If consumers are going to accept mobile payments as a viable way of handling their funds, developers and processors need to remove every speed bump imaginable that could turn a smooth experience into a less-than-positive one. Fortunately, Western Union is getting ahead of the game.
Western Union announced Tuesday (Nov. 17) that it had partnered with WeChat, Tencent’s popular messaging app, to allow cross-border payments for U.S. users to more than 200 countries and territories through the WU Connect service. Hikmet Ersek, CEO at Western Union, explained that access to WeChat’s extensive network of users will allow peer-to-peer payments to travel farther and faster than ever before.
“Western Union’s omnichannel strategy is combining our digital presence with our distribution network that pays out in over 200 countries and territories,” Ersek said in a statement. “Given the proliferation of social media around the world, we are expanding our activities in this exciting area. It only makes sense to include the WeChat platform as part of the company’s innovative digital money transfer capabilities. By teaming with WeChat and deploying the WU Connect platform to its U.S. users, Western Union is offering yet another new method for consumers to move money worldwide.”
As Quartz explained, Western Union and WeChat’s move comes after several other Internet giants have thrown their hats into the global remittance business ring. Not only have Snapchat and Square announced their own “Snapcash” partnership, but Facebook also added a P2P funds-sharing feature in its Messenger app in early 2015. However, with WeChat bringing more than 600 million active users to the table, Western Union may finally have found the platform it’s been looking for to update its long tradition as a leading P2P payments transmitter for the digital age.
While WU Connect will be made available to U.S. users for now, Ersek mentioned plans to bring the service to more countries in the near future.