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Western Union expands real-time cross-border payments to India

Source: Western Union

Western Union, a leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement and payments, today advanced its leadership in digital payment innovation enabling customers to move money or make payments in real-time in India, one of the world’s fastest growing economy.

Western Union became the first money transfer operator to offer cross border remittances via Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a real-time payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India under Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines. It allows Western Union customers globally to send money into bank accounts in India simply by using the receivers UPI ID, instead of providing bank account and routing details.

The announcement executes upon Western Union’s strategy to expand its services across emerging markets and open new growth areas as the company leverages its core cross-border assets – including global settlement capabilities, network, compliance and technology systems – to enable international cross-border payments in minutes.

During his visit to India, Hikmet Ersek, CEO, Western Union, said, “We are expanding from our roots of creating one of the largest physical money movement networks covering the first and last mile in India to pioneering integration with India’s advanced real-time payments systems.”

“These cross-border services will allow millions of Indians living and working abroad to send money back home or to other parts of the world digitally and in real-time,” Ersek added.

“YES BANK is pleased to collaborate with Western Union on offering remittance services to a larger set of overseas customers. We are also the first bank in India to integrate UPI as an additional mode for facilitating remittances into the country on a commercial basis,” said Asit Oberoi, Global Head – Transaction Banking, YES BANK.

“This marquee collaboration reinforces our leadership positioning in curating digital solutions, and will help us in further capturing a substantial share in the rapidly growing remittances space,” added Oberoi.

Western Union cross border remittances via UPI will be available for senders in over 200 countries and territories via Western Union’s retail network in the last quarter of 2019, and progressively thereafter on WU.com and Western Union mobile app commencing with the U.S. and followed by the rest of the world.

Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

UPI is a real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India, under RBI guidelines. It facilitates real-time fund transfer between two bank accounts using simple UPI ID instead of requiring bank account details of the beneficiary like Account number, IFSC, Bank name, etc.

Launched in August 2016 for domestic payments, it is now the number one preferred mode of domestic digital transactions in India led by popular apps such as Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay and BHIM. It has taken over other globally acclaimed payment systems such as National Electronics Fund Transfer (NEFT) and Immediate Mobile Payment Service (IMPS). More than 918 million transactions were done through UPI in August 2019, while IMPS has processed 200 million transactions during the same period.

RBI recently extended UPI payment service to foreign inbound remittances to maximum value per transaction of INR 100,000 (approximately USD $1,500). 

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