Al Fardan Exchange has partnered with Thunes, a global cross-border payments company, to enable its customers in the United Arab Emirates to make seamless payments to 87 countries. The new partnership will allow businesses and retail customers of Al Fardan Exchange to make instant payments directly not only to bank accounts, but also to mobile wallets and cash pick-up points in Europe, Africa, in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, allowing recipients to receive money in their local currency. In addition to speed and convenience, businesses and individuals will benefit from the increased transparency of the service, they will know exactly what they are paying for in advance and will be able to follow the status of their transactions in real time.
These new services tap into growing customer demand for alternative payments and position Al Fardan Exchange at the forefront of the UAE’s rapidly evolving financial services space.
We reached out to Hasan Fardan Al Fardan, CEO of Al Fardan Exchange to find out more.
Al Fardan explained, “Despite a series of global challenges seen in recent years, the UAE has continued to remain one of the top tourist destinations thanks to the country’s ongoing development and attractions. As we continue to see rising tourism demand and an influx of tourists arriving in the UAE, FX remains one of the main services used by travelers. As the main population of the UAE is made up of working expatriates, we find that remittances for savings, investments and family support have remained the main drivers of cross-border payments outside the country.
Retail customers continue to dominate the industry, accounting for 98% of transactions made, however, on the volume side, it’s a much different story, with corporate and enterprise segments accounting for 51% of transaction volumes. Al Fardan’s business segmentation is in line with the industry.
Why do these companies use a stock exchange instead of a bank?
Remittance-focused exchange houses are much more innovative in products, services and processes compared to banks, Al Fardan pointed out. By investing in technology, exchange houses are gaining direct access to local payment rails in major countries, allowing them to develop and scale payment paths that are much faster, at lower cost and with increased visibility for companies for cross-border payments against trade, wages, and investments mainly.
Alternatively, banks are focusing more on liabilities and assets, continuing to use the old correspondent banking model to transfer money overseas, resulting in higher transaction cost and satisfaction levels weaker customer.
Convenience and flexibility are key factors in the popularity of exchange houses as they operate 365 days a year and 16 hours a day, and with direct access to local payment rails, crediting to beneficiary accounts is much faster than traditional banks.
Businesses are capitalizing on the innovation and investments made by major exchange houses like Al Fardan Exchange by offering them low-cost and faster delivery of their cross-border trade payments, helping them save money while ensuring that their goods are cleared quickly by suppliers.
Al Fardan says, “We are delighted to partner with Thunes, a world-renowned institution that manages payments for the fastest growing companies in the world. As a customer-centric organization, we always strive to provide seamless end-to-end experiences for our customers. This collaboration with Thunes will further digitize our payment services and strengthen our business growth strategy. »
So, what are the guarantees against money laundering?
In recent years, the United Arab Emirates has evolved a lot, not only in terms of infrastructure, but also within the regulatory and payment environment. We are seeing an increased focus on global compliance best practices, led by the country’s regulator who has been proactive in constantly reviewing the standards governing exchange firms.
Today, these standards are in line with and sometimes superior to some of the most developed economies, forcing some of the “old-fashioned” exchange houses to eventually sell their units or cease trading due to increased Investments in Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Systems.
We have seen a reduction in the number of exchange houses in operation, from over 130 in 2016/2017 to double digits today.
Reputation and lifespan are the key factors to consider before a business decides to use an exchange house for their payment needs. Remittances are a service-oriented industry that remains a lifeblood for major businesses in the UAE, influencing their decision on which exchange house to use.
These new services in partnership with Thunes will tap into growing customer demand for alternative payments and position Al Fardan Exchange at the forefront of the rapidly evolving financial services space in the UAE.