Published by the Guardian
When an 18-year-old Marta Krupinska was told by her bank and Western Union that they would charge her between €300 to €400 (£255 – £340) to send the €3,000 (£2,560) she had managed to save from waitressing in Ireland back to her mother in Poland, she was appalled.
“It was cheaper to get a plane ticket and stuff my pockets with cash,” she says. And, after asking her bulkiest friend to pick her up from the airport and protect her with all the cash she was carrying, that’s exactly what she did.
Several years later, she co-founded a fintech company called Azimo, a digital money transfer service for Europe’s migrants to send money anywhere in the world at much lower rates than the incumbents. For Krupinska, that’s what fintech is all about: using tech to solve a particular problem caused by the injustices of the finance sector.
But despite the hype around fintech’s ability to disrupt banking – making it more transparent, democratised and accessible – in terms of gender balance the industry largely mirrors its parent sectors, finance and technology.
“The number of times I’ve been asked if I’m somebody’s wife or somebody’s secretary, I unfortunately can’t count on one hand,” says Krupinska, one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 for finance in Europe. “I’d probably need at least three hands.”