- MoneyGram International is in the midst of “disrupting itself” to cater to a younger, digital-native customer base sending funds across borders, the money transfer company’s CEO, Alex Holmes, said last week.
- Speaking Sept. 14 at the FinovateFall conference in New York City, Holmes said market forces are pushing Dallas-based MoneyGram to continue to evolve mobile, digital models, bolstered by the company’s recent rollout of a crypto-to-cash money transfer service through USD stablecoins. MoneyGram partnered with the Stellar Development Foundation on that effort.
- “Despite inflation, despite changes in interest rates, despite fluctuations in currencies, money keeps moving, and you have to keep figuring out ways to do that and do that efficiently,” Holmes said. “We have an advantage to some degree because we're in every country, we have [a] balance sheet. Changing the experience with customers on the front end and the back end is a nice evolutionary opportunity.”
MoneyGram launched its crypto-to-cash cross-border money transfer service in June through integration with the Stellar blockchain. Facilitated through Circle's USD Coin (USDC), it allows for cash funding and payout in local currencies for consumers using USDC, as well as near-instant settlement capabilities, according to the company.
As part of the arrangement, MoneyGram is doing “cash out” in about 200 countries, and “cash in” in around a dozen countries, Holmes said in an interview.
That move could help spur greater adoption of stablecoins as cross-border payment vehicles. Currently, challenges navigating regulations across different countries, ease of use and user trust are preventing that, said Reeve Collins, the co-founder of BLOCKv and former CEO and co-founder of Tether, in a statement.
About 44% of MoneyGram’s payment flows are digital, compared to 2% in 2011, Holmes said. The company’s increasing focus on digital payments is the result of a customer cohort that’s skewing younger, particularly users in their 20s and 30s, and the growth of digital wallets, particularly in emerging markets, he said.
MoneyGram’s digital focus comes as competition in the cross-border payments market heats up. Last week, for example, U.K.-based Paysend rolled out an offering that allows consumers and businesses to send instant cross-border payments of up to $100,000 to accounts for just $1 per payment.
MoneyGram and money transfer rivals like Western Union have been accustomed to charging fees of as much as 3%, but their fintech competitors, including Wise, Paysend and Remitly, are charging a fraction of 1%, Vikas Shah, an investment banker with Rosenblatt Securities who focuses on payments and fintech, told Payments Dive earlier this year.
Despite growing competition in the cross-border payments space — both from fintechs as well as banks — Holmes suggested he’s confident in MoneyGram’s capability to continue to carve out a niche in the marketplace.
“Competition in this space has always existed,” said Holmes, noting that the company will focus on price, product quality and service improvements.