TransferWise to launch low-cost international money transfer in the UAE in 2020
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

TransferWise to launch low-cost international money transfer in the UAE in 2020

A cheaper and easier way to transfer back home.

TransferWise — a transparent and low-cost international money transfer service has received a licence to operate in the UAE. The London-based firm announced on Tuesday at FinTech Abu Dhabi 2019 that it will be setting up its 13th international office in Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM).

The licence will allow people to use TransferWise to transfer money abroad to all countries that are supported, including UK, India, and others. The announcement revealed that TransferWise’s services will be available from early 2020.

With over 6 million customers, TransferWise is a trusted money transfer provider in the world.

Many expats in the country have been looking forward to this moment. With almost 90 percent of UAE residents being expats, the demand to transfer money back home is high. So far the options have been limited to the residents, costing 5-10 percent of the transfer value. However, not many are aware of this percentage.

“Money transfers from dirhams have long been one of our most wished-for currencies, so we always knew we would begin our expansion into the Middle East in the Emirates.
Kristo Kaarmann, chief executive and co-founder of TransferWise

According to Central Bank’s 2018 report, AED 169.2 billion was transferred from the UAE.

Kristo added, “The latest World Bank data shows an uptick in the cost of sending money from the Middle East, and there’s such a strong expat community locally who desperately need a better way to manage their money across borders. TransferWise will soon be able to help those living and working in the Emirates by bringing innovation and competition to the market, resulting in lower prices and a better experience for customers.”

TransferWise could disrupt this market through its entrance, as it clearly lays out a flat fee charge on the transfer amount, while transferring money on actual currency rates that can be seen on Google.

Traditional players often quote different exchange rates, which makes it challenging for people to know how much they end up losing on international money transfers.

TransferWise, with its different fee model and instant transfers, has already gained a large section of the market in Europe. It currently offers fast, easy-to-use and transparent money transfer in 49 countries.

It is also a highly profitable company, which should soothe many of the concerns when it comes to startups this year, and is fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority