InstaReM, short for Instant Remittance is a Singapore-based cross-border payments company co-founded by Indian entrepreneur Prajit Nanu. An ex-global sales director of TMF Group and ex-VP-sales/account management at WNS, Prajit joined forces with Michael Bermingham, a compliance expert in Asia, EU and Europe, to set up InstaReM in 2014. This project was initiated as an attempt to develop a solution providing a transparent service for overseas money transfer with close to live exchange rates.
InstaReM was conceived in January 2014 by a frugal team of just four, as a solution for the cross-border money transfers without the usual cost and delays associated with traditional international bank transfers, and initially designed to offer the Indian nationals, currently living and working in Australia, a cost-effective way of sending money home. Nowadays, InstaReM is being called an Asia-Pacific remittance leader and is constantly growing with over 100 employees across nine global offices, serving 150 transfer corridors.
The World Bank has repeatedly ranked InstaReM amongst the leading remittance platforms across Asia-Pacific corridors such as Australia to India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam; Singapore to Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
During the last three years InstaReM has managed to raise substantial financing of $5 million in its Series A round in 2016 led by Vertex Ventures, and another $13 million in 2017 Series B funding led by GSR Ventures with participation from SBI-FMO ventures, Vertex Ventures, Fullerton Financial Holdings (FFH), and Global Founders Capital (GFC).
InstaReM today claims to be processing some 150,000 transactions a month, with an average of $1,800 per transfer. The company is licensed for money transfers in Singapore, Hong Kong, U.S., Europe, Australia, and Canada and has offices in Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, US, UK, Malaysia, India, and Lithuania.
A vast number of small and mid-sized banks, payment processors, corporates and individuals are using InstaReM’s transfer network to send money across the border, since the company offers international payments to 50+ countries with a guaranteed destination amount on the same day, with features fitting individuals, online sellers and the SMB’s.
How does InstaReM work?
- Setup an account
- Initiate a transfer
- Transfer methods
Your name, address, contact details, date of birth, bank details, and proof of identification are required. InstaReM will check your identity documents for you to get authorized. Once your identity is validated, your account will be opened within 24 hours.
Log into your account, provide the sender and receiver details and send the money. InstaReM will convert your funds into the needed currency and deposit it in the recipient’s bank account.
InstaReM offers a few options to deposit funds for your transfer. It may vary based on the country and currency you’re making the money transfer from.
- Bank transfer (EFT) from any local currency or country where they provide services.
- Direct bank payment using the POLi system in Australia, using Australian dollars.
- International bank transfer via SWIFT in US dollars.
All InstaReM transfers will be deposited directly to the recipient’s local bank account, in their domestic currency. The recipient can collect the money in the local bank branch in person, or by using an ATM. There are no other receiving options, including cash pick-up available at the moment.
InstaReM also provides the customers with mobile Apps for Android and Apple devices, which one can use to initiate the transfer and track it, but can’t top-up the account directly from the application.
Who should use InstaReM?
InstaReM’s system is designed for individuals, as well as businesses that range from SMB’s and start-ups to large enterprises and corporates.
About 60% of InstaReM’s transactions are of a business and corporate nature, which helps the company to maintain the most beneficial rates they can then offer to their personal clients as well.
InstaReM’s global payment infrastructure platform is used by many small and mid-sized banks, payment processors, corporates and individuals to send money across the border. The company has the capability to now send payments to over 60 countries and enjoys a partner network of over 8000 banks across the world. It mostly happens within the same day or the next day after the transfer and has a guaranteed delivery.
At the moment, as long as the sender is a resident of Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Eurozone Countries, UK, India, or the US, the transfers are available to the following countries:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom, United States.
From late 2017, InstaReM is also offering the outbound money transfer services from India.
Being designed and famous for remittance needs, InstaReM is a trusted and handy partner for various different purposes: purchasing a property abroad, sending foreign earnings back home, private investments, covering bills and mortgages, paying the travel expenses, and so on: InstaReM will deliver your money to the recipient quickly and securely.
- Fast, secure transfers
- Bank-beating exchange rates
- Solid client service and 24/7 customer support.
- Anytime, anywhere: open your account and start making your international payments — online, by email or over the phone.
