Chapter 5

“We will look back at this time as a watershed moment for cross border payments.”

Chapter 5 Cross-Border Payments


PayPal Holdings, Inc. is an American company operating a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like checks and money orders.

The global pandemic has triggered a metamorphosis of demand. Patterns of consumption have changed. And consumers are happy about it!

We now have a watershed moment: an industry-defining opportunity. We can define the purpose of cross border payments to be more than the mere functional utility of getting money from point A to point B.

How can the industry come together to collaborate? To elevate its mission? To secure trust during times of rapid innovation and the arrival of many new entrants?

How do we get the data requirements to standardise? And to continue to migrate data to the cloud?

The Opportunity

The opportunity is to see how the payments industry can transform and fast track new products for new audiences.

When we do it right, we achieve a higher purpose, we help connect businesses to their customers, we help businesses to grow across national boundaries and contribute export income to their country’s GDP.

Competition brings innovation which in turn brings more customers. It’s a virtuous circle.

Ecosystems can be built around preferred payments that offer fantastic customer experience and added-value over the movement of funds. For example, the richness of the data and the additional uses of that data for a simultaneous transaction. This is where the payer (or payee) gains an additional benefit through via the data that is generated as part of the transaction.

We need to talk more about the data component and getting standardisation around fields.

SWIFT is massively modernising its platform as its ways of moving information from A to B as it was not fit for purpose. Remittances must capture the reasons/information/data and everyone’s concerns today are around the data rather than the funds.

The new focus is the data that sits behind and accompanies the payment. The foundation for that is the information technology structure – whether legacy or innovative – that enables the flow.

The Risks

Missing data is a frequent cause for a payment to fail.

Our ability to process payments safely and smoothly is paramount. Thankfully the payments system works 99.9999% of the time, although legacy incumbents can be slow and expensive.

When there is a failure, there is also a loss of trust.

There remain business challenges of payments in emerging markets, if the payment fails, then the debt is not extinguished and penalties may accrue.

There are many neobanks and fintechs enabling new solutions with great customer experience. Behind these innovations there is a massive requirement for investment and resources and ultimately to get a return on that investment there must be market adoption of the innovation.

Increasing regulatory control is always a risk.

Due to the evolution from the traditional ways of transacting to an increasingly cashless world, standards are even more important. As is trust.

It takes many good deeds and transactions to build a good reputation but only one bad one to lose it. Collectively as an industry we all earn our reputation. It’s in our interests to collaborate and share amongst incumbents and challengers in a much more symbiotic manner. This can be a massively positive a step towards strengthening the industry and there are green shoots evident across the region that the incumbents are opening up to working with the challengers.

Let’s not forget the human element and the difference in the speed of adoption in B2C (relatively fast) and B2B (relatively slow).

How do you help people see the new world vision?

Digital payments are evolving every day. Rules and regulations do struggle to keep up, there can be grey areas. The regulators who do the homework set up the most successful licensing regimes. Fintechs bring disproportionate value to the table. In a lot of emerging markets, regulators lack experience in dealing with fintechs.

The reality is that everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie. At some point we need to realise that there has to be education of stakeholders such as regulators.

Susan Ho

On a journey to build a global brand and business @Airwallex

Just joined Airwallex on an exciting adventure to build a global brand and business. Looking to reconnect with clients, business associates, media friends, fintech colleagues and anyone who has something to share and help.

Airwallex is a technology company that revolutionises the way businesses operate globally. Our financial infrastructure provides a modern technology stack for businesses of all sizes to operate internationally, without the challenges of the current global financial system.

Businesses use Airwallex as their end to end global financial services platform. Whether it’s making or receiving payments from customers, domestically or internationally, Airwallex saves businesses time and money by offering real-time, reliable and cost effective financial solutions. Our web and API solutions support businesses of all sizes, from small companies to large enterprises.

In this fast-changing digital world that is increasingly becoming borderless, our purpose is to empower businesses of all sizes to grow in their own markets and around the world, and by doing so, contribute to the global economy.

Founded in December 2015 by five co-founders with extensive expertise in the payment space – Airwallex has secured over $360M USD in external funding, supported by top-tier investors including Tencent, DST, Sequoia, Salesforce and MasterCard. Led by a highly capable, experienced, and driven executive team, Airwallex has established international offices across Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, London and San Francisco to further deliver its global services and expanded its offerings to cover payments into over 130 countries, supporting over 50 currencies.

Fannette Hsin

Ambassador at Emerging Payments Association Asia

Over 25 years in Financial Banking Industry across Global Markets, Private Banking, Retail Banking, Correspondent Banking and Trade Finance for 4 major banks. Managed daily operations /infrastructure team across Asia. Implemented strategy for Global Markets FX/MM & Commodities Operations for HK and across 18 Asia countries. Other experience include managing Change/Project Management, Mid Offices for FX, Equities, Derivatives and Commodities, Trading Credit Risk Management, Client Service, Account Onboarding and various Banking Operations across the financial sectors.

Global Head of Strategy and Corporate Development at

Account CTO and Technology Strategist at

GM Issuing Products & Solutions at
Novatti Group (ASX:NOV)

Head of Business Innovation, Oceania at

Co-Author and Fintech Advisor

Director, Strategic Account, Global Payments & Services at

Global Head of Government Relations at

Director Strategic Accounts APAC at

Associate Partner, Digital Banking at
IBM Financial Services

Head of Product Experience at
BigPay | Challenge Banking

Director, Strategic Account, Global Payments & Services at