Visa and Western Union Expand Cross-Border Payment Agreement


Visa and Western Union have formed a new agreement centered on cross-border payments.

The expanded partnership, announced Tuesday (March 5), lets Western Union customers send money to loved ones, Visa cards and bank accounts in 40 countries. 

According to a Visa news release, the collaboration covers card issuance, Western Union’s integration with Visa Direct, and value-added services delivery such as risk products. In addition, Western Union customers in some markets can receive Visa prepaid cards.

The companies say they are also developing disbursement programs for humanitarian organizations and governments to deliver disaster relief, supporting emergency and humanitarian payouts, cross-border pension payouts, and domestic benefits and disbursement payouts.

“People rely on remittances to send lifeline payments to their loved ones overseas. When we consider the urgency and need for accessibility, secure payment options with added convenience can make all the difference,” said Chris Newkirk, Visa’s global head of commercial and money movement solutions.

The agreement follows Western Union’s integrations with Visa Direct from 2022 and 2019, which let customers in the U.S. and Europe send and receive funds directly to eligible Visa card holders overseas.

Western Union also recently expanded its partnership with Mexico’s MercadoPago. Under the terms of that agreement, American and Canadian customers can now send funds from Western Union’s mobile app, its website or from one of its retail locations to MercadoPago wallet accounts in Mexico.

That partnership follows one last year between Western Union and PaySend, offering users an additional direct-to-card payout option, allowing Western Union customers to send money directly to Visa and Mastercard debit cards.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS recently examined the hurdles facing U.S. eCommerce merchants when trying to transact in international markets. The reason? A higher rate of failed payments in cross-border transactions when compared to domestic ones.

“These payment failures significantly impact their bottom line,” that report said. “PYMNTS Intelligence estimates that failed cross-border payments cost U.S. merchants at least $3.8 billion in lost sales in 2023.”

The research found that merchants focused on cross-border sales report an average cross-border payment failure rate of 11%, markedly higher than their counterparts doing less international business. And 82% of merchants struggle to find the causes of failed payments, thus underlining the need for robust solutions.