WorldRemit inched closer to its goal of obtaining its own money transmitter license in all available U.S. states with the announcement that it’s added a proprietary license in Rhode Island.
In the booming $600 billion global remittance industry, it’s not necessary for agents to have their own money-transmitter licenses—many go through a bank or rent a license from a third party—but the most secure approach is to obtain your own, according to said Brion Nazarro, a director with WorldRemit’s U.S. division.
“It’s time-consuming and it takes more money and work to build a network of proprietary licenses, but it ensures we have a solid foundation to build on without the risk that comes with relying on potentially fraudulent or unsafe partners,” Nazarro said.
Rhode Island, while geographically small, represents strong business prospects for London-based WorldRemit, Nazarro said. An estimated 13% of Rhode Island residents were born outside the U.S. and many are heavy users of remittance services.
With this addition, WorldRemit has checked off 46 states as it marches toward its goal of completing the time-consuming process of getting licenses throughout the U.S., the company said Oct. 17.
WorldRemit is working next on finishing the application process in New York and Hawaii and expects to have money transmitter licenses in all states where they are available in the "relatively near future," Nazarro said.
The investment in building a network of proprietary money transmitter licenses enables users to send funds directly from WorldRemit’s mobile app and lowers the cost of acquiring customers, Nazarro said. WorldRemit’s customer-acquisitions costs were 60% lower in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2015, a company spokesperson said.
WorldRemit earlier this year announced it had obtained a money transmitter license in California, which the company said was a key to driving significant volume from locals who send money around the world.
WorldRemit is processing more than 500,000 transfers per month, up from 330,000 in January; the top markets for receiving funds in terms of volume currently are the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Somalia, according to the company.
The growing popularity of instant-messaging apps is helping to drive growth as senders and recipients are able to discuss the transfer in real time immediately before sending funds, Nazarro said.
“Rhode Island residents can send money via their phones to be received by instant bank transfer, mobile money transfer, cash pickup and mobile airtime top-up,” Nazarro added.