Ant Financial launched a blockchain money remittance service on June 25 in a partnership between AlipayHK and Gcash. The service will operate between Hong Kong and the Philippines providing Filipinos with a low-cost method to send money. Standard Chartered is also supporting the service through their banking systems.
Anthony Thomas, President and CEO of Mynt, the operator of GCash said: "This time, in partnership with AlipayHK and Ant Financial, GCash is able to achieve another breakthrough to make sending money to the Philippines easier, more convenient, and more secure for Filipinos abroad. We believe that for overseas Filipinos, sending money home to their family’s GCash mobile wallet will soon be the norm.”
In a move set to rival cross-border payments company Ripple, Alipay's new service will provide fast and cheap money remittance so Filipino workers in Hong Kong can send money home to their families. In a statement, they claim transactions will take just a few seconds rivalling the fastest cryptocurrencies.
Blockchain technology is used to notify the three partners simultaneously, allowing them to work together to process the payment much faster than standard international payment procedures. Through the platform, the sender and receiver are also able to track the progress of the transaction. It appears that the payment system does not use a cryptocurrency within the process but uses distributed ledgers for faster data sharing between the separate institutions.
“We are very excited to introduce this new remittance solution to our users in Hong Kong, and in particular to the Filipino community in the city,” said Jennifer Tan, CEO of Alipay Payment Services (HK) Limited (APSHK). “What used to be a long process of physically going to a remittance booth, queuing in line for hours and filling out forms, is now easily and securely done over the mobile phone in just a few seconds. Together with GCash, we aim to provide Filipino expatriates a more convenient, seamless experience to transfer money back home to their families in the Philippines."
The focus of Ant Financial is to create better financial services for SME's and individuals. The company will also focus on the use of AI and IoT in their technological innovations. Since 2015, Alipay has formed nine strategic partnerships with local partners outside of China. In the year leading up to March, Alipay, together with its global partners, served approximately 870 million annual active users globally and over 15 million small businesses in China.
Lisa Robins, Global Head, Transaction Banking, Standard Chartered, said, “Remittances are a lifeblood of many communities in the Philippines, the third largest remittance market with US $33 billion of inflows in 2017. We are proud to collaborate with Ant Financial and act as their banking partner for this new service to make remittances easier, cheaper and more secure. This evidences our joint commitment to deliver financial services to the unbanked and underbanked and exemplifies our “Here for Good” brand promise.”