Cross-border payments is one of the most rapidly growing but largely untapped markets. Since 2018 the global volume of transactions expanded with 5% CAGR on average. According to the survey data, the majority of respondents expect this sector to keep growing in 2022 reaching the total volume of US 156t.
While there are many factors contributing to the growth, one of the most important is technological advancement. New specialized players are challenging the dominance of incumbent banks by offering innovative solutions to traditional pain points for B2B and B2C payments.
One of them is Thunes, a partner of Velmie who provides cross-border payments infrastructure, so we decided to provide some insights about the company by interviewing Dawei Wang, Head of Strategic Partnerships @Thunes.
What is the best way to describe your company and it’s services?
Dawei: Thunes is a regulated PSP that operates the largest cross-border payment rails, we are able to disburse and collect funds into 125+ markets across 70+ currencies covering traditional bank accounts, mobile wallets and cash pick-up.
What are the main challenges Thunes is aiming to solve for its clients?
Dawei: Two things:
Making it easier for customers who wants to access new markets, customers and opportunities.
Making cross border payments more efficient, accessible and transparent.
What makes your products and services unique and how does your company sustains the competition?
Dawei: Our unique strengths are:
We are by far the biggest payment network out there.
We have a relentless focus on connecting directly to each of the market and payment mediums to cut out the middlemen who drive inefficiencies and lack of transparency.
We have built an API that is dedicated to international money transfer with unique features such as Invoice attachment, account validation, trading desk etc.
We will continue to grow our coverage aggressively and in parallel adding new capabilities that's really going to move the needles for customers, for example we are the only network that can pay and collect in and out the same wallet.
What are the key points of consideration when choosing a company to handle cross-border payments?
Dawei: Do they have full visibility to the transaction life cycle, i.e. are they using aggregators, when things go wrong using aggregators will be painful.
Do they have the right coverage, adding new corridors is very cumbersome, you want to be with a provider that has them all already.
Is the team supportive and knowledgeable, cross border payments is a hugely complex topic, relevant local and functional expertise and strong relationships with local partners will be very beneficial.
What is your approach to the emerging markets? Are there any of them you consider as the most promising?
Dawei: We differentiate via our emerging markets capability, which is the hardest markets when it comes to cross-border payments, but its higher growth, with a lot of innovation taking place, and we would like to support that journey.
It’s been announced that Thunes extends its presence in China, what are your plans there and what kind of solutions do you bring to this market?
Dawei: We would like to provide senders in China another option to get money in and out of the country. Banks and PSPs in China only have SWIFT and corresponding banking when it comes cross border payments. A lot of exporters in China for example are finding it difficult to have local account outside of China to collect their revenue, we are helping them with our virtual account in emerging markets to enable their export business.
Embedded finance seems to be one of the most rapidly growing sectors, does Thunes have anything to offer there?
Dawei: It certainly is a hot topic, Thunes is the ideal solution to be “embedded” into those platforms for all things cross-border, Thunes will continue to work with those platform providers to help them to differentiate and grow.
What are your plans and the roadmap for the coming years? How do you see the market after, say, 5 or 10 years?
Dawei: Our immediate road map is to continue to extend our coverage and add new capabilities. 5-10 years is a long time in payments and a lot can happen. I do see blockchain technology will increasingly play a role in cross-border payments, it will take off faster in developed markets than emerging markets. The likes of web3 is also going to require new capabilities which also presents significant opportunities.
Dawei Wang, Head of Strategic Partnerships
Dawei leads Thunes Partnerships business globally, was previously Head of Strategy for the organisation, prior to Thunes he was an advisor to private equity funds and some of the largest payments businesses globally with EY-Parthenon and JPMorgan.