Apr 222014

By Mohammed Waseem

We have learnt about Facebook’s interest in entering the money transfer industry. They have partnered with Royal Bank of Canada, GoEmerchant, MiPay, Azimo and other companies to send and accept money. Would it be surprising if they come up with a service to compete with the likes of Western Union and MoneyGram? Well, they are actually in the process of introducing such a service.

Facebook is merely weeks away from its own online money transfer service, as reported by Forbes and PC World. They are waiting for the regulatory approval from the Central Bank of Ireland. Once they get the approval, they will have the permission to operate throughout the European Union, in all member countries, without the need to obtain regulatory approvals in each of the countries.

Facebook MoneyAfter the authorization, Facebook will become a registered e-money institution according to the Financial Times, which also reported that they have discussed potential partnerships with three London based money transfer services: Azimo, Moni Technologies and TransferWise. Facebook plans to launch the service in Europe first, and then move to emerging markets.

A threat Facebook faces is the trust issue; according to experts, only 10% of the US consumers showed interest in a mobile wallet offered by Facebook, due to the security and privacy issues. With over a billion active users, they do have a huge potential, but only if they are successful in convincing them all that their information will remain secure and if required, they should provide a guarantee concerning this.

Facebook probably has plans to introduce such a service in the US as well; they have already obtained Money Services Business (MSB) licenses in 48 US states. Having said that, what is most critical to their new service is the trust issue. Many users feel uncomfortable sharing personal data on Facebook, so such uncomfortable feeling is truer in case of money.

Feb 012014

By Mohammed Waseem

Money transfer from Europe has rapidly increased in the last year. This made money transfer companies eye for growth and expansion. UK’s money transfer company, Azimo announced expansion to other parts of Europe including Germany, Austria and Ireland. They are also planning to expand to France, Spain and Netherlands. This would add to the number of countries where users can send money from. They already support over 190 destination countries around the globe.

Azimo was launched in 2012 and is already doing great in terms of customer service and satisfaction. Customers are satisfied with the service and have suggestions for improvements, which includes making the terms clear.

Send Money With AzimoAzimo offers various ways to send and receive money. Online money transfers can be made from any internet enabled device such as a computer, a mobile phone or a tablet. Money can be sent directly to a bank account, to mobile wallets, to mobile phones as airtime and also for cash collection at one of 150,000+ locations worldwide.

Transfers can be done using a UK debit card, by telephone banking and by depositing the money into Azimo’s UK bank account. What is unique about Azimo is their integration with Facebook. Facebook users can now send money to their friends using Facebook’s Azimo app. The user sends a message to a friend who receives an invite from Azimo app to sign up and specify the method to receive the money, after which, the usual process continues. Azimo conducts analysis of individual Facebook profiles before commencing any transaction to verify that they are genuine.

They generally charge between 1% and 2% of the transaction amount for each transfer as their fee. When I checked their website, minimum transfer amount was £50 and maximum was £2500 with a transfer fee starting at £2.99 which went up to £15 which is even less than 1% of the amount. They provide very good rates, which are better than that offered by high street banks.

The process of sending money is very easy. The user has to register and create an account with Azimo using their mobile app or online. Once registration is complete, the user has to provide the details of the recipient and the method of transfer and then pay in one of the accepted ways, including debit card and deposit into the bank account.

Transfer time depend on the recipient’s location. The standard time is 24 hours, but according to a few customers, they had their money transferred in 15 minutes. However, many customers said that the timing to receive the money at agent locations was inconvenient and largely miscommunicated. They suggested that this should be taken care of so that no customer has complaints about it and the process runs smoothly.

Azimo is gaining popularity as a fast, cheap and safe money transfer service which is innovative and convenient for both the sender as well as the receiver. They began in the UK, expanded to other countries in Europe and have plans for further expansions. They compare themselves directly with the likes of Western Union, MoneyGram and PayPal.