Visa and Western Union set to partner in innovative pairing


Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO and has 20 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely quoted as an expert… Read more
  • Two firms set to work together on Visa Direct scheme
  • Faster payments are expected for customers
  • "This collaboration enables our customers to have a fast, user-friendly and reliable platform to send funds into billions of eligible accounts across the world”, says Western Union head

Two of the world’s most famous financial services brands are set to pair up in a move designed to improve cross-border payments.

Western Union, the world’s most famous money transfer firm, will deliver the Visa Direct programme, which is Visa’s push payments service designed to deliver faster and more transparent cash exchange services.

The firm will also offer customers the chance to benefit from these faster exchanges through the use of cards.

Moving to a digital service is a key aspect of the changes, and the two firms intend to use the partnership as a way to modernise.

According to figures released by Visa, almost $80tn US dollars’ worth of cash is transferred through traditional means such as bank accounts and transfers.

A total of 85% of these transfers are believed to occur in cash, meaning that there are significant barriers and hurdles in place for those who want fast and effective transfers to occur.

Both companies have taken steps in recent times to make remittances easier for their customers.

In May, for example, Visa made public that it had acquired the smaller firm Earthport – a company in the online money transfer space.

Western Union is seeing high numbers of remittance transactions – over 800 million per year.

However, the new partnership appears to be a significant plank of their plans to turn around the remittances industry and improve it for the better.

Bill Sheley, Global Head of Push Payments at Visa, described the collaboration as bringing “exceptional value propositions” to customers.

“Together Visa Direct and Western Union are collaborating with plans to scale real-time cross border payments to businesses and consumers in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 130 currencies”, he said.

“This new strategic relationship with Western Union combines the industry-leading capabilities of the world’s largest remittance provider with Visa’s global reach, risk management abilities and operating scale, to bring exceptional value propositions and user experiences to senders and receivers around the globe.”

Jean Claude Farah, Executive Vice President at Western Union, added: “This collaboration enables our customers to have a fast, user-friendly and reliable platform to send funds into billions of eligible accounts across the world.”

In recent months, much of the collaboration talk in the online money transfer space has focused on larger firms acquiring smaller ones in order to bolster their chances of ever-larger market shares. So, it will come as something of a surprise to many market watchers to hear that Western Union and Visa, two global brands who compete for some of the same business, are pairing up. The ultimate reason is likely to be cost effectiveness: by bringing together their expertise and working to combine specific parts of their customer offer, both companies will derive benefits in the long run.

Want to discover exactly how firms like Western Union and Visa achieve their goals in the modern remittance services market? If so, check out our news pages.

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