The Key to Payments in China? Transparency, Geoswift Says

EXCLUSIVE—Moving money in and out of China can be a struggle even for Chinese companies, as the country’s financial regulations continue to take a closer look at money movement. For companies based outside of China, the secret to successful market entry is transparency.

“Within China, it’s a highly regulated, highly complex system surrounding payments,” Dana Nino, executive vice president, U.S., for Geoswift, told Bank Innovation. “What we’ve found is that there are a lot of roadblocks that come into play when [U.S. companies] try to have a direct connection WITH Chinese companies.”

Hong Kong-based Geoswift helps to facilitate payments in and out of China for clients such as Western Union, and currently works with 16 Chinese PSPs to do so. The company also has partnerships with Alipay, UnionPay, WeChat Pay, and TenPay. The company also has offices in London and San Francisco, among others, in addition to its main office in Hong Kong.

Companies attempting to launch payments to and from the Chinese market via a direct partnership or integration with a Chinese PSP could find themselves ousted if there is a problem with that provider, said Nino.

Additionally, these companies may not be able to complete the integration due to the difficulty of Chinese compliance requirements.

“Geoswift clients, ecommerce merchants, global banks, etc. want a level of transparency that is difficult to achieve without working with an intermediary partner that understand the needs of the global client, and that will work closely with the China partners to provide all of the detail the global client requires for their vetting processes,” said Nino.

Most of Geoswift’s clients are global, according to Nino, and eyeing payments in China closely, meaning the intermediary service has to “stay ahead of the market.” These days, that mostly means watching P2P.

“Part of the value we offer to our global clients is helping them with product needs for China market,” said Nino. “One key demand we have been hearing about this year is person to person payments and have been working with several partners in China on a possible solution, which we hope to have available in 2018.”