India Grabs Headlines; Ripple Makes Waves In X-Border Efforts                             

India gains some traction with SWIFT’s gpi service and cross-border payments, while even despite crypto’s freefall, Ripple eyes that country — and China, too — for transactions across borders.

Visibility in payments is key, especially in far-flung transactions, across borders and across banks.

To that end, DBS India this week became the latest financial firm to embrace SWIFT’s global payments innovation service, which is known as gpi for short.  The service, as has been noted in this space, helps corporations track cross-border payments in real time. That feature is being rolled out for the bank’s corporate customers at no added cost.

The movement to bring the offering to DBS clients in India comes after the bank had already given that capability to customers in Singapore and Hong Kong. This week, executives at the bank have likened the gpi to India’s mobile-powered Unified Payment Interface system, which lets consumers exchange funds via mediums including text messages and emails.

Per a statement, the bank has noted that its corporate customers do not have to check in with call centers to find the status of cross-border transactions. Rather, that status can be gleaned from data accessed through an online portal. Data spans payment status and foreign exchange fees, among other items.

Beyond SWIFT headlines, but still focused on India, Remitly, the digital remittance company, said this week that it has debuted an update to its money transfer service that serves that country. The company stated that it has boosted the daily limit that can be sent to India from the United States to $30,000.

In a statement, Matt Oppenheimer, CEO of Remitly, said that “The remittance industry is undergoing a rapid digital transformation, and India is the top receiver of remittances in the world, receiving over $69 billion in remittances in 2017, higher than any other country.”

Moving Toward Blockchain

Moving beyond the confines of a single country or corridor of payments flow and infrastructure, Flow, which operates in the cross-border space, said this week that it is expanding its international payment options tied to cryptocurrency payment processing. The expansion through BitPay allows firms to get fiat settlement directly into bank accounts.

“As a push transaction,” Flow said in its statement, “users send the exact amount of bitcoin or bitcoin cash needed to pay the bill.”

And blockchain as cross-border payment enabler grabbed some more headlines on Wednesday, when Ripple stated that it has the Chinese market in its sights. The affirmation came as Jeremy Light, who serves as vice president of European Union strategic accounts with Ripple, stated that China is “definitely a country and region of interest,” as noted in a phone interview with CNBC.

The site had noted on Wednesday that coming into that market may not rest with XRP, which is Ripple’s cryptocurrency. The focus on blockchain would come as the Chinese government has been curbing the efforts of firms to bring new tokens to the country, with an outright ban on initial coin offerings.

Movement into China, for Ripple, would come two months after Banco Santander linked with the company to offer the first mobile cross-border payments service. Known as Santander One Pay FX, the service lets users process payments within seconds, along with same-day settlement. In the past, the firms have said that the mobile-first user interface and blockchain infrastructure can tie together all costs of sending and settling payments, from bank fees to foreign exchange rates and receipts.

Which brings us, somewhat full circle, back to India – and Ripple. As Bitsonline noted, the State Bank of India is ready to start with instant cross-border payments in conjunction with Ripple.  The bank is among the largest in the country, with a market share at about 23 percent. Separately, reports come via that the Indian government is examining an embrace of cryptography and blockchain – not cryptocurrencies themselves – to help enable remittances, among other money transfers.