Last month, Google Pay enabled users in the United States to send money to India via the app. This became possible through Western Union’s linking of its cross-border platform with the Google Pay app. Users in the US have been allowed to fund their transactions using Google Pay through the debit or credit card linked to their Google Pay account, bank account, or card.
The cross border payment facility through a mobile app has come in handy in the time of the pandemic, enabling Indians living in the US to send money back home.
Responding to a query on how Western Union’s cross-border payments on Google Pay will benefit Indians, Sohini Rajola, Head of Regional Network, Middle East and APAC, Western Union, told FE Online, “For Indians or their families living in the U.S. sending money back to their home countries is a regular activity and Google is making it more accessible by adding it to the app that they use for their everyday money tasks. Working with Western Union, Google is giving those families a simple, safe and reliable way to send money to India.”
How it works
Rajola said Google Pay users in the U.S. start by searching for the Google Pay user in India they want to send money to, tap “Pay,” and select Western Union. From there, they simply follow the steps to complete the payment. This first phase covers the U.S, the world’s largest sender of cross-border C2C payments, and India, the world’s largest receiver, along with Singapore. By the end of the year, U.S.-based Google Pay users will be able to send money to people in more than 200 countries and territories through Western Union.
Impact of the pandemic on remittances
Rajola said crises make people more determined to provide support to the people they care about. When times get hard in developing economies, remittance-senders become front-line workers of economic security. “These ‘Economic First Responders’ have sent love and money across the world’s borders and have helped smooth the economic shocks from the pandemic and foster resiliency and recovery within their home nations throughout 2020 and into 2021 and beyond.”
She said that defying predictions, remittance flows have proven to be resilient during the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the World Bank, in 2020, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) reached $540 billion, only 1.6 per cent below the $548 billion seen in 2019. Looking ahead, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries are expected to increase by 2.6 per cent per year, to $553 billion in 2021 and by 2.2 per cent to $565 billion in 2022.
Why is advanced payment capabilities in demand globally?
Increasingly, consumers – including Indians working or living worldwide – are looking for convenience, immediacy and reliability for their payment needs. This means their user experience must meet all these requirements and therefore they will always opt for a service provider that they can trust.
Rajola said “2020 was an unprecedented year that brought significant changes in the world for payment service providers as well as within Western Union. Western Union became a more agile, efficient, and digitally focused organization thanks to the successful execution of the global strategy announced in September of 2019. We quickly adapted and created solutions to help customers provide critical economic support to families and communities worldwide. Our omni channel strategy to move money to more places than anyone else was key to serving our customers that live between a digital and physical world.”