Many big sellers on amazon’s platform received a notice from an international remittance company last week, according to previous media reports.
WorldFirst, the UK cross-border payments company, said in a notice to shareholders that it had decided to terminate all business with the U.S site effective 29 January 2019.
All U.S. users will no longer be able to use WorldFirst to enter or book new transactions, the notice said, But this does not affect transactions to be processed or payments to be made, in addition, no new transactions or deposits will be accepted.
The services of WorldFirst users (including Canada) other than those in the United States will not be affected by the closure of U.S. sites, and customers can still continue to receive and send payments to the United States.
WorldFirst also said that the money in the U.S. accounts used by users is safe and will help users deal with the balance.
The message from London-based WorldFirst is worrying-its US operations are closing immediately. “We are writing to share some news that affects you as a US-based customer of WorldFirst,” the email said. “The WorldFirst shareholders have taken the decision to discontinue with the US operations. As such, we will no longer be able to offer our products and services to you.”
WorldFirst company said its U.S. business was being rebranded as Omega, It will operate independently of WorldFirst, and no new transactions will take place on the original platform after Wednesday, January 30.
“It’s really a huge blow,” one amazon seller told CNBC on condition of anonymity.
Industry insiders said that WorldFirst made the decision ceased all US operations,Perhaps it is directly related to the previously rumored imminent acquisition of the parent company by Chinese Financial technology giant Ant Financial.
Ant Financial, the parent company of alibaba’s alipay, has been in high-level talks since late December, according to reports.Ant financial is preparing to buy WorldFirst for about $700m. Ant Financial has not been able to enter the US market due to opposition from the Trump administration. Last year, CFIUS withdrew ant’s planned $1.2bn acquisition of MoneyGram because of national security concerns.
The report also said ant financial had been in talks with WorldFirst for several months and that a deal was expected in the coming weeks. Not only will WorldFirst be valued at hundreds of millions of pounds, but the deal is expected to be the biggest foray yet by a Chinese technology company into the UK’s booming fintech sector.
Industry insiders said Ant Financial has had its eye on WorldFirst for some time. If the acquisition of WorldFirst is successful, WorldFirst will obtain the license and data of the us e-commerce market, which is undoubtedly a very important step for alibaba to set its sights on the world.
WorldFirst’s U.S. operations are based in Austin, Texas, and has staff in San Francisco. One person told the Financial Times that the move would lead to “massive job losses” for U.S. employees.
Of course,Ant Financial and WorldFirst did not respond to requests for comment.
WorldFirst is one of the leading service providers assisting Amazon sellers to handle transactions around the world, allowing businesses to pay in a variety of currencies on a single platform.
It is reported that WorldFirst has been established for nearly 15 years, to enterprises, banks, asset management companies and individuals around the world to provide exchange and currency hedging services. Since its establishment, the company has exchanged more than 60 billion pounds for 160,000 customers,WorldFirst now has more than 600 employees.
Amazon seller group sent an email to its members advising WorldFirst customers to switch to rival payment services, “can help if you are selling in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, Japan, China, Australia, and Mexico” the message said.
For Ant Financial, the expected acquisition of WorldFirst supports the company’s global outreach and expansion beyond its mobile and online payment service alipay. Eric Jing, Ant Financial ‘s chief executive, told CNBC in November that his company is investing in providing technical services to Banks, so it is not limited to payments.
A year ago, Alibaba agreed to acquire 33% of ant financial shares. It also said it would not exercise any control over the company.Alipay was spun off from alibaba in 2011.
Alibaba’s vast empire, which includes the alipay payment platform run by ant financial, has more than 700m active users in China. It also includes taobao marketplace, an e-commerce unit, and has invested in dozens of other start-ups and technology companies.
What should I do if you are a Worldfirst American user?
If you go to WorldFirst US, you will be redirected to the Omega website. There you can find information about the changes. And, conveniently, they break it down according to usage: personal, commercial or online.
The Omega website states:
The loss of World First’s payment service is a big deal for many U.S. amazon sellers. But all you can do now is visit the Omega website, get support from Omega, start and run a new account, and send and receive money immediately.
The article quoted CNBC, financial times and other media reports