How Currencycloud is driving a cross-border payments revolution

Founded in 2012, Currencycloud has been in the cross-border payments space for almost a decade now. Since its launch, the company has expanded beyond its native UK market and following its recent acquisition by Visa, is looking far beyond its shores to complete its mission of making the movement of money easier.

“Moving money shouldn’t be hard – it should be quick, it should be cheap and it should be painless” stated Richard Arundel, Chief Evangelist and Co-founder of Currencycloud. The inspiration for the creation of Currencycloud was simple and succinct – the cross-border payments market was effectively broken and it needed fixing.

Arundel continued, “Cross-border payments were slow, expensive and there was no transparency when it came to foreign exchange conversion points. There had to be a better way to do it, and we saw an opportunity.”

Currencycloud supports FinTechs and finance institutions to provide businesses and consumers the capability to move money across borders, and transact globally in multiple currencies, fast. The company added that it makes it easy for clients to embrace digital wallets, and even to embed finance into the core of their business, no matter what industry they’re in.

In the age of the Covid-19 pandemic, the movement of money has become largely digital, with less and less people going to their traditional bank branch to conduct their financial matters – the area of cross-border payments has been no different. However, the traditional process with banks hamstrung SMEs in terms of cross-border payments, i.e they were expensive, time-consuming and the process was opaque. It wasn’t a problem for the banks, who essentially were the only solution available. Businesses like Currencycloud have, and continue, to change the landscape for SMEs.

Arundel cited recent advances in technology and changing customer expectations as reasons why you should be able to access your money and carry out cross-border transactions at any time you choose, “Many companies who are now looking to offer cross-border payments may not necessarily be experts in this area, despite being experts in customer experience. In addition to this, they may not have the in-house capabilities to deliver the correct technical solution to the problem.

“That is where we come in on the cross-border side. As I said before, moving your money cross borders shouldn’t be hard, but inherently it is and we just help abstract those complexities away through one simple connection.

Visa acquisition

Back in July 2021, Currencycloud entered an agreement to be acquired by Visa for $700m. Visa said at the time that the acquisition – which was subsequently completed in December – will help it strengthen its foreign exchange capabilities by extending them to better serve financial institutions, FinTechs and partners while enabling new use cases and payment flows.

Arundel said, “Our purpose as a company is to reimagine the way that money flows to create a better tomorrow for all. Visa states its mission is to create the best way to pay and be paid for everyone everywhere. So, I think that is really aligned to us, so from my point of view, the transaction just adds fuel to that fire.

“We also talk about one of our unique value propositions being that we are trusted in that market, and the way we work with our customers and our partners is to be that trusted advisor – so having that Visa brand just adds to that.

Tech advancement

One of the most notable and recognisable trends that has been seen during the pandemic has been the vast move online by an overwhelming majority of people due to the restrictions imposed by lockdowns globally. This has led digitalisation to become the watchword in countless industries, with large behemoth incumbents in the FinTech and payments industries being put on notice by nimble and powerful upstarts

Arundel echoed this sentiment and remarked, “I certainly think the pandemic has spurred the growth of the digitalisation of services so that the way people access these services is much more online than it was before. There are a lot of new companies who are doing this and what it has done is given a bit of a kick to incumbents to tell them that they need to have a digital offering. This is all because the expectation of the consumer has changed. Nowadays, the way you transact with your bank, if they don’t have a digital app then you’re not going to walk down to the branch.”

Much of this digital transformation is firmly baked into the choices of the everyday consumer now. Arundel provides an example of Uber, stating that if he was looking to call a taxi, he would now use Uber – adding that if any consumers want a really good experience, they’re going to go to a digital-first product.

A key aspect of digital transformation is the need to make sure this is backed up by strong security. With Currencycloud operating a in heavily regulated market, Arundel stressed that the number one priority has got to be about keeping customers funds safe and ensuring the money moves for the right reasons to the right people.

Plans and long-term goals

Almost a full decade old, Currencycloud is now looking towards a bright future beyond its native shores of the United Kingdom. Arundel remarked, “Our focus for this year is all round global scale. So, we’re continuing to build out our North American office and we opened an office in Singapore last year and we continue to advance into mainland Europe as well.

“Our plans are about global scale, a big part of which means hiring and onboarding lots more people! It also means continued investment in the scalability and reliability of our platform and our technology as well as expanding our network to serve more and more customers.”

What is the company’s long-term goal? According to the Currencycloud Co-founder, this all goes back to the original mission, “The ultimate aim comes back to our purpose around reimagining the way the money flows, to create a better tomorrow for all and in turn to become the number one embedded platform for cross-border payments globally.”

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