Western Union is not giving up on the potential of cryptocurrency and continues to test the digital asset XRP.
According to a 2020 research report from Credit Suisse, the money transfer giant is exploring whether the technology can boost the speed and lower the cost of international payments.
Researchers say Western Union is “testing and considering use of Ripple (XRP) for cross-border [payments]” despite the fact that the company was “initially less bullish” on the technology.
In June of last year, CEO Hikmet Ersek said the company’s early trials with XRP showed that using cryptocurrency was five times more expensive than using Western Union’s in-house system.
And in February of 2019, the company’s general manager of Asia Pacific, Molly Shea, said the company is strategically placing itself in a position to utilize crypto assets if it becomes clear that they are the next wave in international payments.
“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.”
The Credit Suisse report, which was released in January, says crypto assets are “unlikely to gain consumer-to-business payments adoption at least for the medium term.”
It cites difficulties with chargebacks and dispute processes, taxation, regulatory uncertainty and price volatility as potential factors that could slow adoption.
The report names BitPay, Libra, JPM Coin, R3, IBM World Wire and Ripple as some of the leaders in the space, all pushing to utilize digital assets for remittances.