The global remittance market currently operates at nearly $550 billion per year, and traditional international money transfer vehicles are failing to evolve with technology. Organizations like Western Union or even Wells Fargo charge up to 10% per transaction, a number that people are starting to realize is extremely high.
In 2013, Buttercoin tried to use Bitcoins to help smooth the process of transferring money internationally, but unfortunately their idea crashed along with the price of Bitcoins. A more recent attempt to make these transfers more affordable is being made by London-based startup TransferWise, an effort that looks much more promising.
TransferWise recently raised $58 million in series C funding and reportedly handles over 500 million pounds per month, which is roughly 2 percent of the global British remittance market. According to the company website, they save their customers 22 million pounds per month by eliminating hidden foreign exchange fees used by traditional banks and credit unions.
TransferWise believes they have a business model that works and have recently expanded their product to include the Moroccan, Pakistani, Brazilian, and Nigerian remittance markets, and are looking to add more countries to their portfolio as people become more and more fed up with paying exorbitant fees for transferring their money back home.