Sending money internationally is no easy feat—it can often be a daunting procedure for both the sender and receiver. But now, there's a new hassle-free way to remit money, which is through a card. The best part? You don't need to pay any fees. Meet Pomelo, the very first FinTech to combine credit and international money transfer into a single product.
It all started when Pomelo founder and CEO Eric Velasquez Frenkiel found it difficult to send money to his family in the Philippines due to delays and fees—not to mention, facing the long queues. 20 years later, he said, sending money is still done "the old fashioned way."
"It's surprising that in more than 20 years, there hasn't been much innovation at all within money transfer," Frenkiel said during the media launch. "The inspiration for Pomelo springs from my own experience of moving money to the Philippines and facing the same frustrations and obstacles that millions of people around the world face when they have to move money," he added.
And so, Frenkiel thought of a way to provide instant access to funds for families overseas.
"I wanted to create a platform that makes it easier to support families in the Philippines, especially in emergency situations," he said in a statement.
The Pomelo Card offers an "easier, faster, and more efficient remittance experience." How so? First of all, the transactions are done real-time. So if a relative from abroad sends money, you'll get it right away.
Second, there are no transaction fees. Unlike the traditional remittance centers where you're required to pay a specified sum for the money you will be remitting, with Pomelo, the money in your account is all yours. This is because Pomelo earns from merchants not customers.
But the biggest difference here is that the card works like a credit card extension or a charge card of U.S.-based residents where funds are remitted digitally. A physical rechargeable card will also be sent to users. You can't withdraw money from it, but you can use it to spend on expenses or shopping like a credit card.
"We're talking about a different type of mechanic where we want to encourage folks to purchase online, stay at home, stop waiting in line to pick up money, of course, just keep family safe from COVID," Frankiel explained.
And if in case of an emergency, the relative from the Philippines can just request for additional spending money with just a click of a button.
"The key differentiator with something like Pomelo is that it provides instant access and variable access to additional funds in case of an emergency," Frankiel shared. "So, in case of, let's say something bad happens, and someone has to go to the hospital, our users can actually hit an SOS button in the app and actually extend immediate access to more spending power to provide in that emergency."
Additionally, Pomelo does not charge interest. Customers from the US are given 30 days to pay off their bill without interest.
"This is something that we wanted to do to really differentiate against any other entity, a money transfer operator or something that is more conventional like a credit card product, because as it happens right now with money transfer you have to you have to have money in hand to send money," he added.
The Pomelo Card is powered by the Mastercard network, issued by Coastal Community Bank. It can be accessed through a mobile application, which can be downloaded for both Android or iOS smartphones.
With the holidays coming, Pomelo came just in time.