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Digital payments startup Rapyd bags remittance licence in Singapore

LONDON-BASED fintech startup Rapyd has obtained a remittance licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to scale its digital remittance services in the Asia-Pacific.

It joins a growing number of fintech players nudging into the cross-border payments space in the region. 

The remittance licence will enable Rapyd's corporate customers to extend digital payments services to their networks, that is, enabling them to send and receive money across over 100 countries globally in more than 160 currencies, said Rapyd in a media statement on Tuesday.

Singapore serves as a key technology and business hub for Rapyd's expansion plans across the region, thanks to robust fintech capabilities and strong government support for the fintech ecosystem, said Joel Yarbrough, vice-president of Rapyd in Asia-Pacific. 

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Rapyd said its all-in-one payments platform in Singapore will help ramp up efficiency in cross-border payments for SMEs, facilitate cross-border trade operations for the shipping, logistics and supply chain ecosystems, and enable "Super Apps" the likes of Grab and Gojek to offer their own cross-border remittance services, among other services. 

Businesses are able to integrate remittance services on Rapyd's platform by leveraging its application programming interface (API). The cloud-based platform covers all stages of the remittance flow - funds top-up, identity verification, blocking suspicious transactions and sending money overseas.

This eliminates the conventional need for businesses to build their own remittance infrastructure by signing individual bilateral agreements in the recipient countries or relying solely on interbank money transfers - in turn driving down cost and processing time for cross-border remittances, said Rapyd. 

Through its global payments network, Rapyd offers remittances into more than 500 types of local payment methods, including e-wallets, cash pickup, bank transfers and debit cards. Indonesia's Doku wallet and Sri Lanka's mobile payments app eZCash are two such examples.

Rapyd said its expansion into Singapore, which follows its partnership with Hong Kong-based TNG Fintech Group in August and OCBC Bank in April, signals its increasing focus on the Asia-Pacific region. 

"Asia is leading the fintech charge, spurring innovation in the fintech space like no other region," said Mr Yarbrough, adding that the firm also has plans to build an engineering centre in Singapore to tap the "experience and energy of young technologists" here. 

Earlier this month, Rapyd announced that it has raised US$100 million in Series C funding at a valuation approaching US$1 billion, bringing the firm's total venture capital injection to over US$150 million. Its global payments network has reached around four billion consumers.

Other fintech players vying for a share of the region's cross-border payments market include Revolut and TransferWise - both headquartered in London - as well as Singapore startup InstaReM.