Interview: How to save money doing business overseas » SMEInsider

Interview: How to save money doing business overseas

If your small business has customers or suppliers based outside of the UK, you’re probably no stranger to the expense and hidden fees involved when transferring money overseas.

Banks tend to apply steep transfer charges for each international money transfer you make, which along with unfavourable exchange rates can have a severe impact on your bottom line.

CurrencyTransfer.com aims to take the sting of high fees and poor exchange rates associated with money transfer by letting customers compare live rates and book transfers from a range of approved FCA regulated payment firms. It boasts a variety of clients, including importers, tech companies, international charities and online marketplace sellers.

We spoke to Daniel Abrahams, CEO of CurrencyTransfer.com, about how he spotted a gap in the market to establish the company, and what it has to offer small businesses.

Give us the CurrencyTransfer.com elevator pitch.

CurrencyTransfer.com is the world’s first online marketplace that allows individuals and business clients to compare live exchange rates and book the best international money transfer deal, from a curated panel of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)-regulated payment firms.

SMEs can cut hidden bank fees by up to 85 per cent when sending money abroad. Think Expedia for business money transfers.

What was the impetus for establishing CurrencyTransfer.com?

Making a bank-to-bank international transfer is very expensive and not very transparent – my co-founder Stevan and I saw first-hand that currency transfer was one of the last areas of financial services where the end customer truly didn’t know what they are paying.

At the same time, we saw online marketplaces thriving. In every industry with inefficiency, we saw marketplaces disrupting the ‘old guard’. We see it in the way we book flights, hotels and now even taxis.

Based on personal pain, foreign exchange for us seemed to be the next problem on the list of things for us to attack. We knew we could cut hidden fees by up to 85 per cent and build a viable business plan along the way.

Our plan at CurrencyTransfer.com is to take international money transfers out of the dark ages.

How does CurrencyTransfer.com work?

First, there is a short sign up and verification process, for compliance and anti-money laundering regulations.

After your account has been verified by our Payment Partners, you can log in and send money abroad 24 hours a day, five days a week on the CurrencyTransfer.com marketplace. In three clicks, clients can set up a transfer, compare live quotes and lock in a great exchange rate. It takes less than 60 seconds.

You pay funds to the winning Payment Partner via bank transfer and once received, the bought currency is delivered to your chosen recipient bank account worldwide. For major currencies we offer same day delivery. It takes three to five business days for others.

Who can sign up to CurrencyTransfer.com?

Any individual or business making bank-to-bank transfers above our £1,000 equivalent minimum transfer size.

We boast clients in over 18 industries, including: importers, exporters, tour and travel operators, online marketplace sellers, tech companies, charities and international firms making intercompany transfers.

We also serve private clients including British expats, overseas property buyers and those making large one-off transfers. Our average transfer size is more than £20,000.

Is it the marketplace approach that makes CurrencyTransfer.com better than the competition?

We’re not a bank or a currency broker. The fact we’re totally independent means we can do the ‘heavy lifting’ shopping around for you. Customers get up to eight live quotes from a curated panel of FCA-regulated suppliers, so they save an incredible amount of research time.

As we focus on large value transfers, we understand customers need a little more support. Every client is allocated a personal currency concierge and we build tools built specifically for business, including hedging, rate alerts, multi-user access, post trade analytics and more.

How can small businesses benefit from using CurrencyTransfer.com?

No other platform worldwide lets you compare live quotes and book currency transfers in real-time. Unlike other platforms, clients get a final dealing rate, never any type of estimation or guide rate. This gives individuals and businesses making large transfers or paying invoices absolute certainty.

Corporate and private clients can make a same day transfer or book up to 12 months in advance, which lets businesses hedge against currency volatility – perfect for those with significant and regular FX exposures.

What advice do you have for SMEs starting their own digital businesses?

Firstly, solve a real problem that exists in the world. For instance, how will you help people save time or money in a way they can’t at the moment?

Then think about your market size and how big this opportunity is related to the problem you are solving. Team is everything, so find a great co-founder who you trust (and is smarter than you!). You’ll be working with them 24/7 so you should enjoy being with them and building a company together.

Once you’re ready to go, don’t delay launching. You’ll never be 100 per cent ready. The initial feedback will be key, then you can iterate fast to build a world-class product, solving a deep problem, for a very big market size!

What are your plans for 2016?

In 2016 we’ll let customers trade exotic currencies, open new markets and aggressively build our sales and tech team. As we grow, we’ll stay true to our core vision: to find our clients the fairest and cheapest currency transfer deal.

SME Insider special offer: Sign up below and you won’t be charged any transfer fees. You’ll also get access to a Personal Currency Concierge.