InstaReM is a relatively new money transfer service, so at the moment it only offers one-off transfers and does not offer forward contracts.
There are a few limitations to InstaReM’s service; you can not transfer cash or deposit cash into their account, and they do not accept bank cheques. They also do not allow third-party payments, meaning no one else can deposit money into your account to be transferred.
Apart from the faster, and cost-effective cross-border remittances to individuals, one of the main advantages of InstaReM is their business transfers system. Specifically for the business needs, they’ve created a multi-functional, highly-customizable platform called “MassPay”. It is designed with corporate and SMb’s in mind, to help them manage and simplify the high-volume bulk payments. This provides organizations with an option to send out multiple remittances to multiple beneficiaries in multiple currencies as a preset single action, through a seamless and hassle-free process. This alone might downgrade the cost of international money transfers up to 80%.
- Mid-market, transparent rates with no hidden extra charges.
- Same day delivery within Asia in most cases
- Remote funds collection with no need of local presence.
- The upfront calculation of the final cost
Online seller Transfers
InstaReM perfectly fits the “online sellers” as well. When either selling goods or providing services online to international customers, you will need a financial solution to handle your cross-border payments. Receiving bank accounts abroad, pay invoices and suppliers, and planning the transfers ahead, all that with the advantageous and fair live exchange rates and bank-beating low fees — a package that makes InstaReM a good solution to consider.
Through InstaReM’s remittance service, you can access your money at a good rate across currencies and countries in Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania. InstaReM ensures that your digital lifestyle is free of money worries, no matter where you’re.
- Zero-margin exchange rates: mid-market rates sourced directly from Reuters with zero margins added
- Minimal transaction fee & no hidden charges: Save more on your overseas money transactions and get an accurate break-up of your transaction. With InstaReM, what you see is what you get – no nasty surprises.
- Easy sign-up & straightforward transfers: The service is extremely easy to use. All you have to do is sign up, verify your account, upload the relevant documents and start transacting.
- Fast delivery: Your transfer will be completed in 1-2 business days so you have quick access to your money, even while traveling.
Why should you consider using InstaReM?
When using banks and other traditional financial institutions for international transactions, the final receiving amount is often not transparent. Customers normally just get a rough estimation of the currency conversion rate and transaction fees, often ending up with extra charges and margins that may decrease the amount significantly.
There’s normally a hidden FX spread, which is the difference between the wholesale interbank FX rate and the rate quoted by the bank or international money transfer company. The final offer a consumer gets is an inter-bank rate minus an FX spread, plus fees.
InstaReM is deservedly known as a serious fintech world disruptor due to charging only a transparent transaction fee and exempting the customers from paying the FX spread. Moreover, unlike banks or traditional remittance firms, InstaReM is quoting the exact fee upfront, before the actual transfer, so the sender gets to know the exact final receiving amount.
Recognizing its cost-effective service, the World Bank has consistently ranked InstaReM as the most competitive remittance platform in a number of Asian corridors including, Australia to India, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam as well as from Singapore to Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Currently, InstaReM is licensed in the US, EU, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, and Singapore as a Money Services Business (MSB).
They have also been recognized through the Singapore Fintech Festival and India Fintech Awards in 2017.
At the moment, the company enjoys a constantly-growing customer base of over 35,000 customers, most of whom use the InstaReM service every month. They process over half a million transactions every year and have a team of over 100 employees across nine offices around the world.
Is InstaReM safe and can you trust them with your money?
InstaReM is a fully licensed remittance service provider and is regulated and licensed by authorized bodies of the countries they operate from.
The service is registered and regulated by:
- The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)
- The Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (C&ED)
- The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
- Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM)
- The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.
- The Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB)
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
- In the European Union and the UK, they are licensed by Bank of Lithuania, which is valid in 28 European Union member states.
InstaReM is also ISO 27001 certified, the Global Standard on Information Security Management Systems, which ensures adequate and proportionate security controls that protect information assets shared by the customers. It holds client money in accordance with money rules, meaning that all the customer’s funds are held in a segregated client money account, separately from InstaReM’s operating money.
How much does it cost to use InstaReM?
