Barbara Bibas Montero, Co-Founder of SafetyPay, Honored at The Commonwealth Institute Event

On April 3 The Commonwealth Institute South Florida hosted over 380 of Florida’s most influential professional women to celebrate the Ninth Annual Top Women-Led Businesses in Florida. The afternoon was spent celebrating, networking and honoring the extraordinary accomplishments of the Top 50 Women in Florida and the Top 10 Non-Profit leaders. Barbara Bibas Montero, co-Founder of SafetyPay, was one of the honorees.

About Commonwealth Institue:
The Commonwealth Institute (TCI) is a nonprofit organization, founded in Boston in 1997 to help women-led businesses become and stay successful.  Membership includes CEOs, senior corporate executives, directors of nonprofits and proven solo professionals. TCI’s goal is to unleash the potential of women to leaders to change the face of business.

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SafetyPay Picked as One of the Most Popular Money-Transfer Services by Nearshore Americas

Original article: http://www.nearshoreamericas.com/top-six-money-transfer-firms/

Our Six Picks for Money Transfer

by: Raissa Carey

Years ago, when the Internet was still crawling and iPhones and iPads were not even a reality, transferring money internationally was more often than not a frustrating process. Those were the days when money transfers had to be planned in advance and made in person at a financial agency, with each transaction taking up to a month to complete.

Then the digital revolution gave birth to smartphones, tablets and fiber optics. Today, mobile computing is a trillion-dollar business – with more room to grow, according to the MIT Technology Review.

The growing mobile market is also changing the banking industry. The younger population, now more connected than ever, wants convenience and speed. Walking in a bank to pay bills or send money is already an old-fashioned habit.

So much so, that the Western Union Bill Payments Money Mindset Index points to increasingly tech-savvy consumers choosing to adopt mobile technologies to pay bills. “Consumers are increasingly looking for new ways to manage their bills, which points to the need for continued innovation by service providers across the payments industry,” David Shapiro, senior vice president of payments at Western Union, said in a statement.

It’s no surprise that the number of options in transferring money abroad via the Internet have grown exponentially as a result.

Western Union actually has seniority on money-transferring, having introduced the service in 1871. Back then, this was a walk-in processes only. But these days, customers can even send money to a mobile phone, if the receiver lives in a country where this service is offered.

Other banks such as Wells Fargo, have a range of options to send money to Mexico, Central and South America, and Asia, in account-to-account, account-to-cash, cash-to-account and cash-to-cash payments. Other options include popular online services such as PayPal, SafetyPay and Xoom.

All of these companies profit by charging their preset currency exchange rates, transfer fees, and by enforcing their own terms of service provided. The math is simple: the more ways and countries you can send to, the higher the fee and less advantageous exchange rate you’ll get. So the trick is to determine which institution will provide you with the best exchange rate and service fees.

Below is information on the most popular money-transfer services.

Western UnionWith a valid photo ID, you can go to any of the 489,000 WU locations in more than 200 countries and an agent will help you. Transfer fees start at $5.

For transfers larger than $3,000, WU makes account-to-account transactions through the online foreign exchange service. The entire deal can be made online: Once registered to the website, customers can get a quote for the currencies they’d like to exchange through the Currency Converter tool, then send the payment, either via account debit or wire transfer. When the payment is sent out, the recipient will receive the rate quoted at the time of booking, regardless of any valuation fluctuations.

This service also covers home businesses that need to send money internationally, at less than $10,000 per payment and up to five times a year. This is great for very small companies or start-ups. WU has also a solution for small business owners who need to make more than six payments a year averaging more than $20,000 per payment.

PayPal The pioneer in online payment and money transfers, this eBay subsidiary has grown bigger and better. An account can be created in just a few clicks and it’s possible to make transfers to the recipient’s mobile phone. PayPal exchanges the U.S. dollar to 24 currencies – including the Brazilian real, the Mexican peso and the Canadian dollar – and sends money to more than 100 countries.

Depending on the destination, international transfers have a small fee of 0.5% to 2% when fully funded through a bank or PayPal balance. If the transfer is being made with a credit or debit card, the fee rises to between 3.4% and 3.9%. This means the final cost of the transaction will depend on the country of destination, whether the transfer was made through a bank account or credit card and the exchange rate. Money transfers within the U.S. are always free. For 2.9% of the total amount plus $0.30 per transaction, it’s possible to transfer money using a debit or credit card.

