B2B Payments

Cross-Border Efforts Ripple (Literally) Through Cryptos And Payments

Libra topped headlines, spurring debate over crypto’s role in eCommerce. However, beyond Facebook’s announcement were several other initiatives, also designed to speed digital transactions across borders, from Ripple’s new wave with MoneyGram to mobile account top-offs in India.

Facebook’s cryptocurrency initiative grabbed its share of attention this past week, of course. The business model of offering the digital wallet Calibra to back Libra, and tie it all to real assets (along with the Libra Association), shone the spotlight on crypto’s role in eCommerce.

However, beyond that deluge of headlines were ripples (literally) and continued cross-border, digital payment efforts from other firms.

To that end, and looking across borders, integrated payments and marketing platform RiverPay said this past week that the partnership it launched earlier in the year with China UnionPay is gaining traction in the North American retail market.

As has been reported, the mechanics of the partnership entail RiverPay expanding its payment portfolio through the addition of the UnionPay QR code payments to all merchants in North America. The firms said that hundreds of new merchants are registering to accept those codes in offline stores. Through that acceptance, according to reports, the merchants have been reporting an increase in sales revenue and foot traffic.

UnionPay’s mobile app launched at the end of 2017, and currently has a user count that spans more than 150 million users.

“The convenience of the mobile app, combined with UnionPay’s deep-rooted financial relationship with Chinese consumers, is helping make it a preferred payments option for visitors to North America. We have seen a significant uptick in demand by our merchant partners to enable payments through [the] UnionPay mobile app platform, and we are pleased [to see] many taking advantage of the easy-to-install and quick-to-settle benefits [that] RiverPay can bring to [its] retail operations,” said Ryan Zheng, CEO and co-founder of RiverPay, in a press release.

The merchant roster in the U.S. includes Swarovski, JCY House and others.

MoneyGram And Ripple

Separately, and still in the realm of far-flung digital payments, cryptocurrency firm Ripple announced a partnership this week with money transfer firm MoneyGram. Under the terms of that agreement, MoneyGram will use the digital currency as part of day-to-day operations.

In the meantime, Ripple is paying $4.10 a share to gain a stake of as much as 10 percent in MoneyGram, which means Ripple is anteing up $30 million. There is also another $20 million cash payment option that extends through the next two years.

The move is a strategic one for Ripple, and its continuing efforts to drive adoption of xRapid, which allows for the transfer of XRP. Ripple has said that XRP can be used as bridge currency for banks conducting transactions across borders, rather than leaving money in foreign accounts, as noted in this space. The MoneyGram/Ripple pact comes about a year after Western Union ended trials with xRapid.

In India, payments firm MobiKwik, which operates a mobile wallet app, stated plans to enter new markets internationally, according to reports. That comes as the company announced a partnership with DT One, a payments network based in Singapore. The joint efforts would enable international mobile recharge, or mobile account top-ups. The activity is centered on cross-border remittances (especially between individuals and family members), according to MobiKwik Co-founder Upasana Taku.

“This is the first service we are launching. We will eventually add other essential services as well. Mobile recharge will offer us good data points, and will help us understand different markets,” Taku told the publication.

The past several months have been busy for MobiKwik, which has expanded financial services across loans and investment advice.

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