Hong Kong's Geoswift adds inbound P2P to aid Western travelers

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Geoswift, an international payments provider, has launched an inbound P2P service with the goal of simplifying the complex regulatory processes involved in sending money to China.

Remitting money to China is challenging, due to China’s complicated regulatory framework and stringent laws governing the movement of money, which act as barriers to entry for foreign payments firms entering the Chinese market.

Hong Kong-based Geoswift specializes in providing cross-border payments for Chinese students and tourists as well as e-marketplaces. Its new P2P service, GeoRemit, complements Geoswift’s outbound transfer services from China to the rest of the world and uses Geoswift’s AML capabilities and fraud control systems to provide security and transparency for online transactions.

Geoswift’s main international remittance corridors are the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the EU to China. For payments to China via GeoRemit, Geoswift ensures that all transactions on its platform comply with the requirements of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC). In addition to its PBoC registration, Geoswift is recognized by the country’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

“In addition to P2P transfers, we offer products such as cross-border collection and settlement,” said Raymond Qu, founder and CEO of Geoswift. “Geoswift is in the process of applying blockchain technology in our cross border payments services.”

Geoswift has relationships with international payments organizations such as Western Union and Visa. In China it partners with UnionPay International and Bank of Shanghai, as well as other partners Qu would not name.

Geoswift operates as an acquirer of UnionPay International in North America and has a network of currency exchange outlets in eight major cities in China. In January 2017, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority authorized Geoswift to operate collection and settlement services between the U.K. and China.

In 2016, Geoswift signed an agreement to use AML compliance technology supplied by Thomson Reuters.

“Each transaction going through our GeoRemit platform is screened,” said Qu. “This way we can ensure transactions are secure and all of our clients’ information is well protected.”

“Geoswift is handling a large number of foreign tuition payments for Chinese students,” said Aite Group senior analyst Talie Baker. “The inbound Chinese remittance market will be a massive opportunity for the company.”

Another potentially important market for Geoswift is Western tourists wanting to travel to China and pay for their accommodation there, the company said.

“We offer educational institutions and financial service providers the ability to collect tuition fees from international students using local currencies,” said Qu. “This means Chinese international students can pay tuition fees in renminbi (RMB) to overseas schools. We also provide a one-stop service for outbound Chinese students with competitive FX services in our currency exchange stores in China, and prepaid travel cards for their outbound travel.”

Geoswift has partnered with Western Union Business Solutions to offer a cross-border tuition payment portal for participating universities and higher education institutions. The payment portal accepts international tuition fees in RMB, with universities able to collect payments in their local currency directly from Chinese international students. Currently, the portal lists over 600 universities across the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand, France, Australia, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan, Czech Republic and Ireland.

Western Union recently added Chinese payments platform WeChat Pay to its global student payment product through its partnership with Geoswift. Other digital payment options include Alipay, UnionPay and Tenpay.

Qu said that Geoswift gives e-marketplaces around the world the ability to repatriate funds directly to Chinese sellers in RMB.

“We can provide Chinese e-marketplaces with prepaid cards to enable online purchase from overseas sites,” Qu said. “An example of this solution is enabling our Chinese customers to pay online suppliers in the U.S. We use banking channels to clear funds on their behalf, coupled with prepaid cards as the most efficient payment method between the payer and the payee. The challenges we resolved were in the field of regulatory compliance and AML.”

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P-to-P payments Cross border payments China