Podcasts

WorldRemit’s Catherine Wines: ‘We’re trying to make money transfer as easy as sending texts’

  • Catherine Wines is the co-founder of WorldRemit.
  • She joins us on the Tearsheet Podcast to talk all about international money transfer.
close

Email a Friend

Catherine Wines has seen how technology has impacted the remittance business. When she co-founded WorldRemit in 2010, she envisioned doing to remittance what the online travel agencies had done to their industry. Fast forward a few years and her firm, WorldRemit is one of the fastest growing tech companies in the U.K. and from a valuation perspective, is progressing toward unicorn status.

On the podcast this week, we talk about what prompted her to take on such a large, stodgy industry and why it’s been so hard to move money internationally. We discuss her view on the role of cash in our economy and WorldRemit’s international growth plans.

Catherine Wines is our guest today on the Tearsheet Podcast.

SubscribeiTunes I SoundCloud

Below are highlights from the episode, edited for clarity.

Why get into remittance?
I used to work in another company doing remittance, but the old fashioned way. People would need to go to a shop to send money. When I left my previous company, I met Ismail Ahmed through a common friend. He had this idea of bringing remittance into the 21st century by bringing the industry online.

We’ve often made the comparison to travel agents. Years ago, when you wanted to book a flight, you used to go to a travel agent in a physical location. It was the same with money remittance. Now, you wouldn’t think of booking a flight by going to a shop. You do it online. That’s what we wanted to do with moving money: make it a lot more convenient and a lot cheaper. By doing this, we knew we would compete with the large incumbents like Western Union and Moneygram.

Why has it been so hard to move money internationally?
You have to establish quite a large network. In order for us to be able to send money and have a customer receive it almost instantaneously, you need to have a lot of partners in the recipient’s country like in Africa, the Philippines, or Africa. Building that network takes a long time and is quite costly.On the send side, in order to be able to send money, you need to get a license, and that can be quite expensive and time consuming. For example, in the U.S., you have to apply for a license in each and every state. We started in 2014 and now, we have licenses in 48 of 50 states.

Where are the banks in the remittance business?
Banks have never really gone into remittance because of the need to build these partnerships. Banks couldn’t provide the service that their customers wanted. Our products is very much for economic migrants, working overseas and sending money home. They need to send smaller sums of money pretty quickly. Banks just couldn’t compete because they work on Swift, which is quite slow and expensive.

Where do you see growth in the business coming from?
Sending money is about a $500 billion market. A large amount is still sent informally, like people carrying cash with them. There’s a big push to move that to more formal channels, like us, making it more convenient and cheaper. We started seven years ago in Europe, and now we’ve expanded to 50 send countries going to about 140 destinations.

We’re still a relatively small competitor compared to Western Union, so we’re trying to grow our business in existing markets while we expand to new ones.

0 comments on “WorldRemit’s Catherine Wines: ‘We’re trying to make money transfer as easy as sending texts’”

Podcasts

‘It’s not just about a QuickBooks integration — you have to look at the business problem’: Codat’s Peter Lord

  • Codat zeroes in on small business financial data, which is a very different problem to solve than aggregating consumer data.
  • Peter Lord, CEO of Codat, joins us on the podcast to discuss the evolution of use cases for SMB financial data that he’s seen over the past 5 years of running Codat.
Zachary Miller | October 05, 2022
The Green Finance Podcast

The Green Finance Podcast Ep. 10: Tangible steps banks can take to help their customers lower their carbon footprint

  • The majority of people want to know more about the environmental impact of how they spend their money and want their banks to help them take action and reduce their environmental impact.
  • I'm talking about this today with my guest Emma Kisby, UK & Europe CEO of Cogo - a company that provides carbon footprint management products.
Iulia Ciutina | September 30, 2022
Where Credit's Due Podcast

Where Credit’s Due Ep. 10: Getting capital without dilution or debt through recurring revenue financing, with Pipe and Anthemis

  • Today we're talking about another way of accessing capital: recurring revenue financing. If there's cash flow coming in, this recurring revenue is made into a tradable asset that can be sold to investors.
  • It's a dilution-free and debt-free form of financing, which we explore in detail with Michal Cieplinski, Chief Business Officer at Pipe, and Farhan Lalji, Investor at Anthemis.
Iulia Ciutina | September 28, 2022
Podcasts

Behind Amex’s use of Kabbage as ‘the heartbeat’ of its strategy to help SMBs with cash flow

  • Two years after American Express bought small business lender Kabbage, the products are integrated and growing.
  • Tearsheet sat down with Kabbage's head of marketing to get insight on where the growth is coming from and where the company is headed.
Zachary Miller | September 27, 2022
Payments, Power of Payments Podcast

Power of Payments Ep. 14: JPMorgan vs Stripe and Block, CFPB is coming for BNPL, and is LTO a viable BNPL alternative?

  • This week, we talk about JPMorgan’s acquisition of payments firms Renovite, and the CFPB’s recent report on BNPL firms, which suggests that regulation is coming for the sector.
  • We also discuss why lease-to-own, which is another type of installment payment option, has been gaining popularity in recent months.
Ismail Umar | September 23, 2022
More Articles