UK-based money transfer service Azimo has announced angel investment of £300,000 to expand its operations.
The investment comes from a number of high net worth individuals including Matt Cooper, chairman of Octopus Investments and the former principal managing director of Capital One Bank PLC.
Serial banking disruptor Cooper played a key part in revolutionising how credit cards are issued in the UK at Capital One, where he led the UK section of the business from start-up to two million customers, generating revenues of over £275m and employing over 2,000 people.
Azimo's service lets users transfer money to more than 125 territories around the world for a minimal charge - usually around 1-2% of the transaction. Users will see exactly how much the recipient will actually receive before the money is sent.
Money can be transferred through the Azimo website or via an iOS or Android app. There is also a social element to Azimo too, with users able to log in using their Facebook account. They can then select Facebook friends to send money to and invite friends to enter their preferred payment details so they can receive money in the way that suits them best.
Users have the option of sending money directly to any bank account or sending cash to one of 150,000 payout locations around the globe. Azimo also enables users to top up mobile phones - something that has become increasingly important in many developing countries as mobile payment becomes the preferred store of value.
Azimo's fees for foreign currency transfers are dramatically lower than those charged by banks and services such as Western Union and PayPal. For example, to transfer £500 to Poland through Azimo would cost £6.25. Through PayPal it'd cost £19.70, through Western Union £32.64, and a typical high street bank would charge as much as £42.50.
"The number of foreign-born residents in England and Wales has risen by nearly three million since 2001 to 7.5 million people, the 2011 census shows. That means about one in eight - 13% - of residents were born outside the UK, with many needing to send money back home to friends and family," said Azimo founder Michael Kent.
"These payments can make up a significant proportion of developing world economies - for example remittances have made up 10% of the GDP of the Philippines* for the past six years - with the global remittance market estimated to have reached $534bn in 2012**. By using Azimo these migrant workers can make sure that as big a chunk as possible of the money they send home ends up in the pockets of their intended recipient.
"As well as being cheaper, we also aim to be more convenient than the banks and other money transfer services like Western Union, with payments usually paid within 2-24 hours - as opposed to three to five days with the banks.
"Azimo is very simple to use as well, with users able to set up payments via a mobile app or the Azimo website - it is also integrated with Facebook, so they can send money quickly and easily to Facebook friends."