How is simplifying business foreign exchange

Making a capital investment aims to make business foreign exchange as simple and easy as searching for a plane ticket online.

The company has built a marketplace that matches businesses with multiple foreign exchange quotes and offers instant trade execution ability. Think Expedia for business payments.

TechRadar Pro talks to co-founders Daniel Abrahams and Stevan Litobac to find out more.

TechRadar Pro: Why did you set up your business – what problem were you trying to solve?

Daniel Abrahams: Over the past three years, my co-founder Stevan and I have witnessed the way our $21 trillion per annum cross-border payment industry is broken. As expats living in Australia and Europe and further yet as business owners, we've felt the pain of making cross-border payments firsthand.

Whether you need to import goods, pay overseas offices or trade internationally for whatever reason, we think it's a scandal that most customers don't truly know the cost of a simple currency conversion.

As for our background, we actually met in a funny way. We both wanted to start an online business and met online. No kidding! It was on a 'Find your Co-Founder' style website, matching tech and commercial talent.

TRP: Why isn't the current system working?

DA: Sadly, most businesses are losing out with their existing suppliers. Banks, who have nearly a 90% market share, apply hidden of up to 4% on the amount you are transferring. If you're smart, you may ring up a couple of currency brokers for quotes.

However, this takes a LONG time and provides inefficient rate comparison, given the markets are moving each second. Not to mention, you're also at the mercy of currency salesman who may offer you a great rate on day one, only to widen and widen the spreads offered over time. In our industry, we call this ''honeymoon rates''.

Too often, implicit fees built into the rate and explicit transaction charges bundled together strike panic, confusion and inefficiency.

Stevan Litobac: Our goal with CurrencyTransfer is to focus on three core areas to solve this issue. We aim to give control to the SME, improve transparency when understanding the costs of international payments, and create a competitive marketplace where businesses don't have to jump through hoops to get the best rate, when they need it.

TRP: Who are your target customers?

DA: On the CurrencyTransfer marketplace, we're targeting SMEs and large corporates who make cross-border international payments. Over the past few months, we've spoken daily to finance directors and owners building fantastic businesses in a range of industries, including manufacturing, clothing, shipping, removals and professional services.

One customer I spoke to the other day told me upfront, ''I know I'm getting screwed by the bank, but I have no choice!'' Educating and empowering our target customers will be key.

We want to let SMEs worldwide know that they absolutely DO have a choice over who their firm makes a currency payment with and place the power in their hands. Via our own 'Expedia for Business Payments,' we truly want to be at the forefront of a very powerful paradigm shift of control back in the customer's hands.

TRP: What has been your biggest success to date?

DA: Stevan and I have taken great pride in helping individuals transact over $650 million via our sister private client comparison websites, and

Over the past three years, the reputation, trust and relationships built with regulated currency brokers globally have given us the confidence to build our latest and very disruptive business foreign exchange marketplace and booking platform,

We've also taken great joy in opening our first international office in the heart of Tel Aviv, Israel. The 'Start-up Nation' boasts more start-ups per capita than anywhere in the world.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.