Not only is banking not for everyone, accounts are inaccessible to about half of the world. People are too poor, live too far from a bank or don’t have the required documentation. Abra, a new startup, makes banking more accessible while completely cutting out the actual bank.
With Abra, all of your banking lives on your phone. You can withdraw funds, deposit cash and send money using the app. There are no ATMs and no bank branches. (The service is different from recent innovations like Simple, Venmo, PayPal and Chase Pay because those all require bank accounts.)
The idea is that all banking should be as easy as sending a text message.
“In a hyper-connected world, it is astounding to me that you can’t pick up the phone and instantly send money to any other phone number in the world,” said Abra founder Bill Barhydt, a former software engineer for Goldman Sachs based in San Francisco.