Popular eCommerce Homemakase shares tips on avoiding international bank transfer fees
Kelvin Kan and Ronald Fung came together with two fellow Japanese food lovers to start Homemakase as a passion project in August 2020 when the four friends struggled to find high-quality ingredients at the height of Covid. The two co-founders decided to roll up their sleeves and source fresh seafood from Toyosu, Tokyo’s renowned wholesale fish market, to fill this gap in the market. Today, Homemakase has grown into an up-and-coming eCommerce start-up in Hong Kong that offers curated seafood set menus to fellow epicureans seeking to recreate the intimate omakase experience at home.
Saving up to 90% in transaction fees for overseas supplier payments
Working closely with Japanese suppliers to source quality ingredients to Hong Kong, Kelvin and Ronald often have to make international payments during the day-to-day of their business. Prior to using Airwallex, the co-founders relied on wire transfer services offered by traditional banks, which tend to charge a one-time international transaction fee and come with poor exchange rates that eat into their profit margins.
Airwallex enables the growing eCommerce platform to pay their Japanese suppliers directly through local payment routes, eliminating any international transaction fees and allowing them to make faster same-day payments. This drastically streamlined Homemakase’s payment processes as they no longer have to go through banks to make SWIFT payments to their suppliers, which takes around one week to go through and carries a SWIFT fee.
Not only is Homemakase saving on international transaction fees with Airwallex, they are able to enjoy market-beating FX rates when making payments in Japanese yen.
“After using Airwallex, we are firstly impressed by their extremely competitive exchange rates, which can help us save money. Secondly, they help us save on the international transaction fee as they transfer the funds directly to our Japanese suppliers through the local route and our suppliers can receive the payment almost immediately. Compared to traditional banks, Airwallex has helped us save more than 90% in TT and FX charges,” says Kelvin.
Supercharging expense management with instant Visa card application
Aside from aiding Homemakase on their payment front, Airwallex helps to declutter their expense management. Previously, different staff members had to use their personal cards to carry out various company payments, such as online marketing expenses and subscription fees. They then file for expense claims to get reimbursed at the end of each month. Now with Airwallex, each co-founder can issue free virtual Visa cards online and use them immediately, allowing them to directly settle bills in foreign currency with no international transaction fees.
Streamlining international wholesale expansion strategy with an all-in-one global account
When asked about the future of Homemakase, Kelvin shared their goals to develop a wholesale vertical that supplies products to businesses within and outside of Hong Kong. With plans of international expansion, Homemakase will need to find an efficient and reliable way of collecting payments internationally.
Airwallex offers multi-currency accounts to global-minded businesses, allowing them to collect payments from customers in their preferred currency. With the global account, Homemakase can collect payments swiftly from customers around the world with no TT fees for major currencies, while restaurants and retailers can pay Homemakase through local routes. This unlocks a fast, convenient and cost-saving solution for both Homemakase and their customers.
Related article: How SleekFlow saves 99% in bank fees on its international transfers
10 key business metrics every startup founder needs to know
How to calculate burn rate (the right way!)