MoneyGram makes another move into South Korea
MoneyGram has integrated with South Korean money transfer service, Global Money Express (GME). It marks MoneyGram’s third South Korean fintech partnership in the last year.
MoneyGram’s South Korean footprint to date
In May, the cross-border payments firm partnered with remittance service E9Pay, and in June 2019 it partnered with Sentbe.
Alongside these fintech partnerships, MoneyGram is also building partnerships with various South Korean Banks.
So far, these include the country’s fifth largest bank – Woori Bank, as well as Shinhan Bank, Korea Post and Kyongnam Bank.
The remittance firm wants to land a “leading” position in South Korea’s peer-to-peer (P2P) payments and remittance market.
It estimates the market’s annual remittance outflows to be around $13.4 billion, citing World Bank data.
MoneyGram’s most recent partnership with GME will help consumers send money more easily from South Korea to China and South Asia.
GME customers will connect to MoneyGram’s platform, which has a distribution network in more than 200 countries and territories.
GME serves 200,000 foreign workers living and working in South Korea, and in 2019, it processed around $332.4 million in remittances.
“Partnering with leading fintech companies is a critical component of our strategy to accelerate digital growth,” says MoneyGram’s chief operating officer, Kamila Chytil.
E9Pay and Sentbe
E9Pay has a much larger 2.4 million customers. As of March, it delivered remittance payments between 126 countries, including Nepal, Vietnam, the Philippines, and China.
Sentbe’s customer numbers are not available. But in March, co-founder J Young Lee, said the fintech had saved customers roughly $25 million in transaction fees to date.
Other players in South Korea
MoneyGram is not alone in its partner-making across South Korea.
South Korean remittance service Hanpass signed an agreement to move funds globally through MoneyGram rival Western Union in October 2019.
Sentbe also partnered with US-founded remittance network Ripple – a MoneyGram partner – in March this year.
In 2018, international payment platform Currencycloud marked its Asia growth in a partnership with South Korea’s Hyundai Card.
Western Union bid
Earlier this month, reports from Bloomberg emerged that Western Union was eyeing up rival MoneyGram as a potential acquisition candidate.
Western Union has reportedly made a takeover offer for MoneyGram, but no decision has been made.
At the end of the first quarter of 2020, MoneyGram’s total revenues were down roughly 7-8%.
The firm still relies heavily on physical channels – many of which are currently shut due to various countries’ continued lockdown measures.
But in May, MoneyGram claimed its digital transactions were enjoying 100% year-over-year growth.