These days, transferring money domestically is easier than ever. Apps like Zelle and Venmo enable users to send transfers within the US with just a few taps of your fingers. However, the process for sending money abroad is significantly less seamless. Platforms such as Wise and Revolut can take time to set up, and transfers often incur fees. Plus, these startups are geared toward more tech-savvy customers.
CashQ is an early-stage, Miami-based startup that is offering a different solution – one that will work as well for your digital-native primo in the Dominican Republic as your technology-challenged babushka in the Ukraine.
“It’s a very simple way to transfer money internationally, like we currently have for domestic transfers,” CashQ co-founder and CEO Alex Voronovich told Refresh Miami.
The platform integrates into your favorite messenger service. (It currently works in Telegram, and the company plans to go live in Whatsapp later this month.) First, you fund the account by linking your US bank account. Then you simply input the credit or debit card number of your friend or family member abroad, and the money is instantly converted to the local currency. “Banks give us the wholesale FX rate,” Voronovich explained. CashQ passes this savings on to customers.
But don’t get fooled by the straightforward user experience. Under the hood, the CashQ team has had to flip the script on the traditional cash transfer process. CashQ’s underlying technology enables users to make these instant payments to foreign cards by leveraging ACH transfer technology and the vast networks encompassed by Visa Direct, MasterCard Send, and other localized card issuers. “We truly believe in the idea that our tech can be complicated in the backend. But for customers, it should be as easy as texting,” said Voronovich.
Co-founder and COO Arina Anapolskaya (pictured at the top of this post) emphasized the idea of inclusion and accessibility as underpinning CashQ’s platform: “Everyone has a phone, and everyone is texting today.” However, not everyone may be comfortable using – or have access to – the more tech-intensive solutions like Wise. And traditional options, like Western Union and Ria can be pricey. “Our technology reduces discrimination in financial services, making the digital product available for all regardless of experience or education level.”
At the moment, CashQ is not charging for its service. But they plan to charge a flat rate of $1 for all transfers once the platform is fully rolled out. The team hopes to focus on the Latin American and Caribbean market to start, since they have experience working in that region as contractors on a project for mobile phone network Digicel. But CashQ reports that their total addressable market consists of more than 40 million first or second generation Americans who send money abroad.
The four-person team founded CashQ two years ago. A limited, invitation-only version of the service is active at the moment, with about one hundred active users. But Voronovich signaled that he hopes to work through the waiting list and onboard 10,000 customers within the next 12 months.
CashQ aims to close its pre-seed round soon. “It has been a full-time job,” said Anapolskaya. But the fundraising process has left her energized: “It is nice to make connections, some of which have already turned into friendships, and to meet and learn from different founders.”
Next up for CashQ is to finalize the integrations into each major messaging platform, including Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber (a messaging app popular in Russia).
Interested in trying CashQ? Join the waiting list here.
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