Could sending money to a friend in another country be as easy as sending a photo on an instant message? Many in the finance world think that should be the desired customer experience, powered by blockchain solutions. Right now, a cross-border payment can involve a handful of humans at either side of the process; it can take days; and, it's expensive. Blockchain technology allows for the transfer of value without the need for third parties, technology that lets the process happen quicker and more efficiently. We break it down. By the numbers
- Value of cross-border payment flows in 2015: $150 trillion (McKinsey)
- Average time to complete a cross-border transaction: Three to five days (McKinsey)
- Average fee for outgoing international wire transfers: $44 (Nerdwallet)
- Average fee for incoming international wire transfers: $10 (Nerdwallet)
- More use cases for digital currency: For a traditional cross-border payments provider like Western Union, unless a full ecosystem takes shape where digital currency is more widely accepted, it's taking a 'wait and see' approach, instead supporting the development of the technology through an investment in the Digital Currency Group. "We are heavily regulated, operating in more than 200 countries and territories," said Khalid Fellahi, svp and general manager, Western Union Digital. "Given the amount of regulatory scrutiny we face, any movement into new products or services requires due diligence and dialogue with regulators."
- Interoperability: “If you’re a business that’s thinking about how you’re going to integrate this, there’s a proliferation of so many different ecosystems, and there isn’t a sense of how you’re going to participate in the world at large and with all your traditional payments and still have access to what you’re developing," said Michael Kleinsteuber, director and global head of cross border payments product development at Citi, speaking at the Consensus 2017 conference in May.