By Gavan Smythe, Managing Director, iCompareFX
- Please describe your company and explain what problems it solves
iCompareFX is a global review and comparison service for the leading money transfer providers market. We cut through the confusion and guide individuals and businesses to make the right decision when partnering with a money transfer company.
The site is formatted in an easy table layout, comparing leaders in the field and providing consumers with the best options for them. This saves time and money, especially as competitors can have similar profiles or don’t necessarily operate in the required country.
How is it unique?
iCompareFX does not use inaccurate or out of date pricing. Instead, the best supported money transfer companies are displayed for each currency corridor. Supported currency specialists are sorted for individuals sending small, medium and large transfer amounts. Uniquely, the companies best suited for business partnerships are also displayed.
We’ve created a unique 36 data point scoring system to ensure the best money transfer companies are reviewed and rated objectively. This ensures there is no bias towards iCompareFX partners and our collective values of transparency, customer focus and quality are maintained.
How did you come up with the concept? What was your mission at the outset?
As founder and current managing director of the company, I started iCompareFX in 2014 after discovering the easiest way to wire money internationally was through a specialist provider and not the big banks.
I discovered that finding the right money transfer company was complicated or there was often a lack of trust. Feeling increasingly frustrated by the fees, length of time and bureaucracy of transferring money, I knew there had to be a better way.
From here, I saw a gap in the market. The company set out to inform and educate consumers so they can make better decisions as individuals and businesses alike. The consumer deserves transparency about the cheapest and fastest way to send their hard-earned money.
What made you choose this type of business?
Firstly, with my previous work experience crossing between the finance and IT industries over the last two decades, iCompareFX is a natural fit for the wealth of knowledge and experience I have built in combining my two passions.
Secondly, for most of my adult life, I have existed as an expat – this is the reason iCompareFX exists today.
How does it generate income?
Revenue is generated through lead generation for the currency exchange and transfer specialists. This comes at no cost to the customer.
However, to remain fully transparent and a comprehensive one-stop shop for consumers, not all companies reviewed and compared are iCompareFX partners.
What is your main/typical customer base?
The main audience we hope to help is small to medium businesses managing exchange risk with global offices and international suppliers.
Regarding individual customers, these are expats, overseas retirees and international students, with our key geographic markets existing in North America, Europe and Australasia.
What was the last big achievement that was celebrated?
The launch of the new iCompareFX website this year. The previous site had organically grown but felt and looked more like a blog.
The new site not only has been technically improved from an SEO and speed perspective but also has a better look and feel, elevating the user experience.
We also have a new 36 data point, scoring section across 6 key themes, which helps customers navigate what matters most to them, saving time and money.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face setting up and running your own business?
Balancing my old corporate life and investing more time into iCompareFX, all while starting a family and juggling the responsibilities of parenthood has proved a challenge. Having my fiancée join me in the business has helped, as it assisted in our focus and drive and removed the loneliness that can come with being an entrepreneur.
In terms of the business itself, ensuring we are keeping abreast of all the changes in the FX industry and its providers is essential for guaranteeing our information is up to date and accurate.
What has been your biggest challenge over the last year and how did you overcome it?
Aside from balancing major worldwide changes like COVID-19 that led to my family getting stuck in Bali during the global pandemic, it has been the major learnings of rebuilding a website from scratch.
Having a truly global team of designers, developers and agencies around the world can have its difficulties too!
What are your goals for 2021?
Continuing to fine-tune the website experience. There are always areas to improve and tweaks to be made, so our customers get the best possible experience.
Any tips for those with a new business idea and how to make it a success?
Prepare for a roller coaster. There are highs and lows but at the end of the day, stay true to your vision and values.
Identifying your repeatable processes and removing or automating where possible will be a valuable time-saver, allowing you to focus on organization, planning and execution.
Don’t be afraid to learn every day. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Fail fast. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
What are your outside interests?
Travel – although not much use in 2020! Having lived in five countries and traveling extensively through life, I use FX services to send money globally and for the boring tax returns and mortgages.
Being the nerd I am, I dabble in the language of an IT professional. My IT background assists in driving the latest technology and best user experiences for the iCompareFX site.
Aside from the vernacular of IT, I enjoy learning new languages and am currently learning Bahasa.
Finally, Guinness of course, I’m Irish! You can’t quite get a good Guinness in Bali.
Do you have a favourite “Life Lesson Quote” and why?
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
I want to look back on my life and be proud of what I have achieved not for anyone but myself.