Contributing to the spate of recent acquisitions in the local start-up scene, Singapore headquartered mobile payment company, TransferTo, has recently announced an additional USD 38 million investment by global payments and security specialist, Ingenico.
Prior to this, Ingenico Ventures (the venture capital arm of France based Ingenico) held a 35% stake in TransferTo which was purchased for USD 3 million. This current investment now brings Ingenico’s stake to 90%.
Reasons Behind Partnership
With this partnership, TransferTo can now leverage on the large installed base of POS Terminals that Ingenico has, in order to enable faster airtime remittance services, greater network coverage, improved payment options and financial services.
This is in line with TransferTo’s increasingly evident long term goal of capturing a larger slice of the financial transaction pie.
In May this year, TransferTo signed a deal with Plastyc, Inc. to provide prepaid Visa card services over mobile. This means that customers who use UPside Visa” cards from Plastyc can now use their accounts to top up mobile minutes (either their own or those of relatives living abroad) via the TransferTo platform.
On other hand, Ingenico seems to have entered this buyout with 2 aims in mind. First, and more obviously, this buyout will enable Igenico to enter the mobile transfer market.
More importantly, Ingenico which has its stronghold in Point-Of-Sale terminals (it is one of the world’s three largest providers of Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale (EFTPOS) machines), will view this partnership as means to strengthen its grip on the plastic cards market especially after TrasnferTo’s deal with Plastyc.
TrasnferTo operates a global airtime remittance network that interconnects the prepaid systems of partner mobile operators. Once an operator is connected to the TransferTo network, it enables small value transfers of mobile minutes, or “airtime” to any other operator on the network. This means that individuals can purchase a mobile top-up in one country and send it as cash to another mobile in a different country – using just an SMS.
TransferTo targets migrant workers who utilize the service as a simple and cost effective way to enable timely transactions of small amounts of money to their relatives back home. This is a key cross border business with the industry worth a lucrative $20 buillion. Till date, 200 million people around the world are working and living in a country other than their home one and these individuals are remitting an estimated USD300 billion each year.
There are currently over 90 operators in 40 countries who are included in the TransferTo network. More than that, the company has also built a Point of Sales (PoS) distribution network spanning 250,000 locations worldwide.
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