Ditch that forex card if you are packing your bags for a holiday abroad or even for studying overseas. No, you don’t even need to carry that credit card in your wallet nor think of a wire transfer to pay your tuition fees. Just download the HOP app (available on Android and iOS platforms), complete the onboarding KYC to get access to a multicurrency bank account and you are ready to pay in whatever currency you want for your expenses abroad.
The neo bank mobile app addresses concerns such as high markups on currency exchange, high exchange rates, lack of transparency on fee structure, complex documentation processes, incompatible formats between domestic and foreign banks, and low degree of automation in domestic banks’ internal systems.
Mayank Goyal, founder and CEO, moneyHOP, the firm behind this app, says it aims to capture the global aspirations of students and tourists giving them the ability to move around the world without worrying about money and the medium to transact. “The app allows one to make payments for accommodation, college fees, etc., before reaching the country itself in a paperless, seamless, and cashless manner at an economical price. As for the exchange rate, it is the same if not less than the banks with no hidden markups and convenience fees,” he says. The globetrotter can also do real-time currency exchange on the app.
MoneyHOP also provides a numberless debit+forex card that can be used in India to spend in rupee and abroad as well as to spend in foreign currencies. Since the card is linked to a multi-currency account where you can exchange and hold foreign currencies, it takes away exchange volatility risk.
MoneyHOP’s target customers are the millennials, says Goyal. “This makes our first target audience students going abroad for studies. Eventually, these students will get settled abroad and will need to send money back home,” he points out.
As with any digital banking solution, using the HOP app requires mobile number, email, PAN and CKYC (Central KYC) verification, all done digitally. In certain cases, Aadhaar authentication may be needed. It has placed multiple checks such as real-time face match, Geotag and penny drop to prevent the misuse of identities. On successful KYC, the user is issued a lifetime free multi-currency account and a virtual card. The account earns interest up to 5%. Payments are valid in all countries except those in the OFAC list. For instant currency conversion on the app the customer pays charges around 25 bps, while for international money remittance via the app, it is 35 bps.
MoneyHOP has onboarded 15,000 customers and aims to reach half a million user base by the end of 2022. “There is a lot of scope for innovation in the cross-border banking sector. The market is big enough for us to make this a scalable business,” says Goyal.
The commission paid by customers for instant currency conversions/international transactions via the app is moneyHOP’s main revenue. It also generates profit through the interchange fee that the merchant ends up paying for the customer to use the card, besides the interest made on the float amount held by users on the app.