The US-based multinational technology company, Alphabet Inc’s Google has launched international money transfer partnerships with remittances firms Wise and Western Union for users of its US payments app.
Google Pay users in the US can now transfer money to the app users in India and Singapore. The company also has plans to expand the service to 80 countries via London-based financial technology company Wise, and 200 nations through the global financial services Western Union by the end of 2021.
Google’s entrance into the $470 billion remittance market, marks a further step by the technology company to expand its financial services offering, igniting the competition in the digital payments sector.
London-based Wise was launched in 2011 with the aim of making international money transfers cheaper and easier, while Western Union remains a market leader in remittances, with a sprawling global network of physical locations.
The two financial service providers’ partnership with Google Pay comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a boom in online payments, but an estimated drop in overall remittances flows was experienced.
The transactions migrant workers make are estimated to have declined 14 percent from 2019 due to disrupted economic conditions and employment levels in migrant-hosting countries, according to the latest estimates from the World Bank.
“Even with COVID a lot of people have relocated around the world and we wanted to focus on how we can help facilitate these payments. Our goal for this year is to work with Wise and Western Union to roll this out for the countries they support,” said Josh Woodward, director of product management at Google.
The Silicon Valley technology company redesigned its US payments app in November, introducing paid promotions to the service and opening a waitlist for bank accounts being launched next with several lenders.
The new remittance service ramps up competition among technology companies and traditional finance firms over consumers’ money and data, with providers looking to become a one-stop-shop for their users’ financial needs.