Western Union Won’t Be Accepting Crypto Payments Anytime Soon

Reading Time: 2 minutes

• Western Union reaffirms stance that customer base doesn’t carry a strong enough interest in cryptocurrency to warrant adoption.
• “The consumers tell us what they want. People aren’t paying their hospital bills in cryptos,” says Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek.
• Ersek does admit that the company is continuing to experiment with Ripple’s blockchain-based settlement system.
Western Union is the biggest money transfer service in the world – yet it still remains resistant to the cryptocurrency revolution. There have been huge calls from customers to introduce cryptocurrency support, but Western Union has revealed that they have no plans to introduce a crypto transfer solution. When you consider that many industries that once stood against the crypto market in the past are now performing U-turns, Western Union’s stance is even more surprising.

Not Enough Customer Interest

The news of Western Union’s anti-crypto stance became clear at a recent meeting at the Economic Club of New York. Speaking on the matter, Hikmet Ersek (Western Union CEO) said, “The consumers tell us what they want. People aren’t paying their hospital bills in cryptos.” It’s a statement that has raised more than a few eyebrows, as many believe that the call for crypto support amongst Western Union customers is there.

Sticking to Old School Methods

As far as Western Union is concerned, Ersek believes that customers are leaning towards standard currencies due to the hard assets they’re able to provide. Another reason behind Western Union’s strong resistance is that it feels that the banks are still skeptical of cryptocurrencies. Banks are resistant to giving up control over their local currencies to move to a decentralized or digital alternative. This plays into Ersek’s argument. He said, “Nations are built on flags, constitutions, borders and currencies.” It’s evident that Ersek is still throwing a huge amount of weight behind old school money methods.

Taking a Stand Against Bitcoin

The news of Ersek taking a supposed stand against Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies shouldn’t surprise anyone. During December 2017, Western Union started a campaign in opposition of transactions involving crypto exchanges. It cited the company’s current regulations as the reason for doing so. In a leaked message that appeared on Reddit Western Union’s plans were revealed. The company told Kraken – a leading digital currency exchange – that it wouldn’t handle any transactions related to cryptocurrency.

Emerging Ripple Relationship

It would be easy to completely write off Western Union as far as crypto support is concerned. But, there does appear to be hope for change. Back in February, the company announced that it exploring Ripple’s blockchain-based settlement system as a means to handle transactions. “We are looking especially in the processing settlement and working capital optimization, also in the regulation part, on the compliance part on the blockchain capabilities,” said Ersek.