With every trip abroad there is an unknown fear of being stranded with no help in sight. What if you get mugged, or if your cash reserves are exhausted? With no native currency and no one to call, things might take an ugly turn. Foreign exchange is one such business that makes for a very crucial part of everyone's checklist once they leave the country.
BuyForexOnline helps people buy foreign exchange online. A veteran in the business of currency exchange, Founder Ananth Reddy started his career in the forex industry in 1995. Since his childhood, Ananth has been a coin collector. It’s his passion that has played the most important part in his career. On how he got into the forex business, Ananth says,
"My entry into forex was quite by accident. I was pursuing my Chartered Accountancy in 1995 when I came across a packed Thomas Cook office while casually strolling down a high-street in Bangalore. I was quite intrigued to see this very crowded shop where people were willing to stand in long queues in the heat. They were being served by staff 'seated' behind glass in air-conditioned comfort. I tried to understand what this magical product could be?
“After further study, I decided to take a plunge and fulfilled all requirements for a forex license and opened a shop just next door. I had comfortable seating for my customers, provided water and a simple smile when serving them. The response was immediate and dramatic! I just could not handle the rush from day one. My very first transaction netted me a profit many times greater than my average monthly salary. I thought to myself that this was the way to go, and have been in this industry since."
Getting started into any business related to money and trading has its own challenges, be it government regulations or customer requirements. Sticking to his values by keeping his customers first is what gave him an edge over his competitors. Most of the time, people lock on a forex rate, but by the time actual transactions happen the rates change and people are forced to pay different rates than the ones they had selected earlier. However, this is fixed under the online set up, where the team locks up a rate ensuring no one has to worry about paying higher due to rate fluctuations or hidden charges.
Ananth claims he was responsible for bringing down forex rates in Bangalore, because of his online model and customer service. Often, Ananth would open office even on Sundays to help clients. He says, "My endeavour in this venture is to provide the highest levels of customer support. Any escalations in forex are critical, as the client could be stranded abroad. To this day, I cannot understand why traditional forex players and banks do not understand this simple fact. No one takes responsibility, and everyone is closed 'after office hours'."
There is an interesting story behind their catchy and intuitive domain name, too. Most domain names with the word ‘forex’ were already taken by foreign currency traders, an entirely different field of investment. But the domain name 'Buyforexonline.com' was available, so they immediately bought it. This turned out to be a crucial point as the phrase was easy to remember and, perhaps, the most searched forex query.
Buyforexonline.com functions simply. While travelling, a user is offered a prepaid forex card that can be used at most of the ATMs around the world. It helps save the 9-11 per cent transaction fee levied on debit and credit cards. The user is separately given an additional card that can be used in case the original card is lost. Users can also refill the currency in the card when out of cash.
At present, the company has partnered with MakeMyTrip to provide forex services to foreign travellers. They claim to make 1,000 transactions per month with an average ticket size of INR 75,000. Most of their revenue comes through the mark up they charge on the prevailing bank rates.
Talking about the future, Ananth says the team is focussed on growth and looking to expand into other countries. It’s interesting to see such businesses entering online space and digitising transactions and paperwork. However, this field is still ripe for takers and the market is huge enough for us to start seeing more startups taking this route.