Google said on Tuesday that US users of its Google Pay app can now send money to India and Singapore via Western Union or Wise. Google plans to expand this feature globally. The volume of international remittances in 2020 was estimated at over $ 500 billion.
On March 11, 2021, Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), announced the integration of international money transfer services from Western Union and Wise (formerly TransferWise) into its Google Pay financial application.
The initial launch is limited to US users of the app, who have the option to transfer money to Google Pay users in India and Singapore.
Google plans to expand the function of sending money to users in more than 200 countries and territories through Western Union and to more than 80 countries through Wise by the end of this year. So far, we are talking exclusively about opportunities for individuals, for companies and legal entities, the function is not available.
Josh Woodward, director of product management at Google, told TechCrunch about the expansion of this Google Pay feature: “As with a number of Google products, we will test and study and then start scaling.”
Choosing India as a recipient country is ideal, as the country received over $ 80 billion in remittances in 2019, according to the World Bank. Meanwhile, the United States is the largest sender.
According to a Google press release: “Until June 16, Western Union will offer unlimited free transfers when sending money using Google Pay, and Wise will make the first transfer free for new customers for transfers up to $ 500.”
The market for international remittances is huge – according to the World Bank, in 2020 remittances to low- and middle-income countries amounted to about $ 508 billion and this turnover could be significantly higher if it were not for the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, users still pay high fees for international transfers.
Google said it will not charge additional fees for money transfers beyond those paid by users with Western Union and Wise.
Last year, the company launched a new version of the Google Pay app in the United States, indicating that the company is aiming to gain a larger share of the global financial services market. Several banking services have been integrated into Google Pay, such as the addition of current Citi (C) bank credit accounts, as well as Safeway discount catalogs and personal finance functions.
That said, in an interview with CNBC, Josh Woodward, director of product management at Google, said: “We do not plan to become a bank or a remittance provider. We are working with an existing ecosystem to create these products. ”
Thus, this move by Google speaks of its desire to compete in fintech with companies such as Apple (AAPL), PayPal (PYPL) and others.
Apple launched its own credit card in 2019 in partnership with Goldman Sachs (GS). In China, fintech giants Ant Financial and Tencent have become major players in digital payments.