How Mastercard’s ‘X-border Services Express’ aims to simplify international payments

  • One-third of SMBs and consumers surveyed are frustrated by restrictions in destination countries that limit their ability to send cross-border payments.
  • Mastercard has launched a new service in a move to streamline international payments experiences for FIs especially to help small and mid-tier banks.

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How Mastercard’s ‘X-border Services Express’ aims to simplify international payments

Mastercard has launched a new service, Cross-Border Services Express, in a move to streamline international payments experiences for financial institutions.

The new integration facilitates cross-border payments through a simple and customizable front-end user interface for the existing Mastercard Cross-Border Services offering, as well as other services. These include a range of tools to meet compliance and regulatory requirements such as sanctions screening and KYC. 

One-third of SMBs and consumers surveyed are frustrated by restrictions in destination countries that limit their ability to send cross-border payments, according to Mastercard’s 2022 borderless payments report.

The new service especially aims to help small and mid-tier banks solve their clients’ pain points and provide them with similar international payment features that larger banks offer to meet their clients’ expectations – irrespective of their size and scale. That’s valued by SMBs, which struggle to keep money flowing. One-quarter of small businesses say that suppliers had refused to work with them due to uncertainty over payment times.

However, the service is also on tap for other financial institutions looking to smooth the path of their cross-border payments offerings, according to Alan Marquard, executive VP, of transfer solutions at Mastercard.

A chart showing an overview of Mastercard's Cross-Border Services. The new integration provides a user-friendly  interface for this existing service.
Source: Mastercard

Mastercard is working in tandem with a couple of fintechs on the service. These include Fable, which provides money transfer technology to banks and money transfer operators, and Payall Payment Systems, which enables bank customers to transfer funds to a variety of touch points. This collaboration will assist in providing consumers flexibility in how they pay -- by delivering funds to bank accounts, mobile wallets, cards, and cash payout locations in more than 60 currencies to over 100 markets.

However, despite so many offerings and services being offered to facilitate cross-border payments, stumbling blocks still exist. The progress being made to facilitate easier cross-border payments is important, but there remains much work to be done. Only 23% of SMBs are happy with their cross-border payment solutions, recent research shows.

“The major pain points in this regard have been well articulated in the G20 roadmap for enhancing cross-border payments; with a focus on improving cost, speed, transparency, and access,” Marquard told Tearsheet.

Further progress in simplifying cross-border payments and reducing friction will likely require a mix of technological solutions and standardization -- particularly in messaging formats from the private sector and regulatory harmonization across factors such as KYC, AML, and identity and data rights from the public sector.

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