Western Union (WU) is bridging small businesses (SMBs) and entrepreneurs in Puerto Rico to cross-border payment services, the financial institution (FI) said on Monday (March 11).
In a press release, the company said its Western Union Business Solutions unit is collaborating with TuChequera.com in Puerto Rico, linking entrepreneurs on the island to cross-border payment services that support more than 130 currencies. TuChequera.com operates a digital checkbook platform and, through its collaboration, will begin linking business customers to the Western Union Business Solutions payments platform, WU EDGE.
EDGE launched in 2016 to promote global trade for SMBs by offering accounts payable and accounts receivable connectivity, invoice presentment and payments.
"With our alliance, local businesses will have access to an innovative and world-class platform, allowing entrepreneurs the ability to be more competitive in the international marketplace," said TuChequera.com Founder and President José García in a statement.
In another statement, Alfred Nader, vice president of Western Union Business Solutions for the Latin American and Caribbean regions, said Puerto Rico was the first market in the region in which Western Union launched its EDGE platform, which rolled out last year.
Also last year, unnamed sources told Bloomberg that Western Union was exploring the sale of its business payment operations, with separate reports following weeks later that FLEETCOR was nearing a takeover of the assets. At the time, reports said a takeover could rake in $600 million for Western Union.
Yet, no deal was ever announced. Business Solutions' expansion in Puerto Rico via the TuChequera.com partnership could signal an end to any possible divestment efforts.
Western Union released its Q4 earnings report in early February, recording a 5 percent increase in revenue. Business Solutions now accounts for 7 percent of WU's total revenues for the quarter.
"In 2018, we made important strategic process," said Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek when the earnings data was announced. "We feel confident about our operations and business. In 2019, we will continue to execute our strategy to deliver strong digital expansion, offer our cross-border platform to new payments areas and generate additional operating efficiencies."