Payments Giant Western Union Preparing for Crypto, Tests Ripple and XRP
Global remittance giant Western Union says it’s preparing for crypto to go mainstream.
In a new interview with Analyse Asia, general manager of Asia Pacific Molly Shea says customers expect extreme efficiency in the digital age, and payment platforms need to do everything they can to stay ahead of the game.
“Our customers really expect seamless, connected service. Not just fast. They’re expecting everything to be as fast as what they’re getting with all the other digital apps they have. So we’ve got to be able to stay ahead of that and foresee what their expectations are going to be and drive the remittance market to that, as their needs have and as wallets have been evolving. We have to be there.
When you think about cryptocurrencies, if those start to take off, we need to be ready. We need to be ready from a technology perspective. And we’ve got to be ready from – regulatory has to be there – but we constantly have to be looking for those trends where customers are looking and make sure that you’re ready to meet those needs and expectations.”
In addition, Shea confirmed that Western Union continues to test Ripple’s suite of payment solutions. The company has been exploring xRapid – which utilizes the digital asset XRP – for months.
“We’re open to exploring new business opportunities. Particularly those that give us the opportunity to offer more choices to our customers. So the blockchain and cryptocurrency space is rapidly evolving. And we continue to explore possible applications for our business. As some examples, we’re piloting some settlement tests with Ripple for certain corridors. I think the US dollar and Mexican peso is one example. And really learning about possible opportunities. The options that we choose will need to be legitimate and widely acceptable for consumer use.
Another thing that we’re doing as part of our exploration is we’ve made an investment in Digital Currency Group. It’s a fund that provides industry leading insights into the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. So I think that’s really exciting. So it’s really about staying knowledgeable about advances in all these technologies and how that might be applicable to what we want to do.”
Western Union gave an update on its tests with xRapid in June, saying it’s not yet convinced that the technology will lead to cost savings. At the time, the company cautioned that the pilot was likely too small to draw firm conclusions.