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Startup helps families send money back to their home country

How has technology changed our ability to send cash to loved ones abroad? One financial tech startup in New York is hoping to change how immigrant families support one another. Stephen Fee reports.

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  • STEPHEN FEE:

    For 34-year-old entrepreneur Eddie De La Cruz, starting his financial tech company in the Bronx was a no-brainer.

  • EDDIE DE LA CRUZ:

    This is where I come from. It gives me an opportunity to kind of reinvest in the very same community that I partook when I first came to this country.

    De La Cruz emigrated from the Dominican Republic at age nine. After high school, he worked as an airplane mechanic at JFK airport.

  • EDDIE DE LA CRUZ:

    And throughout that time I was sending money back home in some way shape or form.

  • STEPHEN FEE:

    How much usually?

  • EDDIE DE LA CRUZ:

    It really varies, anywhere from 200, 300 dollars.

  • STEPHEN FEE:

    In 2012, the Pew Research Center says immigrants in the US sent over $120 billion dollars abroad.

    But instead of sending cash, De La Cruz' startup Regalii — a play on the Spanish word for gift — allows immigrants to directly pay bills for family and friends back home.

  • EDDIE DE LA CRUZ:

    Instead of sending cash and having your grandmother, your aunt on the other side having to go pick up the money and having to go somewhere else to pay her electricity, her gas, her water, we enable immigrants here to control their families' finances there.

    Traditionally money transfer operators wire cash from one storefront, like this one in the Bronx, to a storefront in, say, the Dominican Republic.

    Regalii uses that same network but eliminates the storefront on the recipients' end, keeping fees lower. And Regalii's customers can pay bills online or using their smartphones.

  • EDDIE DE LA CRUZ:

    The act of sending money it's not a transactional act as much as an act of really kindness and support, right.

    De La Cruz hopes his model — for now only available in Latin America — could go global.

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