Who would have thought, five or ten years ago, that text messages (SMS) would become pretty much obsolete?
Now, everybody is using chat apps to communicate, be it for business or personal interactions. We know how much people like to chat, and the ability to combine that with sending and receiving money is a real plus that Moneymailme app brings to the market. We spoke with Mark Bolsom, Head of M3 Payments, about that, but also about the payments industry, challenges, remittances and the relationship between banks and FinTechs.
On the rise: businesses done internationally
We started our chat by speaking about the current state of the payments industry. “For me, the world has become smaller. More and more business is done internationally, and with that challenges arise, namely doing business with new people, people you don’t necessarily know. So payments are becoming increasingly significant in terms of how businesses are run and managed. You’re exposed to exchange rate volatility, and you need to prove your credentials by paying on time and correctly. I don’t think that you can conduct international business in this day and age without properly managing how you pay and how you’re being paid. It is a critical part of business because if that doesn’t work, if it’s inefficient or expensive, you’re losing money and credibility for no reason whatsoever. However, businesses often overlook this.”, believes Mark.
Trust is a key-element
“If you’re importing or exporting, you want to make sure you receive your funds on time and that they’re accounted for. Managing cash flow is so important for all businesses. Moreover, paying suppliers on time is vital in building trust and credibility given that most international businesses are conducted remotely on the phone or by email. Building trust by ensuring payments are made on time is critical.
Disrupting international remittances
The next topic: international remittances. “Here, the situation is a bit different. We are basically looking at giving digital money to people for instant use and access. When we talk about international remittances, we talk about a more personal type of interaction – sending money to your family or friends, as it’s often the case. Whilst there are big companies such as Western Union or MoneyGram which have a very developed network – with local points across the world where even people without a bank account can go and collect money – the charges for that service are huge.”
This is where Moneymailme – a free download from the App Store and Google Play – comes in as a pioneer in this space. “With Moneymailme we speak about digital money that you can transact directly from your mobile phone. You don’t need to go anywhere to collect money, so you’re saving time, and the transfer itself is instant, with a significantly low cost. All these aspects make a huge difference for the end-user! When you’re talking about personal money that you’ve worked hard for and you want to share that with family, colleagues or friends, every penny counts. The other thing that I love about Moneymailme is that you can chat with someone or make a video call and you can actually see them get the money there and then thanks to a world first: video call with cash transfer (send and receive) capabilities.”
FinTechs against banks or working together?
“My personal view is that FinTechs keep banks honest. By definition, banks are huge. I’m not exactly sure how it is in some European countries, but in the UK they divide their activities between Retail Banking and Investment Banking. They all want to play in the investment banking space, but they need the retail money to do that. For years, banks have been charging people significant amounts of money to transfer money (costs and wire fees), in terms of FX mark-ups, with a lack of transparency. Also, if you operate in multiple geographies – United States, Far East, Europe or Africa – it’s been very hard, bureaucratic and expensive to have multiple currency accounts. Therefore, no visibility on what currencies you’re holding at any given time.”
Focus on key-processes and improve them
Mark Bolsom: “What FinTechs can do is identify different bits of what banks do rather than the whole picture and improve those processes. Moneymailme looks at transfers from one individual to another and how we can make this process quicker and sleeker, and a better user experience. And I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to do that so far! In the FinTech space, Moneymailme keeps focusing on these small elements in order to deliver a customer-oriented experience and bring added value.”
Security is paramount for money transfers
“If you ask me, I think that the first step of this digital revolution we’re all witnessing now has been the birth of the smartphones. People got used to carrying around quite a bit of technology in their pockets. Then came the financial crisis, which made people think twice before entrusting their money to banks and what those banks were doing with their money. So that paved the way – at least in the UK, where banks fell from grace – for this new wave of start-ups and FinTech companies wanting to bring something new. As you know, some banks were hacked, people lost trust in them, so yes – security is paramount when it comes to money transfers!”
Challenger banks versus traditional banks
“I think that people nowadays view these challenger banks as offering the same level – if not better security – than traditional banks and more accessible ways of spending and transferring their money, sharing them with family or friends. Has the people’s perception on traditional banks improved? I think they see them as something necessary. They still offer overdrafts, current accounts suitable for salaries, etc. However, more and more people are choosing mobile-only banks. What people love about these new players that are constantly coming on the market is that they can reach for their smartphone and access their wallet, make payments, enjoy their night out. They’ve got all their spending information at their fingertips.”
What do you value the most in an app?
“Security is a good place to start. Today you have several ways of protecting data on your smartphone such as face recognition and fingerprint unlock. The second most important element for me is the ease of use. And that can be a question of how you load funds into your account, how you spend funds, the ability to see your cards, your transactions in real-time, feedback on how you’ve been spending your money. Also important: excellent communication from the company behind that app, the way in which they deal with business partners, as well as with end-users. These are the things that count for me when I’m using a money transfer app. From this point of view, Moneymailme delivers on every level!”