- Security is the most important factor for both consumers and businesses choosing a payment provider when sending money across borders, according to survey results issued Thursday by Swift, the international payments messaging firm. The next key driver for consumers selecting a payment provider is trust, while businesses said transparency of fees.
- Although real-time payments are becoming increasingly common globally, only about one-quarter (24%) of consumers and 15% of businesses expect their cross-border payments to be instant, Swift said. About 79% of consumers and 76% of businesses said it was their expectation that such payments be completed in an hour or less.
- However, “expectations are likely to change as more domestic market infrastructures move to instant payments,” Swift noted in its report on low-value cross-border payments published this month.
The report from Belgium-based Swift revealed consumers’ as well as small and mid-sized businesses’ attitudes about low-value cross-border payments. About 81% of consumers and 87% of businesses consider their bank’s offering first when needing to make a cross-border payment, Swift said.
But there’s plenty of competition, Swift noted. And three in four respondents said they’d consider tapping a different company for a cross-border payment if that company matched an offer from their current payment provider.
There’s no shortage of payments players angling for cross-border business, including card network giant Visa, digital payments company PayPal, bank-owned U.S. payment network operator The Clearing House, legacy companies MoneyGram and Western Union and fintechs such as Remitly and Paysend.
The real-time payments push around the world – including the introduction of the Federal Reserve’s FedNow service this month in the U.S. – is egging on faster, lower cost services for such payments.
Underscoring the importance of transparency with such payments, about 70% of consumers and businesses said they wouldn’t turn to a payment provider in the future if they encountered hidden fees when making such payments, Swift said. Consumers and businesses had even stronger feelings about hidden fees than they did about a payment not actually arriving.
Customers typically don't understand the cross-border payment process from start to finish, so trust that it's handled well by their provider is crucial, as is trust that their money is safe from cybercriminals or fraudsters, the report explained.
Swift conducted its polling in December 2022, surveying 4,205 consumers and 2,720 small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S., the U.K., India, China, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Germany and South Africa. Respondents all made cross-border payments at least once a month.