WorldRemit is partnering with Alipay to reduce friction in cross-border payment transactions. The integration allows WorldRemit customers to send money to Chinese recipients by connecting with their Alipay accounts. The service has been available since January.
Since Alipay is one of the most commonly used mobile wallets in China, integration with WorldRemit is meant to facilitate money movements while Chinese citizens and residents make payment transactions at home or abroad.
Alix Murphy, vice president of global expansion at WorldRemit, said the initiative is a way for the company to tap into a growing market for remittances from a country that has a large population and strong international links.
“There is a lot of the Chinese diaspora abroad, and for individuals who want to send money back to China, current channels are challenging,” Murphy said. “We see ourselves in this partnership opening up a specific new way of getting money back home quickly.”
The WorldRemit and Alipay partnership builds on a new use case for mobile payment wallets typically used to pay for goods online or at physical checkouts. Since 2014, the WorldRemit platform has been integrated with mobile wallet M-Pesa, which operates in several African countries. Murphy said the company is open to further mobile wallet integrations, both in China and farther afield.
Meanwhile, Alipay is seeing greater adoption outside China as international retailers add it as a payment option. In recent years, for example, U.S.–based merchants, including Guess, Rebecca Minkoff and Fendi, have onboarded Alipay in hopes of attracting business from Chinese tourists and migrants.
“We see there being a high demand for a swift way of sending money, but also really enabling that journey through the mobile phone,” WorldRemit’s Murphy said. “Why not use what people have already?”
As remittance startups like WorldRemit compete against incumbent money–transfer providers with lower fees and digital interfaces, carving out a unique offering will be an ongoing challenge.
As the digital money-transfer industry moves toward one with the characteristics of a commodity market, “players are having to find new ways to differentiate themselves,” wrote fintech consultant Mauro Romaldini.
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