Azimo, the London-headquartered international money transfer service, has partnered with Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) to deliver instant payments for its customers from Europe to SCB bank accounts in Thailand.
According to the World Bank, Thailand is one of the top remittance destinations globally, with $6.7 billion received from abroad each year, and Azimo says it remains one of the most expensive countries to send and receive money. That’s something the U.K. fintech wants to help change as it continues to expand to Asia as a key corridor.
Specifically, the SCB tie-in takes advantage of “PromptPay,” which comprises a real-time clearing and settlement infrastructure to enable instant transfers to Thai bank accounts. For reference, it is similar to the U.K.’s Faster Payments.
“More and more countries are going to instant payment,” Azimo co-founder and executive chairman Michael Kent tells me over WhatsApp. “Thailand recently launched theirs, and this partnership with the largest bank in the country allows us to get the time to settle payments down from around 24 hours to an average of 22 seconds. [It’s] faster to send money to Thailand than to someone else in U.K.”.
In addition, the new service uses RippleNet, the global payment network that harnesses blockchain to let users track funds, delivery time, and status.
“[RippleNet] provides a standardised protocol for the messaging that is much more accurate and hi-fidelity than what people have tended to use, which is SWIFT. It means we could do the integration faster and have more confidence that it’s enterprise grade from the time we go live,” says Kent.
Adds Arthit Sriumporn, Senior Vice President of Wholesale Banking Platform Department at SCB: “We are very pleased to partner with Azimo and expand our reach across Europe. With the service available 24×7 and instant payment to any Thai bank account within minutes, Azimo customers are able to send money to their loved ones back in Thailand fast, cheaply and with certainty. We are very excited about this launch and being part of helping to make people’s lives better”.
Meanwhile, the SCB partnership follows news in February that Azimo had secured €20 million in debt from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union.
The financing is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financial pillar of the EU’s “Investment Plan for Europe.” At the time of the announcement, Azimo said the capital provided by EIB will be used to accelerate the company’s R&D and to “scale up” its proprietary payments platform. I gather the company continues to hire.
Azimo has raised $50 million of equity funding to date — investors include Rakuten, eVentures, Greycroft and Frog Capital — and in August the company said it was profitable. It offers low-cost international payments to 200+ countries and territories around the world and claims over 2 million registered customers.