Podcasts

WorldFirst’s Mike Ward: ‘There are alternatives to the incumbents’

  • Moving money internationally is easier and cheaper than most customers think.
  • Mike Ward, chief revenue officer of WorldFirst, joins us on the podcast to talk about the money transfer market.
close

Email a Friend

WorldFirst’s Mike Ward: ‘There are alternatives to the incumbents’

This week’s guest on the podcast is Mike Ward, the chief revenue officer of WorldFirst, which is a strong competitor in the international payment and money transfer industry. We discuss why historically it’s been so hard, expensive, and frustrating to move money around the world and how new financial technology firms like WorldFirst have improved the experience.

Subscribe: iTunes I SoundCloud

Below are highlights, edited for clarity, from the episode.

Why people feel it’s so hard move money internationally
“There are two reasons why people still feel like it’s hard to move money around. The first is that they’re probably still using their banks. We believe, in most markets around the world, banks own 85 to 95 percent of the market share in money transfer. The banks have been trying to incorporate technology and make transactions easier. But with an incumbent, you still have to go into the branch and talk to a teller. The teller is a generalist and not an FX expert. You have to fill out a large form and pay high fees.

The second reason is that most people and businesses don’t realize there are alternatives. Financial technology companies have disrupted and changed the transaction in terms of speed, price, and complexity.”

Financial technology begins to disrupt banking money transfers
“The original approach to competing with banks in money transfer probably began 25 to 30 years ago. We’re going to compete against the banks with pricing and service. Travelex would be a good example. To them, service was picking up a phone. Have a matter expert, not a generalist, behind the counter. They’d have better pricing because Travelex would go out and make a market and trade with the big banks. Higher volumes resulted in better pricing Travelex could pass on to their customers.

Then technology came and said let’s make technology core. Let’s not have feet-to-the-street sales people running around to land one customer at a time. Let’s not have it phone-based. We want our technology to solve the issues, answer questions, and conduct the transaction. That’s really what customers want. They don’t want to talk to someone to manage the transaction. The next wave of disruption to banking over the past 10 to 15 years created an interesting dynamic as we’re seeing a lot more collaboration between fintech and banks.”

Growth in the industry
“Consumers are 20 percent of our business. Those needs come and go and we need to continue going after the next client. It’s a good business but there’s a lot of competition out there, like Transferwise. Corporate customers and e-commerce is very big for us. In the U.S., a lot of people still deal with the banks. Many owner/operators of businesses don’t understand currency exposure of working internationally. If you look at e-commerce, growth is being driven by e-commerce marketplaces you’ve never even heard of.”

0 comments on “WorldFirst’s Mike Ward: ‘There are alternatives to the incumbents’”

Podcasts

‘We’re increasingly focused on connecting banks, businesses and innovative partners in a collaborative ecosystem’: Bottomline’s Norm DeLuca

  • Historically, banks have not found a good model to service small businesses.
  • Bottomline's GM of digital banking solution joins the podcast to talk about creating technology ecosystems around banks for SMBs.
Zachary Miller | April 14, 2021
Finance Everywhere, Podcasts

‘It’s a no brainer to add a virtual card into the travel product’: TripActions’ Michael Sindicich

  • TripActions serves the Fortune 500 with modern travel and expense management.
  • Tearsheet caught up with the GM of Liquid, the firm's payment product.
Zachary Miller | April 07, 2021
Podcasts

‘You’re best having a cannabis banking program, not a project’: The ins and outs of banking cannabis with Regent Bank’s Keri Cain

  • Regulations still make cannabis banking a complicated process that's tough to scale.
  • Regent Bank, a small outfit in OK, has found a way to use technology to grow its cannabis banking program.
Zachary Miller | April 05, 2021
Podcasts

Behind the Marqeta partnership with Deserve’s Kalpesh Kapadia

  • Deserve is a pureplay credit card as a service firm.
  • With a recent partnership with Marqeta, CEO Kalpesh Kapadia joins the Tearsheet Podcast to discuss growth opportunities.
Zachary Miller | March 25, 2021
Podcasts

‘Embedded fintech works in the inverse direction’: Why banks should integrate SaaS with Autobooks’ Derik Sutton

  • Software firms are increasingly integrating with payment and banking solutions.
  • But what if that was reversed -- what if more banks integrated with fintech solutions? Autobooks' Derik Sutton explains.
Tearsheet Editors | March 22, 2021
More Articles