This Filipino Harvard Graduate's App Makes OFW Remittance Transfers Easier, Less Costly
Harvard alumna Rebecca Kersch has always had a strong connection to Filipino migrant workers, having some of her own relatives working abroad. As someone who's spent time in the Philippines annually, she's come to see the country's financial inclusion woes up close. An aunt of hers, for instance, had to bear a tedious and costly remittance process. Her Tita Baby would sometimes even spend a month's worth of wages to meet the higher transfer fees.
That's why she wanted to create a digital platform where Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) could easily send money to their friends and family back home minus the hassle and extra costs. Earlier this week, she officially launched the TANGapp, an international peer-to-peer mobile payment app that lets Filipinos based in America transfer cash fast, convenienly, and at a much lower remittance rate. She brands it as the international version of GCash.
According to Kersch, the president and CEO, this platform should become "more than just a remittance app" for Filipino-Americans. Considering that the Philippines has one of the biggest remittance markets worldwide (Fitch Group research suggests that current transfers growth is projected to accelerate to five percent in 2023), it only made sense to come up with an easier, more inclusive solution for OFWs.
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“At TANGapp, we believe that digital mobile payment services can improve for Filipinos. Whether they are one of the 4.5 million Filipinos working in the US or the tens of millions of unbanked in the Philippines, every Filipino deserves access to the ever-growing international digital economy,” Kersch said in a statement.
She added: “We started TANGapp so my tita, and millions of other OFWs, have an easier, more convenient, and less expensive way to send money back home in an otherwise lengthy and expensive process."
With the platform, Filipinos overseas can transfer as little as $5 (roughly P275) with a remittance rate of just three percent (as opposed to the average of four to 14 percent cost on transfers, based on data from CompareRemit). It is currently only available for U.S.-based Filipinos, but has a long-term goal of extending its services to Filipinos in other parts of the world where there is a strong OFW base. The app is also accessible to Filipinos even without their own bank accounts.
Senders and receivers simply have to sign up on the app and link their bank accounts and e-wallets. Among some of the supported e-wallets in the Philippines where the app can connect are GCash, Maya, GrabPay, and Coins.PH. Users can also access the live exchange rate on the app, which is updated every hour. They can even send load here, too.
Send money in just 1?? minute! ???? TANGapp uses the LIVE exchange rate, so your recipient gets the most out of every dollar. Send money today!— TANGapp (@tang_app) July 19, 2022
Ask your PH-based friends to download and link their GCash or bank, and you’ll be sending in no time.
Download at https://t.co/12w8gizllt pic.twitter.com/b89IjHGZSC
TANGapp has successfully raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding with help from angel investors. These include Harvard Business School entrepreneurship professors, as well as venture capital firms such as TEN13, Visible Hands, and Bolster Ventures, among others. One of the app's largest pre-seed investors is KSR Ventures founder and CEO Katrina Razon.
Right now, the TANGapp is in the midst of raising its $2.5 million seed round from venture capital firms. With an average month-on-month growth rate of 35 percent in 2022, Kersch's platform hopes to attract investors to help accommodate transactions for Filipino migrant workers worldwide.
The TANGapp headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York. In 2023, Kersch says that she plans to work closely with charitable organizations in the Philippines. She also sees her remote-first team growing very soon.
For more questions, visit the TANGapp website. The TANGapp can be downloaded on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and more.