2021 Launch: Sokin is the first money transfer provider to offer unlimited fee-free international transfers in return for a monthly subscription fee.
In this Sokin review, we look through the pros and cons of using this innovative money transfer company for both sending international payments overseas and receiving money from abroad. We run through the important aspects of the service, including the unique, subscription-fee, business model of Sokin and the impact this has on the fees and exchange rates a customer achieves. Read our Sokin review and learn if it’s a good fit for your personal or business requirements.
Founded in 2019 but not launching until the summer of 2021, Sokin is the first money transfer company to offer unlimited fee-free international transfers at the real exchange rate in return for a fixed monthly subscription fee of £9.99. It’s very similar to the concept offered by Revolut through its most premium metal plan (charged at £12.99 per month) although that allows for only 3 free same-currency international money transfers and international transfers which require a currency exchange can still incur a small payment fee. Sokin’s £9.99 monthly fee is set to allow unlimited same-currency international transfers with no fees and unlimited cross-currency transfers with no fees (i.e. no payment fees and no FX markup).
Sokin was founded by Vroon Modgill. A first-generation immigrant himself, Vroon was more than aware of how hard and cumbersome money exchange can be. With many family members opting for well-known brands, the process was often expensive and time-consuming. Hence Sokin was founded with the ambition of creating an open and transparent payments platform with a seamless user experience.
Along with Vroom, Sokin has a senior leadership team with plenty of experience in payments and financial services. The Chief Strategy Officer, Vidura Seneviratne, was previously Head of BARX FX at Barclays and the Chief Commercial Officer, Kaushik Sthankiya, was a former Senior Director at Visa.
The firm’s football connection doesn’t end there, with Sokin launching as the official payments partner to Arsenal FC, Fulham FC, Everton FC & Monaco FC. You will already see Sokin’s logo at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, regularly ticking over the club’s advertising boards. It’s certainly a bold marketing launch which suggests Sokin has taken a leaf out of Wise’s book, who themselves marketed very aggressively in their early days.
The company is headquartered in London and is in the process of opening local offices in a further 9 countries where they also seek regulatory approval. The service in the UK & Europe is provided through Currency Cloud, a payment solutions juggernaut in the B2B space, that provides the payment technology to a number of money transfer companies, including Revolut and SpartanFX. Operating since 2007, Currency Cloud provides secure infrastructure and invaluable experience to what is a very new startup in Sokin.
Financial Conduct Authority (UK)
Central Bank of Netherlands (Europe)
Regulation pending with ASIC (Australia) & FINTRAC (Canada), in addition to licensing applications in Brazil, India, Mexico and Singapore.
Sokin appears to have put together a knowledgeable leadership team with specific experience in foreign exchange, digital payments and mobile currency wallets. Board members have previously held senior roles at major financial institutions including Barclays, Visa and Mastercard.
Its platform is powered by the technology of Currency Cloud who has been a market-leader in the B2B FX industry since 2007. On the one hand, we like the trusted technology Currency Cloud brings to this startup but on the flip side it’s worth pointing out that a lot of Sokin’s technology appears to be driven through external partnerships. Along with Currency Cloud, Sokin partners with Mastercard and plans to form many more partnerships in order to offer its services around the globe. Even though this is commonplace for tech startups of today, it’s worth bearing in mind that users are reliant on the tech of both Sokin and their technology partners. If something goes wrong, it’s not just down to the Sokin tech team to fix it. The quality of how well these tech integrations are managed will be important to Sokin’s future success.
Question marks have to be asked over the sustainability of the business model too. A £9.99 monthly fee could soon start to be dwarfed by rising costs if Sokin users are processing a number of payments a month. For example, when Revolut first launched it offered unlimited international payments at the interbank exchange rate for all users but it has had to levy more fees as the years have gone by and it is still yet to turn a profit. 2021 is the first year it is expected to do so. With it still not being clear exactly how much Revolut makes from foreign exchange (its diversification into crypto and stock trading seems to be more profitable) it suggests it could be a long road ahead to profitability for Sokin. This high-stakes approach from Sokin will require significant customer growth if it is to garner the sort of VC interest which has helped to prop-up and propel the likes of Revolut and Wise.
