WORLD’S FIRST ‘PAY WHAT YOU WANT’ MONEY TRANSFER BUSINESS LAUNCHED IN LONDON
Rajesh Agrawal, an Indian-origin entrepreneur, has set down a challenge to the multi-billion pound global remittance industry after launching the world’s first money transfer service to rely on voluntary customer tips. Xendpay aims to save developing nations’ customers £60m over next five years.
Mr Agrawal’s Xendpay online platform has scrapped compulsory fees for moving money from bank-to-bank overseas. Customers will now be asked to ‘tip’ what they want for the service- even if it’s nothing – and will also be given the best exchange rates usually reserved for multinational corporations.
World Bank figures show global migrants last year sent home £250bn in remittances to developing countries – with an eight per cent increase predicted for 2014.
There are increased calls however from leading NGO’s to bring down costs within the industry, with former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan earlier this year requesting a formal investigation by London regulators into the operations of prominent international remittance firms, and describing remittances to Africa in particular as “unethically expensive.” It is estimated that cutting prices by at least 5% can save up to £10 billion a year.
The Xendpay re-launch and model has been accepted as a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, with an objective to save people sending money through the platform £60million within five years. Established by Bill Clinton in 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
India-born Rajesh said: “It is a social imperative that the cost of sending money abroad is significantly reduced. “The remittance industry takes far more than it needs to in profit and in doing so drains away a lot of money that would otherwise reach those in developing nations. By launching a no fees, best rate transfer service I hope to challenge and change this. “I set up Xendpay not to be the biggest or to make money but to make money transfer better and cheaper. I believe people will recognise the value in what we are doing both financially and socially and that as a result the discretionary ‘tips’ model will work. We are calling on our customers to support us.”
Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia said: “Xendpay is a welcome challenge for an industry that has for too long taken too much in profit from individuals sending money overseas. Wikipedia has demonstrated the ability of a collaborative endeavour to free knowledge. I hope Xendpay represents the start of a similar process, empowering users of financial services for the common good.”
Lord Loomba, Founder and Chair, Loomba Foundation, said: “Many in developing countries are reliant on money sent home from family abroad. Xendpay’s no fee, best rate offer aims to make sure that more money gets to those who need it. I welcome, and hope users will support, a company that has put this ethical cause at the very heart of its business.”
Xendpay is part of the Rational Group of companies which has existed since 2005 as a secure, privately owned and low cost money transfer service which has made more than $5 billion of transfers to date. But the launch of the Pay What You Want platform removes compulsory fees for bank-to-bank transfers and introduces a discretionary pay system (transfers using credit or debit cards will still pay compulsory charges due to the additional costs of handling such payments).
Customers can send anything from £1 to £100,000. The company is regulated by the FCA.