Western Union: How Payments Have Changed in the Digital World

Mark Strathern, Marketing Director for Far East Asia & Oceania at Western Union, discusses where the company is heading in this digitally-focused payments world.

194
1993
Western Union, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au, crowd ink, crowdink
Western Union

Today, businesses have to be in a constant state of flux; changing, adapting and catering for the fast paced, digitally focused environment of the future. When talking about payments, there is nothing more crucial than constant innovation.

Western Union was founded over 160 years ago in New York as a telegram provider. Years of rich history, copious competition and huge expansion later, and the company is still thriving as one of the major businesses responsible for money transfers and business payments. Western Union’s money transfer app has made it easier and quicker for companies and individuals to send and receive money.

“Our innovation over time has built a powerful cross-border platform for moving money around the world in a matter of minutes1. It’s the rare combination of a physical and fast-growing digital network across 200 countries and territories2, the ability to exchange money in more than 130 currencies, the global compliance knowledge, and the technology backbone behind it all that enables us to move money at a superior speed and scale.

Our cross-border platform is what sets us apart. It positions us to succeed as we reach for our vision to be a recognized global leader in the transfer of money and payments—serving an ever broader array of consumers and clients with more choices and ways to move money. “

Today, Mark Strathern holds the responsibility for overseeing the marketing operations in the Far East Asia and Oceania region to drive revenue and transactions growth. Mark has been with Western Union for 13 years, and is familiar with the ins and outs of the company. Mark and the team at Western Union are diversifying the type of consumers they serve and broadening the need for the company’s services. Mark has helped initiate digital innovation in his region by including more connectivity features incorporated in products to provide better customer experiences. One of these experiences is the innovative WU® ConnectSM platform, an innovative technology platform that integrates with leading consumer messaging and social media platforms to give users a unique way to quickly and conveniently transfer money around the world.

Another huge trend in the payments world today is the need to collaborate. Western Union has seen huge opportunities through collaboration with other payment companies.

“In 2011, Western Union and ChinaPay launched a program that allows international bank transfers to China from 23 countries. At about the same time, Western Union also expanded its range of business payments solutions by means of corporate acquisition, introducing “StudentPay”, a solution that enabled participating universities and higher education institutions around the world to accept international tuition and student fees in their local currency, whilst students paid in their home currencies.

On April 5, 2017, Western Union announced that United States users of its mobile app can now use Apple Pay to make mobile money transfers originating in the United States to more than 200 countries and territories, including domestic bill payments. In a move that makes sending money from a user’s account to another person’s account as quick and easy as the touch of a finger on their Touch ID sensor, Western Union has expanded its Apple Pay integration beyond simply supporting it in stores.”

Mark understands that the best way to grow is to be constantly innovating and to always be a step ahead of the rest. Sticking to stubborn traditions and a refusal to grow in the digital age can be the downfall of a company, no matter how historic or influential that company may be.

“Every day we are innovating with the goal to make it easier, more reliable and faster for consumers to move money across currencies and languages, businesses and borders. In an age when speed, convenience, and reliability mean everything, we’re increasing the number of ways to receive funds into our system, and building our payout network to enable us to move more funds.

We’re expanding our digital and mobile footprint, multiplying the number of retail locations, ATMs and kiosks, and investing in technology to bring consumers and clients greater ease and confidence with every transaction they make.

We’re working with players in the digital and social media space to bring digital, cross-border money transfer—with the reliability that is associated with the Western Union name—to more consumers around the globe.”

Mark Strathern, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au, crowd ink, crowdink
Mark Strathern, Marketing Director, Far East Asia & Oceania

Mark Strathern is currently the Marketing Director for Far East Asia and Oceania. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the marketing operations in his region to drive revenue and transactions growth.

Mark joined Western Union as the Director of Market Development for Asia Pacific in 2004 and in 2009 was appointed Regional Director of New Zealand and the Pacific. Later in 2009, he became Regional Director of Digital Ventures division, where he was responsible for the organisation’s electronic channel development and operations throughout the Philippines, Thailand, Indochina and Oceania. Mark was Director of E-Commerce for Asia Pacific before taking on his current role.

1 Funds may be delayed or services unavailable based on certain transaction conditions, including amount sent, destination country, currency availability, regulatory and foreign exchange issues, required receiver action(s), identification requirements, Agent location hours, differences in time zones, or selection of delayed options. Additional restrictions may apply. See Send Form for details.
2 Network data as of 31 December 2016.