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German payments company Wirecard enters international remittances biz in India

International remittance services are seeing increased activity. German payments company Wirecard has partnered with Weizmann Forex to enter the international money transfer business. Weizmann Forex is one of Western Union’s principal agents in India. Through this deal, the service will be rolled out to thousands of locations across all major cities and districts in India within the next couple of years.

Wirecard will offer the service through GI Technology and locations that will be offering international money remittance are part of the 150,000-strong SmartShop agent network of GI Technology. Note that Wirecard had acquired the Great Indian Retail group, which includes GI Technology, for €230 million in October 2015.  Note that GI Technology has a semi-closed wallet licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

That said, Wirecard will be starting a number of other financial products. “International remittances represent a key pillar in Wirecard’s retail network strategy in India. They will be a key anchor service for us to cross-sell other products to consumers at our retail agent locations,” Georg von Waldenfels, Executive Vice President, Consumer Solutions at Wirecard said in a statement.

Through the SmartShop agent network people will be able to receive remittances from Western Union immediately after the money has been wired by the sender. SmartShops are usually owned by local shopkeepers. Other locations that Wirecard is adding Western Union Money Transfer services to will include travel agencies, foreign exchange houses and locations that currently focus on domestic remittances, the company added. Wirecard, Weizmann and Western Union will also jointly promote the product to consumers.

Wallets to accept cross-border remittance in India 

Note that the partnership is coming in at a time when the RBI is considering allowing wallets to undertake cross-border inward remittances. However, the wallets need to be fully KYC compliant and issuers can enable this facility only on explicit request of the customers. To begin with, a per transaction limit of not exceeding Rs 5000 for such cross-border transactions shall apply, the RBI said. However, the maximum value in these wallets at any point of time shall not exceed Rs 50,000.

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