Vroon Modgill is the founder and CEO of Sokin, a financial services provider that enables global payments for both consumers and businesses. Headquartered in London with 10 international offices, the company powers payments via a monthly fixed fee – giving consumers the power to make unlimited money transfers.
Here, The Fintech Times looks at Vroons inspiration for creating Sokin, and how the company is shaking up the payments sector.
In 2021, there’s no reason why customers would accept additional commissions, unexplained costs or repeat charges. There’s also no reasonable explanation as to why some firms keep trying to add ‘extra’ fees, when new technologies and greater transparency can remove them. We don’t want to be charged every time we take money out of a cash machine. We don’t pay for every track we download or each film we stream. Yet when we want to send money or make a payment, we accept there’ll be unspecified and variable costs. Why?
This is what drove Vroon Modgill to start Sokin, the first subscription-based global currency account platform.
From his background in the industry, he knew there’s a cost to checking personal details and the legitimacy of the funds, but these should be one-off set-up costs. The process and costs could be simplified significantly to provide greater access to more people trying to make international payments and transfers.
One of his drivers for change was to remove these hidden costs and create an effortless platform for users. He saw that there was an opportunity to shake up the sector using the latest fintech developments, to simplify the onboarding of clients and speed up the handling of transactions.
The other main driver was the opportunity to create an openness in a very closed and unnecessarily expensive ecosystem. Using the democratisation of payments as its starting point, the Sokin team has brought together advanced technologies and global partnerships which will offer customers a modern, more intuitive and cheaper way of making payments.
Transparency is key
Transparency is at the heart of the Sokin service. There are no hidden costs. No pushing up of the spreads or adding commissions. Users just pay a monthly subscription and get highly competitive exchange rates. Sokin’s technology also gives users the confidence that sending money is secure and safe, which is vital for both senders and recipients. Vroon has bought together a deeply experienced management team to bring this new model to market.
However, this is just the starting point. In looking at the payments and money transfer ecosystem there was a realisation that many people now need the benefits of a global currency account which allows them to send and receive payments in multiple currencies. This can all be managed through a simple-to-use mobile app.
Sokin’s approach is the next development stage for financial firms and allows the passing on of real savings to the end-user. The monopolistic position of the big banks is being ended by a number of innovative start-ups which have shown that some services can be delivered in a fundamentally better way. Sokin’s subscription-based payments services is the next step forward for users.
Sokin is sharply focused on making sure that every customer touchpoint is easy to use. Vroon was very aware as a second-generation immigrant, how off-putting money exchange can be for many people. Those with family members based in other countries often opt to use well-known brands to send money, but the process is still difficult and time-consuming. This is why time and effort has been invested in making the Sokin user experience seamless.
A global service
The other important element Sokin offers is a global service. For Vroon it was essential to develop a product which offers multi-currencies. When Sokin launches its services later this year it will have already put in place agreements with key partners in Europe, Asia, North and South America. It will work with 35 different currencies and hopes to be able, from day one, to offer services in over 200 countries.
The global remittance market, just one element of international payments, is estimated to be US$689 billion, with the average cost for sending an international money transfer of 7% (Knomad 2018). In 2021, Sokin will introduce a subscription service which could halve these costs, passing on fantastic savings to customers. Fast, easy to use and keeping money in the pockets of the people who need it.
Vroon’s vision for the payments sector and giving people access to global currency accounts will help to bring financial services into a new age.