All in all, Sokin has a genuinely unique offering, it has assembled an experienced leadership team and implemented tech which has been tried and trusted in the sector for many years. At this stage, however, there’s no getting past the fact that Sokin is a completely brand new service, has a high-risk revenue model and lacks a track record which provides the kind of credibility which would speak for itself. By comparison, industry veteran Western Union has been operating since 1851. Now that’s not to say Western Union does things particularly well, the service is expensive and often slow, but their operational capabilities and international footprint is vast. It gives an idea of the sort of competition Sokin is to encounter.
Early signs are encouraging but the number of Sokin reviews is just too limited at this stage to get any real feel for the quality of service it is offering users. As it stands, there are just 13 Sokin reviews on the Google Play Store, reviewing the firm 4.5 / 5. And there are just 5 Sokin reviews on the App Store, netting the firm a 4.2 / 5 rating.
There were no comments whatsoever left by reviewers for Sokin on the App Store, whilst there were only a handful of users who left a comment on the Google Play Store, providing a very rough indication of what’s been good and bad about the service so far.
Two of the comments left were negative and related to the same theme:
Not enough space to input the phone number for registration.
Given there are only 18 reviews left for Sokin Money Transfer so far, we can gather little insight into the money transfer provider from its existing users for now. Of the reviewers who left a comment, more were negative than positive but this is not reflective of Sokin’s early review scores of 4.5 / 5 on the Google Play Store and 4.2 / 5 on the Apple App Store. It looks as if both users who left a negative comment for the phone number section being too short were based in Africa where Sokin does not currently offer its services. It makes sense that Sokin would limit the input here for UK & European numbers where the service is only currently available.
Given the recent launch of the product and total absence of client reviews, it’s too early to rate Sokin with a client review score at this stage. We will monitor Sokin reviews throughout the rest of 2021 and beyond, in order to identify early trends as to the pros and cons of using Sokin money transfer.
There are a choice of two accounts with Sokin, basic (free) and premium (£9.99 / €9.99):
Sokin Basic (Free)
Sokin Premium (£9.99 / €9.99)
Free when receiving money
Free virtual wallet
Free IBAN Account
Free virtual payment card
Free when receiving money
Free virtual wallet
Free IBAN Account
Free virtual payment card
86% recycled Sokin debit card
Send money to 200+ countries
Exchange 38+ currencies
Priority customer support
Multiple payment methods
No limit on withdrawals to external bank account
Free users have no payment functionality when it comes to international transfers. They are permitted to generate ‘virtual payment cards’ i.e. card details which can be used for online purchases but these cannot be used physically in retail outlets.
Sokin premium users get access to a wide range of payment functionality, all with no cost (except the monthly fee).
Sokin vs Revolut Fees – Payment Comparison
Basic Plan (Free)
0.3% of transfer, capped at maximum £5
Interbank rate up to to £1,000 traded – over this limit, currency traded is charged at 0.5%
£7.99 fee (no mention of currency exchange fee on basic plan)
Premium Sokin Plan (£9.99) / Metal Revolut Plan (£12.99)*
3 free transfers, thereafter 0.3% of transfer, capped at maximum £5
Unlimited exchange at interbank rate, though payment fee may apply
Unlimited fee-free same-currency international transfers
Unlimited exchange at interbank rate** with no payment fees
*Revolut also offers a ‘premium’ plan which sits between its ‘basic’ and ‘metal’ plan but for comparison purposes we are comparing Revolut’s most expensive plan with Sokin’s most expensive plan.
**The interbank rate is the exchange rate that banks trade currency with one another. It’s likely both Revolut and Sokin receive an exchange rate which is slightly worse than the interbank rate from their banking partners but the idea is they implement no FX markup on the rate they achieve themselves.
Sokin Exchange Rates:
When users opt for the premium plan with Sokin they get the interbank exchange rate (or as explained above a rate which is very close to the interbank rate with no FX mark-up by Sokin). It’s not clear what exchange rate is applied for users on the basic Sokin plan.
