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Gone are the days of waiting for a check to arrive in the mail or spending a significant sum to authorize a wire transfer. Today, when someone needs to send money to a family member overseas, it’s as simple as knowing the person’s debit card number and initiating a payment. Within minutes, a family member on the other side of the world can have money in their bank account.

Remittance payments are significant not only to the individuals exchanging money, but also to the global economy. Remittances to low- and middle-income countries are expected to reach $630 billion in 2022.

Payments made from one entity to another over international borders are referred to as “payment remittances.” In a broad sense, the term remittance is often used to describe a sum of money being sent by someone working abroad to their family back home.

Since the late 1990s, remittances have exceeded international aid and, in some cases, make up a significant portion of a country’s gross domestic product. While remittances aren’t new, as cross-border payment solutions have advanced beyond paper checks, wire transfers and money orders, new ways to move money have emerged thanks to the development of remittance software providers and innovative technology.

By tapping into those networks, push-to-card technology is a payment method to consider when thinking about cross-border remittances or how to easily and quickly disburse funds.

Push-to-card transactions offer 3 key benefits as a payment method for remittances:

  1. Global Recognition
  2. Speed
  3. Convenience

Global Recognition

The 16-digit primary account number (PAN) on debit and credit cards is universally recognized. A debit card issued in the United Kingdom is usable in the United States, and vice versa. This unique number is what unlocks cross-border remittances that can happen in seconds, without sacrificing security or adding unnecessary risk to the transaction.

With a primary account number, the sender (a business or consumer) doesn’t need to enter an associated account and routing information—the PAN will suffice.


Push-to-card payments are available 24/7/365 and are not subject to weekends or bank holidays.

Funds can be available in a receivers’ bank account within minutes.


What makes push-to-card payments so convenient is that the transactions run on globally-recognized card rails operated by Visa and Mastercard. Around the world, there are more than 3.2 billion Visa and Mastercard debit cards in circulation. A debit card issued by Visa and Mastercard in the United States is usable around the world. A user can receive a payment by entering their PAN information.

Historically, international wire transfers and cross-border remittances through the SWIFT network take as many as five days to complete, with money passing through several intermediary banks before reaching the recipient. Western Union is an example of a traditional money transfer service.

With the advances of technology, remittances that are sent using a software provider or cross-border payment solution can settle as quickly as 24 hours. Today, remittance software providers like PayPal, WorldRemit and Wise are used for cross-border remittances that happen quickly and securely.

As the technology behind a cross-border payment solution evolves—and the Open Banking and Open Finance movements take hold across the globe—consider the role account-to-account payments can play in enabling B2B payments between businesses paying international contractors. We see an opportunity for push-to-card payments to continue disrupting the world of remittance payments, both domestically within the United States and internationally. Why wait days or weeks for the check your business mailed to be cashed when those same funds could be sent via push-to-card? Why add more delays and risk to your payment processes?

When we can use technology to unlock the power of the financial system, the real winners are the end users and businesses that get to move money quickly, affordably and securely without having to wait days or weeks to complete a transaction. That’s the power of Open Banking.

We want to be clear, Dwolla does not currently support cross-border remittances or any type of international payment.

Our push-to-debit payment method supports 24/7/365 near-instant transfers within the United States. If your business has customers within the United States and needs a fast, reliable way to disburse funds—reach out to our team today and let’s talk through your use case.

Combine our partners, wallet functionality and faster payment methods to create a sophisticated payment experience that meets the needs of your business and end users!

Contact Dwolla


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