Fintech company Wise Service enables users in India to send money overseas


In this photo illustration, the TransferWise logo is displayed on an Android mobile phone.

Omar Marques | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images

Financial technology company Wise said Tuesday that users in India can now send money overseas to 44 countries around the world.

This includes places like Singapore, Great Britain, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, as well as countries in the euro zone.

India’s overseas remittances totaled around $ 18.75 billion in fiscal 2019-2020, of which more than 60% was travel and study abroad payments, according to the Reserve Bank of India. Under a liberalized remittance system, the central bank allows residents to freely transfer up to $ 250,000 per fiscal year abroad to fund personal expenses or education – which begins in April and ends in March of the following year.

Typically, the overseas remittance market is comparatively larger, as many Indians who work overseas send money back to their families in the country. World Bank data for 2019 showed that personal transfers received in India exceeded $ 83 billion.

Kristo Kaarmann, CEO and co-founder of Wise, previously called TransferWise, told CNBC that the ability to send money from India was one of the most requested services the company was getting from users.

“India in particular is very exciting,” said Kaarmann. “In the last, almost ten years, the establishment of a local payment infrastructure and UPI has been very interesting to watch.”

Unified Payments Interface or UPI is one of the dominant methods for digital payments in India. What sets the framework apart from mobile wallets is its interoperability – this means that people can use different platforms based on UPI to send money and conduct financial transactions.

London-based Wise specializes in cross-currency money transfers that can be done entirely online. It claims its service is faster and cheaper than other fintech players as well as traditional banks, which are prone to big cuts and offer unfavorable exchange rates.

Banks are the dominant platform for international money transfers in India.

Wise partnered with Google Pay last month to allow users in the US to send money to India.

Wise also announced the opening of a local office in Mumbai on Tuesday. Kaarmann declined to give details of possible partnerships in the plants in India.



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