SafetyPay: This online platform has patented the first non-card-based network payment technology designed specifically for those who need make to purchases from merchants worldwide, directly from their bank account and in their local currency. “When checking out, consumers choose SafetyPay as their payment method, and choose their preferred currency. They are then redirected to their online banking page, where they approve payment,” the company’s website states.

Besides online payments, the company differentiates itself from the crowd for its specialized services: Call Center Payments– an entire payment process geared toward businesses that rely on call centers for sales. Customers don’t need to use credit cards to make payments; they can conclude the sale using a unique payment code they received during the call to get connected to their online banking platform. They can also pay at one of SafetyPay’s walk-in payment partners. There’s also Invoicing – an automatic system that doesn’t require businesses to build a shopping cart platform. The business provides the customer with a payment code and a link to SafetyPay Express – SafetyPay’s online checkout page. The customer then enters the payment code, selects the bank and currency, and is directed to their online banking page.

Xoom: This company is expert in online international transfers, sending money directly to 30 countries, many of which are located in Latin America. The company’s main appeal is its low-fees and good exchange rates. Senders can fund their money transfer with a credit card, debit card or bank account, and the money can be picked up in cash at a selected location or deposited quickly to bank accounts. Users can send a minimum of $25 and up to $2,999 each time. Transfer fees, which vary depending on form of payment, country of destination and amount of transaction, range from $4.99 to $30.

Just recently Xoom partnered with Walmart.com so customers can send money 24/7 via the retail’s Online Money Center.

MoneyGram: Like Xoom, this is also a cost-effective solution and a Walmart partner. Unlike Xoom, it sends up to $1,499.99 per transaction to more than 197 countries. There are two types of service: same-day funding via debit or credit card and economy service, in which funds arrive within three business days. This is done via a bank account.

With MoneyGram, transfer fees are based on the service option and transfer amount, but they can be as low as $5 to send money to Mexico, for example. In addition, the company makes money during foreign currency conversion, and the exchange rate is set by MoneyGram and its agents.

Viamericas: With a mission to “unite immigrant families globally,” this is one of the best-value companies for transferring larger sums of money, according to a Consumer Reports investigation. The company has a useful “effective exchange rate”comparison tool in its website. The tool compares the amount of origination currency and the amount of destination currency among Xoom, WU, MoneyGram and Viamericas to provide customers with insight to the best value for their transaction.

The registration process is a bit more complex, requiring a bank account validation step that can take up to two business day to clear. But once the bank account has been verified and Viamericas has been paid, the beneficiary receives the money immediately. Customers can send up to $8,000 to thousands of locations in Latin America, United States, the Caribbean, Spain, Indonesia and Africa.

As mentioned, Consumer Reports investigated a number of other money-transfer companies and compared them according to fees and exchange rates.

SafetyPay Highlighted in WorldPay’s Alternative Payment and Distribution Landscape White Paper

SafetyPay Recognized in this year's WorldPay Report

“SafetyPay, the Florida-based non-card payment system, enables consumers to purchase from airlines worldwide and pay directly from their online bank account in their local currency. It also has a global cash platform where a consumer can order their ticket online and pay with cash at a local bank or payment centre.”

Alternative Payment and Distribution Landscape; Part One: Airlines Going Alternative, Page 8, WorldPay (2013). Released October 24, 2013

SafetyPay Recognized as Part of South Florida’s Growing Tech Hub

Originally posted on MiamiHerald.com: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/29/v-fullstory/3658965/nurturing-a-tech-hub-south-florida.html

 

Nurturing a Tech Hub: South Florida Making Progress
by: Nancy Dahlberg

For many entrepreneurs and community leaders involved in the tech hub movement, Endeavor’s launch is one of the strongest signals yet that the dream of a strong and sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Florida is attainable.

Endeavor is a global nonprofit with a 16-year history of identifying and helping high-impact entrepreneurs from all industries become global success stories, creating plenty of jobs for their communities. Those entrepreneurs also become role models, mentors and investors in the next generation of innovators in their regions, adding layers to the ecosystem. Founded in Latin America and now in 17 countries, Endeavor chose Miami to launch its first U.S. program.

“The timing for Endeavor to be here is perfect: Endeavor is what’s going to take the Miami entrepreneurship community to the next level,” said Adriana Cisneros, CEO of the Cisneros Group of Companies and chair of Endeavor Miami.