No limits specified for international transfers, though card payments have limits of the following:
Max Single Spend
Max Annual Spend
Max Number POS Transactions
Max Value POS
Max Value POS
Max Number ATM Transactions
Max Value ATM
Max Value ATM
By providing money transfers, digital bank accounts and a debit card, Sokin’s solution is most similar to that of Revolut & Wise. Wise prices itself differently as it charges no monthly fees but rather a transparent payment fee which is usually around 0.5% of the transfer. Revolut has the most similar pricing to Sokin, in that it offers both a basic free account and a premium pay-monthly account. If Sokin is able to honour its pricing schedule then it will prove even cheaper than both Revolut and Wise, especially for users who have frequent transfer requirements. The idea of unlimited transfers at the real exchange rate, with no payment fees, is simply unheard of.
The question mark is how sustainable this pricing model is. As just one example, we’ve seen virtually all digital banks (including Revolut) having to bring in ATM fees given the high costs they incur from international banks themselves. As it stands, Sokin charges absolutely zero ATM fees for its premium users. If premium users are drawing cash out frequently overseas, it will certainly prove costly to Sokin.
Accepts clients: UK and Europe (licenses pending in many more territories)
Currencies Handled: 38
Client reviews: N/A
The Sokin payment card can be used anywhere in the world that accepts Mastercard – literally millions of merchants across hundreds of countries.
International payments, powered by Currency Cloud, can be made in 38 currencies to over 200 countries.
Sokin is currently available to individuals and businesses in the UK & Europe, though it has ambitious plans to launch in a number of other markets around the world, including some which are notoriously difficult to attain licencing, such as Brazil. A complete list of countries Sokin is aiming to launch is as follows:
By launching in the UK & Europe, Sokin is having to adhere to some of the most stringent regulatory requirements across the globe, so it sets a good precedent for its licensing applications in other countries. Local state approval in each US state is surely going to be cumbersome and will require significant time-investment from a compliance perspective. Perhaps Sokin will look to target other markets before it fully launches in the US. Based on interviews with CEO Vroon Modgill, Asia seems to be a prime focus for Sokin with the belief that transfers to/from this region are just too cumbersome as things stand.
The service is currently only available in English and there are no dedicated currency dealers assisting clients, but this makes perfect sense considering the digital focus of the company. Whether clients are trading vast sums or smaller remittance flows, it makes no difference to Sokin – every user should get the same slick digital experience in return for a fixed monthly fee.
A completely app-based solution for personal customers, with business customers also able to register online.
Users can make payments and manage their digital bank accounts all through the Sokin app. Given Sokin’s very recent launch, it has minimal reviews as yet but early signs are encouraging. A 4.2 / 5 rating on the App store and 4.5 / 5 on Google Play, though cumulatively, only 18 reviews across both platforms.
Digital Bank Accounts
Users can generate IBANs in a number of currencies and receive international payments from all over the world. Hold balances, convert currency between accounts and make withdrawals to your domestic bank. Easy to manage through the Sokin app.
Sokin Payment Card
The Sokin payment card is made from over 86% recycled PVC. Powered by Mastercard, users can spend from their Sokin digital account balances wherever Mastercard is accepted around the world.
Sokin Money Transfer Review
Sokin Review: Grand Summary
Sokin Money Transfer is a unique money transfer offering. In return for a £9.99 fixed monthly fee, users can access the interbank exchange rate and fee-free international transfers. In fact, we think the pricing sounds almost a little too good to be true and it remains to be seen if Sokin will be able to continue to honour the fee structure as the firm grows and investors eventually seek a return on investment.
The partnership with Currency Cloud provides reassurance to us that Sokin has reliable payment infrastructure and with board members who used to run the digital FX trading platform at Barclays (Barx FX) it suggests the senior leadership team has the required know-how to drive an international payment business forward. As well as understanding the different risk factors a foreign exchange business faces. With that being said, Sokin is still completely in its infancy and the company is certainly lacking the sort of customer reviews we like to see before making a firm recommendation. Individuals who have frequent money transfer requirements and are prepared to give a new concept a go, will be attracted to Sokin.
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