Money transfer company Al Fardan Exchange has teamed up with cross-border payments FinTech Thunes to offer real-time remittances amid a drive by UAE exchange houses to hasten their digitisation plans to capture new customers and expand their business offerings.
The partnership with Singapore-based Thunes will allow customers to make instant payments to bank accounts, mobile wallets and cash pickup points in 87 countries, as well as track the status of their transactions in real time, Al Fardan Exchange said on Tuesday.
“This collaboration with Thunes will further digitise our payment services and help boost our business growth strategy,” said Hasan Al Fardan, chief executive of Al Fardan Exchange.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, money exchange providers are increasingly linking up with FinTechs to cater to customers who rely on the convenience of mobile apps to send money home, rather than visiting physical branches.
Remittances to poor and middle-income countries are projected to have grown 7.3 per cent to $589 billion in 2021, the World Bank said in November.
In GCC countries, the recovery of outward remittances was boosted by stronger oil prices and the resulting pickup in economic activity, the Washington-based lender said at the time. Remittance flows increased by 9.7 per cent in the Mena region.
Remittances are projected to continue to grow by 2.6 per cent in 2022, according to the World Bank.
Meanwhile, outward personal remittances from the Emirates increased 8.7 per cent, or by Dh3.6bn ($980 million) a year, in the second quarter of 2021, according to the UAE Central Bank.
Outward remittances through banks rose by Dh6.1bn while transfers through exchange houses dropped by Dh2.5bn.
“[The] ability to make instant payments is becoming more and more critical in the current environment and we hope that our technology will make a difference and help people feel more connected with their families,” said Simon Nelson, Thunes’ senior vice president for the Mena region.
The company joined Ripple’s cloud-based global financial network, RippleNet Cloud, which allows financial institutions to move away from ageing and expensive legacy infrastructure and adopt the flexibility, speed and resilience of cloud computing without the burden of hardware management, it said.