This week: ANZ, Azimo, Currencycloud, Earthport, Finn, FIS, Lloyds, Monese, Starling Bank, Visa, Westpac, WorldRemit 
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New data, new insights on cross-border payments. Every week.

Buying (and investing in) your customers

Last week we took a close look at WorldRemit following its latest $175m funding round. A lot of money can buy you a lot of customers but at what cost? We'll get to that. We also take a deeper dive on Visa's push into the cross-border sector, look at the quirks of bank pricing in Australia and New Zealand and compare the marketing strategy of Lloyds Bank and Starling Bank.

Before we get to the content. We're hiring. Across technology, data engineering, research and strategy. Please have anyone interested write to me at this email directly.

To customer acquisition... 

We've chosen specifically to look at total funding, not just a marketing budget. Building a great product requires a lot of investment in technology and the team around it. Done right, it can become viral. 

The range of costs above can be interpreted in different ways:
- The likes of Azimo and Monese are exceptionally efficient at acquiring customers. Granted they have acquired less total customers than some of the other players shown but some of the larger players should benefit from economies of scale
- TransferWise, Monzo and Starling are investing a lot per customer - an indication of the quality of the product these companies are building and for the first two, the millions of customers they have obtained. Which means spending more may be better than spending less. 

How to sense check a growth plan
If anyone puts a funding plan or business model in front of you and they tell you X million dollars is going to result in Y million customers, just sense check against some of the best in class companies above. Are they expecting to add lots of additional customers at rates lower than these numbers? 

The next time you see a plan to raise $10m to add 3 million customers (we just saw one), maybe ask a few more questions.

Track the cross-border companies and the neobanks

The partnership model - alive and well

Visa has had an exciting six months making waves in the cross-border space. We spent time over the last week talking with Visa as well as partner companies such as Currencycloud and Earthport to dig into the strategy.

As to Visa's strategy on cross-border (reminder Visa makes over $6bn a year in revenue from FX):

“Visa should be the pipes and plumbing. We provide the core capabilities, at scale and consistently, and then let clients build on top of us.”

Mark Pettit, Executive Director of Innovation & Strategy and Programs, Visa

Each of the plays above adds another string to Visa's bow. We covered the Earthport deal here so take Currencycloud for example: 

  • The current working of the card rails locks the FX rate at a different time to when the transaction actually occurs. This can cause lots of issues from a lack of customer transparency to reduced capabilities for the card issuer.
  • The Currencycloud partnership allows the FX rate to be set real time removing this time delay. What Visa's customers then do with this capability is up to them.
As our table above shows, the deals above are adding speed, transparency and new capabilities. This is building the plumbing and Visa's Mark Pettit who led the Currencycloud deal said to me, there is a lot to come from Visa in the cross-border space so stay tuned.
Which of Visa's partners make the Top 100 Cross-Border Market Map?

FX pricing in Australia and New Zealand

Our FX pricing data throws up lots of interesting quirks in the international payments space.

This week we thought we’d share with you how banking groups operating in different countries, in seemingly quite similar markets, can set drastically different prices. The banking divisions in New Zealand consistently price lower than their divisions in neighbour Australia.

If you want this level of insight across a range of banks globally, get in touch.

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How to market your bank

UK neobank Starling Bank was founded nearly 250 years after Lloyds Bank. Spot the different approaches:

The thanks for this side by side comparison goes to a very helpful piece of outdoor marketing we spotted at the Limehouse train station in London (pls excuse image quality as taken from a moving train).

On our radar this week:
Curated by FXC Intelligence's Team 
The IMF backs Fintech (shock!)

Maybe a little late but the IMF's chief backs the disruptive power of Fintech
The value of Post Offices

MoneyGram launches a new digital service with the Canadian Post Office
PR Newswire
A failed digital bank

JP Morgan's Finn closes down. Not all new digital banks succeed.
Business Insider
WorldRemit launches for businesses

Business payments go live, initially for UK registered companies

Missed the last few weeks?

Following a $175m raise, we ask "Has WorldRemit succeeded?" (here)
Money20/20 Europe Report (here)
TransferWise's $3.5bn valuation and future growth (here)
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Have a super week 

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