The demand for smooth foreign exchange and multicurrency services has skyrocketed following the pandemic. eCommerce, remittances and international travel are just a few areas in which customers have demanded new and improved features, according to ClearBank‘s, the cloud-based clearing bank, latest study.
According to ClearBank’s study, ‘Muddled multi-currency: how do fintechs overcome cross-border complexity?’, nearly half of fintechs (49%) now offer multi-currency and FX services, and 94% of fintechs declared a multi-currency offering as “business-critical”.
The report was based on a survey of 150 C-level and senior fintech executives across the UK, and looked to uncover the use, value and difficulties of running multi-currency services, and the specific challenges that fintechs face around cross-border payments. These challenges can be summarised as volatile market conditions and expensive and complicated multi-currency and FX partnerships, which hamper sector growth. Key statistics from the study include:
Cost and profitability
Of the fintechs surveyed, 87% said it is either ‘quite or very expensive’ to run their current multi-currency offering. A further 32% of respondents said they also encountered hidden costs when dealing with their current provider, and 28% said their profit margin has decreased in the last three years. 57% say their average profit margin made on multi-currency/FX transactions is between 3-5%, which represents a 19% decrease in profit over the last three years.
Offering multi-currency and FX services is integral to remain competitive, but over a third of fintech executives surveyed (35%) reported waiting up to nine months for implementation and 23% reported that their current multi-currency provider cannot offer API automation of money flows, limiting competitive advantage.
Partners not providers
As a result, 79% of fintechs are planning to switch their multi-currency partner. For 32%, this is to seek a better customer experience, whilst 34% are seeking better technology. 94% of fintechs declared a multi-currency offering as business-critical, and they’re turning to partners who can offer increased flexibility, improved technology, and an aligned aim to meet customer needs.
“The challenges within multi-currency for fintechs are many, but far from insurmountable,” stated Charles McManus, CEO of ClearBank. “A solid international offering can help payments businesses develop, if it mirrors the seamlessness of how customers perform transactions – on-demand, quickly and without cumbersome processes.
“We invested in this research to learn how prepared UK fintech is for the global marketplace and where the gaps are, so they might become more competitive. Where cross-border payments are concerned, we must remain true to the core of fintech – partnerships that offer a win/win to all parties.”