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OPINION

Trust is the key to building a fintech business, says CurrencyFair founder

Brett Meyers, co–founder of the international money transfer business CurrencyFair, is sure he has an ace up his sleeve.

Despite the competition in the marketplace and in marketing, as businesses strive to secure market share, Meyers has confidence in the model developed by the Dublin–based company. "We were the first peer–to–peer foreign exchange platform," he said, "and we're still the only one doing the marketplace model."

The CurrencyFair platform offers customers the option of sending money immediately at a set rate or waiting some days in anticipation of securing a better deal. The tricky part is explaining to customers how the process works. For many years, the international money transfer business has been dominated by banks, which made money with less than transparent fee schedules. The big banks are still reeling from fines imposed by regulators for fixing foreign exchange rates.

With customers turning away from banks, fintech companies such as CurrencyFair are making gradual inroads into the lucrative business of sending money overseas.
CurrencyFair is looking to double its staff numbers to 110 following a successful €10 million fundraising round led by Octopus Investments in the UK and Dublin–based Frontline Ventures.

While CurrencyFair competes with UK–based TransferWise, another international money transfer business, CurrencyFair co–founder Brett Meyers welcomes the progress of TransferWise for raising the profile of the peer–to–peer international money transfer market. In a recent interview with Cards, Payments and Mobile Intelligence, he was keen to point out the distinction between the two companies.

"One thing we thought hard about at the start was whether we want to be anti–bank in our initial branding decision – and TransferWise went very much down that route – but we decided to highlight the positives of what we do and highlight how it is new and better. We still need and use the banking system, as we deal with the domestic banks. Maybe that is the way things will go, where banks will provide the plumbing and firms like us will sit on top of it. On the other hand, you can look at what we do, extrapolate it out and say that this could be a replacement for SWIFT – as more of a platform."

The interest in trying alternative payments systems, he says, is partly to do with an evaporation of trust in the banking system. "People used to trust their banks and would be more reluctant to try alternatives," he said. "Then it became the case that not only did people not trust their banks, but they actively wanted to punish them."

CurrencyFair currently trades mostly in euros, sterling and Australian dollars. Brett Meyers said the company was facing growing pains – needing to move to a larger headquarters while still seeking to maintain an attractive location in Dublin in order to attract the best staff.

Brett Meyers is one of the speakers at Banking Innovators 2015, a Lafferty conference that will take place at Level39 in London on 30 June. The full interview is available at https://blog.lafferty.com/index.php/true–p2p–finance–model/.

AT A GLANCE

 
 
 

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