Santander’s SME and corporate clients in Spain, from today, will be able to make immediate international payments to recipients in Brazil, in Brazilian Real, through the One Trade solution.
Part of PagoNxt’s Trade business unit, the One Trade solution will allow international transfers to be completed in minutes, allowing senders to comply with FX documentation requirements, while the recipients are spared from closing or signing local FX contracts – as BRL will automatically be credited to the local account.
While fintechs have been quickly carving out ground in the space, Santander is the first European bank to launch a payments solution that allows customers to make real time transfers into Brazil in local currency.
Speaking with Finextra, Fernando Lardiés, general manager of PagoNxt Trade, and global head of One Trade, explains that the current user experience for currency transfers to Brazil is an opaque and complex process, which often leaves customers waiting for several days for payment.
Lardiés notes that the ambition of PagoNxt Trade is both to become a platform through which to provide services to Santander entities and clients via their normal online banking with single sign-on, and to extend these into regions where Santander is not present as a commercial bank. “Our ambition is to become the provider of the services for banks, but with significant service enhancements such as this one announced today.”
“Our strategy is also to go to the open market particularly in geographies where we are not present through a commercial bank. When our licenses are granted by the regulators through e-money vehicles we will offer essentially the same services directly to customers across the entirety of Europe. We will passport our license and offer the service into the new markets.” PagoNxt has applied for and is currently awaiting regulatory approval for e-money licences in both the UK and Spain.
Instead of simply becoming the international payment provider of Santander Spain and maintaining existing service levels and functionality, Lardiés explains that PagoNxt wishes to progressively introduce better services which innovate or offer distinctive features. “The fact that we have presence in several geographies at the same time is something that allows us to build these kinds of services.”
For context, almost 5,000 Spanish companies sent over €4 billion to Brazil throughout 2021 (excluding investment flows). This was a 14% increase compared to 2020. The new solution will support international payments to all Brazilian local and digital banks, which in some cases do not support international payments.
“The payments world is undergoing such fast change and pressure from many different players,” notes Lardiés, as both fintech and big tech players have completely shifted the dynamic. This forms part of PagoNxt’s underlying rationale for Santander.
Additionally, Lardiés argues that both PagoNxt and Santander will be more successful competing in this new environment by launching further solutions in keeping with the proposition launched today.
“Having a specialised vehicle whose only focus is excellence in payment services, going beyond the current status quo for banks instead of only keeping pace with the bank, and thinking of disruptive services that can offer a competitive advantage, combined with the brand name and commercialisation power of Santander, should give us a better competitive position against these threats.”
PagoNxt has been integral in Santander’s aggressive digital roadmap, and while Santander’s international money transfer platform PagoFX did not succeed in its attempts to compete with cross-border unicorn Wise, under the bank’s chairman Ana Botin, PagoNxt has been able to rapidly expand across 30 European countries.
Lardiés adds that the solution will be rolled out to customers in additional markets in the coming months, with equivalent or similar launches involving other Santander corridors or regions where the bank already has infrastructure enabled. For instance, this will allow Santander customers in LATAM to send payments into Europe instantly.