For many years, South Korea’s $33 billion remittance market was controlled by the country’s banks. When new regulations allowed non-bank companies to enter the market in 2017, CROSS ENF (formerly known as Coinone Transfer) partnered with SBI Ripple Asia, a joint venture between Ripple and SBI Holdings, to create CROSS ENF, South Korea’s first blockchain-based remittance service. CROSS ENF gives anyone access to real-time, cost-effective cross border payments but winning customer trust wasn’t easy.
“People were used to going to the bank to send money abroad,” explained CROSS ENF’s Business Development Manager, Camille Jeong. “We are not a bank so we had to work hard to gain the trust of customers. The unique Ripple-powered benefits of our service and innovative marketing brought people in. Our superior customer experience kept them coming back and our retention rate is now more than 80%.”
CROSS ENF’s primary target customer is foreign workers residing in Korea who need to send money home to their families. When banks held the monopoly on remittances, these migrants had no other option than to use the existing slow and expensive process.
“Global transfers were difficult for foreign workers,” recalled Jeong. “They had to go into the bank branch to request them, which was inconvenient especially for those living and working in rural areas. The payment could take as long as seven days to reach their family back home and the costs were really high, especially for the smaller value amounts typically sent by migrants.”
Improving Payments Through Trusted RippleNet Partnerships
In 2018, CROSS ENF began working with SBI Ripple Asia to solve the problems with cross-border payments. RippleNet’s network of global financial institutions and payments services made it easy for CROSS ENF to integrate with partners across the region.
“RippleNet connected us to financial institutions in Thailand, Philippines and Sri Lanka,” said Jeong, “so we could open these popular payment corridors quickly. This keeps our integration and operational costs low and our customers benefit from fees that are usually less than 1%. Our RippleNet connections also allow us to settle transfers in real time – a huge improvement on the traditional multi-day process of the banks. And our CROSS app is convenient. Customers just send money from their phones.”
With a low-cost, real-time, convenient payments app in place, CROSS ENF next needed to convince customers to change their usual process for sending money home and put their trust in a non-bank service. The company took another chance by producing an innovative marketing campaign that positioned CROSS ENF as something very different to Korea’s traditional financial institutions.
“We created a marketing campaign featuring three animated characters who are our remittance superheroes,” explained Jeong. “It doesn’t look like any other financial service but people loved it and started using our user-friendly app. The benefits of our convenient, low-cost, real-time global payments keep them coming back. Migrants workers send money home regularly and with our customer retention rate of more than 80%, we get a lot of repeat business. Since we launched CROSS ENF in October 2018, our transaction volume has grown an average of 50% each month.”
Driving Fresh Growth with More Help from SBI Ripple Asia
A combination of great marketing, superior user experience and an innovative service has helped CROSS ENF build a strong brand in Korea. Now the company is using this strength to target a new type of customer, which means connecting with more RippleNet partners to open up new corridors.
“We’re looking at the parents of Koreans who are studying abroad and need to send money to pay for tuition fees and living expenses,” concluded Jeong. “They will be able to use CROSS to make low-cost, real-time payments to countries like the US, UK, Hong Kong and Singapore. We’re starting to connect with financial institutions in those countries via RippleNet to develop these new corridors. When this new audience trusts CROSS ENF for payment and the great experience keeps them coming back, our business will grow stronger.”
If you’re interested in learning how RippleNet can help better serve your customers, contact us. Companies located in South Korea can contact SBI Ripple Asia to learn more about how to save time, lower costs and reduce risk in cross border transactions.