Indian cash-back and rewards app Abound has raised $10 million from the Times Group to expand its remittance offering.
The app — owned by the Times of India and formerly known as Times Club — is designed especially for Indian expatriates living in the U.S.
“With Abound, our aim is to simplify the process of sending money abroad for expats, who often face high fees and complicated procedures when using traditional financial services,” CEO Nishkaam Mehta said in a news release Monday (June 3).
“This borderless super app will cater to the unique financial needs of Indian expats across different geographies and enable them to live their best lives without borders and limitations.”
According to the release, Abound lets users transfer funds to loved ones in India without dealing with long wait times or transfer fees. Membership in the platform also offers cash-linked and loyalty rewards, “curated content” and online and offline commerce.
Abound’s rebrand is happening at a time when the worldwide remittance market — which sees hundreds of billions of dollars move across borders each year — is being reshaped by digital disruption, as PYMNTS wrote in May.
Estimates late last year by the World Bank showed remittances growing by 5% in 2022, to $626 billion. These transfers are a key source of funds for workers and other individuals sending money back home to friends and family.
And with 1.4 billion adults still unbanked — another World Bank estimate — the movement of money needs to go beyond what might be thought of as traditional channels: bank accounts.
“In recent months, we’ve seen some shifts in the industry, where technology has propelled cross-border solutions more fully into the digital age, and in many cases away from the brick-and-mortar settings where agents receive cash on one end of the transaction, redeemed in cash in another country,” that report said.
PYMNTS also spoke recently with Jose Ivars-Lopez, U.K. and Ireland country manager at Ria, about his company’s expansion in the mobile wallet space to power real-time cross-border payments for recipients.
This is especially important in emerging markets across Africa, where customers depend heavily on mobile wallets for money transfers.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s 5 in the morning in the U.K. or it’s lunchtime, sending money abroad really works well,” Ivars-Lopez said, adding, “You can see the real-time benefits not only on a theoretical level, but also on a practical level for our customers.”