How is the cross-border payments space evolving
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How is the cross-border payments space evolving

How is the cross-border payments space evolving

Speaking to Gulf Business, Amir Nagammy, Wizz Financial co-founder and group chairman delves into the company’s expansion plans and the disruption within the payments space

When is the acquisition of Xpress Money Services Limited expected to be completed?
We expect it to be completed in the next four to six weeks.

What are the key areas of disruption in the cross-border payments sector?
The cross-border payment sector has seen a rise in the last five years as more digital players enter the sector, using their apps for transactions origination.

However, most of these solutions still require the same old correspondent banking network to move money. So, while the front end has undergone a massive change, the underlying rails haven’t changed. Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt this market by removing the reliance on correspondent banks and enabling cross-border transfers to be made far cheaper and quicker.

Additionally, more than 80 Central Banks around the world are in different stages of development of their digital currency which gives a clear picture as to where the sector is headed. As a world-leading player in this space, we see an opportunity to grow this industry beyond exchange houses but rather to utilise digital banking as a way to help economies grow and flourish.

Going forward, do high-value transactions pose greater opportunity for growth in B2B/B2C/C2C segments or low-value ones?
We are looking at this more broadly because the problem the industry faces, hits across all market segments.

According to a recent joint report by JP Morgan and Oliver Wyman, nearly $23.5tn moves across borders annually. This mostly relies on the wholesale cross-border payment processes of correspondent banking networks that cost approximately $120bn in transaction charges annually with an average settlement time of two to three days. The growth opportunity is in reimagining the underlying rails that move money across borders as the pain point is common across all the market segments.

Share some of Wizz Financial’s expansion plans, pertinent to the UAE/GCC?
We aim to move beyond just remittance and have a unified platform in the UAE and GCC. Our mission involves financial inclusion by empowering our customers and enabling them to achieve their financial goals and life aspirations. We believe that technology is the enabler to doing this and we want to disrupt the way cross-border transactions and payments are done to make it more efficient and to provide a better user experience for our customers. We are also in advanced stages to acquire a local exchange house and are in discussions with several other players in the market.

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