Google Pay dips toe in cross-border market with Western Union, Wise
Google Pay has signed a cross-border payments partnership with Western Union and Wise, allowing users to send money peer-to-peer (P2P).
The new service is set to activate in the US, India, and Singapore, and will utilise Western Union’s network of bank accounts.
Transactions are funded through the user’s Google Pay bank account or registered card. By the end of 2021, the Cupertino-based firm plans to enable payments across more than 200 countries.
“Cross-border payments are not just a lifeline for loved ones; they form the financial backbone for many economies,” says Josh Woodward, director of product management at Google Pay.
“For many people with families abroad, sending money home is something they do as frequently as every month.
“We are providing a way for Google Pay users to send money quickly, safely and reliably from the Google Pay app.”
Remittances on the rise
The remittances industry is one with both increasing importance and growth. World Bank data estimates the sector as worth $508 billion in 2020.
Firms in the remittances sector have battled over customer acquisition through promising smaller and smaller transaction fees. Those sending money home face with charges of 5% or more.
These charges can be lucrative sources of income for firms facilitating the transfers. 80% of Western Union’s total company revenue for Q4 2019 derived from customer-to-customer payments.
Google Pay claims a user base of more than 150 million people across 40 countries. Including India in its first launch phase demonstrates the growth Google is experiencing in the country.
“This collaboration demonstrates the demand and accelerated need for our advanced payment capabilities,” says Western Union’s president of product and platform, Shelly Swanback.
The deal is a marque one for Wise, which has increasingly turned to offering its services in an “as-a-service” model.
Part of that switch saw it drop its previous moniker, Transferwise, so as to underline its transition from moving money. It has signed a handful of clients using this new pivot, including financial institutions Group BPCE, Monzo, N26, and core banking vendor ThoughtMachine.