Financial services group, Finablr, owned by billionaire businessman B.R. Shetty, announced that two of its brands UAE Exchange and Unimoni will use a blockchain-based platform – provided by Ripple - to conduct cross border remittances to Thailand.
The service has been launched first with Siam Commercial Bank, one of the largest lenders in Thailand, and will be later rolled out to other destinations.
“The adoption of blockchain opens up considerable potential to streamline remittances and provide a frictionless, fast and secure payments experience,” says Promoth Manghat, Executive Director and CEO at Finablr and Group CEO at UAE Exchange and Unimoni.
Regionally Finablr’s brands are the first to use blockchain to process cross-border remittances, but the technology is becoming popular. Blockchain could speed up and simplify cross border payments, helping cut out middlemen and make the service more affordable.
According to the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, the global average cost of sending $200 was around 6.9% in the third quarter of 2018. With remittances expected to grow 4% to reach $715 billion by 2019, any reduction in remittance costs could result in massive savings. Some experts predict that the use of blockchain could help bring down remittance cost to just 1%.
Finablr did not specify if adopting blockchain it could also help scale down costs, but with the Middle East and the GCC particularly recording a strong outflow in remittances, any cost saving could prove to be impactful.
The Finablr network of brands, which includes UAE Exchange, Unimoni, Travelex, Xpress Money, Remit2India, Ditto and Swych, handled more than 150 million transactions in 2017. With UAE Exchange and Unimoni already on RippleNet, Finablr said it will continue to seek opportunities to leverage the efficiencies of the blockchain platform.