A UK-based financial technology company Wise enables users in India to send money aboard to 44 countries, including Singapore, UAE, the UK and US, across the world. Wise specializes in cross-currency money transfers, which can be done fully online. Last month, it had teamed up with Google Pay to allow users in the United States to send money to India. Wise will be opening a local office in Mumbai.
Previously called TransferWise, Wise CEO and Co-founder Kristo Kaarmann told CNBC that the ability to send money out of India was one of the most heavily requested services the company received from users. “India specifically, it is very exciting. Over the last, like almost a decade now, the build-up of local payments infrastructure and UPI has been very interesting to observe,” he said. “Bringing Wise to India is a big step forward in our mission to build money without borders, instant, convenient, transparent and eventually free.”
Headquartered in London, Wise claims its services is faster and cheaper compared with other fintech players as well as traditional banks, which tend to take a large cut and offer unfavorable exchange rates. Wise, in a statement, said independent analysis conducted by research firm Alderson Consulting shows that the company’s prices for international money transfers are on average 2x cheaper than banks and other providers like PayPal; for example, sending INR 50,000 to the US costs just Rs 1,038.08 with Wise but costs Rs 1,909 on average with banks.
According to data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s outward remittances in the fiscal year 2019-2020 was about $18.75 billion, with more than 60% of it categorized under travel and paying for studying abroad. The Central Bank, under a liberalized remittance scheme, allows residents to freely send up to $25,000 aboard to fund personal expenses or education per financial year. With many Indians working aboard and sending money back to their families, the inward remittance market is comparatively larger. Moreover, the World Bank data for 2019 showed personal remittances received in India exceeded $83 billion.