A new money transfer app looking to battle the likes of Wise promises to remove ‘unjustifiable’ transfer costs.
Atlantic Money, which launched this week, claims to bring institutional pricing to the retail money transfer market undercutting incumbent providers.
Founders Neeraj Baid and Patrick Kavanagh have a wealth of experience having spent five and a half years at Robinhood, one of the first DIY trading platforms in the US.
Neeraj and Patrick (pictured) are early employees at Robinhood and have now turned their attention to the money transfer market
In October 2020 they moved to London and were soon confronted with the issues in the money transfer market.
‘Despite everything you’ve heard in the last 10/20 years, it’s a service that is still expensive… people are still paying fees they don’t really understand.
‘They don’t understand why they’re paying those fees and they’re using products that are pretty complicated,’ says Neeraj.
He adds: ‘We’re lucky to have worked in financial services for a while and we know how much it costs to make a payment, we know how much it costs to convert currency, and it doesn’t cost what customers are being charged.
‘Customers are getting a really bad deal these days even from the best price providers, so that was the problem we were running into.’
They soon got to work on building a technology platform that offers the live mid-market currency rate and a flat fixed-fee of £3 for transfers up to £1million.
Currently Wise offers a £3.69 fee for a £1,000 transfer which rises to £35.08 for a transfer of £10,000.
Money transfers is quickly becoming the hot topic among fintechs – Rio Ferdinand recently backed money transfer app Sokin, which has dubbed itself the ‘Spotify of payments’.
Sokin’s global currency account charges £9.99 a month for unlimited overseas transfers in 38 currencies to over 200 countries as well as a debit card.
But Neeraj and Patrick’s wealth of experience has brought in investors across Europe, Asia and the US, including the Robinhood founders. They are confident their fixed fee model will be more profitable.
Atlantic Money has said it will not add extra features like incumbent providers
‘The actual cost of moving money is fixed… that’s the true underlying cost plus a margin to run our business… Every transfer we do is profitable but when you have a scaled fee structure that’s not the case,’ says Neeraj.
‘The first thing that’s really important is that we build a business where we’re offering fair pricing and we’re profitable on every transfer… that’s one of the things that sets us apart.
‘Economically we’re not relying on one transfer to pay for another transfer and hoping that they balance out. Every single unit transfer we’re making money on and that allows us to offer this pricing.’
They may well be undercutting other providers but how likely are they to jump ship? The Atlantic Money team is confident it will.
‘The pattern in money transfer is there’s a small group of people who might not be doing most number of transactions but they’re definitely moving the bulk of the money on these other platforms.
‘For them it’s a habit, every time a paycheck comes in they send some to mum, or to pay bill… it’s very habitual,’ says Patrick.
‘They’re extremely savvy, they’re dialed in and they’re also not very loyal. So even if they’ve been using Wise they’ll still shop around and see what Moneytransfer or Paypal is offering… they’re not satisfied with the status quo.’
Atlantic Money purports to be the antidote to the rise of the so-called financial super app.
One of the duos’ main gripes with current products on the market is the addition of features customers don’t want.
A number of the first generation challengers, like Wise, have moved on from their core product to offer other services such as investment.
Patrick says: ‘This market has evolved in the last decade but there’s still a long way to go, and even customers who have switched to platforms like Wise and PayPal are paying significant and unjustifiable fees.
‘Unlike our competitors, we are not subsidising costs associated with products and services that our customers have little interest in.
‘Maybe 10 per cent of people sign up for the new thing but the other 90 per cent are like “what’s this extra button?”
‘I don’t need this and there’s no way to get rid of it’. It creates a lot of conflict between the businesses and their customers.’
Neeraj adds: ‘Everybody wants to do everything. It’s easy to believe that adding a new service means you’re going to sell it to your existing customers..
‘It’s an easy mental jump to make but it doesn’t actually seem to reflect reality.
‘What we see is that companies are built and these innovative products are built with a brand, they’re known for doing one thing really, really well.
‘Then when you add debatably tangential services it muddies your brand, it muddies the customer experience and you lose the elegance that you had at the beginning.’
At launch the app will enable customers to send money from the UK in GBP into nine currencies include USD, EUR, AUD, CAD, SEK, NOK, DDK, PLN and CZK, with plans to expand into Europe and the US at a later date.