Head of MoneyPolo: We can become a bank in the next 5 years
Banks.eu continues a series of interviews with top managers of European financial institutions to unveil all details of their work in Europe and find out their plans for the future. This time, the portal interviewed CEO of MoneyPolo Nikolay Rozhok, who said what currency leads in remittances around the world, why service users pay a lower commission and when the service will start accepting Bitcoins.
- Nikolay, tell us a little about how you became CEO of MoneyPolo. Where had you worked before that? What career background did you have?
- I started my career in financial institutions across Europe - from London to Cyprus. It quickly became clear that the market needed prepaid services based on new technologies available worldwide, regardless of location. At the time, I launched my own project. Initially, we worked with clients of Forex companies on depositing and withdrawing funds, and in 2011, we separated a service of cash remittance into an independent brand MoneyPolo, whose success made us sure that all company's services should be offered under this brand.
- What does MoneyPolo do? What are the main services offered to customers? Are there any services, especially popular among private customers and companies? Why are they popular?
- Our business focuses on cash remittances. We work with clients directly, and can accept cash for transfer in the countries where we have offices - in Germany, Czech Republic, UK, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia. In other states, the majority of transactions are online transfer services. It is possible to receive the money transferred in one of 400,000 offices of our partners in 130 countries. The volume of remittances reaches several million euros a month.
We have achieved even larger volumes and success due to the service of international banking transfers, and, unlike banks, we announce the final commission at once. We plan to become a SWIFT member, and MoneyPolo may become a bank in the next 5 years. Everything will depend on market conditions.
Transfers from the CIS to Europe and back are our strong point - we convert directly, without intermediate conversions from any European currency to the currency of the "third countries", reducing overall remittance costs. We carry out outgoing SEPA payments without restrictions on the sum for just 5 euros.
- What countries have representative offices of the company, and in what countries are you planning to open them in the near future? What in your opinion is the most promising direction for the company today - Europe or Asia?
- In addition to the above-mentioned European offices, we are actively moving to Asia. Our first stronghold was an office in Mongolia, followed by another one on the Philippines, this year we opened an office in Vietnam, where we work with 30 local banks. The CIS and immigrants from the CIS are the core of our customer base. We are interested in corridors from the EU to the CIS and from the EU in Asia rather than specific peoples and countries. We are developing our network in this direction.
- What currency MoneyPolo customers prefer to use? What currency is now the most popular among users?
- Of course, the US dollar has always been and still is a leader in international money transfers, but euro operations have almost caught up with the dollar over the recent years. These currencies are followed by the Hong Kong dollar, Swiss franc and pound sterling. Customers are very interested in a new currency in our portfolio - the Russian ruble. We will soon introduce the Ukrainian hryvnia in order to avoid double conversion.
- Are there any leading countries in sending remittances? Which countries, in turn, are not the most active users of money transfer services? What is the reason for such lack of activity?
- The formula here is quite simple: the richer the country and the stronger the economy, the more remittances. In such countries, business is more active in the international arena, and there are much more foreigners. In general, Europe is the leader in this regard, the United Kingdom and Germany are undisputed leaders. The poorer the country, the less money it sends, but is most likely a major recipient of funds. The most important areas for us are Europe-Vietnam, Europe-CIS. In the Czech Republic we have been the leaders on the volume of remittances to Vietnam and Ukraine for many years, it is proved by independent statistics WorldBank.
- There are services "Direct Deposit" and "Acquiring" among the solutions offered by MoneyPolo to its clients. In what countries are they available and what are they? Tell us details, please.
- In the countries where we have representative offices, clients can replenish their MoneyPolo account with cash through any local bank, and money will be transferred to the account instantly, and the commission will not exceed 3 euros in local currency. In the CIS, we have just started working in this direction, and acquiring helps us here: it makes it possible to accept cards of clients from the CIS countries to replenish internal MoneyPolo accounts, and funds are transferred in the same currency as the card. It is also possible to replenish an account in the CIS by a cash transfer to your own name. This is the cheapest way to deposit cash now.
Imagine that you need to send money to a European country. You replenish your account using a Russian card, convert funds in any of the European currencies in your MoneyPolo personal area and arrange the transfer in Europe, at an intra-European price. MoneyPolo makes a payment on behalf of the client to any account in the European bank as if you were a holder of a bank account in Europe. We take any VISA and MasterCard cards for account replenishment. The service is currently offered for 4%, deposit limit per day is 500 euros.
- MoneyPolo website says that the user can save up to 7% on commissions for currency exchange. How does the company generate the most favorable exchange rate and give such economy on commissions?
- Exchange operations, provided by banks, are one of the major sources of revenue for these banks, as they set rates themselves. Our exchange rate is more profitable on average by 1.5%, as we use the market rate, which is updated every 10 minutes. Exchange often involves intermediate currencies - this is another 1.5 - 2% of loss. We exchange currencies directly.
7% is rather a possible customer’s loss in case of non-use of our service (if the customer selects other ways to send money), that is losses on commissions, rates and fees for remittance. MoneyPolo is better because we immediately say how much it will cost and what sum will be transferred to an account in another country.
What currencies are most often exchanged through your service?
- In total around 3 million euros per month are exchanged. The major part is euro-dollar exchange, followed by dollar-Russian ruble and euro-Russian ruble. It is interesting that there is an exchange transaction in South African Rand (ZAR) every day. I always like to reflect on what this person does, how he lives.
– How does the company adjust to different legislation in different countries? Does it happen that in one country the service is allowed at the legislative level, and in another it is not allowed? What does the company do in this case?
- There may be differences in legislation, but since we are registered and licensed in the UK, we obey all requirements of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and MoneyPolo can provide services across the EU.
We can provide online services without any restrictions, but we need permission from local regulators to open physical offices, it usually takes about a month. In my memory, only the German supervisory body BaFin made us work really hard.
- What do you think about digital currencies, which are gradually coming into our lives? Does MoneyPolo plan to carry out online transfers in Bitcoins, for example, or in another cryptocurrency?
- Cryptographic and electronic currencies are the future of finance. MoneyPolo is actively developing in this direction, and cryptocurrency exchanges willingly work with us. We have been working with QIWI for several years; by the end of spring, we will begin to accept Bitcoins as a payment for our services. We provide an opportunity to withdraw Bitcoins, direct exchange is possible in 20 world currencies. Thus, exchanging Bitcoins to classic money, you can use any of our services - to send a cash transfer, transfer money to a MoneyPolo card or a card of any global bank: we understand the importance of cash and try to combine these two different worlds.
- Tell us a little about MoneyPolo application. Is there a possibility of contactless payments in MoneyPolo? If there is not, does the company plan to implement this technology?
We have not yet introduced contactless card payments - this option is useful for everyday use, for small payments. MoneyPolo services are aimed at larger operations: it is an assistant in regular financial transactions, helping to save on exchange rates and commissions. In global terms, we want to press banks on their pedestal of the main providers of financial services.
Here is a simple example: you are traveling across Australia, and you urgently need to send cash to your child who got a fine for parking in the center of Prague. With the help of application, the entire process will take 15 minutes. Isn’t it the future of finance, based on the latest technology?
I think it is our DNA of a Forex-company that influences the development of MoneyPolo: global approach, flexibility and foresight in introducing the tools 1-2 years before they gain mass popularity. Back in 2012, we started working with cryptocurrencies. Today everyone is talking about Bitcoin, and MoneyPolo is already well known in cryptocurrency specialist circles.
Interviewed by Evgeniia Komleva, Banks.eu
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Virtual Affairs: the bank of the future has no borders - it's where its clients are