May 11, 2021: US Google Pay users can now send money to GPay users in India and Singapore, Google said on Tuesday, making its first push into the remittances market.
The company has partnered with Western Union and Wise, both of which have integrated their services into Google Pay. This is the first time either of the cross-border payments firms have inked such a deal.
Tuesday’s announcement comes months after Google redesigned the GPay app in the U.S., and made a push into banking services with checking accounts feature from lenders such as Citi.
US Google Pay users, India and Singapore to benefit
The United States, the world’s largest sender of cross-border consumer-to-consumer payments and India, the world’s largest receiver, along with Singapore, will be the first of three countries to benefit from Western Union’s linking of its cross-border platform capabilities with Google Pay.
Google Pay teams up with Western Union
Western Union (NYSE: WU), a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments, and Google have teamed up to allow people in the U.S. to access Western Union’s highly rated digital user experience from the Google Pay app, helping them to easily make payments to family and friends worldwide with reliability, convenience, and speed.
As part of the partnership, Western Union will power cross-border payments on Google Pay in over 200 countries, while Wise , earlier known as TransferWise, will extend the support in over 80 countries.
Cross-border payments to expand worldwide, after US Google Pay users
Josh Woodward, Director of Product Management at Google, said in an interview that the company is kickstarting its cross-border payments feature with India and Singapore and intends to expand this worldwide by the end of the year.
“As we do with a number of Google products, we will test, learn, and iterate and then start scaling,” he said.
US Google Pay users and the procedure they will follow
When Google Pay users in the U.S. attempt to send money to someone in India or Singapore, they will be informed about the exact amount that the recipient will receive.
From within the Google Pay app, users also get to choose which payments provider — Wise or Western Union — they wish to use and how long it would take for the recipient to receive the money.
The remittance feature currently allows only Google Pay’s US users to send money to those in India and Singapore — and not the other way around. Woodward said the company picked India and Singapore in part because of how crucial they are in the remittances world.
India was the largest receiving country for remittances in 2019, receiving more than $80 billion in the year, according to the World Bank. The U.S., meanwhile, is the largest sender. Eventually, Google intends to enable fully cross-border remittances worldwide.
The cross-border payments are only available for person-to-person payments. Businesses on GPay in the U.S. can’t send money to individuals or businesses in India, for instance.
The partnership with Google will help Wise and Western Union to expand their presence in several markets and more aggressively compete with rivals such as PayPal.
Western Union statement on GPay tie-up
“We are pleased to link our digital cross-border capabilities to bring real worldwide connectivity with a few taps for Google Pay’s vast and growing user base, commencing in India and Singapore,” said, Shelly Swanback, President, Western Union Product and Platform.
“The pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on communities, customers and colleagues in many parts of Asia, especially in India and Latin America. This convenient channel will help people continue supporting one another in these trying times as they reimagine how they can pay and move money worldwide,” she said.