FINANCE

Amazon’s newest partner is a money-movement specialist

BY Marianne Wilson

Amazon is giving shoppers in foreign countries who buy goods on its platform a new way to pay for the goods.

The online giant is partnering with Western Union Company to launch a new payment option for cross-border shopping. International shoppers can now pay in person, in local currency where available, for their online purchases through the Western Union agent network.

“We’re leveraging our money movement platform to make it easier to shop global and pay local,” said Hikmet Ersek, president and CEO of Western Union.“By facilitating the complex foreign exchange and settlement process, we’re opening up more consumer choices and access to online shopping for tens of millions of potential new Amazon customers.”

Customers in “select countries” will be offered the new payment option on the Amazon checkout page. Shoppers will be sent a code and instructions on how to make the payment at a participating Western Union agent location. Western Union’s platform will also power the process for cash refunds for product returns.

Forrester Research estimates that cross-border shopping will make up 20% of e-commerce by 2022, with sales reaching $630 billion. Choice, quality and cost are the main motivations for consumers to shop online from overseas. But there are challenges and concerns about the lack of payment options for consumers who prefer to pay in person or consumers who are not comfortable using online payment methods.

With operations in more than 200 countries and territories, Western Union’s platform processed an average of 32 transactions every second and moved $300 billion in principal across 130 currencies in 2017.

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