By SIRIVISH TOOMGUM
Western Union Global Money Transfer is a business unit under the Western Union Company.
In February, the Western Union Company unveiled a new option that allows Amazon.com customers in Thailand to pay for their purchases in baht. This service was initially offered in 10 countries, namely Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand, allowing customers to pay in cash for items bought on Amazon.com.
“We are now expanding the coverage of agent locations where this new service is available for Amazon customers. We are also working with Amazon on expanding to more countries in the future, though we don’t have anything further to share at this time,” she said.
Under the current collaboration, Western Union powers Amazon’s new cross-border payment option, called Amazon PayCode, by processing the complex foreign exchange, settlement and money movement requirements for international e-commerce transactions.
After selecting PayCode on the Amazon.com checkout page, customers are sent a code, along with instructions on how to pay in person at a participating Western Union agent. This collaboration provides consumers, who have largely been excluded due to a lack of accepted payment methods, a greater access to goods. Rajola added that Western Union will continually work on improving this payment service.
When asked why the service was initially introduced in only 10 countries, she said the decision was based on the fact that customers at these destinations have a strong preference to pay in person.
Also, she said, Western Union is synonymous with the ability to move funds quickly and reliably across the globe, and research shows that customers want access to Amazon’s vast selection of products in a convenient, reliable and locally relevant manner.
“We are pleased with the progress we are making. Our initial rollout is focused on testing with a limited number of customers and locations to observe consumer interactions, so we can refine the process. We have utilised this to refine agent training and education, customer experience and technology connections.
“We have also deployed Web pages in local languages to help customers understand how it works. Amazon has focused on refining customer experience of PayCode at checkout, the payment process, and technology connections. We will be tracking to see how the service and customer demand evolves,” Rajola said.
She added that this service has opened up new possibilities both in terms of product selection and payment options. The Western Union-Amazon collaboration is focused on globalising e-commerce and creating greater access to Amazon’s product selection.
“There are entire communities who want greater access to Amazon’s huge product selection, but paying for those purchases has been a real obstacle for many international customers. So, what we’ve brought to the table our unique ability to connect the digital and physical worlds of money on a global scale. This is a prime example of how we’re monetising our money-movement platform in innovative new ways.
“While we’re known primarily for our consumer-to-consumer money transfers, we’re increasingly opening our platform to power third-party applications. Our platform enables us to power cross-border money movement solutions for a wide range of businesses,” she added.
She went on to say that the ultimate goal of launching this new payment option is to allow international shoppers to shop globally and pay locally – in person at Western Union’s agent locations – without requiring an internationally-enabled credit or debit card.