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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 02 June, 2012, 17:54Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Comparing an electronic payment with a courier consignment and seeking transparency at all steps along the way somewhat obscures the fundamental difference between the two: Both in theory and in actual practice in some corridors (viz. TARGET2 nations), an electronic payment can happen in realtime, obviating the need for any transparency except for immediate notification of credit to the beneficiary's account. A parcel sent via courier cannot, even in theory, reach the destination in real time, thus needing tracking facility to provide a sense of comfort to the sender and the receiver. Given a choice between a payment that reaches the destination in 1 hour but offers zero transparency (e.g. Western Union) and another that takes 7 days - only because several parties earn float along the way - but provides full transparency, I'll any day prefer the former and even be prepared to pay a premium for it.

BTW, nonbank MTOs like Xoom do provide step-by-step tracking for international payments. But, when things go wrong, they take shelter behind the same alleged complexities of cross-border remittances as banks. I remember a USA-to-India transaction that I'd initiated over Xoom. The tracker showed healthy progress for the first 4 days (USA > UK > Germany > ...). Then, on the fifth day, all hell seemed to have broken loose since the tracker turned to something like "#*!@!argh!..., payment failed, returned to USA"!