Sending money by Airtm

dsp27

Registered
So I tried out AirTM. It's interesting. First impressions are mixed. Signing up was easy but I got targeted for "additional verification" -- had to email a selfie of myself holding my passport/DNI, a snapshot of my US home banking and Zelle profile snapshots. Annoying but not a dealbreaker.

The process is as follows (there are alternative funding channels but these are the cheapest routes).
You use Zelle to send USD to your AirTM account. The rate is 1USD=1USD AIRTM. So zero fee. The transaction process is clunky thou. You are sending the money to a peer -- an actual person like you who is making some sort of a cut somewhere on the transaction chain. If there is a dispute and the other person fails to deliver, you can escalate the case to AirTm for arbitration. The funds are "protected" as they say they remain in an escrow account, but still I imagine many people would feel anxious sending large amount at once. Then that person deposits the credit to your AirTM. From there you need to move that money to a peso account or cash using AGAIN a Peer (cajero) here in Argentina. This time there is a fee of 40 cents (US cents) per transaction, so the larger the sum you move, the smaller the real-terms fee. The peer/cajero makes a profit on the spread. The rates are better than WU and seem to be closer to the blue. The best rate is when you transfer to a Uala account (about 2-3 pesos more than sending to MercadoPago or a bank account, or cash). However, I do not have Uala and cannot open one since my DNI expired last month and I still have not gotten a new one.

So, it's an interesting concept but money laundering anyone? I just don't see this concept surviving and this won't be around for long. It's a niche market for the likes of Venezuela and Argentina with capital controls. It will likely get bought by a bigger player down the road that will eventually kill it off -- like so many other fintech start ups -- making the 3 Mexican guys who started it rich(er).

I will probably use it here and there but WU (as long as the rate remains competitive) is a much straightforward alternative.
 

dsp27

Registered
So I tried out AirTM. It's interesting. First impressions are mixed. Signing up was easy but I got targeted for "additional verification" -- had to email a selfie of myself holding my passport/DNI, a snapshot of my US home banking and Zelle profile snapshots. Annoying but not a dealbreaker.

The process is as follows (there are alternative funding channels but these are the cheapest routes).
You use Zelle to send USD to your AirTM account. The rate is 1USD=1USD AIRTM. So zero fee. The transaction process is clunky thou. You are sending the money to a peer -- an actual person like you who is making some sort of a cut somewhere on the transaction chain. If there is a dispute and the other person fails to deliver, you can escalate the case to AirTm for arbitration. The funds are "protected" as they say they remain in an escrow account, but still I imagine many people would feel anxious sending large amount at once. Then that person deposits the credit to your AirTM. From there you need to move that money to a peso account or cash using AGAIN a Peer (cajero) here in Argentina. This time there is a fee of 40 cents (US cents) per transaction, so the larger the sum you move, the smaller the real-terms fee. The peer/cajero makes a profit on the spread. The rates are better than WU and seem to be closer to the blue. The best rate is when you transfer to a Uala account (about 2-3 pesos more than sending to MercadoPago or a bank account, or cash). However, I do not have Uala and cannot open one since my DNI expired last month and I still have not gotten a new one.

So, it's an interesting concept but money laundering anyone? I just don't see this concept surviving and this won't be around for long. It's a niche market for the likes of Venezuela and Argentina with capital controls. It will likely get bought by a bigger player down the road that will eventually kill it off -- like so many other fintech start ups -- making the 3 Mexican guys who started it rich(er).

I will probably use it here and there but WU (as long as the rate remains competitive) is a much straightforward alternative.
EDIT: Apparently the rate to deposit to an ARG bank acc is the same as Uala. I've overlooked that. So this makes the platform more compelling.
 

jlynch

Registered
So, it's an interesting concept but money laundering anyone? I just don't see this concept surviving and this won't be around for long. It's a niche market for the likes of Venezuela and Argentina with capital controls. It will likely get bought by a bigger player down the road that will eventually kill it off -- like so many other fintech start ups -- making the 3 Mexican guys who started it rich(er).

I will probably use it here and there but WU (as long as the rate remains competitive) is a much straightforward alternative.
it wasn't intended for expats who have access to foreign banks accounts. In a lot of countries you need some form of residence etc to open a bank account and this service caters for locals who don't have access to foreign bank accounts to save their funds in a stable non devaluating currency. It is used by lots of monotributistas here who do international work and charge in foreign currency.

on the topic of money laundering they attempt to match up email addresses of airtm account with those of wallets etc. not sure of other checks they do.

I wouldn't put all my eggs in the WU basket, they have only been useful for foreign currency exchange at non official rate since capital controles when Macri lost the primaries last year. There have been other players before that during captial controls such as exchange4free (which became uncompetitive with rates when they moved aware from more to argenper and azimo which also uses argenper).
 
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