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Western Union partners with Thunes on cross-border payments

US financial services group Western Union is partnering with cross-border payments network Thunes in an initiative that will use the Stellar blockchain in facilitating digital payments between banks in different countries.

Stellar, an open-source, decentralised protocol for digital currency to fiat currency transfers, allows cross-border transactions between any pair of currencies

Thunes, previously known as TransferTo, partnered with last July to improve the transfer of money across borders. The partnership between Thunes and Stellar – which aimed to encourage the adoption of Thunes in emerging markets – will leverage Stellar’s distributed ledger to obtain instant clearing, settling, and execution, enabling value to move across borders and directly between banks and payment gateways.

The blockchain that will now be used by Western Union promises to provide faster and more convenient processing of digital payments by banks.

A big move for WU

Thunes’ CEO, Steve Vickers said that the company’s payment platform interconnects payments providers around the world in a way that is seamless and brings about “interoperability between diverse payment systems.” The platform would therefore give Western Union’s customers greater flexibility when it comes to issuing payments across borders.

Colleague Sandra Yao, Thunes’ senior vice president, Africa, added: “We are very excited about this partnership. Obviously, digitisation is a very big thing and it’s a very big move for Western Union to move from traditional cash payout now to the digital wallet. We’re happy to bring onboard a value-added service for them.

“We improve efficiency and remove the difficulty of getting cash – we save a lot of time and add a lot of convenience.””

The news is also a further boost for Stellar following the recent announcement by IBM that it would use its World Wire platform, which also uses the Stellar blockchain, to power cross-border payments.

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