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  • Writer's pictureAffy Bhatti

Reducing hassle and costs for migrants to send money

This article was published by Capital Brief on 1 July 2024. Click here to read the article.

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There are niches galore in payments but one which has caught my attention, in part because it's such an intractable if obvious issue in a multicultural country like Australia, is the cost of sending money overseas. Sure, real-time payments and a raft of fintechs make sending money to Europe or the US relatively cheap and easy. But try sending it home to family in the Pacific or Pakistan or Egypt. That's exactly the issue Affy Bhatti and his co-founder/funder Mo Zaatar have encountered. But being experienced finance, investment and consulting people, they did something about it and created Bless Payments to reduce hassle and costs. Affy reckons just under half the cross-border remittance market is underserved, spanning the birthplaces of millions of Australians like India, Vietnam, Pakistan and the Philippines. "There's three reasons and they come down to risk - of a lack of infrastructure, of country risk, or actual sanctions," he told me. Yet the legitimate market to these countries is huge. "But sending money to Iraq is not illegal. We Iraqis are our third highest Arab demographic in Australia," Affy says. "It's just that we have weak financial connections to that country, and also probably because, traditionally, financial institutions have viewed that country as high risk for whatever reason, maybe because of the war in the past." Bless is working with payment aggregators to fill a genuine niche. It'll be interesting to watch.



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