Alphabet Inc's Google has launched international money transfer partnerships with remittance firms Wise and Western Union for US payments app users.
Google Pay users in the US can now transfer money to app customers in India and Singapore, with plans to expand to 80 countries through Wise and 200 through Western Union by the end of the year.
Google's foray into the $ 470 billion remittance market is another step by the technology company to expand its financial services offerings, which has increased competition in the digital payments sector.
London-based Wise was launched in 2011 with the goal of making international money transfers cheaper and easier, while Western Union continues to be a leader in the remittance market, with an extensive global network of physical locations.
Its partnership with Google Pay, which has 150 million users in 40 countries, comes just as the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a boom in online payments, but an estimated decline in overall remittance flows. The money migrant workers send home is expected to decline by 14% from 2019 due to deteriorating economic conditions and employment levels in migrant-hosting countries, according to the latest World Bank estimates.
"Even with COVID, a lot of people have moved around the world and we wanted to focus on how we can help facilitate these payments," said Josh Woodward, Google's director of product management. "Our goal for this year is to work with Wise and Western Union to implement this in the countries they support."
Tech company Silicon Valley redesigned its U.S. payments app in November, introducing paid service promotions and opening a waiting list for bank accounts that would later launch with various lenders.
The new remittance function is intensifying competition between tech companies and traditional finance companies for consumer money and data as service providers seek to become a one-stop-shop for their users' financial needs.
Ant Group, Samsung Electronics Co, Apple Inc, and PayPal Holdings Inc also offer mobile wallets that aim to be hubs for services ranging from cross-border payments to credit.
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