Made popular in a song from Cabaret, the saying “money makes the world go round” has become a standard refrain for many. But it might also be said that money goes ‘round the world.
And every time it does, there are countless life stories wrapped up in those transactions. Hearing these stories reminds us that at the end of the day, the payments industry is about enabling people and helping them lead better lives.
Erick Gutierrez is one such person. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Gutierrez made a dramatic life decision at age 21 moving to Ireland to start anew. Shortly thereafter, in 2013, he relocated to Porto, Portugal for a job opportunity as a developer.
By the next year, at the behest of friends back in Brazil, he began working on a side project. Driven by endless questions and inquiries from them about his bold move across continents, Gutierrez set out to build a website full of answers. Called Euro Dicas, the project continued to grow, and in the fall of 2017, he made it his full-time job. Through the site, Gutierrez and his team help people understand how to move internationally, declare and pay taxes, secure a visa, and more.
Gutierrez soon found himself managing a growing business that relied on overseas income and workers. With six full-time employees and more than 40 freelancers around the world funded by affiliate client income primarily arriving from Brazil, he was being squeezed by the high fees, unreliability and long wait times of international payments.
Gutierrez tried all manner of remittance and international payment services. Traditional banks required him to call an agent at inconvenient times, rather than manage transactions at his convenience online. They also took nearly 10 percent of the transfer amount despite a five day wait. Traditional money transfer operators, like Western Union and MoneyGram, were fast but the fees were too high. They also required someone in Brazil to initiate a transfer. Even newer entrants like TransferWise and PayPal could help, but Gutierrez encountered service issues and, once again, expensive fees.
For an entrepreneur committed to growing his business, Gutierrez was finding the lost time and revenue more and more unacceptable. Then, he discovered BeeTech Global, a Brazilian startup providing international payment services to more than 150,000 customers worldwide. BeeTech is one of the many emerging money services providers relying on new technologies like Ripple to power faster, more reliable and more affordable remittance operations.
Now, with BeeTech, Gutierrez receives money twice per month from his business based in Brazil. These payments arrive on a regular schedule. Gutierrez is also able to provide similar, regularly scheduled payments to more than 40 employees and contractors located across Europe, Latin America and North America. He not only finds the service to be fast, with payments arriving in one day, he finds the reliability and transparency into the payment journey critical to running and scaling his business. Perhaps, most importantly, the fees on each payment are often 80 percent lower than other options, only 5-10 euros per month. BeeTech estimates that customer can save up to 12 percent on transactions.
Gutierrez said that he’s been able to grow his business, from half a million visitors in all of 2017 to an average of 1.5 million per month this year, because of BeeTech’s services. He estimates his growth at 30-40 percent per month. Further, having a reliable payments solution has allowed him to hire people anywhere in the world.
Gutierrez is only one example of a massive, urgent need. According to a recent World Bank Report, remittances to low-and-middle-income countries alone totaled $466 billion in 2017. This translates to 3.27 billion meals, 263.07 million monthly bills and rent for 49.9 million people.
In emerging markets where cash flow is constantly a challenge, remittance delays can mean the difference between making rent, buying medicine, or – in the case of Gutierrez – paying the workers that keep a business running.
Companies like BeeTech are among the first in the world to use Ripple’s advanced blockchain technology for payments to deliver clarity and certainty while dramatically cutting the time and cost of remittances for families and small businesses. With Ripple, BeeTech was able to eliminate SWIFT fees for all of its remittance corridors, dropping in its own fees from $20 to $2 per transaction in the process.
By passing along these savings to customers like Gutierrez, BeeTech has steadily grown its transaction volume. In just one recent day, BeeTech transactions over Ripple with another foreign remittance partner – InstaReM – increased by a factor greater than eight.
In BeeTech, Gutierrez has found a trusted, affordable and faster way to manage the international payments that are the lifeblood of his business. Instead of visiting banks or tracking payments, he can focus on growing his company. Already, he hopes to double the amount of people working for him next year. His ultimate goal is for Euro Dicas to cover the entire world, and help more people become global citizens.