Digital wallet Abra has announced that its app is now available on iPhone and Android for consumers in the US. Customers can now use the Abra app in the US or the Philippines to send money for free to anyone else with the app by funding their Abra wallet with their bank account. Ultimately the app aims to be global.
Abra enables the storage digital money on a smartphone. Once the currency is on a phone it can be instantly sent to anyone else with the app by typing in the recipient’s phone number. Recipients in both the US and the Philippines can withdraw their digital cash to their bank account: recipients in the Philippines can also withdraw their digital cash for physical cash at a local Abra Teller.
Cross border remittances now top $500 billion per year, generating over $25 billion in fees. Most of that flows from the developed world to the developing world, but there’s still a significant amount being transferred in the other direction, as well as within ‘minor’ corridors, which have traditionally been ignored or exploited by existing payments and remittance players. Analysts expect cross-border e-commece to top $1 Trillion by 2020 even though most consumers don’t have a bank account or credit card.
The goal of Abra is to enable the sending of money across any two smartphones regardless of location, currency, or mobile phone operator. It has been building a global ecosystem for person to person payments that works on any smartphone in any country in the world, thanks to a blockchain based platform.
Over the coming months, Abra will launch in several additional countries beyond the US and the Philippines. This first phase of launching Abra aims to get as many ‘largely banked’ countries online as quickly as possible. These banked consumers will later have the option of becoming Abra Tellers when that option is enabled in those countries An Abra Teller acts like a human ATM, helping consumers get digital cash on and off their phone in exchange for a small fee. Abra has begun the process of deploying its retail teller network, starting with the Philippines, with thousands of locations under contract. Pre-registrations for Abra Tellers have already been received from over 75 countries.