This week: Curve, Euronet, Mastercard, MoneyGram, N26, Ria, Revolut, Venmo, XE, Western Union
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Western Union reported its 2019 annual results on Tuesday. As the largest standalone money transfer player, the underlying trends of its business are relevant to everyone. That's our main focus, told through a series of charts.

We also cover the annual results of Ria & XE (more surprises) and play a quick game of can you blame Brexit.

Western Union isn't going anywhere

I mean literally going nowhere. Its underlying consumer money transfer business has seen no material overall growth for years. Although Investors have taken a shine to Western Union over the past year increasing its value by 50%, the stock fell more than 7% following Tuesday's results. 

We peel away the layers to see what's going on.

The biggest surprise is that two of the most competitive markets in the world, North America and Europe, is where Western Union has made most of its gains, not the emerging markets.

And its Asia Pacific business is shrinking fast (note WU said it expects a limited impact of Coronavirus in China - most is inbound business and accounts for only 2% overall). 

As we start digging into these markets, we can see each region is facing its own headwinds. 
A whole range of factors explain the performance in each market, with white-label products being a big growth driver everywhere (TD Bank in North America, Sberbank, UK, French and Italian Post Office deals in Europe and STC Pay in Saudi Arabia).

Asia Pacific is struggling as a region, requiring a lot of price promotion. Additionally, transaction numbers are significantly down in the region, skewed by the domestic Philippines business. 

North America showed a stand-out performance though. With all the competition from Ria and MoneyGram (and the latter has been very aggressive on pricing), WU has managed to increase prices and has performed strongly on the US-Mexico corridor

And even in light of the growing prominence of leading digital players such as Remitly, and PayPal's Xoom, when it comes to cash, Western Union is still king.
Western Union's dominance in the cash market remains impressive. Their stranglehold on many of the best cash pay-in/out locations helps defend this business.

And virtually every fintech is going after the customer who'll switch to digital. But how many business plans and venture capital proposals have you read for companies wanting to offer a better cash to cash money transfer service? My guess is none.
Track Western Union's pricing across thousands of corridors

What's happening with Ria and XE?

Euronet, owner of Ria and XE, can normally be relied upon to deliver steady results which the stock market loves. This week's release of Euronet's 2019 results provided a small shock in the slowdown that is apparent at both Ria and XE. The stock market took 8% off Euronet's value overnight. 

The main cause of Ria's slowdown is the softer domestic US money transfers (as at Western Union too). PayPal's Venmo and, to a lesser extent, Zelle, are responsible for this quickly acquiring market share.

Euronet remains bullish for 2020 though citing a number of new deals with Walmart, the Belgian and Austrian Post offices and Travelex cash locations in North America. 

Stay tuned - we'll be analysing it all for you.

Who challenges Western Union's dominance?

Can you blame it on Brexit?

Yes. XE's sluggish performance in 2019. We've seen other non-remittance focused UK-centric money transfer brands struggle over the past few years.

No. Neobank N26 claiming they are leaving the UK market "due to Brexit". Guys, you're leaving because you couldn't gain enough market share in a highly competitive market. Don't be fooled by customer numbers, what counts is real revenue and share of wallet. 

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On our radar this week:
Curated by FXC Intelligence's Team
Revolut taps Open Banking
Frankly, we're surprised it took them so long. UK customers get it first.
Mastercard's Chinese path
The next big player to receive PBOC approval to operate in the market.
Financial Times
MoneyGram next mobile step
A new feature allows for customers to send money to a mobile number.
Seeking Alpha
Curve heads stateside
The card aggregation app head to the US. Plenty of cards to aggregate there.
City AM

Missed the last few weeks?

The impact of the new EU cross-border regulations (here)
Debit cards as a product extension (here)
Don't believe all cross-border payments cost 3% (here)
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Have a lovely week,

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London New York | Washington DC

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