HSBC has launched a multi-currency digital wallet that enables businesses to make and receive international payments simply and securely from one single global account.
HSBC Global Wallet is fully integrated within the bank’s existing business banking platform and removes the need for businesses to use third-party providers for international transactions. Clients can send and receive money in a number of currencies, and hold and manage those currencies in the same Global Wallet account.
HSBC Global Wallet uses the bank’s global payments network, enabling customers to ‘pay like a local’ – meaning that money will usually be delivered to a beneficiary’s account within minutes of it being sent.
By showing customers the exchange rate before they execute a payment, and by fixing it to ensure the right amount settles in the beneficiary’s account, HSBC Global Wallet allows customers to operate internationally with confidence.
Diane S. Reyes, Global Head of Liquidity and Cash Management, HSBC, said: “Global Wallet makes it as easy for our customers to deal with a supplier or a client on the other side of the world, as it is to deal with one on the other side of town.
“By fully integrating this solution into our everyday business banking platform we’re giving our clients a virtual presence in markets around the world – where they can hold and send cash just like a local business – while also eliminating the need to use third-party platforms for international payments.”
Targeted at medium-sized businesses with international supply chains, the wallet provides instant access to currencies from within customers’ day-to-day banking platform, allowing for greater visibility of their cash flow.
Richard Bibbey, Head of FX, Emerging Market Rates and Commodities, HSBC, said: “Sending money internationally is often viewed as a complex and time-consuming process, with exchange rates frequently changing between the point of execution and the point of settlement, meaning too little or too much money is received.
“HSBC Global Wallet users can build trust with their own customers and suppliers in other markets with faster, more reliable international payments and receipts – and have confidence in growing their businesses internationally.”
Respondents to a survey carried out on behalf of HSBC UK suggested that currency fluctuations were the leading concern for UK-based businesses when making and receiving payments overseas (40 per cent), while one in five were concerned about the speed of payments.
HSBC Global Wallet customers can hold and send money in US Dollars, Euros, UK Pound Sterling, Canadian Dollars, Hong Kong Dollars, Singapore Dollars and Australian Dollars, with more currencies to be added over the coming months. Regardless of where they’re initiated, payments to the US, the Eurozone, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia can be made ‘like a local’, using domestic real-time payment networks.
HSBC clients which took part in the pilot have praised the solution. Munir Patel, CEO of XRail Group, a UK-based rail signalling services provider, said: “For companies looking to expand internationally, to have an instant account facility with these local capabilities is amazing.”
The news has been fairly well-received by other members of the fintech community. Ronnie Millar, CEO at Paysend said: “We are happy to see that traditional banks are moving towards digital products as they will accelerate the market in that direction.
“Multi-currency wallets are becoming a key feature for Paysend and digital payments providers and it’s great to see they are getting more and more traction from financial institutions as they represent a great way to connect people across borders.”
However, on the other hand, despite the opportunity the sector presents, there are some concerns that a large bank may fall short when serving niche SME’s.
David Parker, Polymath Consulting said: “HSBC is making an attempt to catch up with banks and third parties such as Ebury, 3SMoney and others who have been targeting the mid-market for several years very effectively. What this demonstrates is the significant market opportunity in this sector. However, it is also complicated by the fact that many SMEs have complex business requirements but may not have the very large volumes the banks are used to in order to generate the sorts of profits they expect.”