How will AI, blockchain and social media revolutionize cross-border payments?

We ask the experts

by Fred Schebesta Posted: 9 June 2017

The experts


It’s been an exciting past couple of years for the cross-border payments sector, with a number of innovative banks and fintech companies rolling out artificial intelligence and chatbots to service their customer interactions as well as implementing blockchain technology to increase speed, lower costs and enhance the security of international money transfers. Even SWIFT finally started trialing blockchain this year.
At the same time, social media companies such as Facebook and messenger apps like WhatsApp are looking to get their foot in the door. They’re collaborating with fintechs to allow international money transfers to be sent to receivers on their platforms (though not through their platforms as of yet). Facebook quietly secured an e-money license in Europe, so it’s looking like it will expand its peer-to-peer Messenger payments beyond the US. On the flip side, these new technologies have a lot of challenges to overcome — like making chatbots and robo-advisors intelligible and useful for the average person, persuading people to use these new technologies (more than 90% of IMTs are currently made offline), accessing specific developing demographics and addressing much of the banking sector’s lack of will to change. Can we believe the hype about the massive potential for disruption in the payments space? We interviewed 10 leading experts from fintech companies that deal with cross-border payments and independent consultants to get an idea as to the tech innovations they’re most excited about, what they’re working on right now, their predictions for the industry, market segments that will be most affected by these technologies and how to overcome challenges.

Artificial intelligence, chatbots and social media

According to Accenture’s Banking Technology Vision 2017 report:

76 percent — that’s 3 out of 4 of banking experts — interviewed for Accenture’s report believe that in the next three years, the majority of organizations in the banking industry will deploy AI interfaces as their primary point for interacting with customers.
79 percent (4 out of 5) agree that AI will revolutionize the way they gain information from and interact with customers.
71 percent believe that AI is capable of becoming the face of their organization or brand.

According to a 2017 survey conducted by Personetics:

More than three quarters of financial institution respondents view chatbots as a viable commercial solution now or within the next one to two years.
Nearly half of the companies that responded already have active chatbot projects in place.

Additional insights

According to estimates by the technology analyst firm Gartner, by 2020 more than 85% of customer interactions will be managed without human contact.

In 2016, Facebook opened its Messenger app to chatbots, and over 34,000 different bots have now been developed. Click to tweet

Faisal Khan

Cross-border money transfer specialist

website | twitter

Marta Krupińska

General manager and co-founder of Azimo

website | twitter

Duena Blomstrom

Independent digital and CX consultant, fintech specialist

website | twitter


According to a 2016 survey by IBM:

15 percent of the top global banks intend to roll out full-scale commercial blockchain products in 2017.
65 percent of banks expect to have blockchain projects in production in three years’ time.

According to a 2017 report by Infosys:

About 50% of the banks surveyed are either working with a fintech startup or technology company to augment their blockchain capabilities, while another 30% have opted for the consortium model.
80% of the respondent banks expect the financial services industry to adopt blockchain-based applications commercially by 2020.

According to the 2015 World Economic Forum Technology Tipping Points report, by 2027 about 10% of the global GDP will be stored using blockchain.

Click to tweet

Sudhesh Giriyan

COO of Xpress Money

website | twitter

Aamer Abedi

Chief marketing officer at RemitONE


Marwan Forzley

Founder and CEO of Veem

website | twitter

Remittances and development

According to a 2014 World Bank report.

More than a third of the world’s adult population make little or no use of formal financial services.
Between 2011 and 2014, the percentage of adults with a bank account increased from 51% to 62% — a trend driven by a 13-percentage-point rise in account ownership in developing countries and the role of technology.

Leon Isaacs

CEO of DMA (Developing Markets Associates)

website | twitter

Charlene Chen

COO of BitPesa

website | twitter

Digital identity, authentication and regulation

David G.W. Birch

Recognized international thought leader in digital identity and digital money

website | twitter

Jo White

Director of international corporate affairs at TransferWise

website | twitter

For media inquiries:

Allan Givens headshot

Allan Givens
Public Relations Manager

Nicole Gallina headshot

Nicole Gallina
Communications Coordinator

Pictures: Shutterstock

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