Money transfer firm WorldRemit eyes new markets, growth

WorldRemit, an online service for overseas money transfers, is looking to expand into new markets and add services like direct payments for bills and school fees, its president said on Friday.

The UK-based financial technology start-up, which has raised $192.7 million since its founding in 2010, also wants to grow in Canada and is open to taking the company public, Andrew Lee said in an interview.

We think about it, we think about other options as well,bhe said. It’s not on the radar at the moment. We’ve got plenty to do before we worry about that.

WorldRemit, which caters to migrants and people with no bank accounts, allows money transfers to over 100 countries. Growth is fastest in mobile transfers, though bank deposit and cash pick-up options are also available.

Online payment service providers are shaking up the remittance industry and retail-based operations like Western Union Co (WU.N) by offering fast, secure service with lower fees, saving recipients travel time to pick up deposits.

Over 2 billion people in the world do not use banks or are unlikely to have access to retail banking, said Lee, but the vast majority have mobile phones, allowing them to receive and store money, or pay bills.

WorldRemit, which has partnerships with 34 mobile companies in 26 countries, also lets senders add air time to the prepaid phones of family members, for example.

WorldRemit is seeking to add domestic transfers and primary banking, Lee said, and is applying for licenses in areas like Singapore, where foreign workers send a lot of money to their home countries.

WorldRemit expects in the coming months to secure licenses for a few U.S. states that it does not already serve, Lee said. The United States is WorldRemit’s fastest growing market, and is soon expected to account for at least 10 percent of its revenue, he added.

Canada, with 20 percent of its population born overseas, is WorldRemit’s third-largest market after Australia and Britain. That proportion is the highest among the Group of Eight industrialized countries, according to Statistics Canada.

Canada has great growth potential, Richard Meseko, the company’s Canadian director, said in the joint interview. About 60,000 WorldRemit overseas transfers are made from Canada each month, but the 55,000 users over the last 12 months is a small number for the size of the immigrant population, he noted.

Source: REUTERS | Author: Solarina Ho; Editing by Richard Chang