There are more than 60 million Americans without bank accounts, and the market for alternative financial services for the unbanked is $8 billion a year. The problem with the alternative services is that they’re expensive for
customers, taking a sizable cut out of paychecks and imposing high fees on money wire transfers.
TransCash hopes to better serve this sector by offering a cost-effective alternative to money transfers. The Los Angeles-based company believes that the financial world should be as easy as sending email.
TransCash offers a set of two prepaid Visa debit cards, black and red. The money sender keeps the black card and the red goes to receiver. The money can be sent instantaneously to the recipient, via mobile or internet, as opposed to a service like Western Union, which takes several hours to complete an exchange.
It’s not even a wire transfer, per se; it’s just transferring an account’s money from one card to another.
TransCash saves users the time that they would spend traveling to a money-wire provider and filling out forms. It also saves users from the enormous money-transfer wire fees, which range from $9.99 to $45.00. TransCash charges customers a monthly fee of $9.99, no matter the amount of transactions.
Customers can even receive payments from employers on their card, which eliminates the need for a bank account.
TransCash president Jon Celms, speaking at last night’s Tech:Rader Payment event, said that even though traditional alternative-financial services are cumbersome and costly to customers, it is a difficult market for a new player to enter.
“We’re working with hard-working, low-income people and all they have to go on is trust,” Celms said.
“Trust makes this a tough market to penetrate,” Celms said. Banks, credit card companies and Western Union have that trust, but it is difficult for new players to establish it. Celms believes that this trust will grow virally in communities where members use TransCash.