Consumers, SMBs prize security in cross-border payments: survey

Trust and transparency of fees were other key factors for consumers and businesses choosing a cross-border payment provider, a Swift survey revealed

The report from Belgium-based Swift revealed consumers’ as well as small and mid-sized businesses’ attitudes about low-value cross-border payments. About 81% of consumers and 87% of businesses consider their bank’s offering first when needing to make a cross-border payment, Swift said. 

But there’s plenty of competition, Swift noted. And three in four respondents said they’d consider tapping a different company for a cross-border payment if that company matched an offer from their current payment provider. 

There’s no shortage of payments players angling for cross-border business, including card network giant Visa, digital payments company PayPal, bank-owned U.S. payment network operator The Clearing House, legacy companies MoneyGram and Western Union and fintechs such as Remitly and Paysend.

The real-time payments push around the world – including the introduction of the Federal Reserve’s FedNow service this month in the U.S. – is egging on faster, lower cost services for such payments.

Underscoring the importance of transparency with such payments, about 70% of consumers and businesses said they wouldn’t turn to a payment provider in the future if they encountered hidden fees when making such payments, Swift said. Consumers and businesses had even stronger feelings about hidden fees than they did about a payment not actually arriving.

Customers typically don't understand the cross-border payment process from start to finish, so trust that it's handled well by their provider is crucial, as is trust that their money is safe from cybercriminals or fraudsters, the report explained.

Swift conducted its polling in December 2022, surveying 4,205 consumers and 2,720 small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S., the U.K., India, China, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Germany and South Africa. Respondents all made cross-border payments at least once a month.

By Caitlin Mullen on July 14, 2023
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