A Polish currency exchange company which was named Forbes “Player of the Year” in 2016 has introduced a money transfer system for Polish people transferring money from the UK.
The company say it will help the UK’s 700,000 strong Polish community avoid the unattractive spreads and high fees of existing money transfer services.
Online currency transfers specialists Cinckciarz say that customers suffer from uncompetitive currency exchange rates, and must currently pay fees at both ends of the transaction, as well as incurring further fees and significant wait times as their funds are funnelled through so-called correspondent banks, intermediaries who also levy fees.
Added to that the customer often doesn’t discover the price of the transaction until after it has been completed.
Cinkciarz say they have resolved all of these issues with their new offering, which has seen them establish an ING bank account held in British Pounds – payments to this account are processed and then sent to the destination bank accounts, with the receiver able to specify which currency they would like to receive the funds, provided Cinkciarz offers that currency.
Cinkciarz is a 100% shareholder of Conotoxia, a separate company which has a payment institution license, enabling the transactions to take place.
The Central Statistical Office of Poland said that at the end of 2014 there were a total of 2.3m Poles temporarily residing outside of their home country, the vast majority within the EU, and the largest population, 700,000 in the UK.
The UK is Poland’s second biggest export partner – last year the country exported PLN 50.6 billion (around £9bn) worth of goods to the UK, particularly in the electromechanical sector and cars and car parts.
The UK is Poland’s 8th largest import destination, ahead of the US, and sold PLN 19.5bn (around £4bn) into the country last year, 2.7% of their entire expenditure on imports.
Cinkciarz has been focused on the FinTech market since 2010. The Company is a member of the SWIFT payment systems organization, which covers most of the world’s largest financial institutions, and provides 24/7 access to transfers.
Users can exchange currencies from their “currency wallets” and via social transactions, or from their bank accounts in selected countries.
The company say that in order to be able to keep offering the best deals to its customers they are constantly increasing the number of bank accounts they make available to customers, with the ultimate target being “to have dozens of bank accounts opened all over the world.”
A dedicated platform built by expert developers is able to complete transactions immediately at individually set rates, says the company website, which also reveals an app is available across all the major operating systems, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Windows 8. There is even an app for Google Glass available, and a “presence within Smart TV, Apple Watch and Android Wear.
Cinkciarz is led by CEO Marcin Pioro, who was awarded Best manager of 2015 by Bloomberg Newswire Poland after a survey of top Polish business-people.
The company is a sponsor of Ruch Chorzow, the 14-time champions of the Polish National Football League, as well as a sponsor partner of the Chicago Bulls NBA Basketball team and the Polish national soccer side.
The emergence of another high profile player in the overseas money transfer space, albeit one that seems to be exclusively focussed on UK-Poland transfers, may just persuade some existing FinTech success stories, such as Transferwise, to up their games.
Transferwise, in fact, probably Britain’s best known FinTech disruptor thanks to its “Unicorn” status, more than $100m dollars of funding and successful publicity campaigns which have included Transferwise staff baring nearly all around locations in the city, in defiance of the big banks, were busy last week…doing a deal with a bank.
The start-up has joined forces with Raphael’s Bank, one of the UK’s oldest private banks, to allow it to gain access to the UK’s Faster Payment service. The first FinTech company to have done so, this breakthrough means customers will be able to make transfers instantaneously, instead of having to wait for several hours to see transfers go through.
The Payments Systems Regulator, which is pushing for more competition and more access to the Uk’s payment infrastructure, hailed the partnership as a breakthrough, as it will allow Transferwise to compete with the big banks without being forced to use their services.
FinTech in London looks hotter than ever.