In the digital economy, MoneyGram focuses on getting the basics right

SIMPLICITY in sending money to friends and family overseas is becoming more important as expectations of customers in Asia Pacific (APAC) grows proportionately with its digital economy.

This simplicity is driven by platforms, which, according to a recent United Nations Trade and Development report, are the drivers of the digital economy.

As such, in the age of ‘platform-ization’, organizations in the remittance business, such as MoneyGram, are focusing on delighting customers to stay ahead of the market’s needs and deliver on convenience-linked expectations.

Tech Wire Asia recently caught up with MoneyGram APAC Head Anil Kapur in Malaysia to better understand the company’s plans.

“How MoneyGram works is simple. Anyone who wants to remit money goes to a partner outlet, pays the money and provides details of the receiver. In exchange, he or she gets a code to send to the receiver. The receiver takes the code, walks into a partner outlet in his or her country, shows identification, and collects the funds.”

In the digital age, however, with customers seeking to go digital with their remittances, MoneyGram has created a digital portal and app that provide the simplicity that their customers seek.

Currently available in Australia and soon to be launched in Singapore, customers can remit funds using their debit and credit card or their internet banking facility (for example, using Bpay in Australia) to send money to their family or friends’ bank account directly or allow for it to be collected at a partner outlet in his or her home country.

Remittances to bank accounts typically take a few hours to be completed while remittances to overseas cash outlets take just a few minutes in most cases.

The biggest and most important thing in this transaction is the fact that MoneyGram, as a result of regulatory requirements, is required to verify the identity of the sender and of the receiver, and also the purpose of sending funds.

“We have invested millions of dollars in building our compliance system. Identities of people involved in MoneyGram transactions are screened against lists supplied by government agencies such as the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

“Further, their reason for sending money to a particular person (for savings, family maintenance expenses, healthcare, etc) is analyzed alongside previous transactions to find anomalies. Ultimately, our goal with technology is to ensure we have best-in-class compliance.”

An important thing that Kapur touches upon is the fact that the company’s stringent guidelines require that its teams walk the tightrope, balancing compliance with user experience.

Failing at providing a seamless user experience will defeat the purpose of going digital and providing a simple transaction journey in the first place, and that’s not ideal.

Using analytics helps a great deal, explained Kapur. It’s what helps us identify the small percentage of transactions that require further checks, sometimes, even asking for an in-person interview with the sender.

Ultimately, MoneyGram’s success in the digital age leverages the reach of its kiosks and partner outlets but hinges on digital touchpoints that make aim to make remittance easier, every day, with every improvement.

Kapur’s positivity aside, the international remittance company’s success is reflected in the fact that the company currently handles US$160 billion worth of transactions across 200 countries. That’s definitely something to be proud of, especially in the digital age with several regional digital-only players vying for a piece of the market.

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