Google Pay users living in the US can now send money to fellow users in Singapore and India, though, users in the two Asian markets will not be able to do the same. Facilitated through partnerships with Western Union and Wise, the service will be extended to more than 200 markets by year-end.
Google's engineering director for payments Patrick Teo said: "Our world is getting more interconnected and it is critical our payment flows evolve to reflect the cross-border nature of our day-to-day transactions. With remittance flows in Southeast Asia poised to reach $35 billion by 2025, this new integration with Western Union and Wise on Google Pay provides a convenient and secure solution to help users connect with and pay family, friends, and businesses in Singapore. We look forward to expanding this feature to more users to make payments easier, and the world that much smaller."
Google, however, did not provide a timeline, if any, on when users of its digital wallet living outside its home market would be able to send money overseas. It marked the first time the platform was enabled for cross-border transactions, even if it currently was available only to US users.
When asked, a Google spokesperson told ZDNet it had plans to widen the feature to more countries later this year.
To send money across their border, users in US will have to search for the recipient in Singapore or India via their phone number or email, which is tied to their Google Pay account. They then tap "Pay" and choose either Western Union or Wise to send the amount they want.
In a post Tuesday, Google Pay's product manager Viola Gauci said nearly $700 billion were sent across the world annually to people in their home countries. Citing stats from Mastercard, Gauci said 73% of people sent money overseas on a regular basis, with 38% int he past year noting greater involvement in international payments.
"This suggests that as the pandemic continues to create uncertainty, easing the financial anxieties of loved ones is even more critical," she said.
She added that, by end-2021, the cross-border service for Google Pay users in the US would be further extended to more than 200 markets through Western Union and more than 80 markets through Wise.
The Google spokesperson was unable to confirm which markets these would be. There also were no plans to rope in other remittance partners, beyond Wise and Western Union, to facilitate cross-border payments on Google Pay.
When asked, the spokesperson also declined to provide figures on how many active Google Pay users there were in this region or the transaction volume processed on the platform.
Google last November revamped its digital wallet in the US, pushing out a new Google Pay app design for both Android and Apple iOS users. The US tech giant then said the redesign was focused on simplicity, security, and privacy, along with partnerships across various services including financial.
Singapore and Thailand last month inked a bilateral agreement that enabled users in both nations to transfer funds using the recipient's mobile number. The pact established connectivity between Singapore's PayNow and Thailand's PromptPay peer-to-peer payment platforms, to enable fund transfers of up to SG$1,000 ($753.4) or THB25,000 ($793.96). Touted as the first of its kind globally, the deal was the result of "years of extensive collaboration" between the two countries' central banks.
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