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Digital Wallets, Pay by Bank and Push to Card Can Transform Cross-Border Payments

global payments, remittances, international, cross-border payments

Cross-border money movement’s digital makeover rests with a variety of endpoints.

More specifically, the more ways there are to send and receive, the more options there are to house stores of value, and the more streamlined international payments become.

To that end, and as PYMNTS reported this week, FinTech Brightwell is using Visa Direct to allow payouts to eligible bank accounts and wallets across the international stage. The expanded joint efforts between the companies will enable real-time push payments to cards, and to leverage Brightwell to send money between bank accounts. 

The announcement follows news earlier this month of Visa and CIBC’s partnership to help the bank’s clients send remittances across borders more conveniently — sending money to digital wallets held in the Philippines, China, Bangladesh, Kenya and other key remittance destinations.

The Benefits of Networks and Scale 

Remittances are a key use case. The World Bank estimated last month that remittances to low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Latin America and other areas reached $669 billion last year, up 3.8%.  

It’s important to note that in many of these countries, unbanked and underbanked populations can be significant, but the prevalence of mobile devices and Internet connectivity can widen access to financial services, such as digital wallets on smartphones.

The groundswell is also being felt here in the U.S. As PYMNTS Intelligence and Nuvei’s research found, nearly half of U.S. consumers tried using a new payment method in the past year, and 16% switched to a new one. Digital wallets are the preferred option when switching, having been used in 30% of these “new” cases. 

Payment networks such as Visa and Mastercard are uniquely positioned to underpin the pivot toward better cross-border fund flows. Their networks have already scaled, and their endpoints and acceptance points already number in the billions.

There are also numerous FinTechs and other providers leveraging technology to improve cross-border commercial payments.

In just one example, Tranglo and LuLu Money said last year that they’ve partnered on cross-border payouts. The partnership links Tranglo’s cross-border payment hub and LuLu Financial Holdings’ network as financial institutions, and businesses pay globally through Tranglo Connect.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS Intelligence has found that A2A payments have been gaining ground in B2B transactions via standard ACH, same-day ACH, the RTP® Network and wires. 

PYMNTS has found that only 23% of smaller businesses say that current cross-border payment solutions are “very or extremely satisfactory.” And yet, the data shows that nearly 40% of SMBs that reported an increase in cross-border payments sent or received between 2020 and 2021, and the trajectory of those payments is up and to the right, as more business is done outside of their home countries and as they interact with global supply chains.