The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) President and CEO Hikmet Ersek said in a recent interview with Bloomberg that the company will start to use bitcoins if and when the digital currency is regulated and becomes an official currency.
The comment came from the The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) CEO as he was talking to Trish Regan about the company’s security procedures and whether or not he sees a future in bitcoins with his business. Regan told Ersek that she will be speaking shortly with Barry Silbert, the Founder and Chairman of SecondMarket, a firm which will help the U.S. government auction $17 million in seized bitcoins. Furthermore, Regan said that the biggest criticism Western Union has is that its services are expensive. With all that said, the Bloomberg host asked Ersek his thoughts about bitcoins as they are cheaper to transfer. Ersek explained:
“First of all, the challenge [is not]that we are the most expensive otherwise, customers will not use us. We are one of the world’s largest money transfer companies. Customers like us. On the [issue of]bitcoins, we pay out in 121 currencies. When the customer wants us [to], we pay in 121 currencies. Once bitcoins should be regulated…[and would be]a proper currency, why not [use it]? We should also use bitcoins [then]…If it’s regulated as a currency, [we will use it], but it’s not regulated as a currency. That’s the issue of bitcoins. We are [in a]very regulated industry. If bitcoins [are]regulated and the customer wants that, why not?”
When it came to the question of fees, the The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) CEO said that it’s not easy to move money across borders. He noted that they are in 16,000 corridors and provide their service in 200 countries. Having to transfer money which will be available within minutes is what people pay for, the CEO explained.
Watch the discussion below where the CEO also discussed how The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) deals with security and screening transactions which are potentially dangerous.
The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU) shareholders includes David Abrams’ Abrams Capital Management which reported about 17.36 million shares in the company by the end of March. Another hedge fund which reported shares in the money transfer company is John W. Rogers’ Ariel Investments which reported about 13.75 million shares in the same period.