Heads Up: The Market Is Shifting

Stephen Kuhl, CFA, Western Union Business Solutions

If you’re like most community-based financial institutions, you provide essential, bread-and-butter products, domestic in nature, within your local region.

And of course, this is critical. It is your foundational commitment to your customers. The problem is, a domestic-heavy focus can lead to a dangerous problem: you can miss huge global trends that are changing the very DNA of the market.

This is happening right now. A radical shift is occurring in the international payments market that directly affects you and your customers. But most financial institutions we talk to know very little about it, and almost none have a plan to defend their market position.

So, what is this huge shift? Tech companies have elbowed their way into the international payments market, becoming industry leaders in a space that banks used to dominate.

PayPal, Apple Pay, Stripe, Trustly and UnionPay are just a few of the fast-moving tech plays that are determined to overtake the banks and credit unions. These companies have tuned into something that many domestically inclined financial institutions might not have: your customers often are buying and selling internationally as a matter of everyday life. Because of this there is a massive amount of money to be made in international payments.

Gone are the days that regional financial institutions can ignore international payments with the assumption that most customers rarely if ever do business abroad. People of all walks of life need to – and do – move money around the world. And they may be less loyal to financial institutions that don’t address this need.

Take a gander at the Forbes 2018 Fintech 50 list as hard evidence of who the business world believes will own payments industry. You’ll see a long list of slick, well-financed tech start-ups rather than established, respected banks and credit unions.

As our client, you have the technology in place to defend your market position and get ahead of this seismic shift. But to make it happen, your international payment capabilities need to be a key component of everything you do – featured prominently on your website and promoted by your in-branch teams.

We’re here to help. Talk to us about what’s happening in the market. Let us help you make the most of your international payment services.