How is simplifying business foreign exchange

Over the past few months, my co-founder Stevan has worked closely with our Israeli-based development team to launch our first version for CurrencyTransfer. The talent in Israel is staggering and I'm not surprised in the slightest it boasts so many tech achievements.

TRP: What have been the key milestones in financing your company?

DA: The business has been totally self funded over the past three years, which has worked superbly well for us, thankfully. We were profitable from the third month of being in business, back in December 2010. Since then transaction volume has grown year on year and since last year has allowed us to scale our team across two offices internationally, namely London and Tel Aviv.

SL: Yes, and with CurrencyTransfer, our B2B offering, we understand that there is only so much that you can achieve with your own resources. So we will be engaging in discussions with relevant VCs who we believe are a good fit and could help us along on this journey in securing every business a fairer and cheaper deal on currency.

TRP: Where do you see your company in five years' time?

DA: We'd love to be known as the trusted friend of SMEs and large corporates internationally. As an independent marketplace streaming live rates from multiple currency suppliers, we're truly on the side of the customer. On a product level, we want to continually build new features beyond just rate comparison, making your de facto dashboard for your FX.

The benefits of being a marketplace will let us grow internationally quickly. We've identified the US, Australia, Canada and Germany as core targets over the next 24 months. The US will be a little tricky, as currency brokers need to be licensed on a state by state basis. Looking further afield, there's an enormous opportunity for us in Latin America and Asia.

SL: There's a lot of room for integration and collaboration in the FinTech products space, and the start-up space in general. We think interoperability will be a key for future new products and their ability to play nicely with the tools people are already used to. So we're working hard at keeping ourselves aligned to opportunities in this area.

TRP: Where would you like to see your industry in five years' time?

DA: Great question, and for me, it totally centres around price transparency. If you go to a market, there is a clear and explicit price for apples, pears and a bunch of grapes. You know what it's costing your bottom line.

Unfortunately, international payments are one of the last areas of financial services where customers really don't know what a transaction is costing them. I truly believe it's important that customers see the ''real rate'' and the ''sell rate'' side by side, a core feature of the marketplace.

Linked to this point, I'd love to see a total ban of those gimmicky marketing slogans, boasting how ''we offer 0% commission.'' The team at CurrencyTransfer ran a survey a while back and shockingly found that over 68% of respondents felt 0% commission actually meant free currency exchange!

Many businesses believe that this offer actually means free money transfers, but there are in fact a number of hidden fees and mark-ups. The industry needs to move from one of total opaqueness to full price transparency. In 2014, individuals and businesses deserve to know the true cost of simple currency transfers.

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.