Why I Use: TransferGuru

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TransferGuru is a platform that helps you send money abroad for cheaper. We caught up with them earlier last week to talk all things Guru, money and remittance. Assuming you know what money and gurus are, we suggest you read on to learn a little about how remittance works and how important it is!

Who are TransferGuru?

TransferGuru is a comparison service for international money transfer. We help people find the best way to send money abroad, when they need to send it, by allowing them to compare providers in real time. Whether you’re sending a birthday present to your niece in a different country, buying property abroad, or paying for your business imports, we make your payments cheaper, faster, and simpler.

What inspired the creation of TransferGuru?

Both founders have families spread across different countries, and have seen first-hand the eye-watering cost of relying on your bank for international transfers. But living in London they have also seen how fintech is revolutionising the way we handle money. TransferGuru was created to make these innovations available to everyone.

“International money transfer can now cost 90% less than what many banks charge.”

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What challenges do you face trying to change the money transfer industry?

The hardest thing is probably the lack of transparency within the market: people simply don’t know how much they’re being charged for transfers. We’ve spoken to so many people when doing research, and asked them how much they’re paying for international payments at the moment: “Oh, hardly anything, my bank just charges a fixed fee per payment over the exchange rate”.

Wrong! Most people don’t realise that the bulk of the charges are hidden in the exchange rate. The rate the bank uses to make the transfer is different to the rate they offer you, and that’s where they make most of the money. Once we explain this to people, and compare the rate they were offered to the mid-market rate, they are blown away.

Overcoming this shock is the biggest challenge – making people aware that they have been losing out – and how easy it is to make a saving.

In 15 years time, how do you think the market will be different?

Two things are changing money transfer. Better tech is lowering both the cost and time it takes to make transfers, a saving that is increasingly being passed to the consumer.

Second, better communication on the part of businesses is creating awareness. No longer is the loudest marketing campaign necessarily the most successful.

“It’s hard to overstate how crucial peer-to-peer money transfer has been to developing (and developed) countries”

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Why is remittance so important to the world’s LDCs?

It’s hard to overstate how crucial peer-to-peer money transfer has been to developing (and developed) countries, for a really long time! In India, the money sent home by families abroad is almost three times the value of foreign direct investment received by the country. In Nepal, it’s 1/3 of annual GDP. It helps families and businesses alike pay for basic things like school, housing, food, supplies. And there is a whole load of research arguing why remittance is more effective at improving livelihoods than foreign aid can be.

What’s your favourite success story/achievement since launching TransferGuru?

Like with any startup, there are highs and lows every day – and we’re lucky to have had many successes in the last year. Our favourite moment, though, is probably hearing back from our first customer about the saving they had just made by comparing the cost of sending money on our site. It was really early days and we were still testing the waters, hesitant about having quit our day jobs for this idea. Hearing that we had made a meaningful difference early on was a real “YES” moment.

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