This innovative fintech firm is bent on stamping out Asia’s money transfer woes
Find out more about how Instarem offers speed, efficiency and extremely competitive exchange rates as it strives to lead the region’s mobile payments wave.
When Instarem founder Prajit Nanu stumbled across a host of challenges when it came to remitting money abroad, he realised that the Asian payment industry needed a serious boost. Commonplace challenges like opaque foreign exchange rates and extended timelines for delivery prompted him to establish Instarem, a pioneering fintech startup which offers tailor-made solutions to reduce the cost of transferring money globally.
“In Asia where e-commerce, m-commerce and social commerce, are fast becoming a popular platform for buying and selling goods and services, small merchants are looking for ways to ride the faster payment wave to increase revenue and reduce customer churn,” Nanu explains, highlighting that the payment scenario in Asia is much more complex compared to other parts of the developed world. This is where Instarem comes in—it allows users to remit money safely, quickly and efficiently in just three clicks, making it a must-have application for businesses and individuals alike.
Instarem offers a different value proposition for each customer base, which sets it apart from its more traditional competitors. “For retail, unlike our competitors who charge a transaction fee and a FX spread we charge a percentage of the amount. If you are sending $1000, our fees will be, say, 0.5% so $5 which includes FX and Transaction fee,” Nanu says.
In addition to lower costs, Instarem is also able to complete a transaction on the same day or within 24 hours. The World Bank rates Instarem’s service as the least expensive in the Australia-india corridor, in line with the company’s vision of steadily reducing the cost of sending money internationally.
For business-to-business transactions, Instarem uses its local payout mesh in Asia, North America and Europe for seamless transfers. “Financial institutions such as banks, payment processors and corporates can leverage our platform to make local and bulk payments. Our payments are processed on the same day and there are no deductions,” Nanu explains.
Instarem’s success has been impressive: since it started operations in Australia in 2015, it processes millions of dollars every day, with 60 staff globally. Instarem is currently licensed in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada. “We are applying for licenses in other jurisdictions such as Europe and US and this will allow us to increase our customer base massively. We are constantly in negotiations with different banking partners around the world. Having more banking partners allows us to provide a greater range of currencies and thus attract more customers,” Nanu says.
Moving towards financial inclusion
At the core of Instarem’s vision is financial inclusion— Nanu stresses that there is a need to collaborate and integrate with traditional players in the industry to improve the financial ecosystem and ultimately serve consumers better by streamlining financial services, providing them a seamless process. “Instarem is all about being a part of the financial inclusion initiative. We are looking at collaborations with financial institutions and traditional money changers and remittance agents to not only serve the unbanked population but also meet the expectations of digital savvy consumers of today,” he says.
He adds that highly localised strategies for products such as mobile wallets and MPOS would definitely make an impact in Asia. “Mobile payments is great for financial inclusion, especially for countries that has low card usage, the chances of them embracing mobile wallets and MPOS is much higher. Also, in countries that are more developed, it is essentially an efficiency driver and it would create a more balance model of traditional vs digital,” he notes.
The company’s journey is not without challenges. Nanu shares that there are big differences in each country’s regulatory scheme, which poses a huge obstacle as Instarem must navigate through different cultures, languages and policies to operate in each country. In order to address this challenge, the company only hires experienced people who have the knowledge and expertise in both local and regional markets. This allows Instarem to deliver a faster, more reliable service to its clients.
“Data security is also extremely important to us, since our service involves cross border money transfer. We always ensure that our networks are secure and protected against the rampant hacking incidents. Companies must ensure that customer and company data are securely protected,” he says.
Instarem is developing a digital bank for Asian SMES, which is slated to be launched in Q1 2018. “Listening to consumers’ needs is utmost important and we have identified those concerns on remittance. In the current fast moving and tech savvy environment we live in, we need to react and solve issues faster than ever. This sets us apart from the traditional players such as banks and remittance agents for we are catering to consumers’ current needs, which is efficiency and convenience. This would help consumers move on from traditional methods,” he says.
“Mobile payments is great for financial inclusion, especially for countries that has low card usage.”