Money transfer platform Bitspark announced on Wednesday that they have expanded their service to Pakistan, a $20.3 billion remittance market. Bitcoin.com caught up with CEO George Harrap to learn more.
Pakistan: a $20.3 Billion Remittance Market
The Hong Kong-based company, which serves licensed money transfer businesses,
already offers remittance service to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam. All are among the top remittance-receiving countries.
According to the World Bank, Pakistan’s remittance market is expected to reach $20.3 billion in 2016, making it a major remittance market for Bitspark.
Harrap told Bitcoin.com that: “We have demand from existing customers who would like to see us offer cash-out payments in Pakistan”.
Thousands of Pickup Locations
Bitspark users from all over the world can go online or use the company’s API to send money to Pakistan using either bitcoin or other supported fiat currencies, Harrap explained. Currently, over 20 currencies are supported in addition to the destination currencies VND, IDR, PHP, PKR and MYR. He also noted that:
Our transactions can be sent to bank accounts at any of our 40+ supported banks in Pakistan, which is the vast majority of all banks incorporated there, and consists of thousands of branches collectively.
In addition, some banks such as JS Bank offer the ability for recipients to pickup cash “without needing an account at that specific bank”, he detailed. “At the moment, this is our current ‘cash pickup’ mechanism which will be available later this week but we hope to roll out more soon”.
Anyone wanting to send remittances can visit the “local money transfer shops” currently using Bitspark’s service. They will be provided with a quote and the final transfer amount. The necessary AML/KYC information will be collected before the customer is connected with a Bitspark affiliated remittance partner in the destination country.
“Bitspark assists in settling balances between money transfer shops by buying and selling bitcoin on their instruction”, Harrap described. Furthermore, the company has partnered with bitcoin exchange platform Urdubit to ensure adequate access to PKR liquidity.
While Bitspark charges no fee to set up an account, fees are set and charged by the company’s affiliated “agents” – that is, licensed money transfer businesses globally, as Harrap described. Agents are “usually physical shops which offer remittance services and are licensed in their jurisdiction”, he elaborated.
The fees also depend on the remitting country and destination. “Generally in competitive corridors, total costs can be as low as 2-3%”, Harrap revealed, citing that traditional providers on average charge approximately $250 per transaction.
Some locations cost more such as Malaysia which “can be upwards of 10%”, he said, adding that “We split commissions with our agents and they are free to charge whatever is competitive in their market, usually $2-$4 as a flat fee”.
What do you think of Bitspark’s entrance into Pakistan’s remittance market? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitspark, and the World Bank
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