US financial firms are eager to capitalize on Cuba
WRITTEN BY Ian Kar
The reinstatement of diplomatic ties between the US and Cuba is expected
give a big boost to the Cuban economy. US companies in the hospitality
industry like Airbnb and Starwood clearly stand to benefit, but so do
financial companies that can help businesses expand to the US and move
money in and out of Cuba.
Firms including PayPal, Western Union, and online-payment processor
Stripe have already announced pushes into Cuba.
PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in a blog post that the company plans to
make its newly-acquired remittance service, Xoom, available in Cuba by
the end of the year. Similarly, Western Union said it hoped to expand
its cross-border payments service to Cuba by the end of the second
quarter of 2016. The company says it already has 490 agent locations
Remittance payments to the Caribbean island reached $2.8 billion last
year, 90% of which came from the US, Western Union said in a press release.
According to an April 2015 survey, 70% of Cubans are interested in
opening their own business. With the US so close by, there is
significant potential for Cuban businesses to expand to the US. Stripe
announced last week (March 18) it would expand its new Stripe Atlas
product to Cuba. Stripe Atlas, which launched last month in a private
beta, reduces the regulatory and logistical burdens entrepreneurs face
when trying to start or expand a business in the US. The service handles
the legal, financial, consulting, and payments side, for a $500 flat fee.
To jumpstart that business, Stripe partnered with the Cuba-based
Merchise Startup Circle, which will refer startups from the local
community to Stripe Atlas.
“We’re playing a long game,” Stripe’s chief business officer Billy
Alvarado told Quartz. “But it’s a very interesting opportunity.”
Source: US financial firms are eager to capitalize on Cuba – Quartz –