Opening an InstaReM account is free of charge, both for individuals and businesses. Fees and exchange rates depend on the amount of money you transfer abroad, the currencies you’re exchanging to and the contemporary exchange rate at the time of the transfer.
The service provides up-front, transparent fees for currency transfers based on a low commission, rather than a fixed fee, which naturally makes it very attractive for transferring smaller amounts. The fees are based on charging a small premium on the mid-market, baseline currency exchange rate. This lets businesses and individuals understand exactly how much they will be paying for money transfers. Their prices are low, at between 0.25% to 0.5% of the transferred amount.
InstaReM charges fees of around 0.5% for money transfers from Hong Kong and Australia, and 0.25% for transfers from Singapore. This is the only fee charged by InstaReM, which is based on the standard, mid-market, interbank currency exchange rate.
Here’s a couple of examples:
$1,000 AUD to Hong Kong dollars
Mid-market exchange rate (baseline) — 5.992 HKD per AUD — $5,991.80 AUD.
Exchange rate offered by InstaReM — 1.6489 AUD per GBP — $5,961.80 AUD.
Difference between baseline and InstaReM rate — $30 HKD.\
Percentage in extra costs for using InstaReM compared to baseline — 0.5%.
$10,000 AUD to Hong Kong dollars
Mid-market exchange rate (baseline) — 5.992 HKD per AUD — $59,918 AUD.
Exchange rate offered by InstaReM — 1.6489 AUD per GBP — $59,618 AUD.
Difference between baseline and InstaReM rate — $300 HKD.
Percentage in extra costs for using InstaReM compared to baseline — 0.5%.
INR 100,000 to the US dollar
In the late 2017 InstaReM has launched the outward transfers from India, causing a small market revolution yet again. Traditional international money transfers from India are expensive and opaque. Depending on the amount transferred and destination country, banks and money transfer operators charge INR 750-1,500 in transfer fees, apart from the hidden FX spreads of up to 3% which are not known to the sender. For instance, to send INR 100,000 to the U.S., the sender ends up spending around INR 3,500-4,500 (INR 500-1,500 in transaction fees, plus up to INR 3,000 in FX charges) in traditional transfers.
In contrast, InstaReM’s transparent fee of approx. 0.5% costs the sender just INR 500 for the same transaction.
How long does it take?
The duration of the transfer process depends on several factors, the transaction currency, the bank used and the size of the transaction being the main ones.
For the Asia-Pacific region, InstaReM usually promises a 24-36 hours delivery, meaning the funds will arrive the same day, though your bank may hold off on crediting your account until the next business day. For other currencies and transfer corridors, it may take 2 to 3 days before your funds reach the recipient, depending on the currency.
Once the transfer is sent, it will depend on the receiving bank’s processing time.
InstaReM Customer Support
The InstaReM support staff is available 24/7 and can be reached via email and by phone, for which they offer a variety of toll-free local and international phone numbers and an additional, very convenient call-back service.
InstaReM usually performs pretty well in the customer reviews, scoring an average of 8.2 out of 10 on Trustpilot. Typical comments include something like “I have been using InstaReM service from 2015, I am very pleased and happy to recommend. Thanks” and “Reliable money transfer service with an excellent exchange rate. Definitely recommend InstaReM.” Issues with InstaReM tended to fall into the need to provide additional documentation and proof of identity. This problem is not unique to InstaReM though, all currency providers need proof of identity so they can authorize transfers.
Often called a leading overseas money transfer and especially remittance company, InstaReM, enables Individuals, Online Sellers, and Corporates to transfer money overseas at a low cost, easily and transparently.
Being able to choose the mobile app or website, getting the fair mid-market rates and absolute transparency in transfer costs, you can pretty much forget the usual costliness and complexity associated with the cross-border money transfers.
Zero-Margin FX Rates, sourced directly from Reuters, and minimal upfront quoted fees on all transactions, allowing them to give the Best Transfer Amount Guarantee on transfers to all the countries they serve.
The company is licensed in several territories around the world and strictly regulated by multiple international financial authorities, which definitely adds to its reliability and trustworthiness. InstaReM receives a high user-rating for its service and customer support and has won several awards over the years.
Overall we see InstaReM as a very appealing and reliable solution for your money transfer needs.