Practically no country has escaped the coronavirus pandemic, but it has hit emerging markets particularly hard. For instance – after years of posting growth, the Indonesian rupiah went from being Asia’s best performing currency this January to becoming its worst performing currency just two months later.
Foreign investors dumped more than US$4 billion from rupiah bonds by that point, on course for the biggest quarterly outflow ever, and had dumped about $600 million worth of shares. The Indonesian currency touched levels not seen since the 1998 Asian financial crisis. What all of this means is that Southeast Asia’s biggest and hence most promising market is also the most volatile one to trade with, because of currency fluctuations.
The currency woes of emerging economies adds to the stress SMEs face, especially when they trade with other markets. While the swings in foreign exchange rates are beyond the control of modest SMEs, there are pain points in cross-border payments that can be eased with fintech solutions.
“We are fortunate that our sales dropped only 20% to 30% during the Covid-19 crisis as we are considered essential services. As such, our business operations can continue,” said Keith Low of Eva Petro-Marine, a distributor of products related to the marine, petroleum and chemical industries.
Enter TranSwap, a Singapore-based cross border-payments platform offering a mid-market exchange rate, enabling customers to make transactions without the mark-up. Since starting in 2015, TranSwap has been assisting importers and exporters looking to send money abroad or receive funds from overseas clients.
It has been granted money remittance licenses in Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. In May, TranSwap introduced Global Borderless Virtual Accounts (GBVA), which has since been offered to customers based in Indonesia, European Union, the UK and the US.
“For my Malaysia supplier, I used to personally go to the money changer to buy Malaysian ringgit to pass to my supplier when he came to Singapore,” Keith Low added. “With TranSwap, I not only save on foreign exchange and transaction costs, but also the time it takes me to physically change money. It is also a lot safer than carrying cash every month, which carries the risk of being robbed.
“For other currencies such as euros and US dollars, the time for my supplier to get his money is also faster by a day thanks to TranSwap. The platform also allows me to do live end-to-end tracking of my money transfers, benefitting me and my suppliers.
“The time I save can be converted to more business opportunities including meeting clients and exploring additional business ventures that come along my way.”
TranSwap entered a new stage in its offerings in August as it launched its partnership with the Calista platform, run by Global eTrade Services (GeTS).
The process for users making cross-border fund transfers is fully transparent, without complicated or hidden fee structures that beleaguer the foreign exchange market.
It is also easy to use. TranSwap’s platform allows users to make and track cross-border payments easily. Its proprietary API also helps business owners efficiently manage and make fast, high-volume cross-border transfers to overseas clients, suppliers and staff.
This ultimately saves time and money for resource-strapped SMEs, as well as to give them the best possible measure of stability and assurance during difficult economic times around the world.