In a press release, the companies said it marks the first blockchain-based cross-border digital wallet remittance service globally and provides a fast, secure, transparent and low-cost way to transfer money directly between people in Hong Kong and the Philippines. The service between GCash and AlipayHK will provide round-the-clock, real-time money transfers between Hong Kong and the Philippines at a competitive exchange rate and will have lower transaction fees. The fees will be waived during the initial three month trial period of the service, the companies said in the press release. To transfer money, customers would make a few taps through AlipayHK and the money will arrive into the GCash user’s account within seconds. According to the companies, blockchain technology allowed them to improve the speed and efficiency for remittance services. Once a user submits a remittance application, all network participants — which include AlipayHK, GCash and Standard Chartered Bank, which is the first bank supporting the initiative — are notified. Because of blockchain technology, the verification and execution of the transaction can happen at the same time. The sender and receiver are also able to track the money through the entire process from when the remittance was made until it is received.
“We are very excited to introduce this new remittance solution to our users in Hong Kong, and in particular to the Filipino community in the city,” said Jennifer Tan, CEO of Alipay Payment Services, in the press release. “What used to be a long process of physically going to a remittance booth, queuing in line for hours and filling out forms, is now easily and securely done over the mobile phone in just a few seconds. Together with GCash, we aim to provide Filipino expatriates a more convenient, seamless experience to transfer money back home to their families in the Philippines. We will also continue to provide tailor-made solutions for our customers as we aim to enhance their daily lives through our secure and fuss-free approach.”
Standard Chartered is providing the underlying banking infrastructure to support this pivotal initiative. Lisa Robins, Global Head, Transaction Banking at Standard Chartered, noted in the press release that “remittances are a lifeblood of many communities in the Philippines,” with the country the third-largest remittance market with $33 billion of inflows in 2017. "We are proud to collaborate with Ant Financial, and act as their banking partner for this new service to make remittances easier, cheaper and more secure. This evidences our joint commitment to deliver financial services to the unbanked and underbanked and exemplifies our ‘Here for Good’ brand promise,” she said.