Sunday , April 5, 2020

Eye on Cross-Border Payments: WorldRemit’s Alipay Deal, and Visa Sells an Earthport Unit

Cross-border payments specialist WorldRemit Corp. says a partnership with Alipay, a major Chinese mobile-payment service, will enable consumers to make international remittances to the Alipay mobile app.

Announced Wednesday, the service harbors significant potential. Approximately 35 million Chinese citizens live abroad, and they sent home an estimated $67 billion in 2018, according to the World Bank.

Consumers can use the WorldRemit app or Web site to send money. Alipay, a service of Ant Financial Group, has been expanding its use outside of China by adding U.S. and Canadian merchants, in particular, to its network.

The mobile-first approach will help digitize what typically is an “offline” approach, Denver-based WorldRemit says. That involves the consumer taking money to an agent location and sending the funds.

“The unique mobile-to-mobile payment experience that this partnership delivers allows us to provide a convenient money-transfer service to Alipay customers,” Ma Zhiguo, Alipay head of global remittances, said in a statement.

International money-transfer service to the Alipay app is now available from over 40 countries.

In related news, Visa Inc. sold the corporate foreign-exchange unit of its Earthport cross-border payments subsidiary to Foreign Currency Direct plc, a foreign-exchange services provider and portfolio company of London-based asset-management firm Pollen Street Capital. Visa acquired Earthport last May for $320.4 million after a bidding war with Mastercard Inc.

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