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Western Union seeks digital future in Amazon Web Services cloud

In a move that accelerates Western Union's plan for its money transfers to be part of advancing digital technology, the cross-border payment provider has entered an agreement with Amazon Web Services for long-term cloud services.

Western Union says it plans to move a significant portion of its infrastructure to the cloud and views AWS as a provider that can help build more seamless money transfer experiences for customers through a mobile app, the WU website and its agent locations worldwide.

“Our transition to the cloud will enable Western Union to expand our digital footprint and work more efficiently as we evolve to meet the needs of our business and customers," Amit Sharma, chief information officer at Western Union, said in a Tuesday press release. "The elasticity and agility that AWS provides will enable us to transform the way we operate and become a cloud-first organization.”

Amazon Web Services logo
The logo of Amazon Web Services Inc (AWS) is displayed on a sign at a pop-up office ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 49th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 22 - 25. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Adopting AWS will enable Western Union to strengthen the money movement platform to support innovations like Amazon PayCode, Sharma added.

PayCode is a new payment option available in 21 countries and territories including the U.S., Chile, Colombia, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand, Jamaica, and Kenya. It allows shoppers to pay for Amazon purchases in local currency, through Western Union’s network.

The agreement with AWS falls in line with Western Union's recent decision to establish digital-only transactions at Dollar General stores in which consumers could initiate transactions only through a mobile app or browser.

Western Union plans to use a mix of AWS machine learning, analytics, database, serverless, containers and security services to update its systems and products, as well as build new cloud-native applications.

As part of its cloud-first strategy, Western Union plans to leverage AWS machine learning and analytics services to automate business operations and build self-healing capabilities into its money transfer platform.

The company says it will also benefit from using AWS’s fully managed databases built for the cloud to increase financial transaction throughput, and speed payment processing.

"Already a leader in international money transfers, Western Union is not content to stand still, so they are working with AWS to drive even more business advantage in this highly competitive, and increasingly digital, industry,” Mike Clayville, vice president of worldwide commercial sales at AWS, said in the release. “By choosing AWS, the 168 years young iconic brand is modernizing its infrastructure network, enabling the adoption of new technologies and payment channels, while making it easy for consumers and businesses to send and receive money, as well as make payments, quickly and reliably.”

AWS has been providing cloud-based business services for 13 years, and Amazon says it offers more than 165 services from computing, storage, databases and networking, to internet of things advancements, mobile, security and virtual and augmented reality.

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