no English but achieved success with his first venture, a casual video game development company called Vast Studios.  His experience as an entrepreneur made him aware of the need for better payment solutions.  “I saw first-hand that the payments solutions for the consumer market had far outpaced what was available for businesses.  We wanted to bring the same level of innovation, convenience, and usability to payments for small and medium sized businesses.”

US Bank Survey Captures the Rise of Digital Payments

The recent US Bank Cash Behavior Survey revealed that a slightly higher percentage of consumers prefer using person-to-person mobile payment apps (47%) as opposed to paying in cash (45%).  Not surprisingly, the younger the respondent, the more likely that they have ever made digital payments:  49 percent of millennials (aged 19-36) versus 32 percent of baby boomers (aged 53-71).  The survey also found that consumers don’t carry around much cash anymore.  Half of respondents indicated that they take cash with them only half of the time, and three-quarters of respondents typically have less than $50 in cash at their disposal.

Rapid growth in the mobile payments industry will only accelerate these trends.  For example, the long-anticipated release of Zelle, a P2P payment app backed and branded by US Bank and other major financial institutions, led to impressive results.  In the 30 days since Zelle launched, the number of mobile payments by customers more than tripled.  For Gareth Gaston, executive vice president of Omnichannel at US Bank, this impact “shows that the broad availability of free, easy-to-use and fast-acting technology is supplanting the need for cash.”

IMF Report on DLT Regulations Well-Received by Virtual Currency Providers

International Monetary Fund.jpg

The IMF’s report on the latest developments in the FinTech industry pays special attention to international money transfers.  It includes recommendations for regulating Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and the virtual currencies that rely on it to reduce criminal behaviors like money laundering, the financing of terrorism, and tax evasion.  The report also encourages policymakers to approach this new financial territory with open-mindedness and a willingness to collaborate across countries.

Leaders in the digital currency industry expressed support for the IMF’s suggestions, equating more regulations with wider mainstream acceptance.  Dawn Parker-Waites, CEO of VIVA, believes that companies like hers should work with the traditional financial system and promote good citizenship.   “In the end, as responsible actors in this space, we need to ask ourselves whether we want to have a significant place at the table, or instead relegate ourselves to the fringe.”

Marisa Fasciano
Content Specialist
Marisa is a communications consultant based in New York with a background in social research, diversity education, and nonprofit development.  She has lived and traveled abroad extensively… Read more

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