Western Union Trials Ripple Tech for Settlements Services Getting Ready for Crypto Surge

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 4 min read
Western Union Trials Ripple Tech for Settlements Services Getting Ready for Crypto Surge
Photo: Pavlos Giorkas / Flickr

One of the world’s leading payments providers, Western Union says that it is working on cryptocurrency gateways and other related corridors trialing Ripple techs.

The Asia Pacific manager, Molly Shea in her recent announcement said that customers demand a higher level of efficiency in the digital age which means that payment providers have to do everything within their power to stay ahead of the game. That must be why the company decided to test solutions offered by Ripple for Western Union’s settlements services.

She said:

“Our customers really expect seamless, connected service. Not just fast. They’re expecting everything to be as fast as what they’re getting with all the other digital apps they have. So we’ve got to be able to stay ahead of that and foresee what their expectations are going to be and drive the remittance market to that, as their needs have and as wallets have been evolving.”

Testing Ripple’s Payment Solutions

In addition, Shea confirmed that Western Union continues to test Ripple’s suite of payment solutions. The company has been exploring xRapid – which utilizes the digital asset XRP – for months.

“We’re open to exploring new business opportunities. Particularly those that give us the opportunity to offer more choices to our customers. So the blockchain and cryptocurrency space is rapidly evolving. And we continue to explore possible applications for our business.

As some examples, we’re piloting some settlement tests with Ripple for certain corridors. I think the US dollar and Mexican peso is one example. And really learning about possible opportunities.”

Shea added that the options that they choose will need to be legitimate and widely acceptable for consumer use. Also, she noted, another thing that they are doing as part of their exploration is that they have made an investment in Digital Currency Group. It’s a fund that provides industry leading insights into the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.

She added:

“So I think that’s really exciting. So it’s really about staying knowledgeable about advances in all these technologies and how that might be applicable to what we want to do.”

Western Union Ready to Adopt Any Kind of Currency

Western Union Global Money Transfer President, Odilon Almeida also had claimed that the company is “ready to adopt any kind of currency”, potentially cryptocurrency.

He had stated that there is not much difference between cryptocurrency and regular digital payments. According to Almeida, the firm’s long-term stance makes it conceivably prepared to launch any type of currency, which includes blockchain-based currencies too. He had said:

“We already operate with 130 currencies. If one day we feel like it is the right strategy to introduce cryptocurrencies to our platform, technology-wise, it’s just one more currency. I think cryptocurrencies may become one more option of currency or assets around the globe to be exchanged between people and businesses. If that happens, we would be ready to launch.”

While Western Union and Ripple’s xRapid are working towards speedy cross-border payments, this pilot settlement tests could go a long way in achieving it.

Just for a reminder, Ripple was in the spotlight just recently after they reportedly fired Cory Johnson and eliminated his position. Tom Channick, Ripple’s spokesman said that Ripple has eliminated Johnson’s position altogether and considers his time with the company a massive success.

Established in 1851, 168 years ago, Western Union provides remittance services, allowing customers to send funds across borders and in multiple currencies. The company sent more than $300bn in 2018; its network has more than 550,000 retail locations; more than all the Starbucks and McDonald’s outlets in the world.

Although the XRP cryptocurrency – part of the xRapid solution – is perhaps the most famous product offered by Ripple Labs, it isn’t the only one. The company also offers an xCurrent solution, which uses blockchain technology, but not necessarily XRP, for banks and other financial institutions to communicate with one another before, during and after a cross-border transaction.

We at Coinspeaker believe that Ripple and XRP are driving innovation globally, while Tone Vays, the host of Crypto Scam & Unconfiscatable, has an opposite view. He said Ripple does not offer new solutions or is not better. Indeed, Vays says that there is nothing that Ripple does that other companies such as SWIFT, PayPal or Venmo cannot do.

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