Andrew Medal

Serial Entrepreneur, Digital Strategist, Web Designer, Author, Volunteer

From domestic, peer-to-peer transactions to large-scale, international dealings, exchanging money will always be a part of our daily existence. That’s what makes this industry so ripe for technological innovation.

Here are 12 companies that are using technology to disrupt traditional concepts of money exchange to make things faster, cheaper, and more reliable for consumers.

Venmo embraced a social model of money exchange to target millennials — and has it worked. Part social network, part transaction service, this app operates only on mobile technology and allows people to pay their family and friends with just a phone number or email address. With more than 15 percent of peer-to-peer transactions being used to split bills — a common millennial brunch tradition — Venmo’s ease of use and mobility have made the app a favorite among younger crowds.

Worldwide, about $582 billion was sent by U.S. immigrants to relatives in their home countries in 2015. TransferWise recognized this huge market and made it easier for people to make peer-to-peer transactions by charging much less than banks do to exchange funds from one currency to another. With a low 1 percent charge per transaction, the company allows people to cross borders without breaking the bank.

With the market for peer-to-peer transfers and remittances being worth more than $1 trillionXoom has taken mobile functionality to the next level. Now operating as a PayPal service, the company provides fast, simple and secure ways to send money, reload phone minutes and pay bills for people around the world.

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Remittances accounted for almost four times the $135 billion in global foreign aid that was disbursed in 2015. Remitly, the largest independent digital remittance company in the United States, has certainly contributed to that number. Through its user-friendly mobile app, it allows people of all ages to send money easily and transparently by eliminating the forms, codes, fees and other aspects of more old-school methods.

The majority of people are starting to give up cash for plastic — there are almost 1.9 billion active credit card accounts in the U.S. Apple Pay has taken this one step further by allowing users to use their smartphones, computers and wearable devices to pay for everything from in-person retail purchases to online shopping using the Safari browser.

CurrencyPay is making great strides towards streamlining the online payment process through its greatly expanded payment options — it ensures timely payment to sellers, allows merchants to process high ASP credit card transactions at competitive rates, helps users pay with checks online, offers real-time credit decisions for customers within minutes and more. The online commerce world is far behind the real world in terms of providing consumers and vendors with flexible payment options. If you don’t have a credit card or a debit card or Paypal you are out of luck with making purchases online. CurrencyPay changes all that. CurrencyPay gives consumers a lot of options (credit card, debit card, ACH, wire, financing) and the fastest financing process in the world (online or off).  It’s a real game changer in the world of online payments.

The average bitcoin market price is more than $2,000, but if you have some lying around or are able to buy it, Xapo has developed a great way to securely store and use your bitcoin funds. The company allows users to purchase bitcoins, manage them with their easy-to-use online wallet, store them in a secure Vault and even spend them with a physical debit card.

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With mobile peer-to-peer users in the U.S. expected to grow from 69 million to 126 million by 2020, Paym (pronounced “pay-em”) is making sure that money transaction technology is keeping up with the needs of the 21st century. Allowing users to transfer money using just a phone number, it simplifies the process of both peer-to-peer and peer-to-business transactions.

It’s no secret that forex traders can make a lot of money. In fact, more than 50 percent of international trades are closed out at a gain. However, there’s always more money to be made — and Kantox can help with that. The company provides a marketplace for businesses to exchange currency, which lets them get a much better exchange rate than what’s offered by traditional banks and brokers.

A common complaint about international travel is the lack of price transparency in forex transactions — and with forex turnover exceeding $4 trillion a day, this is a significant problem. Get4x is a currency exchange-rate aggregator platform for travelers that allows users to find and compare money-changer rates so that they get the best deal, every time.

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Close to 33 million U.S. residents traveled overseas in 2015 — and we’re willing to bet that most of them had to exchange their U.S. dollars for local currency. Delhi-based CurrencyKart lets users compare the rates of forex dealers across the country to find the best value. It’s similar to Get4x, but takes the usage one step further: it allows users to get their forex delivered to their doorstep.

With ecommerce fraud being more common with overseas transactions — more than 30 percent of Indonesian online purchases are fraudulent, for instance — it’s important that users know their transactions are secure and accurate. RateX, a Google Chrome extension, helps with this by offering real exchange rates without hidden transaction fees. It allows users to pay for an international purchase in local currency to keep things understandable and transparent.