Alipay HK of Ant Financial Services Group and GCash announced the launch of a blockchain-based cross-border remittance service through their e-wallet platforms, offering secure and low-cost way to transfer money directly between individuals in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
With a few taps through Alipay HK’s mobile phone application, money will be transferred within seconds to a user of GCash, a mobile money service and wallet operated by Filipino telecommunications company Globe Telecom.
This service between GCash and Alipay HK will provide round-the-clock, real-time money transfer between Hong Kong and the Philippines at a competitive exchange rate with much lower transaction fees than traditional money transfer services. The fee will be further waived during an initial three-month trial period.
Alipay has developed and applied the blockchain technology to streamline the remittance process, radically improving the speed of delivery, enhancing transparency of the process and drastically reducing costs while ensuring better security measures when sending money across borders.
Through the blockchain platform, based on the smart contract, once a user submits a remittance application, all network participants including Alipay HK, GCash and Standard Chartered Bank, the settlement bank for the service, are notified. The sender and receiver are also able to track their money with every step of the way. All information stored, shared or uploaded through the blockchain remittance platform is further encrypted with the most advanced protocols to protect the user’s privacy.
By using blockchain technology, Ant Financial aims to eventually cut the cost of remittances to near zero. Jack Ma Yun, Alibaba co-founder said “This comes from a promise I made a long time ago when Alipay was just launched. I have Filipino friends who asked me when they could use Alipay to send money home because it was too expensive through banks, which charge too much.”
It is the first blockchain-based cross-border digital wallet remittance service globally. It is currently available only for transfers between Hong Kong and the Philippines, which is the world’s third-largest remittance market, with inflows of US$33 billion in 2017, according to Standard Chartered.
Canning Fok, Group Co-Managing Director of CK Hutchison Holdings and Chairman of Alipay Payment Services (HK) Limited said, “This cooperation with GCash to bring remittance to the Philippines using the new technology is the first step and there are many other places Hong Kong people need to remit money. I’m happy to see that the AlipayHK team is hard at work to expand this service to more people, bringing us closer to our families and friends with a cheaper and quicker solution.”
“Ant Financial and Alipay have been exploring the cutting-edge blockchain technology since 2015. Blockchain is revolutionizing the remittance industry, and we look forward to further innovating and expanding the application of the technology in global remittances, together with local wallet partners and other ecosystem partners,” Eric Jing, Executive Chairman and CEO of Ant Financial said.
In the year ended 31 March 2018, Alipay together with its global partners, served approximately 870 million annual active users globally and over 15 million small businesses in China.