Champagne flowed at the launch party at The LAB Miami in Wynwood last week, but Endeavor’s arrival is far from the only marker of success in the past year: Co-working spaces buzz, accelerators attract top talent, and high-profile events draw outsiders here to check out the scene. Efforts to unite the tri-county area in building and branding a hub are gaining steam.

Early stage companies have been making headlines, too: Open English, CareCloud, Yellow Pepper, Easy Solutions, TissueTech, SafetyPay and Modernizing Medicine all raised millions of dollars in funding rounds recently, and startups Everypost, Gui.de and Kairos have been drawing national or international coverage.

To be sure, there are still challenges.

Finding funding and enough talent in the region still top the list of areas where improvement is needed, according to an informal survey of entrepreneurs and other leaders within the community. Brain drain continues to be a key concern. And although South Florida has always been highly entrepreneurial — the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro area is the most entrepreneurial in the nation, according to Kauffman Foundation research — its growth is still dominated by micro-businesses that stay tiny. There are perceptions to fight, too, of Miami as a capital of sun and fun, not entrepreneurship and technology.

Yet, many believe that eMerge Americas, technology pioneer Manny Medina’s large tech conference planned for next May, will be a coming-out party of sorts. “It will be a chance to show the world what we’ve got,” said Diane Sanchez, CEO of Medina’s Technology Foundation of the Americas putting on eMerge.

In the past year, the tech hub movement has grown at a frenetic pace.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has committed $3.8 million to entrepreneurship-focused projects so far, including $2 million over five years to launch Endeavor. Knight also funded eMerge Americas, The LAB Miami, Refresh Miami, Ashoka and other organizations; it has several grants very near completion and many more in the pipeline.

The Knight Foundation began making grants in entrepreneurship last fall, starting out by funding events and projects such as hackathons, idea jams, entrepreneur pitching events and conferences, and will continue doing so. The foundation believes it can make a bigger impact making a greater number of grants in smaller amounts — such as a $20,000 grant it made last week to the Awesome Foundation, which itself makes micro-grants to entrepreneurial projects — and Knight will be “pushing forward aggressively in year two,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director of the Knight Foundation. Coming up those include funding SIME Miami, a high-profile European conference of technology thought leaders from around the world, and the return of the popular Startup City: Miami early next year.

“We want to remove the question as to whether Miami is the place to launch an idea and can provide the network, tools and resources … Our contention is that all the elements are here,” Haggman added.

New spaces are joining the ecosystem, such as the five-floor nonprofit MEC261 in downtown Miami, which aims to be an all-in-one center for offices, co-working, funding, acceleration/incubation, education and events, said its founder Maurice Lopes. The fifth floor with offices and conference rooms is already open and 90 percent occupied with about 15 companies, and the fourth floor will open in three to four months with a multi-use event space for up to 400 people, more offices, training rooms and a design laboratory, with other floors to follow, Lopes said.

MEC261 joins about a dozen other spaces around South Florida that cater to entrepreneurs. The Enterprise Development Corporation’s Technology Business Incubator in Boca Raton has expanded twice in the past year, growing to about 18,000-square-feet. It includes the co-working center Caffeine Spaces that has become a hub of startup activity in that area. The EDC, which is also a partner in MEC261, is opening an incubator in Coral Springs on Tuesday, and is partnering with Broward College on another one, said Rob Strandberg, who heads the nonprofit.

Venture Hive, the first tech-entrepreneurship program to receive significant local government support, opened an incubator and is taking applications from around the world for its second accelerator class. Co-working centers Pipeline Brickell and The LAB Miami, both of which opened about a year ago, are curating their memberships with a mix of startups and more established companies, independent contractors and service providers and are nearing capacity in their memberships. Healthcare-focused ProjectLift at the Miami Innovation Center graduated its first accelerator class and other specialized incubators and co-working spaces have opened or are in the works around South Florida for clean tech, nonprofits, food, fashion and filmmaking. This summer, a network of “maker spaces” began taking root across the tri-county area for programmers, inventors and other creatives of all ages to gather and build stuff.

These organizations as well as universities and other groups have been packing the calendars with events. A snapshot: Earlier this month, the HealthTech Showcase drew about 300 community movers and shakers, entrepreneurs and students to the University of Miami Life Science & Technology Park for startup demos and panel discussions. Earlier the same day, nearly 200 people — college-educated but underemployed professionals, plus mentors and community members — packed the Signature Grand in Davie for the kickoff of a 10-week tech-entrepreneurship educational program called Startup Quest. Last week, about 250 filled a Citrix auditorium in Fort Lauderdale for a South Florida Technology Alliance discussion on big data.

