We Want To Continue To Make Money Movement To & From India Even Faster, Easier, And Cheaper, Says Shrawan Saraogi, Wise

We Want To Continue To Make Money Movement To & From India Even Faster, Easier, And Cheaper, Says Shrawan Saraogi, Wise
Shrawan Saraogi, APAC Head of Expansion, Wise
11 June 2024

In an exclusive interview, Wise's APAC head, Shrawan Saraogi, discussed the fintech's strategies for capturing India's rapidly growing digital remittances market. With more Indians living and working internationally, there is rising demand for fast, low-cost cross-border payment solutions.

1. What are the key factors driving the surge in digital remittances?

India is an increasingly international nation with a highly digitally connected population. More Indians are leading international lives, fueling the demand for lower cost, faster and convenient digital remittance solutions. Remittances from India increased 16.91% YoY from the previous FY, according to RBI data. Last year, inward remittances to India exceeded forecasts, reaching $125 billion.

This trend is complemented by the growth of digital payments in the country, driven by top-down initiatives from governments and regulators, and bottom-up innovations from local players. For instance, India's UPI is often hailed as a gold standard in real-time payments. UPI is also being linked to other countries in the region to facilitate international money transfers.

Combining these factors — comfort with digital services, government investment in payment infrastructure, and a population with a distinct international outlook — you’d see increased demand for better cross-border payments.

2. What cutting-edge technologies does Wise employ to ensure faster, safer, and more cost-effective international money transfers?

Wise’s mission is to make cross-border payments low-cost, convenient, and transparent for customers. Our digital-first approach allows us to operate at scale and provide a fast and seamless experience.

Wise’s key advantage is the next-generation cross-border payments network that we’ve spent the last decade building. Rather than relying on the traditional messaging infrastructure and correspondent banking relationships which makes payments slow and expensive, our proprietary infrastructure allows money to move around the world faster and cheaper. For instance, the average cost of a transaction on Wise is 0.67%, and over 60% of payments are completed instantly (within 20 seconds).

This infrastructure is used today by our personal and business customers, and by big banks and enterprises via Wise Platform. It lets partners access our world-leading global payments network, so they can bring low-cost and fast cross-border payments to their customers.

We continuously invest in enhancing our infrastructure to accelerate transaction speeds and improve convenience for customers worldwide — today, over 60% of transactions processed through Wise are instant.

3. What is Wise's recent initiatives and future plans for the Indian market since launching services from India in 2021?

At Wise, we continue deepening our commitment to the Indian market since first launching inward remittances to India in 2013 as one of our initial Asian currencies. In 2021, we expanded by introducing remittance services from India, enabling users to send money conveniently internationally.

We’ve continued building our presence in the market, introducing localized features such as the ability for Wise customers globally to send money to recipients in India with their UPI ID making cross-border payments more convenient.

We want to continue to make money movement to and from India even faster, easier, and cheaper. We also want to bring more of Wise’s products and services to India, including Wise Business, the account for business customers to grow globally without the high fees and headache of a traditional bank.

Last June, IndusInd Bank partnered with us to build the IndusFast Remit service offering digital inward remittance services to non-resident Indians in the US. By integrating Wise Platform, IndusInd Bank can seamlessly bring fast, cheap, transparent and convenient cross-border payments into their existing website and app. This eliminates traditional inefficiencies and overheads associated with the correspondent banking system, which means users of the IndusFast Remit service can enjoy speedy and affordable international transactions.

4. What’s your view on the regulatory process in India? What are the challenges Wise faces in India vs other parts of the world?

Asia Pacific is an incredibly diverse region — in language, culture and even regulatory processes. Unlike Europe, where a single license can be used across multiple countries, every Asian market requires its regulatory permissions before we can offer our services. The number of permissions needed and the restrictions on our product differ from country to country.

As a regulated company, we build strong relationships with regulators and ensure compliance in all our markets.
Openness is key, and regulators, including the RBI in India, are keen to understand how companies would comply with the local regulations. It’s important to see these relationships as an ongoing process where we continue having open conversations to share best practices and make our product faster, cheaper and more convenient for customers.


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