Cruising for payments: Brightwell grows unique market niche

In a minimalistic design, a white cruise ship with the Brightwell logo sails across a blue sea and sky. This is representative of Brightwell's global payroll solution, Navigator, that serves the maritime industry so cruise workers can receive payments in their local currency.A person holding a tablet with icons on it.

Atlanta fintech company Brightwell Payments is growing substantial business in a unique market by helping underserved global workers get paid as well as send and spend money safely and easily worldwide.

Brightwell and NCR announced the two companies will collaborate to provide financial services including cross-border remittance, P2P transfers, digital bank accounts and ATM access for several of Brightwell’s largest cruise line clients.

Brightwell’s mobile-first platform and suite of financial tools simplify personal finances and provide safe, secure, useful features built just for workers employed away from home for extended periods of time on cruise ships, construction sites, and other employment around the world.

Global workers a unique financial market

“This is a group of people who are largely underserved by the global fintech community. There are 164 million migrant workers in the world today, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), and many of them leave home in search of income – not by choice, but by necessity. An estimated 800 million people worldwide are directly supported by remittances, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), from loved ones abroad,” explained Julian Thairo, director of ATM operations for Brightwell.

Thairo cited the Philippines as an example where many residents are global workers who rely on remittances as a vital part of its economy. Facing a lack of sustained economic development, political instability, a growing population with double-digit unemployment levels and low wages, 2.3 million Filipinos, work abroad.

Migrant Filipino workers send back $31 billion to their country each year, which accounts for approximately 10% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product where the government requires that 80% of every Filipino worker’s base salary flow back into the country.

Brightwell’s platform allows for enhanced safety and security onboard by taking cash out of the equation on board the cruise ships. End users can use their Brightwell Card at an ATM to view their balance in real-time or withdraw cash as needed. Workers also get a reduced fee by using Brightwell services.

Financial safety and unique services

With the removal of cash, theft and potential loss are greatly reduced. Workers don’t have to stow their cash in unsecured locations or in shared cabin environments and can rest easy knowing their hard-earned pay is safe, secure, and available when they need it onboard or in port.

Brightwell is also working with NCR to offer additional features such as NFC enabled ATM’s that will allow clients to get cash by tapping their phone on an ATM as long as their card is connected to Google Pay or Apple Pay.

“We are passionate about improving the lives of global workers by giving them a safe and easy way to manage, save and send money while working away from home — a level of financial freedom that was previously unobtainable,” Thairo said.

How the Brightwell service helps workers

Several testimonies highlight the features and usefulness of the service for Carnival Corp (CCL) cruise line crew and workers who are often far from home for extended periods of time.

“For me Brightwell is helpful app. So it was perfect app you must have on your phone.”
- Jeskial, Carnival Cruise Lines, Asst. Electrician from Indonesia
“Since I started using brightwell I felt easy to check and to transfer money, before I had to use JP Morgan it was lil difficult for is to use it ,cuz we live in a place where network are low.”
- Safiq, Carnival Cruise Lines, Team Waiter from India
I knew I could have a better lifestyle for myself and my family by working on a cruise ship. I am taking care of my parents back in Bogotá, so being able to save and transfer money is very important to me.
- Miguel, Carnival Cruise Lines, from Colombia

These kinds of testimonials are hard earned and are an example of technology having a direct impact on people’s lives.

Brightwell now serves more than 200,000 crew members from over 140 different countries and on more than 200 ships around the globe.

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