Also this month, there was a locally organized tech job fest at Miami Dade College drawing 450 jobhunters, a four-day workshop at Venture Hive for Caribbean entrepreneurs, a presentation hosted by Startup Delray on the “maker movement,” and the return of the NewME PopUp Accelerator, a three-day event by a San Francisco organization that wrapped up Sunday at The LAB. Over the next six months, the conference calendar really heats up: SIME MIA, WebCongress, TekFight , Startup City, Rokk Miami and others (see box) all lead up to eMerge May 4-6.

Despite the progress, building an ecosystem takes years. South Florida still needs a few big success stories to put it on the map and the rest will follow, many in the community say.

“We already have strong fundamentals. The region has produced great, talented individuals. We have an awesome geographic location relative to global travel needs, and we’re a city of multiple cultures,” said Juan Diego Calle, co-founder and CEO of .CO Internet, a fast-growing Miami company that markets the .co domain. “With a few big hits leading the way, the talent we produce in the region will decide that it’s OK to stay and build a company in South Florida. And hopefully the talent that already left will return.”

SafetyPay is Named One of Southeast’s Hottest Companies

Hotsoutheast

SafetyPay has been named one of the United States’ fastest growing companies, according to Lead411. Companies must be in either the Software, Wireless, Internet, or Media industry and be a privately held organization, and located within the districts/states of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgie, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, or Louisiana. In addition, they must have a 100% increase in revenues over the past 3 years, over $1M in funding in the past 2 years, or 2X traffic gains to their website in the past 12 months AND over 1 million unique visitors a month.

About SafetyPay

SafetyPay is a global, safe and secure e-payment solution that enables online banking customers to shop from merchants worldwide and pay directly through their online bank account in local currency. Customers are never required to disclose any personal financial information neither to the merchants nor to SafetyPay, and all payment transactions are done securely from within the bank’s online environment.

For more information, please visit www.safetypay.com

About Lead411
Lead411 provides information, news, and research about U.S. companies and their executives. Founded in 2001, its goal has been to focus on quality corporate data that is valid and useful rather than producing as many company records as possible. In addition, Lead411 tracks company news in order to alert its customers about venture financing, new hires, hiring plans, etc. Customers include Gartner, Administaff and ADP.

For more information or to view the complete article, please visit http://www.lead411.com/southeast-companies.html

SafetyPay – The Safe Internet Payment Solution Showcased at the World’s Largest E-Commerce Event

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SafetyPay has been selected to be featured at IRCE June 8-11, 2010. Known as the world’s largest e-commerce event, Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) showcases every key industry that specializes in e-retailing. This year’s conference will be held in Chicago, Illinois in a 170,000-square-foot Exhibition Hall. Over 6,000 attendees are expected to partake in this extravagent event, as well as 175 expert speaker and 407 exhibiting companies. IRCE displays the largest demonstration of e-commerce technology in the world.

SafetyPay – The Safe Internet Payment Solution at IRCE June 8-11, 2010. Please contact fruffa@safetypay.com to schedule a meeting. See you there!

 

Introduction to SafetyPay

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Welcome to the official blog of SafetyPay. SafetyPay is a Secure Payment Facilitator and Clearinghouse benefiting online shoppers, online merchants and banks. SafetyPay allows shoppers to pay in local currency through their own trusted financial institution without the need for a credit card. The consumer never needs to divulge personal financial information to retailers. SafetyPay works behind the scenes to clear and settle the payment through bank partners.

Outside the U.S., credit cards are not universally held. In most countries, card penetration and usage are in fact small. Many cards issued in foreign countries can only be used in the market where they are issued and are deemed useless for most online shopping. Among the base of potential card-holding shoppers, security concerns limit shopping. Few countries protect consumers with legally-imposed liability limits for credit cards, leaving cardholders exposed to misuse of their information. Transaction security is cited as primary concern and cause for not purchasing online. Even shoppers that overcome their uneasiness with card use are often kept from purchasing by fraud-filtering systems. Often only U.S. credit cards are allowed to limit fraud risk, leading merchants to restrict purchases with non-U.S. cards. Over 50% of the top 100 U.S. online retailers do not sell to customers with foreign cards. This blog is your source for SafetyPay updates, new merchants, online discounts, ways to increase business revenue, events, and more!